Microsoft Power Automate Review

An RPA specifically for Microsoft applications, but very limited in process complexity and integrations

What is our primary use case?

The reason why we are using this product is that we like to use it where we have automation projects specifically for Microsoft products. We can automate to improve productivity and for those applications and simple tasks, it is easy to use.  

For example, suppose I get my email with Outlook. There are certain times I will get specific Excel files from a pre-determined output which I have to always place into a particular SharePoint folder. From there, some other automation gets triggered and the file is processed in a certain way. Those are the sort of things we can automate with Power Automate. It is very good at working with those simple Microsoft-product-related processes.  

We use it wherever we have workflow processes in which Microsoft products are interacting. Before using this solution, people would get those emails and the recipient had to download the file and then manually put it into SharePoint. Now, as soon as it comes into the inbox, Power Automate gets triggered and it automatically copies the file to the correct SharePoint. There is no reason that a repetitive task of this sort needs to be done manually.  

How has it helped my organization?

It offers a different option than using UiPath which is much more complicated and more expensive for simple tasks that Power Automate can do more easily.  

What is most valuable?

It is very hard to say what the most valuable features are in Power Automate because we are still exploring the product and utility. I like the simplicity of how we can create those automated activities quickly. For now, the most valuable feature is that it is very easy to use.  

What needs improvement?

There is definitely a lot of enhancement that Microsoft can incorporate into Power Automate. For example, we have quite a lot of .NET applications that we created. These are custom applications that we created using something like VB.NET or C#.NET. These are obviously applications that are not published by Microsoft. I would like it if Microsoft could enhance the capabilities of Power Automate to allow users to connect to other tools and applications in some way. That will help us create better processes without making them more complicated or having to use another automation tool. Right now, we have to use UiPath to help us make processes such as the one described. I have not seen any way that Power Automate can do that type of integration. So if we could get better integration with non-Microsoft solutions as a feature for Power Automate, that will be very useful.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Flows) for the last three months.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not created anything complex, so we have not faced any issues in the form of glitches or any bugs to this point. When we start doing more sophisticated workflows, that may end up being a different story.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not really had much of an opportunity to test the scalability of the solution yet. If we find a particular workflow that requires a change or something, it is easy to drop that version and recreate something new from scratch. It does not take much time. Scaling the number of processes up or down at this point does not seem to be an issue.  

The number of users in our company right now remains pretty small. I think there are only around 15 to 20 of us are actually exploring the capabilities. Eventually, that group should be much larger.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not had any reason to work with the technical support team at this point. One of my colleagues did drop them a note asking if there is a way we can use Power Automate to connect to any of the custom tools that we created. I do not believe that we have got an answer to that question yet, so it is taking some time.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite good and went smoothly. It was not complex at all. It is good that it was relatively easy because we understood that it would mostly be used for easy processes to do some small tasks. We went that way and are using the tool only for working with simple automation processes. We did spend some time trying to automate more complex processes, but as the processes became more complex the tool became more complex to use. It is much easier to use it to do non-complex things. The setup for the processes themselves is fairly easy to do.   

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This solution can save money when used for simple tasks specifically using only Microsoft products.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are currently working on evaluations of various products. The thing is, we have just started to embark on our journey into RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and we have brought in UiPath to act in that capacity. We are very much, at a nascent stage of the discovery of what we can do and what the product is capable of. We are identifying processes that can be automated and we are planning to work mostly with UiPath on those solutions. We have already engaged in a contract with UiPath for use of their product at this point in time.  

Most of our work is going towards UiPath currently but we also have this Microsoft Enterprise licensing. There seems to be no reason we should not use that as well if there are ways it can provide an advantage. We are also exploring if the enhancements we would need to tie in other applications and processes to Power Automate are something that we could do internally. At this time we are working with a combination of solutions that falls somewhere between our existing processes and new capabilities with automation tools.  

What other advice do I have?

I have a few comments and advice for people considering the addition of RPA in their workflows. I would suggest that they do as much streamlining of their processes as possible. If they can get smaller things up and running by creating the process with a simple tool it may help their efficiency as well as their bottom line. When you go for big tools like UiPath and all the other robust RPA solutions, the cost of creating those smaller processes will be higher than they need to be. If people have a Microsoft Enterprise license, they could actually use the Power Automate tool to make their processes much more lean and efficient. Doing the same thing by employing any of the RPA-related solutions and tools might be a lot more effort.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Power Automate, overall as a product as a six-of-ten at this point. It has got a lot of room for improvement.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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