Microsoft Power Automate Review

Good for small and specific tasks, but not scalable enough for more sophisticated processes

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to automate small parts of procedures in our workflows. Particularly, linking when emails are received, as well as picking out documents and loading them into SharePoint folders. From there, it feeds things like Power BI dashboards.

In general, they are specific things that we automate in order to reduce manual tasks. We have not applied it to any sort of more sophisticate process, like an approval process, or a supplier engagement process.

How has it helped my organization?

Implementing Microsoft Power Automate has made our development team more efficient. They are the ones who tend to have used it and applied it to help automate micro-tasks. It has made their life easier. We have not deployed it beyond our development teams.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it is pretty low-code, so you don't need much coding expertise to use it.

I like that Power Automate is bundled with Office 365 and that it integrates with it pretty well.

What needs improvement?

The user access level and user account part of this product needs to be developed.  For example, if I'm a line manager and I have multiple approvals that are automated then I can't log into a dashboard and see all of my requests. I would like to have a user account so that the staff can see all of their requests, including the status and other details for each one, on the dashboard.

This solution does not work well with external people who are outside of the organization, like suppliers. It needs support for external email addresses. It would be difficult to do a supplier onboarding with Power Automate, whereas you could do it with Nintex, and this is a big drawback.

I would like to be able to set security and permissions on who can see request-specific details.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Power Automate for less than six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, I think that it is going to be fine. We use Power Automate on a daily basis.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think scalability is kind of limited by its features. If you're doing lots of little bits and pieces then it's fine. However, if you want to scale it to engage external suppliers or vendors then you can't really do that.

The security aspects and lack of user accounts in the interface are challenges for scalability. For what it can do is fine, but if you want to scale out across a business then I think it will struggle to have that breadth of features that enable you to scale it properly.

We have fewer than ten people who use Power Automate in the company, and they are all SAP HANA developers.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in touch with technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We use Nintex, which does the same thing, but better. We have not switches solutions. We are dabbling with Power Automate to see if it can do a better job, or alternatively, be a cheaper solution for the really simple stuff.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very simple. The deployment probably took about half an hour. It isn't deployed as much as you pick a process and automate it.

What about the implementation team?

We did not have a deployment team for this particular tool. Rather, we have business users who just picked it up themselves. They were SAP HANA developers to start with, so they were predisposed to knowing about this technology and having some kind of technology skills.

The number of people required for maintenance depends on how widely you've deployed it. In our case, it is self-maintained because people have automated their own workflows and they just tweak them as they need to. If you have a widespread deployment then it would depend on how many processes were changing that needed to be updated. It really depends on the situation. In general, it is not difficult to maintain, but it does require maintenance.

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

This solution is bundled with our Office 365, so there is no additional licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options before using Power Automate.

What other advice do I have?

We suspect that Microsoft is going to invest pretty heavily in this area. It might be strategic to start using Power Automate now because I suspect it will develop a lot of features over the next few years.

The suitability of this solution depends on how complex the processes are. My advice to anybody who is considering Power Automate is to make sure that it has the capabilities to support that, particularly versus a more established player like Nintex or AgilePoint.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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