3 min read

Welcome to Microsoft Flow

Over the past decade we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in the use of the cloud. Today, you can do just about anything via the web, from ordering a car to submitting an expense report, from your personal life to your work life. These cloud solutions have a myriad of advantages – they are easy to sign up for, fast to use, and work well on mobile devices. However, one difficulty is each service operates in its own silo – if you have to do something that requires using more than one service, it will be challenging to get data from one of them to the other.

That’s where Microsoft Flow comes in. Microsoft Flow makes it easy to mash-up two or more different services. Today, Microsoft Flow is publicly available as a preview, at no cost. We have connections to 35+ different services, including both Microsoft services like OneDrive and SharePoint, and public software services like Slack, Twitter and Salesforce.com, with more being added every week. You can now go to https://flow.microsoft.com/ and sign up with a work or school account.

My name is Stephen Siciliano and I’m the Group Program Manager for Microsoft Flow. I’ve had the privilege of using it for the past few months and it’s made my life at work much easier. There are several different ways I use it: to get notifications when important things happen, to organize data from Twitter, to synchronize files, and to handle approvals. Each of these templates and dozens more are available today in Microsoft Flow. Start with this blog post to read about how to sign up and get started with a template.

Here are some specific examples of how I use Microsoft Flow in my day to day work life:

  • Boss alert!
    My manager emails me a lot, but with all the email I get, it’s easy to miss an important message. Luckily, it’s very easy to create a flow that sends me a text message whenever my boss sends me an email. Check out this blog post on how to set this up.
  • What’s happening on Twitter?
    My friends will tell you I’m not very adept at social media, so to help me keep on top of it I’m integrating tweets with a tool I am familiar with (Excel). I have a flow set up that searches for tweets about Microsoft Flow and saves them into an Excel file that I can review on my own time. You can even save tweets to SQL, as covered in this blog post.
  • Getting files to work
    I use OneDrvie for Business to store my files, but sometimes I want to easily get the files to SharePoint so my colleagues can see them. I was able to create a flow that copies files from a OneDrive for Business folder up to my team’s SharePoint site.
  • Approve This!
    We have been working on some blog posts to help you understand and get started with flow, and even to debug them, and we wanted to be sure that all of the posts were reviewed and approved. We created a simple approval workflow that asks me if the blog is ready, and if it is the flow copies it to a folder called Final.

If Microsoft Flow sounds familiar, that’s because back in November we announced a private preview of the Logic Flows feature of Microsoft PowerApps. However, Microsoft Flow is useful for any business user, whether or not they want to build a PowerApp. To make this easier, we decided to make Microsoft Flow available without ever signing up and using PowerApps. You can see that there are a huge number of scenarios that can be triggered by events in the cloud without involving a PowerApp:

This is just the start of the journey for us. In the coming weeks and months, you will see us releasing new features on a weekly basis. One of the areas I’m particularly excited about coming soon is making Microsoft Flow work well in large companies so you can share content within an organization and even connect to on-premises data sources.

I am looking forward to seeing what types of scenarios you will automate in your work life. Once you have read about how to get started and tried some of the templates we have on the website, you can:

Microsoft Flow can accelerate your business so you spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks, and more time on what you want to do. Take a couple minutes today to sign up for free at https://flow.microsoft.com/.