4 Unexpected Ways to Automate Your Business with Power Automate and SharePoint Online


automate business processes

The importance of automating operational business processes has become top priority for management as more businesses are moving their data to the Cloud. However, often for a non-technical person it can be difficult to know what is possible and where to begin. This article will take you through four practical examples of how Power Automate coupled with SharePoint Online can help modernise your business.

1. Automate saving email attachments as they arrive

On average, information workers receive over 120 emails daily. This makes it easy to lose track of important documents that come through such as invoices, purchase orders and receipts. Why not automate the process with Power Automate and SharePoint Online so you don’t lose a document again?

With Power Automate we can monitor your inbox, or the company shared mailbox so that as soon as an important document arrives it triggers a workflow. In turn, the workflow will save the document to a SharePoint library while ensuring integrity and security.

Pro Tip: Integrate Microsoft Syntex to analyse documents and extract key information like invoice numbers or due dates, further streamlining data management.

2. Set up automated reminders for dates in SharePoint Lists

Keeping up with deadlines can be a challenge, especially for software licenses, contracts, projects, and events. Stop missing important dates! Power Automate can build a reminder system directly from your SharePoint lists.

Create custom notifications which suit you and your staff for you to never miss an important date again. These timelines can be received when you want them whether that be on the day, a week before, three days after.  It can be tailored to whatever works for you. Microsoft connectors also make it easy to receive the notification or create a task on multiple platforms such as Microsoft Team, Outlook, Gmail, Slack and many more.

Pro Tip: Use Conditional logic for targeted reminders. Go beyond basic date reminders by incorporating conditional logic within your Power Automate flow. This allows you to create targeted notifications based on specific list criteria.

3. Import data from Excel spreadsheets to SharePoint Lists

Many businesses still rely on Excel spreadsheets, even as they transition to the cloud. Moving this data to a modern SharePoint list can seem daunting.

Power Automate can be configured to bulk import items to the SharePoint list. This can be done as a one-time job or with the use of SharePoint document libraries. Power Automate can add and update new items from an updated Excel file into the SharePoint list. The advantage of having the data in a SharePoint list is improved security, enabled  versioning and the ability to use the Power Platform to expand further on the data.

Pro Tip: Design an Excel template pre-formatted with the specific columns and data types required for your SharePoint list. This ensures consistency when users enter data into the spreadsheet.

4. Grant Item-Level Security Permissions in SharePoint Lists

One of the major benefits of using SharePoint lists is the granular security permissions you can apply to the site, lists or document libraries. This denies people access to an area of SharePoint which may contain sensitive information. Although the security granularity is advanced the one thing which it doesn’t allow is the ability to hide row level items or items in the list itself.

Let us use an example. You work for a delivery company with multiple drivers. You need to enter the orders from the company’s Dynamics Sales system into a SharePoint list, and you need the drivers to only see the items relevant to them. Since you are the person creating the items, you cannot use the built in SharePoint functionality so that a user only sees items they have created. Flow can be used so that as an item is created, it will break the permission inheritance and grant access to the relevant driver and thus enabling security on a per item basis.

Power Automate and SharePoint are powerful tools which are underutilised numerous companies. Involving workflows such as the ones above will help increase productivity and drive efficiency in your business. However, there are many more Microsoft connectors which can create plenty of workflows which can help optimise your business processes.

Pro Tip: Configure Power Automate to update item-level permissions whenever a new item is created or an existing item’s group association changes. This ensures users always have the appropriate access based on the assigned group.

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Do you have questions about how Power Automate and SharePoint can benefit your business? Get in touch with our team for a free consultation!


Published On: May 10th, 2022 / Categories: SharePoint Online /