4 practical ideas to automate your business with Power Automate and SharePoint that you may not have heard of
The importance of modernising business processes has become top priority for management as more businesses are moving their data to the Cl oud. However, often for a non-technical person it can be difficult to know what is possible and where to start to streamline processes. This article will take you through four practical examples of how Power Automate coupled with SharePoint can help modernise your business and increase productivity.
- Save attachments as soon as they arrive in your inbox
It is estimated that 121 business emails are sent and received every day. 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 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.
A progression to this workflow would be to involve Microsoft Syntex to analyse your documents and extract key information such as invoice number, total amount, or effective date.
- Get email reminders off a date in a SharePoint list
With all that is going on with your business, it can become difficult to keep up with software license expiry, contract expiry, upcoming projects and event start dates. With all these dates buried in SharePoint lists, building a reminder system is a simple solution via Power Automate. 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.
- Bulk import items from an excel form into a SharePoint list
Companies may all be moving to the Cloud though many businesses continue to operate using exuberant amounts of Excel spreadsheets. Moving this data from Excel spreadsheet to a modernised SharePoint list could be seen as an intimating undertaking. 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.
- Break row inheritance to stop users form being able to see items at a row level
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.