After attending a recent webinar hosted by Jerry Weinstock of
Released in late October 2016, Microsoft Flow is a cloud-based service that empowers not just developers, but power users and functional users alike to automate business processes across various applications. By Microsoft definition, “a flow is a workflow app that uses any combination of the available services.”
In a nutshell, flow is a means of connecting data from one service application to another, such as Dynamics 365, Facebook, Microsoft Outlook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, etc. (
Building your Flow
When it comes to producing a flow from scratch (you can also utilize templates), you’re provided with five main building blocks:
Services, actions, and triggers are the makings of the flow foundation, which you then manipulate with conditions or loops.
Where can you flow?
On the beach, in your car, at a sporting event, the flow will go with you! Flow runs on desktop Windows OS and on mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows) that are connected to the internet. Flow is included with all existing Dynamics CRM Online environments, many of the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 plans (both Business and Enterprise), as well as many of the Office 365 plans. Unfortunately, with every flow comes an ebb, which is this case is the fact that it’s not compatible with on premise environments.
Flow for Free
All of this can be yours… for free! Now much like any online service, there are levels with limitations. The three flow plans are as follows:
Flow for Free: 750 runs per month | Unlimited flow creation |15-minute checks
Flow Plan 1: $5.00 per user/month | 4,500 runs per month | Unlimited flow creation |3-minute checks | Premium Services
Flow Plan 2: $15.00 per user/month | 15,000 runs per month | Unlimited flow creation | 1-minute checks | Premium Services | Org policy settings
*Pay close attention to the “runs per month” limit. If you are using the free version be sure to adjust your flow frequency in settings and turn it off when you don’t want it running. If you don’t, those 750 flow runs will be used up in the first week.
Protecting the flow
One concern when Microsoft Flow was launched was security. As flows combine data from a myriad of different services and applications, often times prompting users to enter credentials, how do you know that the information being dispersed is safe?
This is where a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy comes into play. According to Microsoft, “you can easily create DLP policies to tightly control which consumer services your business data can be shared with when your users create flows”. It is highly recommended that these DLPs are in place before users begin running flows. Hand this task over to your environment administrator who can create a DLP from the flow admin center.
Time to get your creative juices flowing
So there you have it, a very high level over view from a non-coder, trying to stick my toe in the waters of building my very own app. I hope you’ll take a look at the Microsoft resources provided above, feel as empowered, inspired, and curious as I did, and then start building your own flow!
Written by Elise Rooney, Marketing Specialist with