When I first started looking at Microsoft Flow, the previous name of Microsoft Power Automate, I recognized the high value and potential uses within my organization. Almost innumerable Connectors to 3rd party applications, “sensing” / triggers for many of the applications participating. Huge potential, and won’t “break the bank” with a 15 USD price per user/month which contains all of the “Premium Connectors.”
I started automating processes for both personal and business. I upped my social media game, for example, sending a mobile notification to myself when there was a potentially interesting tweet. Or, if there was an RSS feed containing keywords I was monitoring, I sent myself an email with the news article. My client had needs around Microsoft Azure DevOps (ADO) that it was not capable of doing “out of the box,” so I took on those automated workflows with ease.
Venture using New Business Model with msflowsdk
Then I thought it would be great to commercialize some of these workflows. However, there were several technical limitations I came to realize. First, to execute one of these workflows manually, you would have to execute it from within the MS Power Automate web or mobile application. The user must be logged in with your Power Automate credentials to execute “your” workflow manually. As a Power Automate user, you could “Share” Power Automate flows with other Power Automate users. Unfortunately, that would require your web app customers to have Power Automate accounts paying as much as 15 USD per month. We would have to think in terms of a generic “Production” application user, potentially shared with all external, commercial users.
Using “Generic” Test User for MS Power Automate
Limit the user’s access who does have access to your Microsoft Power Automate workflows. As micro as possible to granularize the permissions, such as execute XYZ Power Automate Flow without permission to read/see ALL the Power Automate Workflows, At the moment, that doesn’t seem possible (TBD). I need to recheck in Azure Portal and client app registration.
Does my approach to commercializing MS Power Automate apps even supported from a Microsoft business perspective? I don’t know yet. I read the article: Types of Power Automate licenses and need to reread this document.
Need the ability to grant “Execute” access to specific MS Power Automate workflow users without the ability to create or read any workflows of their own, limited Power Automate, User License?
Create an Azure AD User For Each Customer
Technical seamless implementation would be required to add Azure AD users who have paid a commercial fee for the Web app powered by Power Automate, or I embed advertisements into the Azure, Power Automate, Custom Web App.
The Experiment – SMS Delay
Wouldn’t it be fun to send a text message with a delay, enter a text message, and parameterize the delay in N minutes? How fast could I write the app across multiple platforms, desktop, and mobile? The backend and mid-tier would probably be the longest aspect of the development of this app. You probably need to put it in a responsive Web App to resize it to fit the platform. But the N tiers of the stack, how fast can I develop that? Less than an hour using Power Automate.
Power Automate Workflow
This Power Automate Workflow has three steps in the workflow: the “Manual Trigger,” the “Delay,” and leveraging the Twilio Action – Send Text Message (SMS), which happens not to be a “Premium” connector.
Front End Code to Integrate
Give SMS-Delay a Try
Would you like to try out this Power Automate manual workflow? Please provide ANY login you would like to use for Azure AD authentication, and the user must have access to Microsoft Power Automate FREE license. Once you provide the user name to me, I will update Azure AD to include your permissions to the app and then send you a note to give the app a try: SMS Delay Application (rosemansolutions.com)
To Be Continued
For the next steps, I’d like to…
Solve the riddle of the Power Automate authentication
Create this and many other applications using the MS Flow SDK
Anonymous Authentication or Limited Authentication
Limiting the authentication, using very granular controls of Power Automate which may or may not yet be implemented. Have a limited Power Automate user with grant permissions ONLY to execute a specific workflow.
Is it possible to execute a Power Automate workflow with anonymous credentials and not necessarily have a Power Automate user account?
“Out of the box” are Process Workflow features to build automation rules within Microsoft Azure DevOps (ADO). One caveat found thus far. If criteria are met for an update to an ADO work item, the user cannot update the Tags of a work item (e.g., append tags). Bizarre but true.
In this case, the user must leverage Power Automate to update the ADO work item to append Tags to the work item(s) that meet the criteria.
Thanks, Omer, for pointing out this shortfall so we could plug the hole with Microsoft Power Automate. Note: other fields can be updated when the rule is executed, just not the Tags field. Special logic is required to update this Tags field, i.e., Replace, Append, Remove
Create Automated Workflows with Microsoft Power Automate
I’ve been using this powerful workflow automation platform since it was called Microsoft Flow, and was free for low volume usage. Essentially, users can pick any sources of data, create triggers, transform data to a multitude of target systems, and notify through a multitude of opportunities, such as eMail and push notifications. The platform is boundless through “Connectors” to just about any 3rd party platforms from SalesForce to an Oracle database. The basic plan after the free trial is 15 USD per month.
Connectors and Templates: Ready, Set, Go
1st, define your connectors, such as your Google Email account connection details, and your Twitter account information. 2nd, select from one of the many “out of the box” predefined templates, such as from the “Social Media” category.
Twitter Use Cases – Configure In Minutes
Once you’ve signed up for the Power Automate SaaS platform, you can start creating workflows in minutes. At first I used the “Templates”, but it is much easier to create workflows from scratch. Here are a few opportunities foe getting started
Retweet based on Tweet Search Criteria
Define what tweets you would like to retweet using query search criteria of words, a combination of hashtags, phrases with simple AND and OR logic.
Optionally, add a condition before performing an action within the workflow. In this case, we can allow the retweet only if the retweet count is greater than N retweets.
Select the returned Tweet ID to perform the “Retweet” action
Optionally, add notifications, such as emailing yourself each time you retweet and include elements of the tweet within your Email, such as the tweet text, tweet user ID, or a dozen of other tweet elements.
Catalog Tweets when they meet your Tweet Criteria
Define what tweets you would like to store in your “data” repository.
Select from one of a multitude of data targets ranging from Excel spreadsheets, Google Sheets, SQL Server, Oracle Database, and dozens of other repositories.
Based on the data target, perform the mapping of available tweet elements to the data target fields, such as a database, table, and fields.
Microsoft Power Automate can do automated workflows beyond the social media capabilities highlighted here. I have a wish list of “Triggers” and “Actions” not yet supported by the platform. I’d like to have the same “Trigger” criteria we have with Twitter extended to LinkedIn, and trigger LinkedIn posts based on query criteria, extract, and load into en external data source.