As we rely on an increasing number of digital services for various parts of our lives, it can become overwhelming or unwieldy to manage it all. Services like Zappier and IFTTT (If This Then That) rose to fame by helping solve this problem through automating connections between all the services we rely on. If you're not familiar with these services, what they do is essentially setup conditional commands between your two services.
So if a specific predefined event happens on your account for service X, it then triggers a specific action on account Y. What this can look like in real life is your Nest thermostat automatically changing the temperature when you are are getting closer to home, or every time you are tagged in a picture a copy of it is saved to OneDrive.
Various Microsoft apps have been able to be integrated into your Zappier and IFTTT workflows for awhile now. But recently Microsoft decided it wanted to provide a similar automated connector between your Office 365 apps and other public cloud services. Microsoft calls it Flow, and it is similar to Zapier and IFTTT right down to their templates. But this is aimed at specifically a enterprises and is still a new and expanding service.
And today, Microsoft just took a first big step in growing Flow by adding its first mobile app on iOS, with Android to follow shortly. The new Flow app will let you track all of your workflows, quickly narrow in on problems within workflows, and get notifications pushed to your mobile device.
— Microsoft Power Automate (@MSPowerAutomate) June 20, 2016
In today's announcement, the team Microsoft Flow team also announced new features for the service including:
- Connecting to more data: We've released support for custom APIs, which enables you to connect to any source for which you can create a customer API. In addition, we released a new connector that enables you to send emails without needing your own email account.
- Single sign-on: We've implemented single sign-on that allows you to authenticate to Microsoft Flow with other Microsoft services like Office 365.
- Templates: Templates are an important starting point for many of our users to speed up the creation of the most useful flow and benefit from the efforts of others. We've continued to see a healthy growth in Templates available to every Flow user (dozens of users have submitted their flows to the gallery).
In addition we've implemented some UI improvements to make it easier to get started.
- Management improvements: We're continuing to make improvements to help you manage your workflows, including:
As Flow continues to evolve and more deeply tie in automated connections between Office 365 apps and the rest of the open web, it could stand to be a powerful service. If you have an Office 365 account for Work or School you can start using Flow here and download the iOS app from the box below.