The focus of this piece is on the advantages of asynchronous work over the conventional synchronous method. By using tools like Power Automate, workers can streamline repetitive tasks, freeing up time to concentrate on more valuable assignments. This results in improved efficiency, output, and versatility.
Power Automate also helps to improve collaboration and communication within the team. Triggers play a crucial role in automating workflows as they start the flow. The article provides an example of automating email management by analyzing the content of emails and determining the best recipient based on specific criteria, saving time and improving productivity. This flow is set up as a ready-to-use template in Power Automate.
My name is Jaime López and I have been working as a developer and architect for more than 20 years. If you like this article click on the heart, if you like the Substack subscribe, and if you want to enrich the content add comments.
Synchronous vs Asynchronous
Tech has made it a breeze to tackle tough tasks. Before, we always thought that by using computers, employees could save time and get more stuff done. Take SharePoint Online for example, it makes managing a company's documents super easy and secure. No more digging through filing cabinets or coming up with crazy organization systems, everything's right there at your fingertips.
Uploading documents to SharePoint and organizing their information takes several seconds or minutes. In the meantime, employees just gotta wait for everything to be set up before moving on to the next task. It all happens in one smooth process.
This is at odds with the way people act, since our way of working is asynchronous, performing several activities at the same time. That is, we are sorting documents in SharePoint at the same time we have an email open to send comments. The downtime between activities is used to do other things.
Becoming more asynchronous in our work and utilizing technology to support this style allows for greater efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. By performing multiple tasks simultaneously, we can utilize downtime and maximize our time. This approach to work allows us to get more done in less time, freeing us up to focus on higher-value tasks. Embracing an asynchronous work style is becoming increasingly crucial in today's fast-paced and technology-driven world.
Power Automate: The Asynchronous Resource
For those who don't know, Power Automate is a workflow automation platform developed by Microsoft. It allows users to automate repetitive tasks and streamline business processes. This can be done by connecting different applications and services, such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Dynamics 365, and others.
By using Power Automate, employees can become more asynchronous in their work, as they can automate routine tasks and focus on higher-value tasks. This leads to increased efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. For example, instead of manually setting the metadata for several files, employees can use Power Automate to automate the process based on different parameters. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors.
Moreover, Power Automate helps to improve collaboration and communication within the team, as well as with external stakeholders. For example, it can automatically send notifications or emails based on specific trigger events.
What is a trigger
Triggers are events that initiate a flow in Power Automate. For example, receiving an email can trigger a flow to send a notification in Microsoft Teams. Power Automate provides connectors to various services, including SharePoint and Outlook, offering pre-built triggers to start flows easily.
Triggers play a crucial role in automating workflows as they start the flow in Power Automate. Understanding triggers help to identify the right event that initiates a process, making it easier to automate tasks. Triggers also help to improve the accuracy of workflows as they are responsible for the timely initiation of processes, reducing human error and maximizing productivity.
Power Automate provides the following types:
Instant or manual flows allow for on-demand automation of tasks, initiated with a simple tap on a mobile device,
Scheduled flows are a type of automated workflow that runs at a predetermined time, rather than in response to a trigger or manual initiation. It allows you to automate tasks and processes that need to occur on a recurring basis,
Automated flows are triggered by a specific event or set of conditions, allowing tasks to run automatically without manual intervention.
Analyze incoming emails and route them to the right person scenario
Automating email routing can help streamline the process of distributing incoming emails to the correct recipient. This can be done by analyzing the content of the email and determining the best person to handle it based on specific criteria, such as keywords or email addresses. This can save time and improve productivity by ensuring that emails are not left unanswered or sent to the wrong person.
A trigger for automating email management can be activated upon the arrival of a new email in a specified email account. The email body undergoes a conversion process to text format, which is then analyzed for categorization by AI Builder's classifier. The classifier's evaluation of the content determines the most probable category, facilitating the effective routing of the email to the relevant recipient. The system sends a Microsoft Teams notification to the employee to confirm the categorization obtained from AI Builder. The email is then delivered to the designated recipient's email address, enhancing its processing capabilities.
The automated email management process offers several benefits for employees. Firstly, it eliminates the need for manual email sorting and forwarding, saving valuable time. Secondly, employees are only required to confirm the categorization based on the AI score, without the need to read through each email in its entirety.
The asynchronous nature of the process makes it more efficient, freeing up the employee's time for other tasks. Instead of having to constantly check for emails, read their contents, understand them, and redirect them to the appropriate colleague, the employee only needs to verify if the email categorization is accurate, reducing the time and effort required
Additionally, this flow is mostly set up as a ready-to-use template in Power Automate. Simply add the confirmation step if required. Check out this link for more details.
There are several other scenarios where employees can reap the benefits of asynchronous work processes. These may include tasks such as:
Approval Workflows: Automating the process of approvals, such as time-off requests, purchase requests, and other forms of approvals.
Data Entry: Automating data entry tasks, such as adding new entries to databases or spreadsheets.
Document Management: Automating the process of uploading, organizing, and categorizing documents, such as invoices, contracts, or other important files.
Social Media Management: Automating the process of posting updates, monitoring comments, and responding to messages on social media platforms.
From a personal point of view, I believe asynchronous work has become increasingly important in today's fast-paced and technology-driven world. By automating routine tasks, we can maximize our time and focus on higher-value tasks, leading to greater efficiency and productivity. Power Automate can be a useful tool to help achieve this, by providing a workflow automation platform that allows us to connect different applications and services.
OpenAI's GPT-3 was used to help write this article by providing the author with ideas and suggestions for content
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