Microsoft Power Automate (Formerly Microsoft Flow)

 

Use automation with caution!

Any loss of data resulting from misuse is the responsibility of the Flow owner, we cannot offer troubleshooting advice on individual Flow instances nor offer recovery on data lost as a result of bulk Flow operations.  If your Flow deals with bulk records, make sure you test it on a smaller or less critical subset of information before publishing something that could delete or remove content permanently!

 

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow) is a powerful automation system built to work across the suite of Nexus365 programs such as OneDrive for Business, Teams, email and SharePoint Online.  

Power Automate allows you to set up "Flows" with triggers, actions and connectors to automate various processes in Nexus365 in a similar way to Workflows in the current on-premises SharePoint service, using a simple cross-browser-compatible design package that's intuitive and easy to use, with full error checking and Flow runtime history. 

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    Key features
    Triggers Start a flow manually or automatically, for example when something new arrives in an email inbox or is added to a Teams files area.
    Actions The building blocks of Power Automate flows, thousands of service-wide actions and several pre-built flow "Recipes" that cover essential aspects of service automation.
    Connectors Pull in information from sources you have access to across Nexus365.  Retrieve data from file areas, lists or libraries and bring them into your Flow to strongarm Nexus365's interconnectivity.
    Lazy approvals Approvals can be actioned from within an email (Outlook on the Web or Office 2016 onwards) or from the Flow Hub itself.

    Power Automate allows you automate processes that previously you would have handled manually.  Flows can be built by a flow owner, but used or triggered by any users that have access to the content where a flow is designed to take action, negating the need for permissions changes but allowing safe automated manipulation and sharing of data.

    Power Automate can be used to populate Nexus365 lists and libraries, change entries, and is a powerful addition to SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams, offering a new set of opportunities to make non-code development more robust and seamless.

    Power Automate licensing is applied following the submission of a Microsoft Flow Licensing service request.

    At present, Power Automate will only be made available for request by ITSS or UAS Staff, who may also request activation on someone else's behalf if a good use case can be made and that person is willing to act as sponsor for the person requesting the license.

    Due to the nature of how connections work in Power Automate, we cannot individually license all of the possible products that require connectors, nor cater for large volumes of projects accounts in the current license pool for Power Automate itself.  There are also information security concerns around the access to data that flow owners have, so please do not request a Power Automate license for a non-primary or project account.

    Power Automate will not be enabled for Project Accounts, whether single-user-owned or with multiple owners.

    Once activated, log into your Nexus365 account and access Power Automate through your apps list, or directly through https://powerautomate.com

    For discussions and community collaboration on Power Automate, consider joining the Nexus User Group (NUG) Team on Teams, which you can join with the code LNJVOFR under the 'join or create a team' button (use 'join a team with a code')

    Power Automate Flows can be 'owned' by a group or team, so that all members / owners of a group or team can access them (if licensed for Power Automate). This is the best way to set up flows that are 'persistent' and will exist after the original author / owner leaves. (Remember, we will not license Power Automate for generic / secondary accounts).

    Note the following points that need to be considered when setting up group-owned or 'persistent' flows: 

    • All connections in a flow will be visible to flow owners and co-owners. Consider, for example, using a secondary purpose-built mailbox for communications in co-owned or group flows rather than a personal email connection / mailbox. 
    • Co-owned flows will continue to function after the original owner leaves as long as the connections in place are still valid / active. Always bear this in mind when setting up flows. Document your flows, audit the connections and ensure that any staff responsible for the use of Power Automate in your unit, college or department properly 'hand over' to their successors before they leave the University. See How to remove IT access for staff leavers | IT Help (ox.ac.uk) for more information on best practice before people leave.
    • If a flow owner leaves before handing over, 'orphaned' flows can be rescued by us, granting ownership to an individual in order to maintain the flow. Please note that we will require a request submitted through OSM for this, with an authoritative person (ITSS01 or dept / college administrator) sponsoring the request. Give as much detail as possible about the flow as the admin interface for managing Power Automate / Flows is quite sparse so ensure that your flows are named well / uniquely in order to facilitate ease of administration ongoing. 
    • Once orphaned flows change owners, the new owner will need to 'fix' any connections in the flow that were used by the previous owner. Any failed flow runs can then be resubmitted (in bulk or individually) to complete their runs.

    If you are having Microsoft Power Automate authentication issues after migration to using multi-factor authentication, you will need to re-authenticate. Normally when you log into the Power Automate hub, you will be prompted to ‘fix’ any connections that require re-authentication, but if not you can always do the following: 

    1. Login to your Power Automate Home Page at https://powerautomate.com
    2. Look on the left-hand menu for the 'Data' menu item. Click on it and then click on 'Connections'. This will show all the connections used in your Flows and their current status (any ‘errors’ can be fixed by clicking on the ‘fix connection’ link next to each).
    3. Flow activity now appears in a new “Monitor” menu on the left-hand side of your main Flow hub page. Click on “Monitor” and select “Cloud Flow Activity” to check the status of your flows. You will also see tabs that let you view successful flow runs, any outstanding Flow notifications and Flow failures.
    4. Any Flows that have failed because of MFA can be resubmitted again, just click on each item in the 'failures' page and 'resubmit' to run them again once you've fixed the broken connections. Multiple failed flows can be ticked for resubmission and will run their course with your new authentication session in place.

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