Microsoft Flow – Not Just for Nerds

If you’re not familiar with it, Microsoft Flow is a simple, powerful tool for creating automated workflows between apps and services, creating notifications, synchronizing files, building lists, creating Dynamics 365 records and more.

I’m guessing 90% of the people that create flows are system admins, developers, and business analysts. But I’m here to tell you, they’ve done a great job of de-nerdifying Microsoft Flow so even your average everyday businessperson can use it. And I’m living proof.

I wear both the business development and marketing hats here at Dyn365Pros. Marketing hat needs to keep a finger on the pulse of the Dynamics 365 community, see what users and influencers are sharing across social networks, what new bits of the Dynamics 365 platform are driving conversations. Biz dev hat needs to keep an eye on the competition, stay on top of Microsoft’s frequent zigs and zags, and make sure we remain relevant in the marketplace. Flow helps me stay up to date, by connecting two common solutions: Twitter and Outlook.

How’s this make my life better?

I don’t always have time to check Twitter to see what’s up. I still don’t want to miss anything that’s moving the needle out there. So, who/what do I really need to concern myself with? Subject matter-wise its items related to Dynamics 365 or perhaps the Power Platform. So, Tweets including #MSDyn365 are likely to contain subject matter that’s of interest. As far as the who, I’m going to say any Twitter user account with north of 1,000 followers is probably one I want to monitor. Since I don’t want to constantly check Twitter, sending these Tweets to my Outlook inbox is a good solution.

Now what?

Let’s start with some simple “if this, then that” kind of logic — if Tweet contains #MSDyn365, and User has more than 1,000 followers, then send Tweet to my inbox.

Let’s look at how to do this using Microsoft Flow

Not a developer? Not a consultant? Technical conversations make your eyes roll into the back of your head? No problem! There are tons of pre-built Microsoft Flow templates you can use to build a simple Flow. Did I mention they’re free? In this case, I’m going to use this one:

Microsoft Flow

This is what the template looks like:

Microsoft Flow

But this wasn’t 100% right for me. Number 1, I didn’t need this much information. And number 2, I didn’t want Tweets from every Tom, Dick, and Harry polluting my inbox. I needed a condition that only Tweets from Twitter users with more than 1000 followers would reach me.

So, I boiled down the top part, added the condition. Looks like this in Flow designer:

Microsoft Flow

Then I decided what data I wanted and how things would appear in my email:

I created a new folder in Outlook to keep things organized. And here’s the result:

Microsoft Flow

I’ve got the user name, their Twitter handle, the text of the tweet, hyperlink to additional content, and follower count. Pretty cool — huh?

My advice — be patient. There was a bit of trial, test, error, repeat involved in getting this thing to work right. Maybe 45 minutes total. But considering I’m a Flow newbie, that’s OK. So, give Flow a go yourself. Use your imagination and experiment a bit. No telling what you’ll come up with to automate your process and get more stuff done.

By Mark Abes @MSDyn365Guy, Vice President, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, Southern California, San Diego

Automate. Don't Populate.

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