Following up on my previous blog about automating web apps with UI Flows, it’s time for legacy applications. I will show you how desktop UI Flows for windows applications can automate manual entries in legacy systems.
Imagine you are a call center agent and a new customer is calling to place an order. You enter their contact information and order details in your modern CRM system. However your organization still has a legacy order delivery system. Therefore you need to enter all information regarding their order again inside that application.
This can now be automated using Power Automate UI Flows! I record a UI Flow to enter contact information into this legacy system. A regular Flow inside a model-app starts the UI Flow. After the desktop UI Flow creates the contact in the legacy system a unique identifier is created. We grab the unique identifier of the just created contact. And as a result we can add this to our contact record in the Common Data Service. Let’s check out more details.
So UI Flows for Power Automate is now general available! UI Flows is the new Robotic Processing Automation capability for Power Automate. For my talk on UI Flow during Dynamics Saturday Amsterdam I played around with the public preview. In this blog I will write about my experience automating a web app with UI Flows.
Let’s begin with a short explanation what Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) is and how it compares to Power Automate. The concept of RPA is around for some time now. RPA wants to automate user tasks just as Power Automate. However RPA does so by exactly mimicking the input done by the user. You record the mouse clicks and keyboard inputs and the robot replays those. While Power Automate is a Digital Process Automation tool who utilizes API’s wrapped in connectors to automate the tasks.
Microsoft bridges the gap between RPA and Power Automate with UI Flows. UI Flows are great for automating tasks on applications where there are no API’s available. So in my company we have one such application, we use it for our time registration. As a consultant I am scheduled to work for different customers. After my working week I register the time I worked for this customer. This is a mundane and simple task which I really want to automate.
Let me first start of with wishing you all a happy new year. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. I enjoyed a few days off and spent it with my family. On to the subject at hand, synchronous and On-demand Flow in Model Apps. As most of you know Microsoft prefers us using Power Automate Flow instead of Classic Workflow. However there are still some gaps in functionality between the two.
When developing solutions I follow Microsoft guidelines as much as possible. This ensures that the solution is durable and I create the least technical debt. With that in mind, I now keep away from Classic Workflow and use Flow whenever I can. Last few weeks I tried to fulfill business requirements within these restrictions.
In my previous blog post I started making an embedded canvas app to replace dialogs. I started off by creating the app, the screen, some basic navigation and the form. Finally, I added patch logic to save the screen. If you have not read part 1, do not worry this video shows the functionality. The patch logic shows the Relate function, which is very useful, so I would recommend to check that first.
In this post I want to focus on setting the owner of the task. Setting the owner of the task is important because this allows us to distribute tasks to teams or individuals. An entire team could then process the task assigned to them and work them to completion. In this case the credit check that the finance team has to perform will help us resolve the case.
I wasn’t able to set the owner of the task using standard functionality. The PowerApps CDS connector does not allow for updating the owner field. Neither does the Relate function work after the record is created. But of course I have a solution, we can create a synchronous Flow!