Desktop UI Flows – automate your legacy applications!

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.

Scenaro description of the attended UI Flow automating legacy desktop application
Attended UI Flow scenario
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Automate web apps with UI Flows

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.

Power Automate bridges modern systems with legacy systems
Power Automate bridges modern systems with legacy systems

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.

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