Adding Workflows to Teams: Let the bots work for you
by Michael Quittenden, Modern workplace Professional Services Consultant
Let’s introduce Workflows and how they can save you time in the long run.
As we have seen, Teams is becoming the centre of collaboration and the primary workspace for a lot of businesses. By focusing on a single workspace, you increase productivity by ensuring that everything is to hand within a single application. Gone are the days of searching for data within multiple systems and applications with multiple logins. (Or at least they should be!)
What are workflows in Teams and why do I care?
Workflows are simply a way to automate manual tasks using the Power Automate toolset. Automation can play a significant role in reducing manual tasks and human errors, therefore improving efficiency and giving you time back into your working day.
Input is error. At the very least duplication of input is surely a waste of time.
Creating Teams and tasks automatically from Forms
A simple example: Customer onboarding.
A great real-world example of a Workflow is customer onboarding by automating the creation of Teams containing pre-built tasks.
When “onboarding” a customer, we need to ensure that our supporting systems and processes have been setup correctly and all the onboarding tasks (often hundreds!) have been completed, along with communications to all stakeholders.
Typically, with a new customer, a physical form would be filled out, scanned, and the data transcribed into multiple systems, producing multiple inputs and duplication of the same data.
Microsoft Forms to the rescue!
We often use Microsoft Forms to create a new customer questionnaire electronically. This Form ensures we have asked all the right questions to capture the information we need to know our customer and understand their requirements for us to manage their services (as a service provider). Knowing our customers is fundamental to providing excellent service and customer experience.
All the information captured by this form is used to automatically create a Team with pre-populated tasks where each task can be assigned to the appropriate team member or department. Once a task is competed the appropriate stakeholders are notified either via email or via a Teams message.
By automating the creation of this workflow, we no longer manually input data multiple times, we ensure that every customer is setup to the same standard and we significantly reduce human error. We also have a clear view on the progress of each task at any time and we track the time to completion of the workflow which potentially highlights the need for any process improvements.
You are not limited to the outputs or functions I have mentioned above. Any output is possible from the submission actions of a form. With the vast, ever-increasing number of connectors from Power Automate into 3rd party applications, you are likely able to integrate with your billing systems, CRM etc. further speeding up the onboarding process and gaining valuable time for your teams. And remember, the configuration of this example was performed from within the Teams application!
Workflows can be very complex, enabling you to perform some very advanced automation. But I would always recommend starting with simple examples.
When you have a chance, take a look at Workflows within Teams and you will see some great example templates to get you started.
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