Take a tour of process advisor and new RPA enhancements

This morning we announced two updates for Microsoft Power Automate that further democratize across the entire organization: Process advisor, now available in preview, and Microsoft Power Automate Desktop, now generally available.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the capabilities in each update that will help you and your colleagues understand which processes are best suited for automation, as well as bring robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities to any organization with a robust desktop authoring experience. 

Note that to help distinguish the different types of flows available in Power Automate, we’ve updated the names within Power Automate, as referenced throughout this article.   

  • Flows that execute in the Power Automate Service are now known as cloud flows. These typically use API connectors to automate across applications, services, and databases in the cloud or on-premises—also known as Digital Process Automation (DPA).
  • Flows that run on customers’ virtual or physical machines are now known as desktop flowsPreviously called UI flows, these automations usually perform UI-based automations, and are sometimes called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). 
  • The third type of flow continues to be known as business process flows, which support Business Process Management (BPM). 

Introducing process advisor—in preview

Analysis of a process with Process advisor

To get the most value from automation, it’s critical to understand how processes are being performed. Power Automate now provides this insight, helping you visualize and analyze processes so you can prioritize and more effectively create high-value automations.   

Process advisor is a process mining capability in Power Automate that provides a deeper understanding of how people work and provides insights about time-consuming processes best suited for automation. With process advisor, you can visualize, identify bottlenecks, and gain insights into the various processes being created across your organization.  

In five easy steps, you can run simple process recorders, create rich process maps, and get in-depth analytics:   

Process advisor steps: Create, Share, Record, Annotate/Edit, Analyze

  1. Create: Identify and create the process about which you want to gain insights.
  2. Share: Invite colleagues to collaborate and add new recordings.  
  3. Record: Record the actions either you or your colleagues take to complete the process at hand. 
  4. Annotate/Edit: Remove sensitive information, then group your actions into meaningful activities.  
  5. Analyze: Generate a process map where you can analyze it and get insights.  

Read the process advisor overview for a closer look at how it works and see it in action in this short video. Get started with process advisor today  

New RPA enhancements now available 

We are continuously investing in democratizing automation to scale your impact. In addition to Power Automate Desktop being generally available, we are also releasing additional key enhancements including: 

  • Role-based sharing: Organizations can share desktop flows across multiple users to derive value from RPA. 
  • Lifecycle management: Manage end-to-end creation and movement of desktop flows across any tenant environment.  
  • Setting execution priorities: Prioritize which desktop flows to run on your machines first based on importance. 
  • Real-time run and queue monitoring: Oversee the health and success of your desktop flow runs with real-time monitoring. 

Role-based sharing of desktop flows 

Role-based sharing of desktop flows increases the velocity and reach of RPA, helping to drive adoption of the technology across the organization. By providing the ability to share desktop flows directly, companies can enable the co-development of critical automation scripts by having the ownership shared across multiple users. Users can then embed these desktop flows in specific end-to-end processes they are automating. 

Share flow panel with User and Co-Owner permission

Additionally, users can control who can run and/or edit and share a desktop flow, enabling your front-line workers to either use the flow or help to contribute to the creation or optimization of a flow, as well as invite others to co-own the flow.  

Access and permission to desktop flow can be managed at the user level

This capability will be globally available over the upcoming weeks. 

Learn more about role-based sharing of desktop flows. 

Lifecycle management of automations 

Desktop flows are fully integrated with Solutions, ensuring best-in-class lifecycle management of your automations. You can add desktop flows along with related assets, such as cloud flows, a Power App, or a Power Virtual Agent. These can then be exported and imported across environments in a user’s tenant for development, test, or production. 

Exporting a solution that contains desktop flows in Power Automate

Learn more about the lifecycle management of automations. 

Set execution priority for desktop flows—in preview

As RPA adoption expands across an organization, many customers need the flexibility to specify rules to prioritize which jobs should be executed before others. Now, Power Automate offers a new Priority property to the desktop flows connector that allows you to set this either statically or based on dynamic content. For example, if you want to prioritize a desktop flow run to run with higher priority based on the importance of the email that triggered the flow, you can simply use the Importance field as the priority value so the desktop flow can be queued appropriately. 

Priority can be configured at the Desktop flow connector level.

Learn more about setting execution priority for desktop flows. 

Real-time monitoring of runs and queues 

As the scope and importance of automation grows within your business, it is crucial to have a centralized experience where you can monitor your processes all in one place. To ensure the health and success of your desktop flows, we have added two new real-time views in a new Monitor section in Power Automate. 

Monitor your desktop flow runs 

Today, you can already view execution history per desktop flow or Gateway. Now with the new Desktop flow runs page, you also have a real-time view of all the desktop automations in your environment in one central locationUsing the rich set of sorts and filtersyou can quickly narrow down the list of runs to just those that are important to you. 

List of current and past Desktop flow runs

Learn more about real-time monitoring of your desktop flow runs. 

Monitor your desktop flow queues—in preview

When you have several automations that need to run on the same machine or cluster at the same time, you also need a view to ensure everything is running smoothly and as expected. You can now see this queue in real-time on the new Desktop flow queues page, now available in preview. 

List of queued desktop flows for a specific gateway cluster

On the page above, you can also change the priority at runtime, allowing you to make more tactical changes based on your needs. If you have administrator privileges for the gateway, you can even force individual desktop flows to the top of the queue to be executed before the high priority flows. 

Learn more about real-time monitoring of your desktop flow queues. 

See Power Automate updates in action

As part of the general availability of Power Automate Desktop, we created a new Microsoft Mechanics video which offers a great example of how Power Automate Desktop can be used by an organization.  In the video, we show how Power Automate leverages connectors and RPA to create a seamless, automated process. 

Watch the video, “New Microsoft Mechanics video featuring Power Automate Desktop.”

a picture of a man looking at the camera
New Microsoft Mechanics video featuring Power Automate Desktop

Get started today