Latest innovations to scale automation with Microsoft Power Automate

Today at Microsoft Build, we’re excited to announce new ways your organization can streamline business processes at scale with Microsoft Power Automate.

We understand swift access to resources is key, especially for teams who heavily depend on the speed of IT to address their needs. Impactful automation initiatives require collaboration across departments, and the Center of Excellences (CoE) has become a core component for success.

Continue reading and be sure to watch the Microsoft Build session, Exciting innovations in Power Automate, to learn about the latest innovations we’ve made to help to scale automation across your enterprise easier.

Auto-scale with hosted RPA bots in preview

Since Power Automate launched desktop flows, our robotic process automation (RPA) capability in 2019, we’ve continued listening to your feedback and exploring ways we can further democratize automation for all.

With the release of Power Automate for desktop, automating repetitive, mundane tasks across legacy and modern systems became an easier reality. Now included for free in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 users and built-in to Windows 11, users can begin using attended RPA bots right on their desktop—at no additional cost.

Windows 11 desktop launching Power Automate from the Start menu then proceeding to create a new flow.

Figure 1. Launching Power Automate for desktop in Windows 11.

We are taking the next step in our journey with the preview of hosted RPA bots, now available in Power Automate. As a true software as a service (SaaS) for RPA, unattended RPA bots can now be created and automatically scaled across hosted virtual machines that are powered by Microsoft Azure.

Gone are the days of strenuous approval cycles and costly deployment. With Power Automate’s hosted RPA bots, just create a group of bots by setting up basic parameters and use it to get virtual machines scaled automatically for your unattended RPA scenarios—with no Azure subscription required.

Power Automate will handle every aspect of machine management for you, helping focus your time where it’s needed most.

AT&T scales with Power Automate RPA

AT&T has been taking advantage of unattended RPA in Power Automate since the start of 2021, and we’ve been partnering with them on building and improving our hosted RPA bots at scale, pushing the edge of what’s possible in digital transformation. They’ve welcomed citizen and pro developers to create automations that not only help individual groups but their entire enterprise. AT&T calls this the democratization of AI—making AI and machine learning tools and capabilities accessible to every employee, even if they’re not data scientists or developers. With more than 2,500 unattended RPA automations running across 1,600 virtual machines, they are no stranger to scaling automation.

“Using Power Automate RPA has been transformative for AT&T. And the benefits of hosted RPA bots will help eliminate hours of tedious, manual work to be able to focus on serving the customer and optimizing AT&T’s operations. Our employees continue to embrace and enable business transformation using Intelligent Automation.”—Dhru Shah, Director of Technology, AT&T

Take Johnie Mcgee, who is an Applications Developer at AT&T. Johnie created an intelligent automated flow in Power Automate that also leverages AI Builder to differentiate between invoice and permit documents so that they can automatically be processed. Sporting around 99 percent accuracy, this flow can save a projected 3,500 hours a year, opening opportunities for AT&T workers to ideate ways to push the enterprise further.

AT&T’s focus on robotic process automation is part of a years-long tech transformation and modernization effort, which includes migrating applications to the cloud, pioneering software-defined networking and network function virtualization, and bringing edge compute capabilities into the network.

For more information about the hosted RPA bots in preview, be sure to check out the manage machine groups docs page and our dedicated Microsoft Build session. If you want to jump in and get started, sign-up for a free trial or access with the unattended RPA add-on.

Explore ready-to-use RPA examples

To further accelerate adoption and innovation, we’re happy to share a new experience in Power Automate for desktop. Users can access a growing library of ready-to-use desktop flows that serve as examples for what’s possible across Excel, desktop, and web automation. Just launch an example and explore its logic or begin customizing it to make it your own. To get started, make sure you are using the latest version of Power Automate for desktop and visit Examples from the app’s home screen. Be sure to watch some helpful use case videos.

Power Automate for desktop Examples screen showing a list of Desktop Automation flows.

Figure 2. Desktop Automation examples screen in Power Automate for desktop.

Embed Power Automate inside your apps

Next, we are excited to announce the ability to embed Power Automate inside of your SaaS application, and the future ability to use a new pay-as-you-go business model to support embedded scenarios. Developers can get started today using the Technical Embed SDK. Our launch partner is Adobe, which is using the Technical Embed SDK to embed Power Automate into Adobe Acrobat Sign for advanced document signature and processing workflow. We plan to make the pay-as-you-go meter more broadly available in July 2022 with more details to be disclosed at the Microsoft Inspire conference. If you’d like to be considered for early access, please register for the Power Automate Technical Embed SDK and pay-as-you-go pricing here.

Adobe workflow creation experience in Adobe Sign showing Power Automate cloud flow templates.

Figure 3. Adobe workflow creation experience using Power Automate’s Technical Embed SDK.

Analyze cloud flows with process advisor

We also have a new process advisor integration in Power Automate, which is our process and task mining capability.

Developers building complex flows need to be able to understand history and performance across hundreds or even thousands of runs. For example, what part of the flows are taking the most time? What parts are failing? Are there branches of logic that are unused, and you can safely get rid of? You can now answer these questions with cloud flows analytics with process advisor, no matter how many times your flow runs.

Now in preview, in just a couple of minutes, you can get insights into the history of your cloud flows to then discover opportunities to monitor and optimize your business. Read our blog to learn and discover more about the latest process advisor capabilities announced at Microsoft Build.

Screen in Power Automate for web showing an established cloud flow with the new process insights (preview) card.

Figure 4. Process insights in preview accessible through a Power Automate cloud flow.

Create flows within Power Apps canvas studio

Lastly, we know a lot of developers build apps and flows together, and that is why we continue to make it easier to do so. Now you can get started building automation right inside of the canvas studio so you can focus on creating. There’s no need to exit and build a flow separately through the Power Automate web portal—you can just click Create a new flow from inside of your app and keep your authoring experience centralized.

Create your flow screen popup in Power Apps canvas studio showing templates for cloud flows.

Figure 5. Create your flow in Power Apps canvas studio.

Start automating for free

We’ve covered a lot about the latest innovations in Power Automate to help your organization scale with ease. As a reminder, Windows 10 and 11 users can start automating attended RPA bots for free on their desktop. And if you want to extend automation across the cloud, sign-up for a 90-day free trial of everything Power Automate has to offer. If you’ve previously signed up for a trial, explore our different licensing plans.