Microsoft Flow – An automation tool with immense possiblities

Microsoft Flow – An automation tool with immense possiblities

Let me confess, I never had taken Microsoft flow that seriously in last 1 year. I was too busy with Dynamics NAV and used to feel that it has limited functionality.

But of late, I believe my love affair with D365 Business Central has changed that impression completely. With Business Central, I started looking things beyond Dynamics 365 and seeing technology collaboration in a much more interesting way.

As I am doing plenty of things independently nowadays and started tracking what’s happening D365 Business Central, I thought let’s try catching all the tweets with #MSDYN365BC [a common tag for Business Central] and receive notifications on the same using Flow. And it was a big mistake 🙂 choosing that hashtag [I will come to this point later]

I quickly signed up for Microsoft flow and jumped into building a new flow from scratch and here is the end result of my experiment –

  1. Signed up for a free Microsoft Flow account and it presented with hell lot of Connector options. 
  2. Established my connections to Twitter. Connection with my D365 Business Central instance has happened automatically as the same mail id is used to create that instance too. These connections can also be established at the time of creation of the Flow itself. [I believe that’s natural and easy]
  3. Created my Flow from scratch with a simple purpose – “Whenever Someone tweets with #MSDYN365BC, an email gets fired to snehanshu@dynaeperts.com and it connects to my Business Central Instance and creates a new contact [of type person] with the tweeter user screen name”

Saved it and started testing it. How? 

Switched to test mode and waited for somebody to tweet with #MSDYN365BC. But I could not hold back my patience for long and fired a simple tweet with #MSDYN365BC myself

And here it came up with a graphical display of my flow steps and status of each step.

Test run of my flow

Probably it just took 15 minutes for me to create it from scratch and it worked without a hitch.

Note: creating a contact in my business central instance is not a default action available in Microsoft Flow. I have exposed the Contact card page as web service [I Named it TwitterContacts] in my instance to make it available in Flow.

You don’t need to do a great deal of configuration to achieve this flow and things are pretty graphical and intuitive. It just matters of time before you get used to the jargons and imagine something innovative for your new flow. For me, it was pretty simple and here is my flow in edit-expanded mode –

It’s pretty self-explanatory. Select the Connector you want to work with. Here it is Twitter and I defined search text #MSDYN365BC. This becomes my Flow trigger point and this will get fired when anybody tweets with #MSDYN365BC

Then an Action. In my case, I choose a notification which will send me a mail with the text “Here is another one with #MSDYN365BC from + Twitter ‘UserName” [this Username is a dynamics content from Twitter and you can add similar field level information of the tweets in your mail body]

I extended it further and added another action where it will connect to my Business Central instance and insert a new contact for each tweet [with twitter username as dynamics content].

Being a popular hashtag, #MSDYN365BC, the flow really started filling up my mailbox pretty quickly and I had to stop the flow after some time :).

That was pretty simple. But things may get interesting with how much you being innovative with your imagination. But possibilities are immense as –

  • You can custom build your connector
  • You can custom build your actions

if you have the control over the application where you are customizing. for example, I could create a custom action to “create new contact” as I had the control over my Business Central instance

I will come back with a more detailed Flow creation post soon. Till then, Happy reading :). If you have any specific idea about a flow, do let me know, we can jointly make the POSSIBLE

For more information, do write to me at snehanshu@dynaexperts.com or snehanshu.mandal@gmail.com

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