Flow Mobile App (Post 1): Productivity Boosts with Flow Buttons

Introduction

We had the opportunity to meet with several clients this week and have some in depth chats about Microsoft Flow.

A common theme throughout these sessions was that awareness of the great Microsoft Flow mobile App wasn’t as high as we thought it would have been.

As huge fans of this app, we decided to share the virtues of this versatile and robust mobile app in a blog series.

Our first post in the series will cover how the Flow mobile button can be used to initiate business processes and automations.

New to Flow?

If you are new to Microsoft Flow, here is a quick video to get you started.

 
 

If you like this video and online learning, we highly recommend you get started on this YouTube playlist of Tutorials curated by Jon Levesque.

Get Started / Get the App

All you need to begin automating process gaps and kicking off workflows is the Flow mobile app.

If you haven’t downloaded the Flow Mobile App yet, get it here (iOS and Andriod):

An Introduction to Flow Buttons

 
Button.PNG
 

How Flow Buttons Work

Buttons in the Flow mobile app allow you to kick off a Flow from your mobile device. You have a couple of options with how you can setup you button:

  1. Simply initiate an automation whenever a button is pressed

    OR

  2. Provide inputs in simple and intuitive forms when you initiate an automation

Flow Buttons as a Trigger

Flow buttons provide you with new ways of initiating processes.

  • If you are new to Flow, the Flow button provides you with the ability to “trigger” the execution of a Flow.

  • Every Flow needs to have a Trigger. A Trigger can be:

    • An event in another system

    • At a scheduled (recurring) time

    • Initiated manually on demand using a Flow Button

  • Triggers are Followed by Actions

    • Within a Flow, there you can leverage one of over 230 (and counting) connectors to create the actions you would like your Flow to automate.

Setup a Flow Button Trigger

All you need to do is create a new Flow from the Flow homepage (https://flow.microsoft.com)

 
Create a New Flow.png
 
  • In the next screen, click on the Create from blank button

 
Create From Blank.png
 
  • In the Trigger search box, type in button and select Flow button for mobile

New Button Flow.PNG

This is all you’ll need to start triggering Flows using a button in the Flow mobile app. After you’ve set the Trigger, you can continue building your Flow by adding actions.

Boost Productivity with the Flow Button

We see Flow buttons as a great way of initiating simple processes. In many cases, departments see requests for a repetitive task to be completed that only needs to be executed on demand. The Flow button is perfect for automating these types of workflows.

Defect Tracking Example


Below, we will show how a Flow button could be used to track defects identified during an inspection.

Step 1: Open the Mobile App & Tap

The buttons section of the Flow mobile app shows all of the buttons that have been shared with you.

The Flow Mobile App’s Button open new ways of initiating processes

The Flow Mobile App’s Button open new ways of initiating processes

  • When the user clicks on the button, the form that has been associated with the button will appear for the user in the mobile app.

  • In this case, the next step will capture information from the user that will be passed into the Flow.

  • Alternatively, on button tap, Flow could initiate a new process

Step 2: Submit a Simple Form

 
Detailed view of the Defect Tracker form loaded with data

Detailed view of the Defect Tracker form loaded with data

Flow button mobile forms

Flow button mobile forms

 
  • The user is prompted for details about the defect that is being reported.

  • We are using the File and Text form field types.

  • There are other types of data that can be captured in a Form (below). Additionally, drop down and multi-select types are available.

 
Field Types.PNG
 

Step 3: Run the Flow!

 
Flow Details.PNG
 
  • This happens for you!

  • As soon as the form in the previous step is submitted, your Flow runs.

    • For the record: the Flow button is one of MANY ways that you can trigger an automation using Microsoft Flow.

  • We are taking the values captured in the Button’s form and sending them to SharePoint

  • We are also adding the image captured in the Button’s form and attaching it to a SharePoint list item

Check the Results

 
Flow Button to SharePoint

Flow Button to SharePoint

 
  • Here is an example of the list item that was created in SharePoint as a result of our Flow completing.

  • You can see the details of entered in the Button’s form are shown (Title and Attachments)

  • Additional data is captured from the Flow button’s click as well

    • See the location data that was captured

Summary

Hopefully this brief introduction to Flow buttons got you thinking about how you can use the mobile app with your processes.

If you like this post, visit our blog sometime again soon. This is the first in a series of posts we are writing on the Flow button.