Flow is Microsoft's version of IFTTT for enterprise usersBy Shawn Knight
Microsoft on Friday launched Flow, an IFTTT (If This Then That) competitor primarily marketed to enterprises as a way to improve business workflows through automation.
For those not familiar, IFTTT is a web-based service that lets users create chains of conditional statements, dubbed recipes, based on events or changes that take place on other web services. For example, one could craft a recipe that takes a photo from Facebook in which they are tagged and saves it to a cloud-based storage service like Dropbox.
Microsoft Flow is essentially the same thing - a user-friendly way to automate time-consuming tasks. Flow is designed to connect to a number of popular services including Google Drive, Salesforce, Mailchimp and GitHub in addition to Microsoft products like Office 365 and OneDrive.
Users can get going quickly by starting with a template. Some of the templates already on the Flow website offer the ability to save e-mail attachments to a SharePoint document library, get a text notification when you receive an e-mail from your manager, save tweets to a CSV file in Dropbox and translate non-English e-mails.
Templates are sorted by category for easy navigation. I counted roughly 70 templates as I was researching information for this story. Of course, you can also create your own flow to complete whatever custom task you have in mind.
Best yet, Microsoft Flow is completely free to use. Again, it's largely targeted towards enterprise users but there's nothing stopping the average Joe from putting it to work for them.
Lead image via Stephen Lam, Getty Images