Power Automate

Flow 101: Building an automated cloud flow

Posted by Heidi Neuhauser

Next up in our Flow 101 series is building an automated cloud flow. Below, we will discuss what an automated cloud flow is, talk about planning and dive into a comprehensive step-by-step of how to build one.

What is an automated cloud flow?

If you are coming from the traditional CRM workflow mindset, an automated cloud flow is exactly the same as an asynchronous background workflow. Once a condition (or trigger, in Power Automate language) is met, the flow will run through all steps until it is complete.

Here is what we will build below:

Flow 101: building an automated cloud flow
The whole enchilada! Read on to learn how to build this flow.

Plan your flow first!

You’ll save time if you plan out your flow first. Remember, you can do A LOT here. I’m going to show you one use case – your flow will really be unique to the business process/action(s) you are trying to automate.

Plan it out using a diagram in your software of choosing, or even good old fashioned paper (as I did below!).

Here’s the use case we will walk through for this blog article:

  • I have a Contact form on my website, crmheidi.com.
  • I must be doing a decent job posting valuable content, because the spam bots have found me!! Most of the Contact form submissions I receive are Spam and they’re clogging up my inbox.
  • I want to ONLY receive emails if it is a legit submission, not for Spam.

Here are the Connectors I want to use:

  • Gravity Forms by reenhanced. My Contact Form was build using Gravity Forms so I’ll be using this as my trigger.
  • Approvals. When a form is submitted, I want to kick off an Approval flow that I can manage in my Power Automate app on my phone.
  • Office 365 Outlook. I want an email to be sent to me.

Need help planning connectors for your Flow in Power Automate? Check out Connector Review!

Here is my very fancy, very formal diagram of the sort of Flow I’d like to build:

plan your automated cloud flow
A very rough idea of what I want to happen after my Flow is built in Power Automate.

Building an automated cloud flow

  1. From make.powerapps.com, click +New Flow at the top and select automated cloud flow

    automated cloud flow: add new

  2. Name your Flow and select your Trigger. Then, click the blue Create button at the bottom.

    Remember, a trigger is what kicks off the automation. In this scenario, we want to start an approval process when a form is submitted.start a flow

  3. Next, you will need to enter information for your trigger (credentials, connections, license keys, etc). Depending on what you select for your trigger, this will vary. In this example, click the blue Create button to create a connection to this API. (Other triggers may say “Sign In” instead of Create.)

    In this example, I need to enter my license key for the Gravity Forms connector. For connectors that charge a fee, you will see something similar.

  4. Now that I am connected to Gravity Forms, I can select which form I want to Trigger my automation. After you select your form, click +New Step at the bottom.

    I only have one form on my website, but you will see a list of all available forms here after you have created your connection.

  5. A second box appears in my flow labeled “Choose an operation.” Our use case is simple, we want to use the Approvals flow.

    If I type in approval in the search, it will show me my options. I want to select Start and wait for an approval with what we are looking to accomplish. Click the Start and wait for an approval button highlighted below.start and wait for an approval

  6. In the Approval Action, select which type of approval you want to use.

    Select an approval type

  7. Once you select an Approval Type, additional fields will display. Fill in any with a red asterisk (required to build your flow) and any others that are appropriate.

    You can map fields from the form submission into any of these fields by clicking into the text box. This is similar to classic workflow when you map fields into emails, form updates, etc – but you’re using data from any prior steps!Start and wait for an approval step

  8. Click the Next Step button below your Approvals blog and select Condition. Our condition here will be the field Outcome from the Approval connector.

    This is where we can add conditional logic – IF Approved, follow the Yes path. If NOT Approved, follow the NO path.

  9. In the If Yes path, click Add an Action.

    Add Office 365 Outlook, send an email (V2). Fill out the To, Subject and Body for your email notification. Since we want no action when not approved, you do not need to add any action(s) to the If no path.Power Automate: send email

  10. Test your flow! Click the Test icon at the top right-hand corner of your flow.

    This opens a new panel on the right-hand side. Select Manually, then click the blue Test button at the bottom.

  11. After you select manual trigger, you need to perform the action to kick off the flow.

    I navigated to my Contact form and filled it out. After submitting, I can watch the flow work in real-time.

The Complete Flow 101 Series

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