The Surging Popularity of Power Automate and What Makes it Different.


Apr 21

The Surging Popularity of Power Automate and What Makes it Different.

As the demand for Microsoft Power Automate goes off the chart in the RPA arena, enterprises such as Coca-Cola Bottling Company United are already banking on it. How exactly is Coca-Cola tackling order management challenges with Power Automate? What makes the platform so popular for automation already? Read this blog to find out.

The Growth of RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) continues to make inroads into organizations with Gartner forecasting double-digit growth for upcoming years.

Despite the pandemic setback, Gartner has projected RPA software revenues to reach $1.89 billion for 2021 (well, that’s almost close to a 20% increase from the previous year). If anything, the pandemic has only escalated the RPA demand and adoption.

With more businesses jumping on the RPA bandwagon, there’s a larger share of the market that RPA software companies are fighting to acquire.

Microsoft’s Official Entry in RPA Arena

Somewhere around November 2019, Microsoft rechristened Microsoft Flow as Power Automate (and powered it with RPA, virtual agents, and other compelling features). This marked the tech giant’s official entry into the RPA software market.

In less than a year, Power Automate has already made it into Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for RPA Software. Microsoft is also named as a leader in the Forrester Wave Leader 2021 for RPA.

The Robust Functionalities

Product Line
Enterprises invested in Microsoft products find Power Automate as a natural fit. With the Microsoft ecosystem of applications, enabling end-to-end automation is quite easy and fast. Microsoft plans to offer about 600 prebuilt templates for Office 365 (including popular apps like Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, Excel) applications.

Microsoft is entering the market at a relatively lower price point. The pricing is based on per-flow consumption and per-user (which might trigger other players to bring down their costs to stay competitive).

Microsoft differentiates Power Automate from other players by offering capabilities like Optical Character Recognition (OCR), AI/ML functionalities, analytics, API connectors, document ingestion, and more (also backed by robust Azure cloud functionality).

UI Flows
For businesses using legacy platforms without any API connectors, UI flows can prove very useful (knight in the shining armor). All they must do is record their day-to-day manual interaction with the software systems. This is then translated into an automation journey.

Virtual Agents
Your teams can now create virtual agents with zero coding or AI background/experience. Low-code/no-code virtual agent can easily be built using drag-and-drop and click functionalities. Sales, HR, Marketing, Customer Service, and Finance functions can easily have their own virtual agent in hours’ time. You can even build an agent for Microsoft Teams.

With the above capabilities, Microsoft further launched the Desktop version of Power Automate to expand the general availability of RPA to organizations. The desktop version allows organizations to automate tasks and processes across web and desktop apps.

Enterprises can achieve quick wins by creating workflows and automating everyday tasks (not just low cost, but also low risk).

The Coca-Cola Story

As of September 2020, Microsoft already had about 350,000 organizations using Power Automate to manage automated workflows. One such organization is Coca-Cola Bottling Company United.

With the introduction of outside suppliers, Coca-Cola found it too challenging to streamline the order management and process invoice with existing systems (creating APIs for legacy systems was way too expensive).

Doing it manually was too time-consuming (a nightmare for back-office to be snowed under the manual work) as there were about 11 complex steps involved. This is when the company used Power Automate to streamline repetitive processes that were high volume, but just mundane data keying.

The company now has created a range of bots to accomplish tasks like entering the data, creating PO, validating entry, monitoring emails for the invoice, matching invoices and orders, and so on.

With Microsoft Power Automate, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United has saved the costs of recruiting about 10 full-time employees, and at the same time reducing errors – allowing the current CRM agent to take up other projects.

The Road Ahead

As Gartner predicts that by 2024, large organizations will grow their RPA portfolio by thrice. To that end, Power Automate has a larger market share to grab as the platform is gathering steam. With new trends emerging, Microsoft is also positioning Power Automate as a perfect hyper-automation platform for enterprises aspiring to digitally transform.

Exclusive Microsoft Workshop

For enterprises who’re looking forward to kickstarting their automation journey, we’re organizing a free Power Automate Workshop by Microsoft. The workshop will help you choose what processes you can start with and how – so that you can start small and scale fast.

To know more about the workshop or register for it, click here.