Q&A: Go With the Flow! Easy Automation for Office 365 and SharePoint

Post Date: 06/25/2019
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Thanks again to everyone who attended our Flow webinar! For those who couldn’t attend, you can watch it on-demand here. Continue below for answers to some of the best questions we got during the presentation!

Can you create a Team or corporate Flow that isn’t originated or bound to a specific user profile? 

Right now this isn’t possible, but you could create a service account to use for authentication to track activity and keep your Flow connections organized. Remember that for every Flow there are many methods and tools for recording who ran that Flow.

You can use Dynamic Content for particular users. This includes using “From” email addresses, “Created By,” authoring or submitting user information, and capturing information via required fields on a Microsoft Form or SharePoint list. The information for the user that ran the Flow could then be easily added to a SQL database or SharePoint List that would serve as an activity log for your Flow or many Flows.

Are there any security risks with using non-Microsoft templates?

Generally, there are no more security risks with using non-Microsoft Templates than there are building the exact same Flow from scratch yourself. The templates are essentially just Flows with some pre-populated dynamic content and no authentications set up.

That said, to understand how a Flow will affect your environment, you should always study and run test runs for any Flow that you’re creating before you put it into production. This should include at least a quick inspection of the dynamic pre-populated content in any template–Microsoft Templates included. You should also remember to check the security/permissions of any content, lists or libraries that are connected to the Flow in question (especially if you’re interacting with sensitive information).

Is it possible to use the approval process to obtain external approvals too?

This can be done using the “Send Email With Options” selection. You may have to create a step in order to include any comments. There’s more information on this available in the community here.

Is there any way to change the “From Address” when an email is sent from MS Flow?

Not at this time, but you can use an account designated for this purpose as a service account (example: MicrosoftFlow@contoso.com) and use dynamic content in the body or subject to communicate the desired information.

Is there any way an approver can edit the text on a requester’s behalf and approve?

There’s an approval Flow walkthrough that can help you understand how to customize this process here.

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Is there a debugger for Flow as you create them? Or is it trial and error?

Flow has required fields and a lot of Dynamic Content options to assist in the creation of Flows that won’t throw errors. If you’re creating more complicated Flows that have a lot of expressions and connect to external applications, for instance, you have the ability to run “Test” runs to troubleshoot your Flows.

For further help, there’s an article on troubleshooting available here. There’s also a highly active and knowledgeable community of users and Microsoft professionals that can help with even the most complicated of workflows.

Can the Flow talk to JDE (i.e. read from JDE and update back to JDE)?

I think the answer to this question is that you can read and write to Oracle Databases. Flow can write and get information from Oracle Databases, but there aren’t any triggers to kick off a Flow from an Oracle Database. With Microsoft and Oracle working more closely together as was recently announced, I expect that we may see more capabilities for this in the not too distant future.

Is there a limit to the number of Flows that can be executed in a given time period? Does this incur any additional costs?

There’s information on the number of runs and licensing costs available here.

Is there a way to disable the trust pop-up when users try to access the PowerApp?

This only happens the first time the users interact with the app, and it’s necessary to authorize the connection for the app. There’s a good thread detailing a workaround and details on this in the Microsoft community.

Can you allow PowerApps forms to be updated by external users?

Not currently, but there is a rumor that this is in the roadmap for PowerApps. In the meantime, Microsoft Forms is a fast and easy way to get external users to input information, and you can use Flow to update any connectable data source with that information. From my experience, this is one of the more common use cases with Microsoft Flow. It’s a process that used to take hours to set up properly in SharePoint that can now be done with ease in minutes! There’s a really good template for this here.

Thanks again to everyone who joined our webinar! For documentation and information about the roadmap and up-and-coming features for Flow, check out the Release Plan.

You can follow Melissa, Jon, and Hunter on Twitter and check out the Microsoft Flow Community for more use cases, walkthroughs, tips, troubleshooting advice and so much more!

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​Hunter Willis has been in web development, SEO and Social Media marketing for over a decade, and entered the SharePoint space in 2016. Throughout his career he has developed internal collaboration sites, provided technical and strategic advice, and managed solutions for small to large organizations. In addition, Hunter has served as a strategy consultant for many companies and non-profits in the Richmond area.

View all post by Hunter W.
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