The magic of Power Automate

Published by Matt Setchell on

Something that I have been working on over the last few years is using Power Automate (formally Flow) to automate as many processes as I can within my team and schools.

When the team at Lourdes IT needed to grow suddenly with an increase of schools, and some of our more experienced team members moved on – I took the decision that we had passed the point where we could rely on people and what they have in their heads to sort all the issues. Moreover, I couldn’t keep up with sorting all the technical stuff, and all the HR and other things that I needed to manage with a growing team.

So, using Power Automate, I set about doing some key automation. Taking things I had to do, such as return to works, leave management and other important things, and setting up SharePoint Lists to hold the data, and flows to automate the management.

By standardising and recording everything, team members knew the process (including new staff) and I could have all the information I needed to make informed decisions, and then know that everyone would be informed of them.

An example of this is the leave request power automate, which has developed throughout the last couple of years.

Team members log a quick form, detailing their request, and then the flow checks who else is off, and then emails the team leader for approval. If successful, it lets everyone know, puts it in the team calendar, requester calendar, team leader calendar, and a spreadsheet if we need a copy. It also deals with rejections and allows users to see how much leave has been taken. Using the skills of our brilliant Data Manager, I also get an overview dashboard of the data in PowerBI. Oh, and also emails a couple of times a week, so we don’t miss anything.
Not only do we do all the management stuff in our SharePoint, but customer management, inventory management (through a rather cool app from PowerApps)

The ease with which we can automate processes plays a major part in allowing us to focus on supporting end users. Its success has led me to develop systems for other schools, including Cover Request and CPD request systems, that are linked – so if CPD is granted, then cover is requested, or both available on their own.

I have also worked to create a Virtual Curriculum within a school, where users are able to access a range of learning materials, and teachers are able to quickly mark and feedback work.

This week I created an HR flow, for the management of recruitment and appointments.

These systems allow the users to focus on their roles and replace tedious amounts of admin. Power Automate is a nearly zero-code solution. It doesn’t come across as the easiest of platforms, but once you have your head around it, and with an amazing community of support you can access – I have never found something that somebody couldn’t help with!

This is one of a whole range of elements that mean Office365 offers a whole new depth to it’s education offerings compared to Google Workspace.

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