Power Automate Triggers – Which Should We Use and When

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Power Automate is an indispensable solution in IT solutions today, helping businesses streamline processes, automate tasks, and increase productivity. Companies embracing Power Automate to meet their automation needs must understand its basic principles: triggers.

Triggers act like ignition keys in Power Automate; which ones should you use, when, and why? In this article, we explore this subject further by delving deeper into its world of triggers while offering insight into optimal usage scenarios for their usage. Power Apps Consulting Services can help you guide through the use of triggers.

Power Automate Triggers Explained

Before diving deeper to trigger selection, let's first gain a common understanding of what triggers are in terms of Power Automate: they represent events or conditions which initiate workflow processes when certain conditions are met, serving as spark plugs in an automation engine by creating them when certain conditions have been fulfilled. In other words, triggers act as catalysts for your automation efforts!

Power Automate offers an assortment of triggers tailored for various use cases. They fall under two main classifications - automatic and manual triggers.

Automatic Triggers

Automatic triggers (automated triggers) happen automatically without human involvement in response to external stimuli or data changes. Let's look at some common automatic triggers:

  • When a New Email Arrives (Outlook)

One of the most commonly utilized automatic triggers in Outlook is when a new email arrives in your inbox, making this an incredibly useful mechanism for automating tasks related to emails, such as forwarding specific ones to certain recipients, archiving emails or extracting data from new arrivals.

  • When File Creation or Modification Occurs (OneDrive and SharePoint)

This trigger can transform document management. It activates when a new file is uploaded into OneDrive or SharePoint repository or an existing file has been altered - perfect for automating document approval workflows, file backups and more!

  • When Form is Submitted (Microsoft Forms)

Microsoft Forms users will find this trigger especially helpful in automating data collection processes. When someone submits a form, this trigger activates automatically, enabling you to automate responses, storage or analysis processes as soon as they raise their response form.

Automatic triggers are invaluable tools for swiftly responding to external events or data changes. Here are a few scenarios where automatic triggers excel:

  • Optimizing Sales Processes

Let's say you run an e-commerce platform. When someone places an order, a series of actions must happen automatically: generate an order confirmation email, update inventory levels, and notify the shipping department.

  • Monitoring Social Media Mentions

Being aware of social media mentions is vital for businesses concerned about their online reputation. Twitter offers the "When a New Tweet Is Posted" trigger as a convenient way of keeping track of statements that feature your brand; when any mention appears you can automatically respond by either responding directly or engaging with the user through automated engagement scripts aimed at either responding to their concerns or thanking them for supporting you!

  • Employee Onboarding Automation

Automatic triggers can make all the difference for HR and employee onboarding processes. When a new hire enters your HR system, a mechanical trigger could initiate an onboarding workflow that sets up their email account, assigns access rights where applicable, and sends welcome messages directly to them and their teammates.

Manual Triggers

Manual triggers require user intervention to initiate workflow. They may be manually activated either by themselves or by external systems - here are a couple of examples:

  • Manually Trigger a Flow

With this trigger, it is possible to manually initiate flows as required - perfect for situations when automation may not always be required but is activated whenever needed.

  • HTTP Request Trigger

The HTTP request trigger allows users to initiate a flow by creating an HTTP request, making Power Automate development more compatible with other applications or systems. It's often employed as part of the integration strategy for Power Automate.

Manual triggers offer more control and flexibility when used for real-time situations; automatic ones excel only in event-driven instances.

  • Quality Control Checks

Let's say you oversee production lines in a manufacturing plant and want to carry out quality control checks at various stages during assembly - for instance, using manual triggers so your quality control team can initiate checks whenever necessary and ensure all products meet desired quality standards.

  • Employee Expense Reporting

Reporting expenses is an integral component of organization operations, yet expenses only sometimes occur according to predefined triggers or patterns. Employees might incur expenses that don't fall into these predetermined buckets - providing employees with manual triggers helps ensure these ad hoc expenses get recorded properly in an expense reporting workflow and processed appropriately.

  • Project Management Workflows

In project management, flexibility is of utmost importance. Manual triggers can be utilized to set in motion certain workflows related to specific projects - task assignments, approval processes or status reports among them - on demand by team members in response to the changing needs of projects.

Hybrid Approach

Using both automatic and manual triggers simultaneously may provide the optimal solution. Let's consider an example to demonstrate this idea:

Event Registration System

Imagine hosting a series of webinars, and participants can register via your website using an automatic trigger ("When New Registration Is Submitted"), with their details automatically added to an attendee list and sent confirmation emails automatically.

Your participants need an option to request additional information or support, so consider creating a manual trigger ("Request Assistance") which enables participants to trigger the workflow between themselves and your support team.

This hybrid approach guarantees that routine processes like registration and confirmation run efficiently while offering personalized assistance to those needing it.

Choosing the Right Trigger: A Strategic Approach

Now that we understand all available triggers let's tackle an essential question about choosing one and when. Your automation project's requirements and goals determine this choice of motivation - let's dissect this dilemma together!

Before Selecting Triggers

Before selecting triggers that best meet your business processes, the initial step must be understanding them thoroughly. What tasks need automating? Are these dependent on external events, or can they be manually initiated? This insight will allow you to determine whether automatic or manual triggers would work better for your operation.

For example, if you need to automate purchase order approval processes when new invoices arrive automatically, using the "When a File Is Created or Modified" trigger (automatic) would be ideal as it reacts upon the arrival of new files to automate purchase order workflow approval processes.

If your team needs the ability to trigger expense reimbursement workflow whenever they please, using the "Manually Trigger a Flow" trigger would be more suitable.

Data Source and Integration Points

Carefully consider which data sources and integration points your workflow depends upon. If it relies on information from external systems or apps, choosing triggers that integrate smoothly is imperative for seamless operation.

If you're using Power Apps for expense reporting and want an approval process to activate when users submit expenses reports, the "When an Item Is Created" trigger within Power Apps would be ideal - its seamless integration with Power Automate allows it to begin an approval workflow depending on form submissions.

Real-Time or On-Demand

Another key decision in automation design involves whether your systems should operate in real-time or on demand. Automatic triggers excel at real-time automation by initiating processes when specific events occur. In contrast, manual triggers provide on-demand options, enabling users to start workflows as and when desired by users.

Say you operate a customer support portal and want to automate ticket creation when customers submit requests through web forms. In such a scenario, using "When an HTTP Request Is Received," which can be manually initiated when documents are submitted, would meet this on-demand automation need.

Scalability and Maintenance

Be mindful of both scalability and maintenance when planning automation workflows. Will your automation needs change over time, or do you anticipate increased triggers?

Automatic triggers may be more suited for situations where events happen frequently and consistently; for instance, managing a high-traffic e-commerce website would greatly benefit from using the "When an Order Is Placed" trigger to automate order processing without manual intervention.

However, for smaller automation projects and those not needing frequent adjustments, manual triggers are an easier and cheaper solution to managing automatic ones.

Take Advantage of Power Automate Consulting

As Power Automate's capabilities evolve, making informed decisions regarding triggers has never been more crucial. At this stage, Power Automate Consulting Services provides invaluable expertise and insights tailored to fit the requirements of each unique client.

Power Automate Development

Custom triggers and workflows require expertise in Power Automate. Consultants skilled in its development can work closely with your team to develop customized triggers tailored to their unique requirements - automatic triggers or user-friendly manual triggers - for maximum automation efficiency and effectiveness.

Implementation of Power Automate

Successful Power Automate implementation across your organization involves seamlessly integrating it with existing systems and processes, with consultants from Power Automate offering assistance in streamlining data flow and automation efficiency. They may also advise on trigger selection to align automation initiatives with your company's business processes or integration points.

Power Apps Consulting Services

In many instances, Power Automate works closely with Power Apps to develop comprehensive automation solutions. Power apps consulting services can supplement these endeavours by helping develop user-friendly apps that seamlessly fit with workflows, creating synergies that boost productivity while streamlining operations.

The Key Takeaway

At Power Automate, triggers are at the heart of automation's potential. Selecting appropriate trigger types and strategies is crucial in the success of automation projects - bear this when selecting trigger types according to business processes, integration needs, real-time/on-demand requirements or scaling factors as your criteria for choosing trigger types or strategies for automating projects.

Keep this in mind as Power Automate consulting services have an invaluable role to play when assisting organizations through this process of automation workflow creation and execution. Employing their expertise can ensure that automation workflows align perfectly with organizational objectives while also being efficient.

As you embark upon your quest to harness Power Automate's full potential, remember that trigger selection is only one part of the puzzle. By selecting appropriate triggers with strategic approaches in place, you can streamline processes, increase productivity, and drive business expansion in this digital era.


Assim Gupta

Assim Gupta linkedin-icon-squre


Assim Gupta is the CEO and Founder of Closeloop, a cutting-edge software development firm that brings bold ideas to life. Assim is a strategic thinker who always asks “WHY are we doing this?” before rolling up his sleeves and digging in. He is data-driven and highly analytical, yet his passion is working with teams to build unexpected, creative solutions that catapult companies forward.

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