Microsoft Flow Takes On IFTTT at Work
The software giant gets serious about workflow automation with the launch of its IFTTT-like Flow service and a preview of the company's custom line-of-business app builder, PowerApps.IFTTT is getting some competition from Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash., software giant on April 29 announced Microsoft Flow, a workflow automation service aimed at business users. IFTTT, short for "If This Then That," is a popular Web service that uses configurable templates, or "recipes," to trigger a series of interactions between other Web and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications for users, typically with a single action, or in an automated fashion. For example, IFTTT recipes can be used to automatically upload a new Dropbox file to Google Drive or tweet an Instagram picture as a native Twitter image rather than a link back to Instagram. On April 29, Microsoft launched a similar product called Flow. Unlike IFTTT, which welcomes all comers, Flow is restricted to the company's business customers and requires a work or school email address to sign up for the service. "Microsoft Flow makes it easy to mash-up two or more different services," said Stephen Siciliano, principal group program manager for Microsoft Flow, in an April 29 announcement. "Today, Microsoft Flow is publicly available as a preview, at no cost. We have connections to 35+ different services, including both Microsoft services like OneDrive and SharePoint, and public software services like Slack, Twitter and Salesforce.com, with more being added every week."
Early adopters can pick from dozens of productivity-enhancing templates in the Flow gallery. Selections include "flows" that issue Slack notifications when new files are uploaded to Dropbox or automatically copy Salesforce leads to CRM, among several others.