By: Sarah Perez – Techcrunch.com
Microsoft Flow, the company’s recently launched workflow management tool, has now arrived on mobile in the form of an iOS application. Essentially a direct competitor to IFTTT, Microsoft Flow debuted in April on the web, offering an interface that lets your mash-up two or more cloud services to create workflows – like those that let you automate file synchronization, alerting, data organization and more.
Competing services, including IFTTT and Zapier, have been around longer and offer a larger list of supported connections. Microsoft Flow, meanwhile, is more focused on integrations with Microsoft’s business tools, like Office 365, Dynamics CRM, PowerApps, and Yammer, as well as those that was used in organizations, like MailChip, GitHub, Salesforce, Slack, and others.
However, you can use Microsoft Flow to automate some common scenarios, like getting a text message whenever your boss emails you, saving the results of a Twitter search to an Excel file, copying files from OneDrive to SharePoint, copying photos from Instagram to Dropbox, and much more.
With the new iOS application, you can now manage your previously created “flows” from your smartphone. That means you can switch them on or off, view their properties, or check out run history reports to make sure they are performing properly and haven’t had any errors.
The app also includes an Activity Feed, which is where you can see all your recent Flow actions, including whether any of the flow require attention. You can search this feed or filter it, then drill down into the individual results to view more details on the given workflow.
For flows that are mission-critical, you can configure the app to send you to push notifications when something goes wrong so you can launch the app then triage the issue in real-time. This can be useful, too, for getting alerts when an important flow is running, as an alternative to having the workflow alert you in another way – like via SMS, for example.
The company says the capabilities of the app will be expanded in time, most notably to include flow creation on mobile, as well as support for things like triggering, remediation, approvals and even flows that take advantage of your mobile device signals, says Microsoft. An Android application is also in the works.
Like IFTTT, workflow creation apps like Microsoft Flow have niche appeal – it’s the sort of thing power users love, but aren’t necessarily popular with the mainstream. That said, as part of a larger business tools offering, something like Flow makes more sense as it could attract a core following among those with more technical expertise or inclinations, as well as business users who have a need to manage data across multiple apps.