Power Automate is a great tool to create prompts for a response from your users in a variety of ways. However, because it integrates with so many other apps in O365, deciding on the right action for a certain process can be unclear. As options continue to grow, knowing exactly how these actions operate and how they’re different will help you become a master of process flows for feedback.
When you have a business process that involves getting a response from a coworker quickly, it’s a hassle to draft up an email and manually send it over every time. Fortunately, Power Automate can help you automate these processes. There are a few different ways to get the job done, so let's walk through the different options you could use, and when to choose one over the other so you can start automating your day and not have to manage the process manually anymore.
Before we dive into Power Automate, you should take some time to think about what kind of response you need back from your users.
Are you seeking a yes/no approval from an employee about a document update?
Or are there other calls to action that they could communicate back to you?
Perhaps the users are providing their own freeform response in whatever way they see fit.
Answering these questions early on can help determine what type of automation you should build.
You should also consider who is involved in this process, how you communicate with them, and how often. Sometimes the requests involve different people or can even involve multiple people.
How frequently will this be triggered?
Should a user be able to reassign the request to someone else?
Now that we’ve gathered some context around what needs to be involved with defining the request, let’s look at the more basic of the two ways to automate your request process.
An email is still a great tool for communication, especially when you don’t have to do it yourself. The "Send email with options" step in Power Automate works great for:
Both actions discussed in this blog can begin with the same trigger. To make it simple, create a blank list in a SharePoint site and then create an automated cloud flow in Power Automate from the trigger "When an item is created". Once you’ve connected to your list, you can add the "Send email with options" step – in this case, I’ve set up a list for employees to submit company outing ideas and send them to a user to approve or deny.
Sending an email with options in a flow is just like the default send email step, except it gives the recipient a selection of responses that you control in the User Options field. You can have as many options as you like, just remember that these are simply buttons on their email that can be used as dynamic data in later steps or other flows.
The beauty of incorporating this step comes from being able to customize the email subject, header, selection, and body fields with HTML. While many other services in this app have their own default displays, the email with options allows authors to embed additional information to guide their process flow. In my example information like the intended date, approximate cost, or even an external link to the venue can greatly expedite the decision-making process for an approver.
Once selected, the responder is sent a default thank-you message, but I’ve included one more step that creates a list item in another list for outing ideas that have been responded to. The flow is clever enough to stay running for up to 30 days waiting for a response from that email before creating a record of the response in my list.
In more complex applications a condition can divert submissions and their responses into separate lists and additional properties from the original outing idea can be updated to those final lists of records using the Update item step. From there it’s simply a matter of determining what you want to do with the data or have more flows trigger from those lists.