Microsoft has made its Power Automate Desktop tool available to all Windows 10 users for free as of March 2021. This change in policy was announced at the Microsoft Ignite virtual conference held at the beginning of the month. Until now, the Power Automate Desktop app has only been available on a per-use license starting at $15 per month.
Microsoft Power Automate Desktop uses robotic process automation (RPA) to let ordinary users become developers. It allows them to create processes that automate repetitive manual tasks, build bots, and generally democratize development. The app will be included as part of Microsoft Windows Insider Builds soon, and is currently available as a separate free download.
RPA and Power Automate are a fundamental and successful part of Microsoft’s Power Platform. Since 2019 when the functionality was first made available, Microsoft reports that hundreds of thousands of companies have used the innovative tech every month, automating billions of processes and tasks as a result.
Power Automate offers users with no development or coding background to build their own programs. A low-code application, it lets users create automated workflows between their favorite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, and collect data. Users can turn repetitive tasks into multistep workflows, capturing tweets to add as leads in Dynamics 365 or subscribers in Mailchimp, for example. You can approve requests automatically, add conditions, and use on-premise data for rapid responses, and prevent sensitive data from leaving your company using built-in or customized data loss prevention policies.
Charles Lamanna, CVP of Power Platform engineering at Microsoft, said: “We’ve had this mission of wanting to go democratize development for everybody with the Power Platform, and that means, of course, making products which are accessible to anybody.”
He went on to say: “The way we’ve designed it — and the experience we have, particularly around the recording abilities like a macro recorder — makes it so you don’t have to think about for loops or what is this app I’m clicking on or this text box — you can just record it and run it.”
RPA can be used in almost every aspect of a successful business, from IT to customer services. Until now, RPA has tended to be the preserve of enterprise-level organizations, but it is likely to become more commonplace among SMEs as the technology becomes more accessible.
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