Compare different approaches to process automation

Process automation aims to streamline business workflows by replacing intricate and labor-intensive tasks with software solutions. This approach reduces the time and effort needed to complete tasks efficiently. Software solutions in this case range from simple scripts to complex applications.

Power Platform implementation teams can utilize this study as a starting point for designing and architecting process automation solutions. It offers valuable insights to determine the most effective approach for using the Power Platform. Aligning your process automation requirements with the options presented in this study will help you identify the best approach.

Solution summary

  • Power Automate facilitates the creation of automated workflows between various apps and services.

  • With Power Automate, you can synchronize files, receive notifications, collect data, and perform many other tasks seamlessly.

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Recommended use cases

    • Interacting with other Power Platform components.
    • Business workflows where end users are creating flows of their own (for example, Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, SharePoint).
    • Tasks where end users will be interacting with flows directly (for example, running them on demand, viewing status, etc.).
    • Less complex human centered tasks (notifications, approvals, etc.).

Use Azure Logic Apps to create automated workflows

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud platform where you can create and run automated workflows with little to no code.

Solution summary

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud-based, serverless platform for running automated workflows.

Execute code on-demand with Azure Functions

This platform provided by Azure allows execution of code functions in response to various events without having to explicitly provision or manage infrastructure.

Azure Functions is a serverless solution that allows you to write less code, maintain less infrastructure, and save on costs.

Solution summary

Azure Functions is a serverless compute service for running code on-demand without having to explicitly provision or manage infrastructure. Azure Functions can be used to run code in response to events, on a schedule, or on-demand. You can write code for Azure Functions using C#, F#, JavaScript, PowerShell, Python, and TypeScript.

  • Pros

  • Cons

    • No out-of-the-box connectors for Power Platform components (for example, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power AI Builder).
    • Requires coding skills and Azure administration knowledge (not a low-code/no-code solution).
    • Limited built in connectivity to other services compared to Power Automate and Logic Apps. Only a handful of connections are available as Supported bindings out of the box. Can be extended with more coding.
    • Requires another Azure Subscription on top of Power Platform license(s).
  • Recommended use cases

    • Extending existing low-code solutions with custom code.
    • Backend automation scenarios without direct user interaction.
    • Advanced scenarios, where security and infrastructure have to be under full control.
    • Running workloads on-premises.
    • Advanced scenarios, requiring stateful processing.

Summary

The following table summarizes the different options for automating Power Platform components with other systems.

Automatization Type Power Automate Azure Logic Apps Azure Functions
Support for on-premises Yes Yes/can run on-premises Yes/can run on-premises
ALM Dataverse solutions IaC with Azure IaC with Azure
Direct interaction with users Yes Limited Limited
Security Power Platform Azure RBAC Azure RBAC
Network traffic Power Platform controlled Azure/Azure Private Endpoint/VNET Azure/Azure Private Endpoint/Azure site-to-site VPN/VNET
Monitoring Power Platform Azure Monitor Azure Application Insights
Licensing Model Power Platform Licenses/Per User Per Run Azure Subscription/Consumption/Fix Price Dedicated Cloud Resources Azure Subscription/Consumption/Fix Price Dedicated Cloud Resources
Can interact with Power Platform components Yes Limited Limited
Extensibility Connectors Connectors/Inline code/Azure Functions Inline code
Flow Editor Power Automate web portal/Visio Azure web portal/VS Code/Visual Studio Azure web portal/VS Code/Visual Studio
Advance data processing Limited HTTP chunked responses/batched work/Azure Functions Durable Functions

More comparison details can be found here: Choose the right integration and automation services in Azure .