Over the past years many SharePointers got used to SharePoint Designer workflows. The SharePoint Designer workflows were connected to SharePoint lists or content types and some event in SharePoint would start the workflow process. Initially the workflow engine was part of SharePoint and later Workflow Manager 1.0 became the new SharePoint 2013 engine that needed to be installed on a separate server. Some of the exiting features wee removed and some new features were introduced by Workflow Manager 1.0 but the product development never really took off as that version 1.0 never changed.
With the introduction of Microsoft Flow it is easy to think that Flow is a replacement for SharePoint Designer workflows. But Flow is a lot more than just a SharePoint Designer workflow.
Like in SharePoint Designer every flow follows the following pattern.
In Flow however a trigger can be an event in started by almost any of the 176 connectors that currently exist. Are you interested to see which application you can already connect into? have a look at the documentation at the following url:
Additionally you will find many steps that can help you create the logic that you want.
- Add a condition
- Add a switch case
- Add an Apply to each
- Add a scope
- Add a do until
- Add a parallel branch
Have you noticed there is not a bit of SharePoint in any of this and still Flow can replace SharePoint Designer workflows within your organisation too. I would even expect that a lot of your workflows that you have created in other workflow engines (both including SharePoint and excluding SharePoint) could be created using Microsoft Flow. All the SharePoint parts that you will find within Flow are available within a single connector, the SharePoint connector.
Where SharePoint designer offered you all sorts of string functions within its the workflow actions. Flow simply offers those functions outside the connector. So that you can reuse that even if your flow is not related to SharePoint at all. And this is exactly the strength of Microsoft Flow. Start you process with a trigger from a connector and run actions from any connector and glue the connectors together with the logic steps avaialble within Flow.