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Microsoft Adds Team and LUIS Support for Flow

| by Kent Weare Follow 11 Followers on Feb 11, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Microsoft has recently announced changes to its citizen workflow service, Flow, to enable teams to contribute and manage flows centrally. This new sharing capability, called Team flows, is currently in public preview and extends to sharing SaaS and custom API connections. In addition to these collaboration features, Microsoft has announced Flow support for Gmail and LUIS, a Microsoft Cognitive Service.

For some enterprises, there have been requests to provide greater control over who can create flows and what API connections can be used within a flow. For example, some organizations may not want end-users writing workflows that create data in certain applications. Having more granular security capabilities has been one of the top asks on Microsoft’s ideas forum. John Luangco, a technology blogger, feels this sort of control in the enterprise is needed ,as: 

Employees leave organizations and the flow should be able to continue to work even after the original author of the flow has left the organization.

As part of this release, Team flows support the ability for all owners to:

  •          Read, update or delete flow
  •          View history and debug flow
  •          Add or remove other owners
  •          Add or remove connections that the flow has access to

Microsoft has provided a tab within the Flow portal where users can invite, or rescind, users and/or security groups. 

Image Source: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/team-flows/

The ability for a flow to communicate with other systems comes through Connections and can also be managed through the Flow portal. Traditionally, administrators have had the ability to restrict who has access to certain connections. However, through Team flows, users will now be able to access any connector that has been added to the flow, regardless of their personal permissions. Stephen Siciliano, principal group PM manager, explains how Connection permissions work in Team flows in a recent post:

If John creates a flow that updates items in SharePoint with his account, and shares it with Mary, she will be able to modify the use of SharePoint inside of that flow, but not in any of her personal flows. Likewise, Mary can change the flow to use her SharePoint connection, but John will still not be able to use that new SharePoint connection in any of his flows.

Sharing connections also extends to custom APIs and users can choose to invite another user through the Flow portal.

In addition to sharing flows and connections, Microsoft has introduced a connector with full support for Gmail. This was another highly sought after feature in Microsoft Ideas forum. Using this connector allows users to trigger different actions based upon events occurring in a user’s Gmail account. Microsoft has also extended their template library to include many popular scenarios involving Google Drive, Google Docs, Excel, Dropbox, Slack and Trello.

Image Source: https://flow.microsoft.com/

Microsoft has also included additional support for Azure Cognitive Services. Previously, Microsoft provided connectivity tor both the Text Analytics and Face APIs. Microsoft is now including support for Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service, also known as LUIS. LUIS is a service that allows developers to build applications that can understand languages contextually and is often found in BOT applications which are trying to understand a user’s intent in order to perform a task or provide data.

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