A Quick Look at Power Automate RPA

3 minute read

A Quick Look at Power Automate RPA

RPA tools are not created equally. Nor should they be. With so much variety in businesses in terms of their size, shape, function, and needs it’s no wonder there are so many similar but different RPA solutions on the market. And Power Automate is one of them.

As part of Microsoft’s expansive cloud-based Power Series, Power Automate is an attractive RPA offering (particularly its free desktop automation counterpart) for businesses heavily engrained in Microsoft’s suite of applications. But is it the right tool for you?

RPA vs. Power Automate Desktop (the free option)

If you’re a Microsoft user exploring the vast range of available apps you’ll no doubt encounter Power Automate Desktop (PAD), Microsoft’s free desktop automation solution. While robotic desktop automation — also called RDA — is surely handy, it pales in comparison to true RPA.
RDA automates simple, yet time-consuming tasks. While that sounds a lot like Robotic Process Automation, RPA is quite a bit more intelligent, benefiting from advancements in AI like machine learning, natural language processing, and optical character recognition. Furthermore, desktop automation is limited to… well… your desktop. It is not cloud accessible, and information from one automation cannot be shared across enterprise automations.
In summation: if you can use PAD — do it. It’s free. But don’t rely on it to replace RPA.

Will the Real Power Automate Please Stand Up

Power Automate (just Power Automate) is indeed RPA, and it’s one of today’s leading RPA solutions thanks to fantastic productivity and analytics features including:
  • Low-code app development
  • Process mining advisor
  • Power BI analytics
  • Simple and advanced training modules/videos
Furthermore, as a Microsoft product, Power Automate integrates very well with your other Microsoft applications — the true beauty of the Microsoft ecosystem. It’s easy to plan and visualize the end result of automations within applications that are widely used and comfortable. Finally, Power Automate is covered by Microsoft 365 and Azure AD security, which have gone on to form the backbone of security features even for competing RPA providers.

The caveats?

Power Automate is not particularly scalable for large organizations. We just threw some serious shade on PAD, and that’s because even the full-access paid Power Automate RPA solution has some reliance on PAD as a staging tool to host RPA bots. That’s a problem for any non-Microsoft user or large organization required to run many instances of desktop automation. Lastly, while programming bots is a breeze, deploying automations is a bit trickier and will likely require moderate to significant IT assistance.


There really isn’t a single tool that’s perfect for the variable needs of every organization on the planet. Even our favorite RPA solutions, like Blue Prism and UiPath are better suited for some circumstances while less suited for others. Additionally, it is often advisable to at least consider RPA offerings from your familiar or existing partners. For example, if you currently use Hyland’s flagship ECM product, OnBase, you can also leverage the fully integrated Hyland RPA solution without the need to go to another provider.

If you liked this unhinged and unabashed overview of Power Automate, you’ll love our RPA Tools Comparison eBook. Check it out for more unbiased breakdowns of today’s best-in-class RPA solutions and identify the pros, cons, strengths, and weaknesses of each tool. 

Or, for a more hands-on approach to finding your best-fit RPA solution, start a conversation with the experts.

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