Azure Logic Apps: 5 ways it improves workflow automation

Azure Cloud logic_apps_automate_workflows

Looking for a better way to automate your business workflows across cloud and on-premises environments?

Every business has its own unique operational processes and a need for automating and simplifying systems. With Gartner projecting investment on public cloud services in Australia reaching $4.6 billion this year, there’s also growing demand for more efficient application, data and system integration with the cloud - which intuitive services like Azure Logic Apps provide.

With the backing of the scalable Azure cloud platform and seamless integration with multiple sources, Logic Apps is rapidly growing in popularity among businesses wishing to drive operational agility and stay competitive - and the best part is you don’t need to write code.

 

What are Azure Logic Apps?

Azure Logic Apps is an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) that allows you to connect all enterprise and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, data and services your organisation relies on - across cloud, on-premises environments or both - to create and deploy customised, automated workflow solutions.

As Microsoft’s main iPaaS offering, Azure Logic Apps uses the power of the Azure cloud platform to automatically scale and meet user demand - you don’t have to worry about infrastructure capacity, hosting, maintenance or availability for your workflows. If your business is already on the Microsoft Cloud, Logic Apps is also readily accessible and seamlessly integrated with other Azure services.

Gartner has recently recognised Azure Logic Apps as an industry leader in Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), making it more important to learn what it can offer your business.

 

How does Logic Apps work?

With Logic Apps, you can build workflows (business processes and orchestration) based on certain actions and triggers. These help automate your processes, handle events, and monitor operations with real-time alerts and diagnostic capabilities.

Each workflow begins with a trigger set by the user, which occurs when a specific event happens or certain criteria is met. Logic Apps creates a logic app instance whenever that trigger fires to run an action. One example is setting a trigger for Office 365; the criteria could be when a spreadsheet is updated. If the trigger detects an event that matches the set criteria, it will run the workflow’s action, such as an automated email notification to staff.

Some common examples of workloads you can create and automate with logic apps include:

  • Monitor your social media accounts for specific interactions, analyse tagged interactions, and send automated alerts in your team messenger to evaluate
  • Send email notifications to your team whenever set events occur in your organisational applications, services and systems
  • Upload specific files from on-premises servers to Azure Storage automatically

All Logic Apps workflows are visualised in an easy-to-read flowchart form, presented as a series of logical steps. You can design, automate, and deploy these scalable integration workflows in the cloud using the streamlined visual designer in Azure Portal, and drag-and-drop a range of ready-made components that let you define processes and connect them to your core apps.

 

5 reasons why you should use Azure Logic Apps

Logic Apps automate workflows easy

 

With native integration with other Azure services and support for the most popular third-party SaaS business-critical applications, it’s not hard to see how Logic Apps can benefit your company by building integrated workflow solutions that run your processes more efficiently. We breakdown five reasons why you should use Logic Apps for your workflow automation.

 

1. Extensive enterprise and SaaS application integration

Azure Logic Apps come with over 200 different connectors out-of-the-box that enable enterprises to integrate their business-critical SaaS applications for automated workflows more easily. Connectors are essentially a proxy or wrapper around an API that lets the underlying service ‘talk’ to Logic Apps - and subsequently integrate them into the desired workflow.

Logic Apps provides connectors to most Azure and Microsoft apps, including Azure AD, Data Lake, Office 365, Power BI and SQL Server. With these connectors, you can use a set of pre-built actions and triggers to build apps and workflows more efficiently, gain access to your data and update your assorted systems in real-time, and add additional value to your existing apps.

Some examples of popular SaaS connectors supported in Logic Apps include:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Dropbox
  • Google services
  • Facebook
  • Office 365
  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • Teamwork Projects
  • Twitter
  • WordPress

Even when API connectors aren’t offered by Logic Apps, business applications you want to use in Logic Apps can still be integrated so long as it exposes an API that can accessed through HTTP. New workflows can also be created or edited without having to wait for your app vendors.

 

2. Only pay for what you use

As a Microsoft Azure Cloud service, Logic Apps runs under a consumption-based pricing and metering mode. This means you’re only charged for how many workflow actions Logic Apps execute. All users of Logic Apps also get an integration account, where you can develop and test features in Logic Apps prior to deployment, without worrying about any additional costs.

 

3. Serverless workflow development

All workflows created with Logic Apps are serverless, with all infrastructure handled by Azure. There’s no on-premises component or virtual machines to configure or manage, and there is no upfront cost for hardware or licensing with Logic Apps, enabling faster time-to-market. This has made it popular with many businesses, as you only have to pay for what you use and can focus on improving operational efficiency and finding new business value.

Finally, Logic Apps have the capability to scale based on user load, offering agile performance and faster delivery of the automated workflow to the end user.

 

4. Connect to on-premises and non-Microsoft systems seamlessly

Azure Logic Apps allow you to access data from various different sources, using a secure connection to cloud-based services through the on-premises data gateway via Azure Service Bus. The gateway is a firewall-friendly bridge that provides secure encryption and fast data transfer between your on-premises data sources and Logic Apps.

With this helpful functionality, your business can efficiently retrieve assets from on-premises servers, Microsoft systems like Biztalk and SharePoint, and other third-party, open-source systems such as MySQL, Oracle and Teradata, and execute automated tasks seamlessly.

 

5. Experiment with workflows in a controlled environment

Logic Apps allow your business to experiment with workflows and test them in a controlled, secure environment before deployment. This reduces a lot of the pressure to get it right on the first go and you can easily delete any workflow without any consequence to the business. As an Azure Service, it’s also easily accessible for team members working remotely or in-office.

 

Why should I use Azure Logic Apps?

Logic Apps simplifies the design and creation of scalable workflows for app integration, data integration, system integration, enterprise application integration (EAI), and business-to-business (B2B) communication, enabling you to go from development to production with your workflows as seamlessly as possible.

It empowers businesses to craft automated processes around an enterprise-wide building approach instead of using traditional workflow frameworks for every project, which would incur significantly more time and money.

With constant updates adding new connectors, templates and capabilities, Logic Apps is an extensive tool for workflow development that best suits organisations wanting to leverage the wider Azure platform to gain better agility and operational efficiency out of their processes and setup.

 

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