Webinar Recap | Logic Apps vs Power Automate

Thank you for your interest in “Microsoft Azure Logic Apps vs Power Automate | Which is right for you?.” If you were able to join us for the webinar, we sincerely thank you for being there. We hope you had as much fun learning about the differences Azure Logic Apps and Power Automate as our speaker did sharing his knowledge with you. 

Didn’t get a chance to catch our session live? We’ve got you covered.

This Session:

Microsoft currently offers two popular automation tools: Power Automate and Logic Apps. Both require no or low-code and can help streamline repetitive digital processes. The correct one for your business will depend largely on the use case you desire. While in principle they accomplish the exact same thing, Power Automate is excellent for individual tasks, while the more complex Logic Apps world is best suited for company-wide automation. What’s clear is that using the right one at the right time will empower your organization to accomplish much more. This webinar spells out the best use case for each, along with a handy demonstration comparing the two side-by-side.

Episode Takeaways:

  • Automation is low-hanging and high-value
  • Power Automate is often included in your M365 license
  • Power Automate flows are perfect for individual tasks
  • Logic Apps are a developer’s tool
  • Logic App licensing is based on consumption
  • Logic Apps are owned by the organization

Show Links:

Key Takeaways 

Decision tree to help you decide between Microsoft Power Automate and Logic Apps.

8:10 – Automation is low-hanging and high-value

Looking for a lever to increase ROI and productivity? Automation could be your best bet. There are many resources out there that can help you minimize repetitive processes.

“Automation in general, this is to me the low hanging fruit at this point for providing ROI within your organization’s digital workspace. This is something that we can easily do, and there’s so many things to automate. Now, the concept of automation of course, this is far from novel. We’ve been using digital tools to automate for a very long time. We can argue since the late forties with the big mainframes, but realistically over the last 10-20 years as automation tools have become much more prevalent. The thing is that as we’re digitizing more of these processes indefinitely, over the last 18 months or so we’ve been forced to digitize more processes, it’s more of a reality now that we can take more of these processes and actually automate them. And the improvement and the enhancements in the low-code or no-code development, they continue to accelerate at this faster rate, which is really cool. So we’re poised as our power users and our content owners, a lot of our front end people, but as well as our IT administrators, our developers, our Azure owners and whatnot, to deliver these high-value automations to our organizations. And what we’re trying to do here of course is minimize those repetitive processes, while ensuring that consistency across the organization, across these processes.”

15:19 – Power Automate is often included in your M365 license

If you have an existing basic M365 license, you likely already have access to Power Automate flows for free. If you want to work with Azure data or a third-party service outside of Microsoft, you’ll need to invest in a premium license.

“What’s cool about power automate in my opinion is that if you have an M365 license, basically any kind of enterprise license or even the other ones as well, you basically get Power Automate for free. That’s true, but it’s not necessarily the only way to do it. If you go to flow.microsoft.com and look at pricing, they’ll be talking about pricing based on a per-user basis. So you could always just purchase flow for your users, you don’t need an M365 license. But most of us are already using M365 through SharePoint, through Teams, whatever. You basically get flow for free. But the licensing, the less expensive flow licensing or the one included in your M365 license, is only for connectors that are not considered premium. So basically a way to quickly think about that is if you’re trying to connect to, be triggered by, to work with M365 or dynamics data as well, as a few of maybe social feeds such as like Twitter or something like that, those connectors are free within your M365 license or within your less expensive flow licenses. So your users can work with that kind of data: Outlook, Exchange, things like that, that’s all considered included in the license. But if you want to work with things that are outside of that, including if you want to work with Azure data, or you want to do anything that would be with what’s called an HTTP API. If you have a third-party service outside of Microsoft that has an API that you want to be able to interact with within your flow, more than likely you’re going to need a premium license.”

18:35 – Best use cases for Power Automate vs. Logic Apps

Power Automate is great for simple workflows that are created and used by individuals or small teams. In contrast, Logic Apps are good for enterprise-level workflows where you want the organization and the IT department to “own” all automation processes.

“I look at Power Automate being really good at the more simplistic workflows to reasonably complex ones. If they get more and more complex, I want you to use a different tool…Another factor around Power Automate is that if you have a flow that is tied to a person, where maybe one person owns it, or it’s a flow for themself, it’s a process that I want something that happens for me or maybe for my small team, Power Automate is probably going to be really good for you for that, even if it gets complex. Because Logic Apps is we’re going to see isn’t really good at that kind of thing. I could do it, but it’s not really good at that. Power Automate can also be really good when working with or manipulating SharePoint list to data. And one of the reasons why is if you go into a SharePoint list and you want to work with their approval workflows and you want to work with their templating on workflows, that is all pushed into Power Automate. So it’s something to think about when you’re working with Power Automate, is who’s going to it? And if it’s really for a person or a small team, Power Automate might be really good for you. Where it’s not good for is larger, more complex enterprise workflows, where you have lots of people who are owning it, or you don’t want a person to own the flow. You want the tenant to own it, the organization to own it, because maybe if somebody were to leave and they were the owner of it, that flow could get orphaned, unless you set it up properly.”

24:34 – Power Automate flows are perfect for individual tasks

If you’re looking to organize your personal workflow, Power Automate is the solution. Set up emails to automatically save to One Drive, post in Teams, add to your to-do list, and much more.

“When I think you should be using [Power Automate] is when you want to create something for you. It’s really good at that. Where you want to stay on top of the things that are important for you or for your department. So some popular ones I’ve seen are where people are creating flows for themselves where they want to highlight an email from their boss, or anytime an attachment comes into my email, I want it automatically saved my One Drive for security reasons or for longevity reasons, things like that. Or when emails come in, I want them automatically posted into Teams. Or if an email comes up from my boss, automatically add that to my planner or to my to-do list so that I can know I need to deal with that kind of thing. These are great. Another example that we’re going to show too in our demo is maybe Microsoft Forms, where when you add a form when the submit a result comes into Microsoft Forms, the data is just stored Forms. I want it in a SharePoint list so I can work with it. Great reason to be using Power Automate. SharePoint lists data, etc., all kinds of things that you could maybe stay on top of. Social media – so anytime that something is mentioned or the hashtag in Twitter, I want to be notified internally so that I can deal with it, or maybe I’m in charge of that kind of thing and I just need to know when people are talking about my organization, Power Automate could be a really quick way for you to do that for you to set it up and you don’t really need many other people to help you get involved.”

26:11 – Logic Apps are very similar to Power Automate flows

Logic Apps live in Azure and are not called flows, but they accomplish very similar work to Power Automate. The biggest difference is the licensing and back-end complexity.

“Effectively, Logic Apps are the same thing as Power Automate. Now a Logic App within Azure is called a Logic App. It’s not called a flow, it’s called a Logic App. So we can think of it as that, but the thing is that flows live within Power Automate. Basically at flow.microsoft.com, whereas Logic Apps live within Azure, and they live within portal.azure.com. So there’s a very different setup process for Logic Apps over flows within Power Automate, and the licensing is very different. So those are the big things. The editing experience is actually really similar, except that there’s no mobile app for Logic Apps and there’s no Vizio. But the web-based editor is almost the same…What this all means though is that the licensing has changed. And because of the way the licensing is, it’s more for like IT pros or admins or for developers or those within Azure that kind of own the tool, which can get a little scary. Because a lot of us won’t have access to Azure within our organization.”

27:37 – Logic Apps are a developer’s tool

To connect something to a Logic App, you need more “internal plumbing” in the form of API connections to get your Logic App to talk to a tool like SharePoint.

“Logic Apps are really more of a developer’s tool. They’re more of a technical tool. Even though the configuration of your Logic Apps is very similar to flows, it becomes more of a developer tool. Logic Apps are distinct entities. They live as a Logic App. They’re not really created as my flow or anything. So like when you create a Logic App, the Logic App itself is the flow. There isn’t really flows in Logic Apps; it’s just a Logic App is a Logic App. What’s also interesting is when you need to connect to something within a Logic App. So Logic App wants to talk to SharePoint or wants to talk to Twitter or something in the back end. When you do that, there’s this resource that’s created. It’s called this API Connection. Whereas in flows with Power Automate, you basically just looked at the flow and you could just see what was there. Within Logic Apps, all of the internal plumbing is also created. And it’s there, and you can see it, and you can manipulate that stuff as well, which is really interesting.”

28:40 – Logic App licensing is based on consumption

Logic App billing can be complex, but is typically inexpensive. The price is based on the number of actions or connections that you need to accomplish.

“The main thing about licensing is Logic Apps are based on consumption. It’s based on each time that the Logic App is run, is triggered, as well as how many connectors you had. Effectively, how many actions you have, you’re going to be billed on that. This can get really complex on billing by the way. It can be really cheap. We’re talking often, it’s really more like 1,000 to 10,000 to 100,000ths of a penny per connector, per execution. So it is pretty simple. But when we’re trying to figure out exactly what a Logic App is going to cost per run to help our clients budget this out, it can be really challenging. There is a cost calculator with an Azure. You can just Google Azure Cost Calculator, and you can attempt to set this up and try to see what this is going to cost. But often the workflows that we’re creating for our clients, they’re costing a couple of dollars per month, it’s really inexpensive.”

29:50 – Logic Apps are owned by the organization

The key difference between Logic Apps and Power Automate flows is that the Azure tenant owner controls everything. Employees are involved in their creation, but not ownership.

“Logic Apps that are owned by the org or the tenant, they’re not owned by people, which is a good thing. Someone’s creating them and they are automatically added as an owner, but the tenant owns it. So if that person were to leave, that Azure tenant owner could always go into that Logic App, assign new owners. The infrastructure of Azure doesn’t say that this is the person that owns it, if they go and disappear. It’s the tenant that owns it. Logic Apps are great for dealing with larger things. Maybe things like anytime a new user’s added in Workday or something, you want a Logic App that’s triggered that’s going to automatically go and configure AED properly for my Azure Active Directory – yeah, that’s a great thing for Logic Apps to do, and not so much a flow can do it. But reporting within Logic Apps is much more robust than in flows.”

31:17 – Logic Apps are not suited for individual tasks

Logic Apps are excellent for automation at scale, but not for personalized individual workflows. They are also more challenging to set up, hence they are the domain of IT professionals and developers.

“Logic Apps on the other on the flip side are really bad in my opinion at individual tasks. If you want to create a Logic App that notifies you when your boss sends you an email, I wouldn’t do it in a Logic App. Because it’s just more complex. You can, but because the setup is more of a challenge, it’s just not as good. It doesn’t scale well for when you’ve got lots of people who want to create individual workflows. So anyhow, this is all generally for your IT pros, your developers, your Azure administrators, basically to me, more those that own the infrastructure, although you may request them to be created for you. I’m assuming most of you are not the IT pro Azure admins. Once that’s been created, ideally you can then be made an owner of it, and you’ll be isolated into that small little piece in Azure. But now you can go and work. Since it’s owned by the tenant, it’s a little more challenging to create and set up.”

37:26 – Consider ownership and data location

In addition to factoring in the cost of Power Automate versus Logic Apps, think carefully about who will “own” the processes and where the data lives that your processes may talk to.

“General ownership, like who should own this? Remember Power Automate flows are owned by somebody. They could be shared with co-owners, etc. But Logic Apps are gonna not be owned. So if you have a flow or a process that should be owned by somebody, because it’s for somebody in particular, that might be a good place to put Power Automate flow. Whereas if the tenant should own it, if it’s more of a tenant-wide process, then Logic Apps to me is a really good spot for it. Where’s the data live that your process may talk to? If it lives within M365 and is for me, there’s a really good chance that Power Automate’s going to be great for you, because there’s really no extra cost, assuming you have an M365 license already. If the data lives outside of M365 and a few other minor use cases, then you’re going to need most likely those premium licenses. And that can get expensive. So Logic Apps might be good for you, because the consumption-based model means you don’t need to worry so much about the premium connectors. Because basically they just cost more per execution, but it’s not nearly the cost potentially of a premium license, depending upon the number of times a flow runs.”

38:48 – Consider Azure access and integration

You’ll want to veto Logic Apps if you don’t have direct access to Azure and don’t have a technical team. The same is true if the automation desired centers on your personal email and data, versus something company-wide.

“Another big one is, do you have access to Azure or not? If you don’t have access to Azure, you’re not allowed to get in there, and no one’s going to create stuff for you there, then Logic Apps are out, sorry. That’s not gonna work for you. But if you do have it, you are more technical, or you believe that you’ve got a team that’s more technical, then a Logic App might be a better spot in general because of the cost savings that are potential because of the consumption. Again, based on the number of times something will execute, and based on general management. And then finally, when I look at like reach or integration, this is more like who’s it running for? Is it running for me? If it’s running for something I want, because it’s going to be my email or my stuff? Then probably a flow is going to be better for you rather than a Logic App. But if it’s something more org-wide, maybe larger departmental-wide, something that goes beyond an individual person, is more for a general process, then Logic Apps is going to be the more likely home. Now, what you’re seeing here is the answer is often, it depends.”

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