Guest Post: Flow SharePoint button workaround for GCC customers

Guest Post: Flow SharePoint button workaround for GCC customers

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So, for a while, there has been a gap in the Office 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) SharePoint environment when it comes to the integration of Flow in GCC vs how it looks in our commercial environments.  What is the difference we’re talking about?

What is the difference between starting a Flow from the SharePoint UI or the respective standalone apps?

We’re glad you asked.  When you are using a modern document library or list in a commercial Office 365 tenant, you will see buttons for PowerApps and Flow displayed in the ribbon:

These buttons allow the user to click and create quick Flows/PowerApps based on the current document library/list.

GCC notably does not have those buttons exposed.  But, all is not lost! You can still connect your data sources–it just takes a few extra steps.

Start Flow from List or Library Method

Let’s say I choose the option to have Flow send an email.  From a SharePoint list (in Commercial), I select Flow | Create a Flow and choose Send a customized email when a new SharePoint list item is added, Flow will open an application with a skeleton created for you. It will have certain fields pre-populated based on what SharePoint List or Library you originated the request. See below:

As you can see, it used one trigger and two actions: (T1) When a new item is created, (A1) Get my profile, (A2) Send Email.

That’s it.  That’s the integration.

Start Flow from App Method

The exact same result can be achieved by starting Flow manually and selecting the same sequence of triggers and actions.

    1. Go to either https://gov.flow.microsoft.us and sign-in or log into the Office 365 portal (https://portal.office.com), expand All Apps and then choose Flow.

    2. On the left pane click Create and then select Automated flow.
    3. This opens a prompt for us to choose a trigger. For the trigger, think about the end goal: Send an email when a new SharePoint list item is created – just search for SharePoint and choose the appropriate trigger: When an item is created.

      Now we have a Flow ready to be built. You will notice the fields are not filled in as the other method provided. You’ll have to provide a link to the SharePoint list you want to watch. You can do this by copying and pasting the SharePoint site address and choosing the list from the List Name drop-down:

    4. Next, you need to tell Flow what to do after a new item is created.  In the case of the original example, Flow was going to send an email.  So, to emulate the steps the Flow button performed, click New Step and then search for Profile:

    5. Now that Flow has been configured to watch for new items on the list, it will obtain the my profile from Exchange Online, and then use that for the next step–which will be to send an email. Click Add a step and search for Send an Email. To fill in the blanks, click in the field and choose the dynamic content from the previous steps:

      The from scratch Flow is now done.

Comparison

If we compare the two Flows side by side:

Now, to test the end result by adding a new item to my monitored list called This is a test!:

  1. Create a list item:
  2. Check email.

 

As you can see, the two function the exactly same. The only thing the Flow button in the SharePoint Online user interface does is pre-populate a Flow with a few fields. Frequently, you’ll want to customize what the button gives you anyway, so learning how to generate a Flow from the ground up and connect it to your SharePoint site will give you a leg up on developing your own business process automation.

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