Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Create a Teams chat group with Power Automate and other new actions and triggers

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Vesa Nopanenhttps://myteamsday.com/
MVP for Office Apps & Services (Teams & Collaboration focus), Principal Consultant in Office 365 and Modern Work. Extremely passionate about Microsoft Teams's power to change how people work together. Helping and coaching customers to find benefits, solutions and value when adopting new tools, methods, ways or working and practices into daily work-life equation. I am always eager to challenge current situation and dig out new possibilities and ways to think and work. You could describe me as a jack of all trades but my main focus area and deep personal driver is Microsoft Teams since it has changed the way I work and did a giant step forward to make it possible to work from anywhere - the location does not matter even us much as it mattered before. Microsoft Teams opened the path for many organizations to rethink their practices, worklife, culture and start the change. That's why I am very passionate about Teams.

A long title, but necessary. Microsoft Teams has gotten new Power Automate actions and even one trigger + updates to old triggers recently. It was of course time for me to put them to the test. As a spoiler: not all work perfectly yet, but I don’t think it will be a long time until they can be utilized.

Let’s to through all marked ones.

Trigger: When keywords are mentioned

In this trigger you can define to keep tracking channels or chats for mentioning specific words. You can define multiple channels or chats to it for monitoring.

Or you can define chats what you want to monitor.

However you proceed, you will get information about the conversation when the trigger fires.

This can be used, for example, with other new capabilities to create a heads-up information trigger that will alert specific people.

And initially testing, it does work like a charm.

WARNING: THERE ARE ISSUES WITH THIS TRIGGER! (8th of September 2021)

Yes, it worked initially like a charm. Testing it more I found out that the trigger doesn’t always respect those keywords but fires for all messages in a channel for example. This is clearly still work in progress and I am sure it will be fixed. If I were to use it now in production, I would add a secondary check with conditions to handle each keyword differently.

The potential for this trigger is a really big one. It allows to create actions or automated processes based on message content. Wording may be 1:1 but it will be still really helpful to get started with automation.

Trigger: When I’m @mentioned

Instead of creating a Power Automate Flow for each channel you want to monitor, you can now define those for multiple channels in a team or to multiple chats.

Unlike the keyword trigger at this time, this one seems to work nicely

Action: Get message details

To retrieve information about the related message after being atmentioned firing a keyword trigger you can use the Get Message Details action.

This can used to both channel and chat messages

And since you can get team, channel and other details from trigger you can use this one very dynamically

Get Message details returns quite a lot of information about the message. Details indeed!

It is of course handy to use this one with For selected message trigger or when listing messages on a channel, just to name a couple of more places where you can use it.

Action: Create chat

You can use this action to create a new 1:1 or group chat. This means that your business processes can bring in people automatically into a conversation by creating a chat group.

Creating a chat gives you a ConversationID that you can use to post messages to the chat with other actions.

Action: List chats

It is also possible to retrieve existing chats and keep on continuing the discussion there. The action lets you define what chats will be listed: all, group, meeting or 1:1 chats.

And you can set if you want only those chats returned that has, or doesn’t have a subject/topic. Or on default return all.

It returns a nice list of data you can then use: for example the topic and datetime to find out the exact chat you want to post your automated message into.

Team Tag actions : list and get @mention token

There are also two actions related to Team Tags:

  • List all tags for a team
  • Get an @mention token for a tag

This one will return a schema and a body

Currently listing tags for a team doesn’t work: it looks like that the Power Automate action is ahead of API.

Same applies for getting a tag @mention token. It is there, but not usable yet

It is a really good thing that Tags will get a Power Automate actions, and it looks like they will be there soon. It will open great possibilities to keep your people up to date automatically. Especially when combined with Shifts and automatic Tag groups based on people in the shift will open up doors how to process automation helps employees.

Conclusion

Power Automate actions and triggers with Teams are continuously evolving and growing. There are new, extremely usable, capabilities coming but we have to wait a bit for Microsoft to finalize them. Chat group related automations already work, so they can be taken into use. I especially see meeting automation a great way here: posting information to the meeting automatically about follow up tasks or from integrated systems. It will be really easy to create them already – to give meetings more depth and intelligence than before.

On personal productivity level those keyword triggers will be big ones: keeping you up to date about specific messages that either interest you – or perhaps you want to share your knowledge about those topics in a easy way.

Power Automate and Microsoft Teams are a true match.

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