Using Project Online, Power BI Alerts and Microsoft Flow for Custom Alerts
This is so cool! I just received an alert about a data condition in Project Online from Microsoft Flow. The best thing is that this condition isn’t anything Microsoft provides out of the box. With the functionality now in Flow and Power BI, we can now construct our own using Power BI and Flow.
With recent updates, Microsoft Power BI added the ability to set alerts on the card visual. You can read more about the details here. One of the settings allows an email to be sent with a distinct subject. That got me thinking since I knew from playing with Microsoft Flow that you can connect it to Office 365 Outlook and drive flows from specific emails. Flow also provides a Push Notification function so that I can push a notification to the Flow app on my iPhone.
It seems like all of the pieces I need are there to create my own custom notification.
First, I have a Project Online instance where I’ve got projects and people assigned to those projects. I’m using Project to manage capacity so knowing when the total number of overallocations is growing helps me react accordingly.
Second, using our Marquee™ Project Dashboards product, I have a count of Overallocated resources already available. I’m using Power BI Pro, so my data model refreshes automatically multiple times a day.
Third, I’ve created my own dashboard and I pinned the count of Overallocated Resources to it. Once the card is on your dashboard, you can click the ellipsis menu … and access the alert function (bell icon).
When the Alert panel opens, I turned it on, changed the Alert title and set my threshold. You can also determine if you need once an hour or once a day for alerting. The key is to check the box that says to send an email. This provides a way for us to use Flow to act upon this alert.
Now, we go to http://flow.microsoft.com. Once you login (because you already have an account, right?), go to My Flows and select Create a New Flow. You are going to create a two-step flow where it connects to your email looking for a specific subject and sender and the second step is where it sends the notification.
- Type Outlook into the Search window to see the Outlook events.
- Select Office 365 Outlook – When a new email arrives
- Ensure the connection is to the right account that will receive the alert email
- Click Show Advanced Options
- I filled in mine to look like this. Note the From and Subject Filter values.
- Now click New Step
- Click Add an Action
- Type Push into the search window
- Select Push Notification – Send a push notification
- I filled out mine to look like the following. You could have the URL set to bring you back to Power BI or Project. I chose for simplicity to bring me to Outlook.
I would have loved to have had an SMS message generated. This would have required a Twilio account that I don’t have at the moment. So since I was playing, I took the free route and loaded the Flow app on my iPhone. The Push notification would then show up there on my phone.
Once set up,
- I updated a Project Online project plan to create a new resource overallocation and published it.
- Power BI automatically refreshed the dataset, the number of overallocated resources increased.
- This value change triggered a Power BI alert and sent an alert email to my Outlook inbox.
- Flow picked up the alert and fired off the Flow.
- The push notification was sent to my phone and bam, there it is on my Apple Watch.
What do you think? What have you created with Flow and Power BI? Tell me in the comments below! I hope you found this useful.