Sending Company-Wide Text Messages Via Twilio and Microsoft Power Automate
Using Microsoft Power Automate and Twilio, we can create a flow to send out text messages to specific groups of employees or we can automate things such as recurring meeting alerts. These groups are created as lists in SharePoint that are at the most basic a Name and Cellphone Number. From there, the flows are created based on what you want to send via message to each of the specific groups. For example, there can be a flow that will send out an emergency broadcast to a list that has every employee of the organization in it when you hit a button, or you could make it a little more granular and have a phone list of managers only and a flow that sends out a meeting reminder message to them automatically. Fig 1.1 below shows a sample flow that is set to be sent out every Friday starting on December 20, 2019, at 10:10 am to remind the users in the specified Phone list that there is a meeting coming up at a time based on when the function was set up. Fig 1.2 below shows a sample emergency broadcast that was sent manually to a cellphone with the push of a button. The number of messages and phone lists created can be numerous and can be customized based on what the company needs.
The phone number that is used in this process could be the main office number so it looks like the text is coming from your company, or it could be from a certain individual work phone like the Director of IT, for example. When a number is added into Twilio, we can code it so that responses to the messages are dropped or responses could also be set up to be forwarded to single or multiple cellphone users that will show who the responders number is and the message they sent. Fig 1.3 shows a simple sample of forwarding the messages that users respond with to two specified phone numbers who would receive the phone number of the user that sent the message and the message itself.
For this to be set up, the first thing that needs to be done is to set up the numbers to be Hosted SMS. This does not have any impact on voice calls and allows voice-enabled numbers to then send and receive messages. This process is straightforward and consists of some eligibility checks to start to make sure that the numbers can be used. After that comes verifying ownership and signing a Letter of Authorization. It then takes 1-3 business days for the numbers to be registered and tested for SMS functionality and if they pass, then they move to ‘in-use’ status.