The Guide to Microsoft Power Platform
We often geek out at the possibilities of data and technology. However, as impressive as that is, not every organization can harness its full potential because of how complex it gets. Thus, there is a need for a data-driven enterprise solution that fully adapt, empower, and transform the way organizations manage data so they can fully appreciate the true value of data and technology.
This post will introduce you to the Microsoft Power Platform, what it is, and how your organization can benefit most.
What is Microsoft Power Platform?
The Microsoft Power Platform is an innovative no-code or low-code cloud platform developed by a group of technology specialists at Microsoft to give your business access to a robust set of building blocks that can empower your entire business to build and create apps, gain insights, and automate tedious business processes!
This application has a unified data schema with Office 365, Dynamics 365, and other Microsoft services.
The Microsoft Power Platform is set up on five pillars:
- Power BI
- Power Apps
- Power Automate
- Power Virtual Agents
- Power Pages
They each have the potential to improve and streamline your business process, but when integrated, they are a momentous change. Let us understand each pillar’s role to appreciate what they can accomplish when used individually.
1. Microsoft Power BI
Power BI is the business analytics arm of the Power Platform. With over 275 different data connectors, you can extract and load business data from anywhere. Taking it a step further, Power BI lets you transform your data using its data cleaning engine, Power Query, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to build. Once done, you can access your business dashboard and share it with members of your organization to make the most of your data.
Power BI has three core areas:
- Power BI Desktop, which is free.
- Power BI mobile to visualize reports on the go.
- Power BI Service is the cloud-based arm for administrative, collaboration, and reporting
Why Use Power BI?
With Power BI, transforming data, getting insights, and dashboard creation has never been easier. The whole underlying idea behind the Power Platform is its ease of use and low-code nature. Power BI is easy to use, with Excel from Microsoft 365 being its founding platform. As a result, you can build reports and collaborate with about anyone in your organization, if they have access.
You can analyze, visualize, and model data and forecast, predict, conduct sentiment analysis, and build machine learning models without writing code. For example, someone in the sales and marketing department can conduct sentiment analysis on customer feedback about a product. The finance department can use it to show revenue and financial KPIs so management can make more strategic decisions.
Though Power BI makes everything low-code, developers are not left out. For example, developers can use REST APIs to automate administrative tasks and customize features.
2. Microsoft Power Apps
Power Apps is a platform that enables both pro-developers and citizen developers (users with little or no coding experience) to create custom business applications that work on PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. Additionally, it connects to several data sources: Microsoft and non-Microsoft services.
Power Apps come in various types, such as Canvas, Model-driven, Portal apps, and Dataverse for Teams. The difference between these different app types is their data approach, design rigidity, and how custom they can be. For example, a canvas app is pre-made, meaning it is designed from a canvas, but there is still room to edit individual components.
Why Use Power Apps?
Power apps make it simple to create applications without prior coding knowledge. For instance, creating a daily report that allows one to enter information about daily spending or an employment onboarding app that enables the business to include the data from new hires is now possible because of Power Apps. Furthermore, you can access these apps on any device, like your mobile phone, by downloading the Power App application from the Microsoft Store, Playstore, or Appstore.
Another remarkable thing is the ease with which one can create an app by dragging and dropping user components. If there is not a prebuilt connection for this, it can be connected via an API or by clicking it to the company’s data in the database. You can also view analyzed data by integrating Power BI into the app. You can control who can change and contribute content for administrative and security reasons.
3. Microsoft Power Automate
Everything today is fast. Automated operations have countless benefits, like higher productivity, reliability, availability, increased performance, and reduced operating costs. Power Automate is the automation arm of Power Platform. It has about 500+ connectors already available, and the opportunity to create a custom connector allows you to track, automate, and complete tasks that help keep the productivity of the business at large.
The platform is also low-code and uses several types of flow or automation, like powerful Robotic Process Automation (RPA), called UI Flows. Other types of flow are automated flow, button flows, and scheduled flow. So, depending on your use case or expertise, Power Automate has covered you.
Why Use Power Automate?
Why automate tasks? Time, productivity, and lower operating costs. The workload in office activities is reduced, making the job easier for the employees to achieve, thereby increasing the company’s business performance.
You can create an automated workflow for yourself by automating routine tasks, business workflow, or legacy business processes. You can automate your cloud application, and the best thing is that Office 365 collaborates with it. All this with no coding skills or experience needed.
Power Automate has hundreds of prebuilt automations ready to use, so users don’t have to build from scratch. Making it easier for unaccustomed users to come to terms with Power Automate.
4. Microsoft Power Virtual Agent
Power Virtual Agents are AI chatbots. They assist in bridging the gap between companies and the people that interact with them and enable instant feedback without code.
Why Use Power Virtual Agent?
Power Virtual Agent makes it simple to create intelligent chatbots without coding expertise.
The chatbots are available around-the-clock on your site and can answer clients’ questions, which boosts customer happiness and benefits global enterprises. It works on AL capabilities and uses triggers and subjects to help with customer requests and discussions.
These chatbots can be added to your website’s source code, and data collection can be automated to enter data into a database. Power Virtual Agent makes it possible to connect with clients and get fast feedback from them when it comes to business. This data is used to improve customer service.
5. Microsoft Power Pages
Power Pages is the newest member to the Microsoft Power Platform family. The announcement was made at Microsoft Build 2022. It is similar to the Power Apps portal but has more capabilities.
Power Pages lets you build business websites. For example, you can create websites for customers and employees to use. Currently, it has a couple of templates available to enable you to publish responsive websites that work well across all types of web browsers and devices.
Why Use Power Pages?
The security of business data is protected, especially since everything is in one place, your Microsoft workplace. You can also integrate it with other members of the Power Platform so you can add a chatbot or analyze feedback from the site.
Microsoft Power Platform Integration: Better Together
As impressive as each pillar of the Power Platform is, the possibilities of what you can achieve with them together are unimaginable.
Power Platform allows you to harness the full potential of technology and data from Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure. You can make citizen developers out of your employees using Power Apps and Power virtual agents, turn data into insight using Power BI, and automate all these processes using Power Automate while displaying this to the world via Power Pages.
A simple Power Platform workflow looks like this:
- You may onboard new users using Power Apps or build a website using Power Pages.
- Create bots for your website or application with Power Virtual Agents to collect customer feedback and marketing leads.
- Save this information in any Microsoft tool, such as Excel from Microsoft 365, SharePoint, or any third-party application.
- While you use Power BI’s test analysis features to gain insight from this data and use Power Automate to automate replies and the process.
This will speed up time to market while lowering costs. Many enterprises IT tools and applications from different cloud vendors are no longer necessary. Additionally, it addresses the security and data control needs of how to use business data when dealing with third-party applications. CollabPoint can assist you every step of the way.
The Power of Microsoft Power Platform
Microsoft Power Platform gives you access to various technologies that function. As a result, you may amplify the power of each technology by integrating them to maximize your organization’s potential.
Ready to take the next step in more depth and enjoy a strategic edge in your niche market? We have a team of specialists who can guide you through the integration process with Microsoft 365 and get you going.