Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing some more in-depth blogs on how the Power Platform can increase productivity and gain insight into how your company is performing. Whether you need to replace an aging piece of software that is critical to your business operations, cut down on the amount of tedious work your employees are tasked with, or put your business reporting into high gear - the Power Platform is an option you should seriously consider. Before we get into the weeds with products you are likely already paying for with your Microsoft licensing, I want to provide an overview of what you can expect from this suite.
The Power Platform Components
1. Power BI: Self-service Analytics at Enterprise Scale
Power BI is the easiest of the three to explain to someone with no experience with the Power Platform. Simply put, it is reporting software. Any data you have can be fed into Power BI and turned into attractive, useful reports. These reports are dynamic and update in real-time. You can even drill down from a more comprehensive report and see the contributing data. Let’s say you have a budgeting tool where all your current projects' expenses are tracked. You and your team are able to collaborate quickly on reports and dashboards anytime, anywhere. Power BI helps you read data, discover insights, and forecast trends across a wide range of business priorities.
2. Power Apps: Apps Without Compromises
Power Apps is a low code application development environment where you can build an application for a desktop, tablet, or phone. It can interact with data in several different locations including a SQL database, SharePoint, Excel, and Microsoft’s database solution Dataverse (formerly CDS). The number of solutions it provides from there is only limited by your creativity. The overarching theme with Power Apps is that it makes sense for your business when the products on the market for a given task either don’t provide enough functionality or are overly complicated (and expensive) for your needs.
For example, there are plenty of solutions in the Customer Relationship Management space, and for many businesses, these solutions are just what they need. But if you need a very basic CRM with a certain feature that is industry-specific, none of the affordable options will work and the rest are out of your budget. Producing your own app with the basic CRM functionality and adding that extra feature to boost your ability to focus on your core business is where Power Apps shines. All the infrastructure is housed within your Microsoft environment providing data security at no added monthly cost.
3. Power Automate: From Outdated to Automated
Power Automate is a tool used for integrating software that wouldn’t otherwise be able to communicate and is often referred to as middleware. Within Power Automate these integrations are called “Flows." An event in a piece of software acts as a “trigger”, which Power Automate uses to start the Flow. This Flow often includes data and will then perform a task without any intervention from the user. The great thing about Power Automate is that it comes with hundreds of prebuilt solutions. Some examples of these prebuilt Flows are: saving email attachments to a cloud storage solution like Dropbox or OneDrive, converting word files uploaded to your cloud storage to a PDF, or posting weather updates to your Microsoft Teams channel. Sometimes it can be hard to grasp the number of solutions that Power Automate can provide. This is because you may not realize how much time is wasted on a daily basis within your company on something repetitive. Generally, the best way to think about Power Automate is if you or your employees are bottlenecked by a certain mundane task or you need to be notified as soon as a certain event occurs, a Power Automate Flow is something you may want to look into.
Each of these tools is great on its own and can provide incredible value to your business regardless of your size. Learn how your organization can empower employees to create solutions for themselves and others using the Microsoft Power Platform.
Talk to us about how we can find you a solution that is Simple. Convenient. Secure.
If you still have questions about Microsoft's Power Platform, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact us form.