What is Microsoft’s Power Platform?

Microsoft Power Platform delivers easy-to-build customized applications for data analysis, visibility and process automation.

Aaron Moon

Consulting Manager - Data Platform Services

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    Power Platform is one of the hottest buzz words in the business applications community. Power Platform combines ease of use, a rich set of capabilities, and the pace of Microsoft’s development to deliver a must-have set of applications. Microsoft is continuing that pace – the roadmap for Power Platform is comprehensive. 

    So, What is the Microsoft Power Platform? 

    Microsoft Power Platform enables users and organizations to analyze, act on, and automate data to digitally transform their businesses. Microsoft Power Platform today comprises five products: Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents.  

    With Power Platform, you can reduce application development costs and effort by 70% and ongoing application management and maintenance costs by 38%. In addition, you can improve worker productivity by 15% through streamlined, automated business processes and gain better access to information to drive improved business outcomes. 

    Microsoft Power BI 

    Microsoft Power BI is a self-service business intelligence application that allows users to visualize their data derived from multiple sources. It allows users to create dashboards and reports to display their data in the best format for analysis. The interactive visuals allow users to splice and drill-down into data to better understand the story the data tells. As a cloud-based product, dashboards can be shared with other users and viewed on devices ranging from desktop computers to smart phones. 

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    Power BI allows organizations to extend their reporting capabilities beyond the limitations of their current systems by combining data from multiple sources into a single centralized reporting system. For example, Power BI can be used to gain a 360-degree view of the customer by combining data from a sales CRM, your customer service ticket managing application, and ERP. 

    On its own, Power BI is a highly valuable tool. However, as the analytical front end of the rest of the Power Platform, Power BI transforms data into actionable information. 

    Microsoft Power Apps 

    Microsoft Power Apps is a software product platform that allows users to design and build web and mobile apps. The Power Apps interface allows easy development with low code or no code. Organizations find that Power Apps significantly lowers the cost of development — meaning time-saving automation which was previously thought to be out of reach due to cost considerations is now a reality. 

    It can be used to extend the functionality of an existing system, provide a subset of data or functionality from an existing system, or deliver functionality in the absence of another system. For example, a Power App could be built to manage employees’ time off, enabling users to request and receive approval for time off in the absence of another system or in conjunction with an HR system that lacks the specific required functionality. 

    Power Apps Connectors 

    Power Apps just reached over 1,000 connectors (configurable data and process tools) to popular cloud and on-premises products, the ability to develop custom connectors, and its own powerful data store through the Dataverse. Microsoft Dataverse is the data backbone that enables people to store their data in a scalable and secure environment dynamically. It enables organizations to look at data as a service spun up on-demand to meet business needs. 

    Power Automate 

    Power Automate is a process automation service that allows users to design and build powerful workflows between their favorite apps and services. Users can create simple flows for automating everyday tasks like saving email attachments to OneDrive. Users can also create more powerful flows for transferring data between two systems. 

    Power Automate Connectors and Setup 

    Power Automate has the same connector list as Power Apps and comes with templates to make it easy for a user to get started. Just like with Power Apps, the user interface allows the everyday user to build flows with no code. Flow is a key component of the Microsoft Power Platform, enabling organizations to easily extend the capabilities of existing applications, combine the capabilities of their software investment, and enable the quick automation of business processes. 

    Our Power Apps time off management example could have a flow component that sends email notifications to managers allowing them to approve their team’s time off requests. 

    Power Pages 

    Microsoft Power Pages is a secure, enterprise-grade, low-code software as a service (SaaS) platform for creating, hosting, and administering modern external-facing business websites. Whether you’re a low-code maker or a professional developer, Power Pages empowers you to rapidly design, configure, and publish websites that work across web browsers and devices. 

    Power Virtual Agents 

    Power Virtual Agents lets you create powerful AI-powered chatbots for a range of requests—from providing simple answers to common questions to resolving issues requiring complex conversations. Engage with customers and employees in multiple languages across websites, mobile apps, Facebook, Microsoft Teams, or any channel supported by the Azure Bot Framework. 

    These bots can be created easily without the need for data scientists or developers. Some of the ways that Power Virtual Agents bots have been used include: 

    • COVID-19 infection rate and tracking information 
    • Sales help and support issues 
    • Opening hours and store information 
    • Employee health and vacation benefits 
    • Common employee questions for businesses 

    Power Virtual Agents is available as both a standalone web app, and as a discrete app within Microsoft Teams. Most of the functionality between the two is the same. However, there might be different reasons to choose one version or the other based on the ways you want to use Power Virtual Agents. 

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    What Tools Are Incorporated into Microsoft’s Power Platform? 

    As you can see, the Microsoft Power Platform offers extensive functionality to analyze, act, and automate your data. Whether used individually or combined for additional power, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Pages, and Power Virtual Agents introduce a world of possibilities. 

    As a key part of their overall business applications vision, Microsoft continues to enhance additional products to take advantage of the Power Platform tools. Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 already provide support for and are incorporated into the platform.  

    Have Questions About the Microsoft Power Platform and Your Business? 

    Click here to send our Power Platform experts an email and if you’d like to learn more about the Power Platform features you can view them here. 

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    Aaron Moon

    Consulting Manager - Data Platform Services

    Follow Me: