Microsoft Power Platform is a collection of programmes that lets you automate processes, create solutions, analyse data, and create virtual agents. This blog will go over the many components of the Power Platform, how to use data to your advantage, and the impact these solutions have when combined with other Microsoft products.
Data Pain Points
Over the years, we’ve discovered that 70% of businesses believe their data isn’t being used to its full potential or extent. What this implies is that a few years ago, there was a lot of focus on data and how we get it. The problems we had back then are no longer problems, and corporations now have a plethora of data from many sources. It’s more about how we can foster a data culture or make data meaningful for our users and systems, essentially making data work for you rather than working in the data to make it more relatable. I’d like to introduce the Power Platform with that thought in mind.
What is the Power Platform?
Microsoft Power Platform was born out of this concept of enterprises having an ever-increasing flow of data everywhere. The concept that enterprises can use data and insights to drive intelligent business operations is where Power Platform comes in.
Microsoft Power Platform has four major components:
- Power BI is a business analytics tool
- Power Apps is application development for low to no code apps
- Power Automate (formerly known as Flow) enables process automation
- Power Virtual Agents are intelligent virtual bots
Over 275 different data connectors that are organically created for Power Platform connect the data. Then you may take it a step further by using artificial intelligence (AI) to incorporate logic and create AI around it. The data is stored in the Microsoft Dataverse (previously known as the Common Data Service) and the data reservoir is available with all Microsoft programmes. Because all of the data is contained in one single primary data collection, it can be accessed from any application.
Power Apps is the concept of creating applications that do not require months of development time. Power Apps allows users to create both no-code and low-code applications. To construct a sophisticated intelligent form of application that includes the logic of your business, you’ll need to use very little code. Those applications, as well as the other Power Platform solutions, can be utilised on a variety of devices, including Android and iOS phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops, as well as the web and anywhere else.
Not only can you create model-driven or canvas apps that span many sources, but you can also create highly personalised activities that provide an immersive experience that begins with your data and data model and ends with your business processes and consumption across numerous devices.
Power Apps and the entire Power Platform rely heavily on security. High business security, administration, and control are available in Power Apps, which you can administer using your Azure Active Directory to enable policies with multifactor authentication. You can have full audit logs and use analytics, or you can put in place data loss prevention policies, essentially to manage your data all through the admin centre, giving you that full experience to centrally manage your apps across your organisation, as well as what has been deployed outside of it.
The idea that you can link just about any data, as well as integrate that data across your existing systems to enhance your solution, is something I want to emphasise for all of the Power Platform applications. You can use the data in Dynamics 365 to natively connect that data to an app that you’ve created and use the information that you receive out of it.
Power BI allows you to view interactive real-time dashboards and provides insights for the data you’re looking for in a single glass pane. With Power BI, you can receive insight regardless of where your data resides, thus the goal is to link and consolidate that data to provide you a more complete picture of your organisation.
From the data you acquire from the live interactive real-time dashboards, you can create smart insights and utilise them to drive activities and make educated decisions. You may even ask your data questions, which is the idea of putting the data to work for you by using the natural language query paradigm to help you comprehend your data and identify and answer basic inquiries.
As I previously stated, the Power Platform can connect to over 275 different types of data sources. There are several typical data sources in Power BI, including as your SQL database, Dynamics environment, or data from file servers like Excel. All of those approaches or data sources can be linked together to create one single image. Power BI dashboards may integrate with other cloud-based systems in addition to taking data from the Microsoft platform. Right present, Microsoft provides a lot of data connectors, and some legacy programmes can be connected as well if they have a REST API. There aren’t many systems that can perform as well as the Power Platform.
Power Automate, formerly known as Microsoft Flow, automates processes to eliminate rudimentary manual chores and the potential for human error. Power Automate is a strong workflow automation solution that allows you to link many systems and then transform the data. You can operate across different Microsoft systems since there is only one source of truth. Power Automate gives you the ability to automate and build business processes across all of your apps and services. These can range from simple automations to more complex circumstances such as branching or having several trigger replies and trigger actions.
A basic example would be employing workflows for approval processes or receiving information about various platforms where you work. Power Automate has the ability to connect to those many data sets.
Power Automate’s features include security, integrating data, employing these applications to make data work for you and useful for your organisation, and ultimately having a stronger system. Power Automate includes a wide range of features. Some are directly linked into Microsoft Cloud apps, while others must be built in, such as through Microsoft Dataverse (previously known as the Common Data Service) or custom workflows or custom applications. Power Automate can provide you with strong data connectivity and built-in platforms that are seamlessly connected to provide you with a more comprehensive, intelligent, and automated experience.
Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents are intelligent virtual bots that can communicate and perform many of the tasks that you would otherwise have to do manually or hire someone else to accomplish. For additional details, see our What is Power Virtual Agents recorded webinar.
Connecting to Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365
What is the best way to integrate the Power Platform with our existing systems? You can use Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate as separate tools, but integrating and connecting them into a shared or more unified environment gives you a far more powerful experience.
You may make these connections not only with Office and Microsoft 365 programmes like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Outlook, but also with your Dynamics 365 solution and Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Business Applications Ecosystem
The Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem is made up of a variety of applications that help businesses in a variety of industries and stages of life.
The Power Platform can be used in conjunction with a wide range of products and applications. Microsoft promotes the premise that solutions are better when they work together. The Dynamics apps in the figure above are all connected through this sophisticated and intelligent system, from Finance and Operations (now known as Finance and Supply Chain Management) to Sales and Marketing to HR plus additional ERP systems. You may use the Power Platform to augment your present environment, allowing you to build more and extend the application.
Power Platform with Dynamics 365 Business Central
Dynamics 365 Business Central and the Power Platform get along swimmingly. There are examples of data reports that can be viewed without leaving Dynamics 365 Business Central via an embedded Power BI report, as well as the reverse, where you can retrieve data from Dynamics 365 Business Central and run reports through Power BI. You can examine data in both areas and create dashboards that are up to date with real-time data when Power BI and Business Central work together. Power BI reports offer a versatile report with the option to drill down and create visualisations.
Even though Power Automate and Business Central are two independent workflow systems, the workflow template you generate in Power Automate can be added to a list of workflows in Business Central. When you use Dynamics 365 Business Central as a data source in Power Automate, you may develop various sorts of automations or processes using a template or a connector that has been built there.
When you link Dynamics 365 Business Central to Power Apps, you can create canvas or model-driven applications, which you can then share with your colleagues throughout the enterprise or even publish online. When you combine the Power Platform and your Dynamics environment, you get a lot of power.
Customize, Extend, and Build
It can be rather intimidating when comparing all of the components that are included with Dynamics, Office, and the Power Platform applications with Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Automate. Encore has worked with customers to develop roadmaps and complete implementations. We’ve recognised the need for unique business opportunities and business cases where individuals will use out-of-the-box functionality to get started in some applications, and others will lead to customising and extending their solution offering and integrating different components that aren’t out-of-the-box integrators. We can design and create those solutions, as well as personalise those jobs for you and train you to do so.
Building Business Applications
When developing business apps, we recommend customers to consider not only best practises, but also the considerations outlined below. For example, in some cases, the focus will be on complex procedures, with security and compliance factors being overlooked, whereas in others, the budget will be the key issue.
- Time and resources
- Business expectations
- Paper processes
- Complex processes
- IT/Business partnership
- Legacy system maintenance
- “Shadow IT” governance
- Leverage existing technology
- Security and compliance
We look at these factors when we’re evaluating the best implementation method, as well as the scope for the implementations that we deploy.
A reminder that the finest companies are driven by strategy, creative people, and users and businesses who recognise the need of establishing a shared vision across the organisation. Being smart, creative, and dealing with those days when you’re performing, answering emails, attending meetings, and analysing documents in the modern corporate world necessitates using the support of technology. In essence, there is an unlimited amount of automation.
Encore recognises the pressures that businesses experience from all sides, allowing you to be more productive and efficient at the end of the day. The number of days or hours in a day is limited, as are the resources available. We need to do things that will improve our ability, our expectations, our competitors, and our resources, and allow us to accomplish things that will have a significant impact on our business. With the various technologies we have and the quantity of data we can use to make it happen for us, automation is one method to do some of that.
For a presentation introducing the Power Platform that discusses how your business can harness the power of data, please see the video below:
When you combine components of the Power Platform with existing Microsoft solutions, such as the Office family of products or an ERP system like Dynamics 365 Business Central, the possibilities are unlimited.
Addend Analytics is a top Power Platform partner, with an entire practise dedicated to designing applications, BI reports, automation, and connecting the platform with current systems. We can assist your company throughout the entire process, whether you come to us with no existing system and want to build an all-in-one solution, or you already have a system and want us to support and add functionality to it.