Are you a Microsoft user, but haven’t yet become familiar with the opportunities of the Power Platform?
The Power Platform includes powerful tools for various needs. Tools with which, for example, you can tailor a user’s views without compromising the user experience or information value, using existing tools without traditional software development. All the while, Microsoft licence policy enables invoicing based on actual usage.
Why is the Power Platform so difficult to explain in concrete terms?
The Internet is full of definitions for the Power Platform, which is known as the market leader in low-code solutions. In short, it is a collection of tightly integrated low-code solutions by Microsoft, which, when combined, provide opportunities to use data in building various supporting solutions for business. The Power Platform has therefore found its place in between traditional, tailored product development, product-based systems and data flows. It provides value for both professional and citizen developers.
Figure: Microsoft Power Platform consists of four key products: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents. In addition to these applications, various cross-platform features that play an important role enable Microsoft Power Platform’s full potential. These include Data Connectors, AI Builder and Dataverse.
The Power Platform can be seen as a chameleon that looks different depending on the perspective from which it’s viewed and how it’s used. It can, for example, be a user interface to data, in which case the data can be stored in an ERP system, separate from Azure databases. Alternatively, Power Platform can act as a process engine that handles particular events based on changes in data, for instance. Equally, the Power Platform can, depending on the organisation, show as chatbots, RPA implementations or Power BI reports.
It’s this versatility that makes Power Platform so difficult to define. You could compare this with the question, “What is it like working with Azure?” The responses vary based on the kind of matter the person is working on.
Why is there a global interest in the Power Platform?
1. Ease of trial and use
Perhaps one of the most significant reasons for interest in the Power Platform is the ease of trying it out and using it. If a company is already using some kind of M365 package, the basic Power Platform package is already available without an additional fee. The Power Platform is automatically integrated in the Microsoft ecosystem, and user identity is tightly connected to Power through (Azure) AD. Due to its extendibility and inexpensive premium licences, it is difficult to reach the limits of what you can do with the platform.
Another reason for the interest is that implementing Power Platform solutions is efficient. These solutions can also work to supplement other existing systems. For example, when implementing a new ERP system it may be possible to notice that the ERP system does not meet all of the user needs. In such a case, it may be smarter to implement the required views or processes in another product, with which you can fully configure the user experience. An external solution can also result in lower licence fees, offline capability or an opportunity to use artificial intelligence.
Efficiency can also attract customers to Power Platform that are not necessarily Microsoft Dynamics users. Power Platform can be used to automate Excel processes or to process and archive forms, among other things. It is also a fine tool for data business projects.
3. New opportunities
A third clear reason for using the Power Platform is its new opportunities. A concrete example should also help with this one. A company is using a financial planning system, and they would like to build a supplier self-service portal to work alongside it. A self-service portal’s most important task is to transfer information into the planning system, which is not simple.
Opening the financial planning system to partners would cause various challenges, from security to performance. With Power Platform, we can bypass the planning system and link directly to the company’s data stores and data sources. This way, we can provide partners with their own portal view that can include Power BI reports, data entries and various case management processes. By making use of the Power Platform tools, it is possible to expand the use cases of the existing system without needing traditional software development.
Power Platform – useful for various needs, even without Dynamics
People tend to think that Power Platform is not necessary if you’re not using Dynamics 365 as well. It’s a grounded and logical way to think – after all, Dynamics is where the roots of the Power Platform are. However, at Solita, we have seen the change in this way of thinking. Today’s Power Platform is an interesting tool even for companies without a strong tie to Dynamics.
And when you look at the extensive list of upcoming features, it’s difficult for us experts not to get excited. There are a significant amount of improvements and new features in the pipeline for Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agents and AI Build, better integrations and ISV experiences, as well as new Power Platform administration capabilities.