Maximise the potential of the full Microsoft Stack with Power Platform

Microsoft’s Power Platform is comprised of Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents and was designed to unlock the potential of Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 (as well as other third-party apps and other Microsoft services). Together, these tools provide the means to help you easily manipulate, automate and analyse data.

The author of this page: Deirdre Lysaght
Deirdre Lysaght, Marketing Executive Nov 02, 2020

Power Platform is possible thanks to the Common Data Service* (or CDS), which is essentially the underlying data platform that provides a unified and simplified data schema so that applications and services can inter-operate.

Why is the Power Platform so important?

In this digital age, we are extremely reliant on data and the amount of data that companies are creating is continually increasing. While all this data is inevitable, it is useless unless companies can gain tangible value from it. That is why the Power Platform is so exciting!

The Power Platform enables the accessibility of data – the ability for digital information to be accessible to the typical end user. It provides four technologies that allow users to do more with their data themselves without coding knowledge. It provides an easy method for most users to be able to create, automate and analyse their data in ways which have never been possible before.

Integrations with Microsoft Teams, Project for the Web, Planner and more enables individuals and teams to improve their work processes and efficiency by creating a more seamless work experience. By making Power Platform part of our modern workplace underlines the importance of the flexibility in our work and acknowledges the value that each individual brings to the table.

PowerApps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents explained

PowerApps enable organisations to quickly solve business problems through the creation of low-code or no-code applications, created in a matter of hours rather than months. PowerApps also allow you to extend or customise the apps you already use.

Power Apps can connect to data from business applications such as Dynamics 365 or Microsoft 365 (including SharePoint, Outlook and OneDrive). It is also compatible with third-party apps like Dropbox and integrates smoothly with the other Power Platform applications.

One of the more powerful benefits of Power Apps is the ability to instantly publish the application for your company. Users can then access the new application via the Power Apps app on their phone.

Power Automate is like a switchboard or automation system for business applications, passing data between them and using it to trigger events like the creation of multi-step processes using different applications.

Power Automate can be used for specific business process automations by connecting various applications. You can use SharePoint, Dynamics 365 or even non-Microsoft apps like Twitter. For example, your Marketing department could streamline communications within social media applications using Power Automate: generating a Facebook post or posting a YouTube video that then goes to Twitter.

By setting up triggers, alerts, automated emails and push notifications with Power Automate, you and your team can save time and streamline your processes.

Power BI is a cloud-based dynamic business analytics tool which allows you to easily connect to data sources, create visuals and gain business intelligence quickly giving you a single view of your most critical business.

You can gain valuable insights from your organisation's many data sources with Power BI. In addition to the Microsoft and third-party connectors that are available through Power Automate and Power Apps, Power BI brings a few unique data connectors and advantages to the table.

With Power BI, you can build powerful drag-and-drop reports and dashboards in minutes. You can also combine multiple data sources into one data model, which allows you to see the complete picture in a specific business area or across your entire organisation.

Interactive filtering is available right out of the box in Power BI desktop or the Power BI service online. Additionally, you can take those reports and dashboards on the go with Power BI web service and through Microsoft’s Power BI mobile application.

Finally, the latest addition to Power Platform is Power Virtual Agents which is the bot building services provided by Microsoft for business users. No coding knowledge is necessary as users can build a virtual chat agent from scratch without having to write a single line of code. Power Virtual Agents can handle the entire chatbot development life cycle, starting from the dialog creation to the deployment of the virtual agents to a channel, for example, like Microsoft Teams. This service is also integrated with the other tools within the Microsoft Power Platform such as Power Automate. Based on the user’s replies, the virtual agents can trigger any workflow from Power Automate and get the task completed as intended.

As we continue to adapt, we will need more custom applications faster than ever before. Power Platform provide those application development tools to help people achieve their goals.

*Effective November 2020, Common Data Service has been renamed to Microsoft Dataverse

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