What’s the Microsoft Power Platform?
Microsoft is leading digital transformation for businesses, helping them find new and exciting ways to use their people and processes to the fullest. In a digital-first world where customer experiences take precedence over all else, leveraging every available resource is of the utmost importance.
The Microsoft Power Platform is a collection of products from Microsoft that aim to help businesses heavily dependent on data look for new ways to gain tangible value from it.
The platform offers services for business intelligence, app development and app connectivity to help customers get greater value from their investments as Microsoft positions itself to compete with Amazon Web Services and Google’s cloud platform.
Power Platform products include:
- Power BI: for in-depth data analysis from various sources
- PowerApps: creates robust mobile apps that can be used internally
- Power Automate: creates automated workflows that reduce manual tasks
- Power Virtual Agents: makes powerful chatbots to help connect with customers
Read on to find out how these tools help users enhance their business processes.
What can the Microsoft Power Platform do and who is it for?
The Power Platform is a collective expression for four Microsoft products: Power BI, Power Automate (formerly known as Flow), PowerApps, and Power Virtual Agents. These let people manage, automate and analyze the data combined with Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 and other third-party apps and Microsoft services.
Power Platform gives end-users easy access to digital information, even if they don’t have a technical background. This means the users don’t require coding knowledge.
While Microsoft Power Platform doesn’t come with the intricacies of custom coding, it does provide a streamlined method that enables users to develop, automate or evaluate data in different ways that may have been impossible beforehand.
Let’s delve deeper into each of the four Power Platform products to better understand their capabilities.
Microsoft Power BI is a business analytics tool. It’s a cloud-based solution that analyzes and models data with interactive visual reports, dashboards, and stories for business intelligence.
Power BI Desktop can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store specifically on Windows machine for free. At the present time, Power BI is just available for Windows and no other operating systems. Additionally, it also has a mobile application and can be installed on iOS and Android devices. You can visualize reports in an intuitive mobile interface through the mobile app instead of the definite desktop view, if preferred.
In short, Power BI allows you to:
- Connect with third-party cloud services, Microsoft services and in-house data sources
- Easily handle data and create visuals such as dashboards, maps and charts, which help you present information in a simplified format
- Use usual language for queries and get results
- Examine and comprehend complex data to facilitate continual improvement
Power Apps is an intuitive platform that allows users to build a UI for mobile applications with a drag and drop features. Users have the option to add various controls to the UI like choice fields, text boxes, etc.
Power Apps also supports other features and media devices that can help you develop an advanced mobile application. Users can easily create and run apps on web browsers like Firefox or Chrome, or use them on iOS, Android or Windows devices.
Essentially, Power Apps is only for internal users. Developers can’t modify or tweak the HTML code or control elements related to the user interface.
In a nutshell, Power Apps allows you to:
- Create mobile and user-friendly apps quickly and with a low-code approach that reduces the IT team’s burden
- Bring and surface data together from your business applications such as Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and other apps
- Present key data in a streamlined way that helps with data entry, meaning users only get relevant information they require to accomplish a particular task
Power Automate, formerly referred to as Microsoft Flow, is another component of the Power Platform that centers on automation. It lets business users automate workflows effortlessly without the requirement of code knowledge. As businesses gear up for seamlessly automated environments, Power Automate makes it exceptionally easy to manage manual tasks precisely.
Power Automate offers various pre-defined workflow templates to choose from, and you can even build customized workflows from scratch if need be.
Overall, Power Automates allow you to:
- Deploy pre-defined automation templates in the Flow Gallery
- Create custom automation by connecting various applications such as SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Outlook or other apps like Twitter, Gmail or Asana
- Set up alerts, automated emails, triggers and push notifications with no coding
- Save time, reduce the chances of human error and simplify your processes
Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents is a recent addition to the Power Platform. These agents provide business users with bot-building services, offering the tools needed to create a virtual chatbot or agent from scratch, without coding knowledge.
It’s possible to execute logics and integrations in the GUI of the Power Virtual Agents platform. It can also manage the entire development lifecycle of a chatbot, starting from the information flow, to the chatbot’s deployment stage, to a channel like Skype, Teams, etc.
Furthermore, the Power Virtual Agents platform also supports integrations in the Microsoft Power Platform such as Power Apps. Based on the replies of a user, the virtual agents have the ability to prompt workflows from Power Apps and complete a particular task.
All in all, Power Virtual Agents lets you:
- Create custom chatbots or virtual agents
- Authorize the virtual agents to take necessary actions
- Monitor chatbot performance with AI-powered and data-driven insights
Let Sherweb be your guide to the Microsoft Power Platform
With numerous applications explicitly built to fulfill business needs, Microsoft is a leading enterprise tools platform. And its Power Platform is one of the most powerful resources that helps business users analyze, take action and automate workflows, all in a low code environment.
There’s no denying the fact that these resources can have significant implications for an MSP’s business. An indirect cloud solutions provider (CSP) can help you navigate the intricacies that come with the management of the cloud customer lifecycle, and also offer greater flexibility and reduce complexities associated with reselling Microsoft products.
With an indirect CSP like Sherweb, you can get migration-related assistance, focus on your core functions and unlock market opportunities that let you stay ahead of the competition. Additional value-added services—cloud solutions and products, operational effectiveness, business strategy and cloud expertise—are also available to push your business towards its full cloud potential. Whether you need guidance streamlining processes in a complex Microsoft environment, building a strategic roadmap or sourcing tools to support digital transformation, we can provide a tailored approach to your needs.
Looking to get started with Microsoft Power Platform right away? Become a Sherweb partner to get started.