How can Microsoft's Power Platform transform your business?
The world is entering an era in which data becomes the new oil, it will become essential to make use of the information you have to stay ahead, and the Power Platform is your best bet of getting started on that journey. The best part is that the platform is built from the ground up to be totally accessible, you can build reports, automations, apps, and chatbots without a single line of code. That said, if you do want to add much deeper complex functionality you can use languages like Python, R, and Typescript to massively extend functionality to do almost anything.
The Power Platform is a group of 4 products offered by Microsoft which provide a one-stop shop for everything from data-analysis, to visualisation, to automations, apps, and AI driven chatbots. Just like Excel this is not an extremely complex, expensive, and risky way to work with your data, this is streamlined, simplified, and fits into almost any existing arrangement of systems seamlessly.
The Microsoft Power Platform has 4 main tools:
Power BI – Pull together data from a range of sources and visualise your data intuitively
Power Automate – Used to design automated workflows to reduce manual tasks
Power Apps – Used to quickly build and powerful bespoke apps for internal use by the organization
Power Virtual Agents – Deploy data powered chatbots which can communicate with clients
These are all built around the Dataverse, the excitingly named backbone of the platform which has hundreds of connectors to pull together and combine data from almost anywhere.
Power BI is the data visualisation and analysis tool. Through this you can pull in and combine data from the hundreds of available connectors and build extremely dynamic powerful visualisations.
With just the click of a button, drop in a ‘smart narrative’ visual which leverages artificial intelligence to automatically provide insights or watch as you click one visual and all the others on the page filter to match your selection. Getting insight from data and understanding your organisation has never been easier or more effective, check out or showcase for some examples of how this can look as a finished product!
Simply put, Power Automate is a tool for automating processes. You can set up flows through a few clicks which will carry out business processes (and many other things) based on either a trigger e.g. an email, a schedule e.g. 8am Monday morning, or on a button press.
This is an immensely powerful tool which can change the entire way your business works for the better. Often the hardest part is thinking of one process to start with! One of our favourites is to use alerts in Power BI which are generated when a value exceeds a certain threshold, spend for example. When this alert goes off Power Automate steps in to get all the relevant information and then posts it to a channel in Teams. Alternatively, you could use it to load in hundreds of excel files and combine them into one dataset, or to send a push notification when your boss emails you!
As the name suggests Power Apps provides the functionality to build custom apps which can run on any mobile device or web browser. Without a single line of code you can make an entire application for internal use, allowing you to easily streamline, monitor, and manage a whole range of business processes.
For example, a school could use this app to monitor registration of students by feeding in data to an app which lets teachers quickly mark a student’s status, perhaps other comments could be added throughout the lesson if necessary and then just by clicking submit the data would be sent back and updated.
Power Virtual Agents
Using Microsoft’s Virtual Agents users can use a guided, no code graphical interface to create powerful chatbots. Chatbots can be used to help increase the potential of converting a new website visitor into a lead, to help existing clients access resources in a portal, or to provide employees answers to common questions. This is the newest addition to the platform and is tied deeply into the artificial intelligence work going on at Microsoft, expect to see much more of these bots over the next few years!
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As with many things the tools of the Power Platform are extremely powerful individually but even greater than the sum of its parts, used together they can be used to add value to almost any business process.
Often the hardest part of using the Power Platform is narrowing down on one idea, it can be overwhelming, and any new software no matter how simplified can be difficult to learn. Here at Infuse Data Solutions we have a wealth of experience in using and developing the Power Platform throughout a huge range of industries, please just get in contact and we’d be delighted to have a discussion about what we can do for you.