What is the Microsoft Power Platform?

May 28, 2020 Joe Little

Microsoft Power Platform is a relatively new toolset with huge value to organizations of all sizes. But what does it do? How does it help your business? Imagine if, rather than having to hire professional developers, ordinary users in your business could create custom solutions to business problems in as little as a few minutes? From apps to automations to virtual chat agents, Microsoft Power Platform empowers everyday users to do exceptional things.  


The Business Value of Microsoft Power Platform

Power Platform consists of four individual applications: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and the newest addition—Power Virtual Agents.  All of these are built on top of Microsoft Common Data Service, and are designed to work individually or together seamlessly. In fact, the most value comes when you use them together to build complete, no-code or low-code solutions for your business.


What is Microsoft's Common Data Service

Power Platform applications:

  • Power BI: flexible, visual data analysis and reports from multiple data sources
  • Power Automate: formerly Microsoft Flow, connect business applications and services to send data and automate workflows
  • Power Apps: easily create custom internal applications for unique business processes
  • Power Virtual Agents: use a guided interface to build and deploy intelligent chatbots


What’s truly revolutionary about Power Platform is not just what you can do, but rather who can do it.  You no longer need professional developers to design and deploy a solution because Power Platform makes it possible for your users and subject matter experts to build their own scalable solutions, without extensive coding experience. This means being able to deploy custom functionality on a scale and with a level of versatility that simply hasn’t been possible before.  


Power Platform can help organizations do everything from streamline simple tasks to solve complex business issues. 


Why are the Power Platform tools more powerful together?

What many people still don’t realize about Power Platform is that Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents all complement and strengthen each other. When combined, users can extend and enhance functionality that would otherwise be limited to specific tasks, departments, or applications.


For example, Power Automate can be used to send data from a custom-built Power Apps application to Power BI, where it can be analyzed. Meanwhile, Power Virtual Agents can be combined with all of these to answer common issues, automatically initiate workflows, send notifications, and analyze customer satisfaction.


What could your business do with Power Platform?

By connecting all of these individual tools, your employees have a truly revolutionary toolset at their fingertips. Here’s an example of what you could do: if you want to send customers a text notification when their item is shipped, you can bypass the complicated and expensive task of working with a cell carrier by simply using Power Apps to create an app that automatically sends a text to your customer. If they have an issue with their order, they can talk to a chatbot created with Power Virtual Agents, which can then use Power Automate to initiate the returns process or notify a customer service representative.


Power Platform can help your business with simpler scenarios as well. For example, an organization can use Power Apps to create a visitor registration tool for a tablet in a lobby area. Visitors arrive and sign in on the tablet. Using Power Automate, this visitor information can be connected to a workflow which sends an automated ‘thank you’ email every Friday to all new visitors who came in that week, while Power BI is used to analyze weekly visitor volume.


Want to learn more about Power Platform?

Power Platform puts the ability to innovate directly in the hands of ordinary users and business people. At Western Computer, our focus is on using tools like Power Platform to empower our clients. Contact us today to talk to a Microsoft solutions expert about your business goals and whether Power Platform might help you succeed.


About the Author

Joe Little

Joe Little is Technical Solution Architect with Western Computer. With over 30 years of software experience, Joe has performed many roles throughout his career in several functional areas including pre-sales, architecture, development, implementation, and support. Joe believes the Microsoft Power Platform is a powerful solution that allows users to make small changes that have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line, such as viewing their data in new ways and creating workflows that help further automate their processes.

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