During the global pandemic, businesses worldwide accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Never before have we seen such a rapid demand for services and applications to facilitate remote working and deliver new digital experiences. Now, as the world turns its efforts to economic recovery, the demand for professional business applications continues to thrive.
The power platform enables power users, IT professionals and citizen developers to rapidly build solutions that run natively with Microsoft tools. Power platform developers can empower businesses to gain actionable insights from their data and automate mundane tasks. Ultimately, by building applications with the Power Platform, you can save time and money, build efficiencies and transform your business.
What is the Power Platform?
The Power Platform is a collective term for four Microsoft products that allow businesses to automate processes, manipulate data, save time and increase productivity. When combined, the products can create a very powerful system to handle business requirements. The four productivity tools consist of:
- PowerApps – a powerful development environment that enables users to build a wide range of applications. With pre-built templates and connectors, users can build in an easy-to-understand environment.
- Power BI – a business analytic service which works to pull data from multiple sources into coherent, immersive and interactive insights. Custom dashboards and dynamic views manipulate data in a user-friendly way, which makes it easier to analyse and act upon.
- Power Automate – a service that provides users with the ability to create automated processes between different apps and services. Users can define multi-step workflows across different applications that are triggered by specific events. Manual processes can be transformed, saving time, eliminating inefficiencies and increasing productivity.
- Power Virtual Agents – a service that enables users to create chatbots to interact with employees and handle specific business tasks. There is no need for complex coding or to retrain AI models, so users can easily create solutions and make the most of their valuable human resources.
Each component of the Power Platform is linked to the Dataverse, enabling them to work together to achieve impressive results. A secure database that is hosted within Azure Cloud, the Dataverse enables you to securely store and manage all the data used by your applications.
Who Can Use the Power Platform?
The business world is hugely reliant on data, which is constantly growing in size and complexity. While usually to handle business scenarios, professional developers are needed, the Power Platform can help low code developers and power users manipulate data, transform processes and create business applications in a user-friendly environment.
The consistent theme across all four Microsoft products is a low-code/no-code approach, using tools such as drag-and-drop capabilities. Microsoft has achieved this by using intuitive and well-designed interfaces, libraries of pre-existing elements and data connectors and unrivalled data integration.
With the Power Platform, teams within different parts of the business can create their own dashboard apps and automation that align with their business needs, often with little IT involvement. However, while the tools have been created with no code in mind, they are also incredibly useful tools for software developers. By leveraging the Power Platform, professional developers can quickly develop sophisticated and complex solutions.
The Power Platform has taken the evolution of the workplace and digital transformation to the next level. It supports business functions, drives process improvements and delivers automation at scale.
The Value of Business Applications with Microsoft Power Platform
Forrester Consulting recently carried out a Total Economic Impact Study to look at the return on investment of the Power Platform. In the study, they interviewed six businesses that implemented Power Apps and Power Automate as part of their organisational strategy. The key findings tell us a lot about the value of developing business applications with the Microsoft Power Platform:
- Cost – the average cost of application development was 74% less with PowerApps and the apps were easier to manage and maintain. What’s more, as additional applications could be built in-house, there was no need for additional vendor licence costs.
- Time – by allowing non-developers to construct custom apps and workflows, and developers to focus on more complex solutions, development time was greatly reduced, and time to market was improved.
- Efficiency – by building applications to digitise manual activities and automate processes, power apps was able to increase activity efficiencies.
- Transformation – by having better applications, business outcomes improved, and the businesses were able to fast track digital transformation efforts.
- Optimisations – by being able to create dashboards and data visualisations, businesses were able to transform decision-making and reporting into a faster more responsive process.
- Security – mobile applications developed with Power Apps are more secure as applications and workflows tie in with Microsoft’s other security solutions.
As the study showed, the Microsoft Power Platform can bring value to businesses large and small in many ways. Rapid solutions can be created to meet urgent business needs and automation, process improvements and digitisation can be delivered at scale.
Turn Your Next Idea Into a Power Platform Business Application
It’s not unusual for great ideas to get lost within IT departments due to resource and budget constraints. However, with the Power Platform, projects don’t need to necessarily be outsourced or given to a developer to complete. Ideas for systems improvements can be delivered quickly, enabling the business to realise value sooner.
By turning to the Power Platform, you can take control and empower your employees to solve business problems. You can build efficiencies, tackle big data and drive innovation. But, more than that, you can do it quickly, at scale and at a lower cost. If you’re not already using Microsoft Power Platform, it’s worth considering what you want to achieve in terms of digital transformation. By looking at specific use cases, whether it be business problems or opportunities, you can start to fully understand what the Power Platform could do for your business. Of course, while the platform has been built with the citizen developer in mind, it is best to seek guidance, support and specialist developer expertise to realise its full potential.