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Understanding Power Platform: A Simplified Guide
Monday, September 11, 2023
Reading time: 5 minutes
In the world of modern businesses, data plays a crucial role. The ability to collect, store, analyse, and derive valuable insights from data is essential for organizations to succeed and compete effectively in the market. Microsoft Power Platform is a technology platform that empowers businesses to achieve these goals. In this article, we will explore the Power Platform in simple terms, discuss its component parts, and examine the commercial opportunities it offers for partners.
What is Power Platform?
At its core, Microsoft Power Platform is a technology platform rather than a single product. It encompasses various tools and services that revolve around data management and utilization. Let’s dive into the key components of the Power Platform.
Power Apps allows users to create and deploy customized applications for web and mobile platforms. These applications can be embedded within existing systems or used as standalone solutions. Power Apps empowers businesses to tailor their applications according to their unique needs.
Power Automate enables the creation of automation and workflows. It ranges from simple tasks to advanced scenarios, helping streamline processes and eliminate manual, repetitive tasks. With Power Automate, businesses can automate data capture, routing, approvals, and more.
Power BI provides a unified platform for data analysis and visualization. It allows users to explore data from internal and external sources, create insightful reports, and build interactive dashboards. Power BI helps businesses gain valuable insights and make informed decisions based on data.
Power Pages enables the creation of external-facing websites, also known as portals. Organizations can build web-based portals that provide external users, such as customers, partners, or community members, access to specific data and functionality. These portals can be customized and tailored to meet various business needs, such as customer self-service, community forums, knowledge bases, event registration, and more.
Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents enables the creation of chatbots and automated agents. These virtual agents can assist users by providing guidance, directing them to the right resources, or performing automated actions. With Power Virtual Agents, businesses can enhance customer service and automate interactions.
Underpinning all the Power Platform components is the Common Data Model, also known as the Dataverse. It serves as a common data repository and database for various applications, including the core Dynamics 365 Business Applications. The Common Data Model ensures seamless integration and consistency across different tools and services within the Power Platform.
Why should Partners care about the Power Platform?
Partners can leverage the Power Platform to create new business solutions, extend existing systems, and bring together disparate technologies and data. This platform empowers organizations at all levels, from the boardroom to the workforce. It enables businesses to become more data-driven, automate manual tasks, and drive efficiency in day-to-day operations. In summary, the Power Platform helps partners deliver better solutions, save time, and extract maximum value from the data they collect.
Commercial Opportunities for Partners
Monetizing the Power Platform may seem challenging at first, given its nature as a platform rather than a specific product. However, there are several avenues for partners to explore.
Developing Custom Business Applications
Partners can create new line-of-business applications using Power Apps and license them on a per-user, per-month basis. These applications can address specific customer needs and be sold similarly to Microsoft's applications, requiring considerations like license management and intellectual property protection.
Building Workflow Integrations
Partners can help businesses automate manual and repetitive processes using Power Automate. By identifying common scenarios such as time-off requests or invoice processing, partners can provide more efficient solutions and streamline data manipulation, capture, and routing.
Business Intelligence and Data Visualization
Power BI allows partners to offer data visualization services, creating interactive dashboards, scorecards, and KPI reports. Partners can help businesses gain valuable insights from various data sources, beyond just Microsoft products, and provide enhanced data visualization capabilities compared to traditional tools like Excel or SQL Reporting Services.
Partners can design and deploy chatbots using Power Virtual Agents. These chatbots can offer self-guidance and support on websites or other platforms. With the no-code graphical interface, partners can provide chatbot services without the need for extensive development.
Partners can design and configure portals using a low-code approach, leveraging pre-built templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and a variety of data connectors. It allows for seamless integration with other Microsoft services, alongside Dynamics 365 and Dataverse, enabling businesses to extend their existing systems and provide external users with secure access to relevant information and services.
Microsoft Power Platform is a powerful technology platform that empowers businesses to leverage their data effectively. With its components, organizations can create customized applications, automate workflows, gain insights from data and enhance customer interactions. For partners, the Power Platform presents commercial opportunities through the development of business applications, workflow integrations, data visualization services, chatbot implementations and customer portals. By embracing the Power Platform, partners can help their customers succeed and bring real value to the data they collect, process, and analyze.