The Microsoft Power Platform: Extending the Power of Your Dynamics 365 Solution with Tools You Already Have
Traditional applications like ERP and CRM are now being looked at in a broader manner. Because of their function and the powerful data they manage, they have the potential to play a bigger role in the enterprise. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough programmers, data scientists, or tech professionals to go around in order to unlock this potential, and it’s expensive to hire them.
And since you’re not in the IT business, you probably shouldn’t be spending money on hiring those resources; you should be investing your IT resources in strengthening your business. The good news is that if you’re using Microsoft Dynamics 365, you already have access to the tools you need: The Microsoft Power Platform.
What is the Microsoft Power Platform?
Microsoft recognizes that being able to customize and extend your Dynamics solution should be easy and accessible to everyone. With the Microsoft Power Platform, you get a powerful, point-and-click way to build apps. This is a game changer for Dynamics users. The Power Platform can be broken down into three tools:
1. Power BI: Microsoft Business Analytics
Power BI is a self-service business intelligence software solution. It can connect to data from a variety of sources like your ERP or CRM system as well as data in the cloud, data center, or even Excel spreadsheets. With it, you can analyze data and gain insight. Power BI has grown over the last four years and is now used by millions of users scattered across thousands of companies.
2. PowerApps: App Development Platform
PowerApps is an application development platform meant for non-technical users. It is designed to allow anyone to create web and mobile applications without the need to code. This enables front-line workers to be able to create task specific applications that improve productivity and job efficiency. PowerApps also connects with Power BI to allow for continued analysis of a problem.
3. Flow: Microsoft’s Workflow Automation Engine
Microsoft Flow is an intelligent process automation service. It allows regular users to automate complex business processes without needing a strong technical background. It uses an intuitive interface that is simple enough to allow non-technical users to create workflows. These workflows can be triggered from a variety of things including Power BI or apps built using Power Apps, as well as third-party applications.
How the Power Platform creates a Triple A Loop
The Power Platform creates a “triple A loop” that allows you to analyze, act, and then automate your findings:
- Analyze – Users can use Power BI to analyze a problem.
- Act – Once you have a better understanding of the problem, you can use PowerApps to create an application that acts upon that problem
- Automate – After you have analyzed and acted upon a problem, you can then use Microsoft Flow to automate the process.
How do you get the Power Platform?
It is possible to purchase Power Platform as a standalone product. However, it is already included in some of the Dynamics 365 plans. This allows Microsoft customers with these products to extend their Dynamics solutions using tools from the Power Platform.
If you use Dynamics 365 or Office 365, you probably already have the Power Platform. It has a proven ROI, and Microsoft has already done most of the heavy lifting and taken care of the connectivity. It can also reduce your dependency on third-party tools and allow a variety of users to help create a data driven organization.
What non-techies have done with the Power Platform
The claim that non-developers and even non-technical people are able to analyze, act, and automate using the Power Platform is absolutely true. Here are some great use cases:
Ashley Culmsee was a psychology student with no IT background but still managed to do great things with the Power Platform. She worked with her father to build with PowerApps and Flow a universal audit app that allows people to perform inspections and audits. You can read more about her story at her blog.
Nick Gill works for the American Red Cross. As a training specialist with no background in IT, he managed to teach himself the Power Platform and used it to create a process that is used by over 650 first aid and CPR instructors so that they’re able to order their training class supplies. You can read more about Nick at the PowerApps blog.
We use it here, too
Tom Berger is the Vice President of Financial Services here at AKA Enterprise Solutions. Recently, he raved about a CRM PowerApp created here at AKA: “I love my new CRM PowerApp!!! We are drinking our own champagne!”
We love that. As a Microsoft Partner, we practice what we preach, and we know from personal experience that the Power Platform actually works…and works well. It makes it easy for a non-techie person to be able to analyze, act, and automate tasks.
Let us show you how to put the Power Platform to work in your organization. Don’t have Dynamics 365 or Office 365? We can help you there, too. Don’t just buy an ERP or CRM application; see what a true platform can do for your business.