The Power Platform is a suite of services that consists of four key components, the first of which is Power Apps.
Power Apps are applications you build that users can interact with. You build these applications with low-code techniques without diving into traditional development tools. This means they can be built by a broader set of people in your organisation and don’t require as much maintenance when things change in your underlying platform.
Power Automate allows you to automate a series of steps. This prevents you from having to do laborious, detailed or difficult tasks manually. Power Automate can automate the work in a repeatable sequence with the consistency of a machine. Moreover, you will be able to communicate with multiple systems through connectors so you can apply the powerful automation sequence you have generated directly into a cross-platform workflow.
Power BI is a data visualisation tool that allows you to input raw data generated by your organisation and turn it into beautiful, interactive visuals that one can more readily gain insights from to take proactive action. One may also employ natural language queries to query the data and get answers to critical questions.
The final component is Power Virtual Agents, to date the newest addition to Microsoft Power Platform. Power Virtual Agents ‘empower[s] everyone to easily build intelligent chatbots’ without knowing the underlying developer technology, meaning you can build smarter bots and easily integrate them as no-code solutions designed with the same audience in mind as Power Apps.
Power Platform depends on a selection of core services which enable these components to perform. All business applications need to collect some sort of data from users or may want to bring data from separate silos within the organisation to a central place. This can serve as a repository to allow building applications and generating automation workflows easier.
Microsoft Dataverse, formerly known as Common Data Service, is the answer for this. It is an abstraction across multiple underlying Microsoft data storage technologies, bringing the best of all the services together.
The Dataverse is easy to manage as both the metadata and data are stored in the cloud. It is also easy to secure so that users can only see your data if you grant them access. To learn more about the Dataverse and what having a managed, centralised data platform offers, read more at Microsoft’s website.
Since not all data will be available in the Dataverse, Microsoft has implemented a concept called connectors which enable Power Apps as well as Power Automate flows to interact with data from other systems and services. Connectors allow you to perform those interactions without familiarity with APIs or the developer interfaces that those services provide.
There are 300+ out-of-the-box connectors and you can create custom connectors by customising the existing APIs that services may define.
As Microsoft declares: ‘AI Builder is a turnkey solution that brings the power of AI through a point-and-click experience, so you don’t need coding or data science skills to access the power of AI.’
Furthermore, Microsoft Azure plays two key roles in the Power Platform. First, most Power Platform services are built on some aspect of Microsoft Azure, leveraging all the great capabilities in terms of high availability, scalability and more.
This also allows you to reach out into the traditional capabilities of Microsoft Azure if you were building an application from scratch using custom development. Therefore, a realistic workflow could be to start with the Power Platform and build all your applications, dropping all the way down to Azure when it is necessary and extending your app’s capabilities with custom code.
Microsoft Power Platform enables you to build automated and intelligent business solutions. All products offer an intuitive no-code or low-code interface. This enables cohesive and centralised solutions for all business users and reduces development costs for your organisation.
Dataverse lets you securely store and manage data used by business applications in a centralised manner, vastly improving the capability of your productivity tools.
Power Platform helps businesses:
- respond rapidly to customer and employee needs at scale with Power Virtual Agents
- intuitively use the power of AI through a point-and-click experience
- better support B2B and enterprise messaging integration
- get things done sooner with a faster time to market
Business function leader view
Microsoft Power Platform is designed to be flexible and extensible, allowing you to implement workflows seamlessly with simple, user-friendly and intuitive tools.
The 300+ connectors available help create custom business solutions without API knowledge so you can provide the best value for your organisation and better meet organisational needs.
You may need this service if:
- you are looking to reduce your dependency on disparate third-party tools
- you would like to manage all business processes in a single platform
- you want powerful analytics, design, development, and automation tools to be accessible for more business users
While Power Platform is orientated towards a low-code or no-code audience, technical teams will enjoy pushing the capabilities of their custom business solutions to create something uniquely efficient and valuable for their business.
As Power Platform is built on some aspect of Microsoft Azure, you can extend your application’s capabilities through Azure functions.
Power Platform for developers helps deliver:
- an extension of the user experience of Power Apps
- innovative solutions beyond out-the-box capabilities