Microsoft is at the forefront of technology in the ever-advancing, digital-first world we live in today. Microsofts’ suite of business applications empowers businesses to not only begin, but to succeed, in their digital transformation.
The Microsoft Power Platform is comprised of three applications; Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate. These applications are designed to allow users to better analyse and understand data, improve workflow and automate business processes. The three applications come together to form an integrated platform.
Power BI is a modern business intelligence and analytics tool that transforms your business data into real-time, actionable insights. It connects to a wide range of data sources, from Excel spreadsheets to Dynamics 365 databases, empowering you to turn masses of data into visual, interactive and digestible knowledge.
Thanks to a simple, easy-to-use customisable interface, users can create individual reports and dashboards specific to their role without needing to write a single line of code. Users have the ability to modify the size, layout and data connections of the dashboard as well as individual visuals. Customised dashboards can be shared with other users in the organisation to share insights, or for collaboration.
Not only can Power BI help you to understand the past and present of your organisation, but it could help with what might happen in the future. Machine learning capabilities are part of Power BI, meaning it can analyse previous and current data to identify trends and use these to run ‘what if’ scenarios.
Power BI Dashboard
The Power Apps platform provides an environment for app development without the need for code-writing skills. Power Apps is designed for internal, business use only, and not for creating consumer-facing or external user apps.
The lack of code writing and the user-friendly drag-and-drop interface provide a straightforward environment for creating simple Power Apps. For more complex apps or app extensions, developer input may be required. However, Microsoft has designed the Power Apps platform with the ultimate goal of empowering individuals and teams to build and launch apps themselves. A collection of templates for common business processes are available as standard with Power Apps.
Power Apps can be used to transform manual, time-consuming business processes to digital, automated processes. Typically, Power Apps are built to facilitate workflows, data management, reporting, mobile communication and more. The underlying automation behind Power Apps is powered by Power Automate, which is covered in more detail below. Using the Common Data Service, data required for use with Power Apps can be pulled from external sources, such as Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Power Apps can run on Andriod, iOS, Windows and as a website on most internet browsers.
Development Environment for Power Apps
Power Automate is a powerful workflow tool designed to automate manual and time-consuming business processes. It enables users to create automated workflows without the need for extensive technical experience, as the application runs on a simple point-and-click, no-code flow designer.
Common uses of Power Automate are the ability to trigger notifications, automate admin-related tasks or gather data through the use of basic inputs. An example of this could be to save all email attachments from your boss to OneDrive. A workflow could be set up to automatically save all attachments from a certain email address to a specified folder in OneDrive. Furthermore, you could add a stage at the end of the process that triggers a notification to be sent at the end of the week reminding you to review the saved attachments.
Power Automate connects to data from more than 200 sources, from Office 365 to Dynamics 365 and Twitter to Google Drive. This empowers users to create automated workflows in-context of the applications and programmes they use every day, resulting in increased efficiency across the entire organisation.
As part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power Automate integrates with Power BI, Power Apps and Dynamics 365.
The following video provides an introduction to Power Automate and demonstrates an example of an automated workflow.
Introduction to Microsoft Power Automate
If you would like to find out more about the Power Platform or discuss what it could do for your organisation, please get in touch with us today.