In the dynamic landscape of digital transformation, Microsoft Power Platform stands as a powerhouse, empowering organisations to leverage the capabilities of low-code development, automation, and data analysis.
Microsoft Power Platform enables users and organisations to analyse, act on, and automate the data to digitally transform their businesses. Comprising five key applications - Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Automate, and Microsoft Copilot Studio - the Microsoft Power Platform also includes the AI Builder add-in.
In December, 2023 Microsoft released Wave 2 which contains "hundreds of new features across Power Platform applications, including Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Automate, Microsoft Copilot Studio and AI Builder, as well as Microsoft Data verse, Power Platform capabilities for governance and administration and pro development".
Let's explore the top five core applications that constitute the Microsoft Power Platform and their everyday applications.
1. Power BI
Power BI is a data visualisation tool that transforms raw data into insightful and interactive reports. Users can create visually appealing dashboards and reports, turning complex datasets into comprehensible insights. Imagine tracking sales performance in real-time, identifying trends, and making informed business decisions effortlessly.
Microsoft describes Power BI as "a business intelligence that helps drive a data culture where everyone, at every level of the organisation can make confident decisions with data at any scale".
2. Power Apps
Power Apps empowers users to create custom applications with minimal coding. From streamlining internal processes to developing customer-facing apps, the possibilities are endless.
Consider designing a user-friendly app for submitting and tracking internal requests, optimising workflow efficiency for your business. Power Apps leverages the whole of the Power Platform and provides a rich set of functionality.
- Power Apps provides connectors to various data sources, both within the Microsoft ecosystem (such as SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365) and external services (like Salesforce, SQL Server, and more). This extensive connectivity allows users to integrate data from diverse sources into their applications.
- Power Apps enables users to customise the look and feel of their applications with ease. Users can design user interfaces, create forms, and customise layouts to meet specific business requirements.
- Power Apps integrates with Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow), allowing for the automation of workflows. This enables users to streamline business processes by automating tasks such as approvals, notifications, and data updates.
3. Power Pages
Microsoft Power Pages stands as a secure, enterprise-grade, low-code Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. It facilitates the creation, hosting, and administration of contemporary external-facing business websites. Whether you're a proficient low-code creator or an experienced developer, Power Pages empowers you to swiftly design, configure, and publish websites that seamlessly operate across various web browsers and devices.
2023 release Wave 2 has investments across 4 major themes:
- Generative AI - Using Copilot in Power Pages, you can jumpstart the site building experience.
- Data - Power Pages continues to invest to connect seamlessly to data anywhere.
- Collaboration - Whether you're a low-code maker or pro developer, you can create pixel perfect experiences in Power Pages and collaborate for time to value.
- Security and governance - Secure by default, Power Pages makes the administration of data and websites simple.
For official product documentation and training for Power Pages, Microsoft offers the following:
4. Power Automate
Microsoft Power Automate equips you with tools to enhance organisational productivity by automating tedious, time-consuming tasks. Leveraging cloud flows, robotic process automation (RPA), and process mining, Power Automate offers a streamlined approach to accomplish tasks across your organisation.
Seamlessly integrated with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and the broader Microsoft Power Platform, it provides an efficient solution for optimising workflows and boosting overall efficiency.
Power Automate is an invaluable extension to the Power Platform, with remarkable augmentation focussing on automating cumbersome tasks. Beyond the confines of individual tasks, this integration extends its reach to the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem and the expansive Microsoft Power Platform. The result is a comprehensive solution that not only optimises specific workflows but also contributes to the overarching efficiency of your organisation, creating a unified and potent toolset for enhanced productivity.
5. Microsoft Copilot Studio
Developing an AI model has conventionally been intricate and a time-consuming process, involving extended content update cycles and a team of specialists. Microsoft Copilot Studio revolutionises this process by empowering organisations to craft custom Copilot models which are aware of the processes and nature of the organisation, via an intuitive, code-free and graphical interface.
These Copilots can engage with users, seek clarifying information, and respond to customer queries, encompassing text, cards, rich media, and even voice interactions. These Copilots can be created for websites, socials sites or even integrated into internal intranet set ups.
With a seasoned IT expert on hand, the sky is now the limit with what can be created and integrated into your business systems.
If you're new to Copilot, check out one of our recent blogs on Preparing Your Business Environment for it and become familiar.