An Introduction to the Microsoft Power Platform
*We are re-publishing this blog with the most recent information. A lot has changed since we originally published this in November of 2018.
What is the Microsoft Power Platform?
Power Platform combines the robust power of PowerApps, PowerBI, and Power Automate into one powerful business application platform – providing quick and easy app building and data insights. Each component of the Microsoft Power Platform is built on the Dataverse, commonly known as the Common Data Model. Each component is dynamic by itself, but brilliant and masterful when combined.
The Microsoft Power platform brings all your data together into Dataverse.
Learn more here about the features released in the 2021 Power Platform Release Wave 1. In addition to the new features being released, there are a number of enhancements to existing features. We will be seeing more and more integration with Microsoft Teams.
One app platform for Office 365 and Dynamics 365.
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella “For the first time in fact, in our own Microsoft history, we have an extensibility model that is the same for Office 365 and Dynamics 365. This has been a dream of mine for, I don’t know, for 15 years probably. And we are finally here and we are executing super well.”
Common Data Service
The heart of the Microsoft Power Platform is Dataverse, formerly known as Common Data Service for Apps(CDS). CDS is a secure database hosted in Azure Cloud prebuilt with a standard set of entities and record types. These record types – for example, Accounts, Contacts, and various activity types are extensible – so you can add additional data fields. Developers can also add new entities to fit their business needs. Entities have relationships to each other, and Business Rules can be created to make fields required, to hide fields and to set default values.
Because the Power Platform is built on the Dataverse, users are provided with a semantic consistency and built-in connectivity.
Microsoft has recently released sets of high quality icons for Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Azure product lines. Created in .svg format, these icons can be resized with no loss in quality.
Power Automate (Formerly Microsoft Flow) is a service that helps you to create automated workflows between apps and services. These workflows can be used to integrate and update data, synchronize files, get notifications and more. There are over 200 apps and services, including Common Data Service for Apps, that work with Power Automate today and that number is always growing. Power Automate allows users to easily automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks, providing a “better way to get things done.” We now have more accessibility – users with a diverse set of coding abilities can easily utilize Power Automate.
We now have more intelligent and powerful capabilities for Power Automate makers. There have been a number of productivity enhancements between Power Automate and Microsoft Teams. This results not only in better outcomes in alignment with digital transformation goals, but it also encourages early adoption of Microsoft Teams.
Soon it will be easier to duplicate actions in the Power Automate designer with the cut and paste functionality.
PowerBI is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft. Using data stored in CDS or other databases, users can build informative reports and dashboards to display important data about sales, customer service, and other business functions. These dashboards and reports can be published on websites, in SharePoint or Teams, and in Apps. Power BI allows organizations to make business decisions based on data and facts, not opinions.
A recent improvement here is visual personalization for end users. This feature enables the user to adjust a visual based on their needs and bookmark it for later.
PowerApps build on the platform of CDS to allow citizen developers to build easy to use applications for standard business needs. For example, you want to build an app for representatives to inspect your companies franchises. A Power App could be built and made available on the rep’s phone that surfaces your survey and inspection questions. The rep could visit the franchise and quickly fill out the data from their phone. This data is then stored in the CDS. Flow would trigger notifications of tasks identified to repair defects at the franchises. And PowerBI dashboards would allow you to rank stores against each other.
We now see the ability for app developers to fully build custom and responsive experiences in their applications. We also now have the ability to create new app within one of your channels in Microsoft Teams. This can be done using data that you already have in your Microsoft Teams Sharepoint site.
Microsoft has moved the administration of the Power Platform out of Office 365 and to its own site, You can access the administration site at https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/ You can also start free trials for all of these services at the same URL.
On June 30, 2021 – Microsoft surprised the Power Platform community by announcing that they are cutting their Power Platform licensing costs by 50%.
Increase your proficiency with the Power Platform and learn more about the apps that interest you in the following learning paths:
- Create a model-driven application in Power Apps
- Consume data with Power BI
- Use best practices to secure and govern Power Automate environments
Learn new skills and discover the power of Microsoft products with step-by-step guidance by browsing all Business Application learning paths.
How can we help?
enCloud9 is a recognized expert in helping organizations like yours to get the most out of their Power Apps and Dynamics 365 system. Contact us today to get started. We aim to provide you with the most current news, tips, and best practices in Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Visit our blog to learn about updates to the Power Platform. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest info delivered to your inbox. If you need assistance enabling the newest features in your environment or if any questions arise, don’t hesitate to contact us.
On June 30, 2021 – Microsoft surprised the Power Platform community by slashing license pricing for Power Apps by 50%. With these Power Apps price changes, Microsoft is making it easy for companies all over the world to make the Power Platform the development platform of choice for Low Code/No Code development.