What is Microsoft Power Platform?
Microsoft Power Platform is a group of Microsoft products that consists of the following programs (as of the date on which this post was published):
– Power BI – reporting tool for visualizing data;
– Power Apps (sometimes spelled as “PowerApps”) – a set of tools to build applications without special education or experience;
– Power Automate (formerly, “Microsoft Flow”) – a program for building software workflows that help automate business processes;
– Power Virtual Agents – software to build chat bots by users without prior development experience.
What Does Power Platform Connect to?
Any Power Platform program can be used independently or combined with other Power Platform product(s). For example, Power BI can be the only product used without any other Power Platform piece of software or it can be used with Power Apps, etc.
Power Platform components can also combine with other Microsoft products, including:
✓ Dynamics 365 platform, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC);
✓ Office 365 suite (e.g. Excel, Outlook, etc.);
✓ Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platform;
✓ Common Data Service;
Additionally, Power Platform has connectors to link to other software and services, such as: industry-specific ERP systems, social media, websites, etc.
For example, a company that sells renewable sources of energy equipment and services can optimize the business and their software in the following manner:
1) when an email is received from Customer A (Outlook) –>
2) a Sales Quote is created in the ERP system (D365BC) –>
3) the corresponding sales person is notified via email (Power Automate) –>
4) the sales person completes the Sales Quote on her cell phone using the goods and services that are on sale (Power App) –>
5) the manager runs a weekly sales report (with graphs) by territory by salesperson and makes decisions to improve the business (Power BI).
Thus, Power Platform can be used independently or combined with other software to help improve business efficiency.
Mobile vs Desktop / Laptop & Online vs Off-line
Power Platform can be used both on mobile devices (e.g. a cell phone, a tablet) and on desktops or laptops. Additionally, it is possible to work online and offline (including on a cell phone).
For example, an oil, gas and renewable sources of energy technician who needs to book her time to a Job (a project) and to consume certain parts and machine hours can use her cell phone to perform these operations, even when the technician is offline due to her work in a remote location. The data entered offline is going to sync with the ERP system when the person’s device is back online. This can be achieved with combining D365BC (which holds Jobs, parts, Resources, etc.) and a Power App.
It is also worth mentioning that whether an on-Cloud, on-premises or on-Azure software needs to be combined with Power Platform, it is, generally, possible, but each case needs to be examined to draw a definitive conclusion.
Costs & Licensing
Some Power Platform products may be for free, at least to a certain extent (e.g. Power BI, Desktop). However, for users to take advantage of the full potential of Power Platform, a cost is going to be incurred. In order to calculate how much the monthly cost is going to be, companies can use Edocation Power Platform License Calculator. Edocation provides consultations to to help companies save money by developing the licensing strategy crafted to their needs and understanding each license type. To discuss your business needs, contact us.
Microsoft Power Platform is a set of software tools for organisations to help optimize business processes. It consists of several tools that can be used individually or combined among themselves and with other programs by Microsoft and beyond. Power Platform can be used on mobile and other devices, online and offline. Different Power Platform components have their own license types and their additional costs. If you have questions about Power Platform and your ERP system, contact us.