What is the Microsoft Power Platform?

What is the Microsoft Power Platform? You may have already heard of its virtues in helping to display, automate and analyze data. But how does it work? And what does it do for you?   In fact, the Power Platform is not one, but 4 tools: 1. Power BI   2. Power Apps   3. Power Automate   4. Power Virtual Agents   What is particularly interesting with these 4 modules of the Power Platform is their accessibility. It allows any user with little training to quickly and easily create a solution. Furthermore, you can use these tools with Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Here is a closer look at what each of the 4 modules of the Power Platform can do for you:  

What is Power BI?

Power BI is the Power Platform module that allows you to quickly visualize your data. Power BI can create dashboards and graphs.  These tools can help you analyze data that can be highly fragmented at a glance.

A Power BI dashboard
A Power BI dashboard

It must be said that when accumulated quickly, data can be more difficult to interpret and conclude. Being able to isolate and easily read the most important data, facilitates good decision-making. This is what Power BI makes possible. You will be able to easily communicate this data to the people who need to make the important decisions in your company. For example, Power BI helps you visualize data to answer the following questions about your company:  

  • What is the sales history and what is the forecast for the next few months?    
  • How are the resources in your company doing?    
  • Are your employees performing to their full potential?  
  • Is there new information that should be considered in decision-making?    

Power BI helps you present all this data and information in a clear and concise manner to make informed choices.

What is Power Apps?

Power Apps is the tool of the Power Platform that allows you to create applications. What kind of applications? They can be mobile applications to simplify data management on the road or more complex applications such as complete management systems. In fact, did you know that the Microsoft Dynamics 365 management system is also created using Power Apps?

Create a business application using Microsoft Power Apps
Create a business application using Microsoft Power Apps

Whether simple or complex, the applications you create with Power Apps make it easy to manage your data. What are the specific needs that can be met by applications created with Power Apps?   Here are a few examples:  

An application made to better manage time sheets:

For example, you can create an application that will manage the hours worked and expenses incurred by your team. Your employees can easily enter the hours worked during the day while they are on the train, and on the road. The result? You will increase their daily response rate. You will have real-time access to valuable information to forecast your production, for example. Meanwhile, at the office, the finance manager will have access to the hours and invoices entered by your employees in real time. Thus, if necessary, he will be able to approve them quickly.  

Manage a car park with Power Apps  

How about using Power Apps to create an application that makes managing a car park easier? This application will be used by your clerks as they circulate through the parking lot.  It will enable them to take a picture of the offending licence plates, for example, and enter them directly into the application. Also, the application will facilitate the process in case of an accident. Your employee will be able to submit a report via the mobile application and attach a photo of the vehicle.    

A complete management system for insurance brokers  

Power Apps can also allow you to create a management platform that supports all your daily processes regardless of your industry. For example, you can create a complete management system adapted to the daily life of group insurance brokers, such as our TANDEM solution. Whether it is for the management of insurance policies, benefits, premiums or calculations, automated processes will allow the broker to accelerate the management of administrative tasks to focus on the relationship with its clients.    

In short, all this is possible with Power Apps... and many other applications as well.


What is Power Automate?

Power Automate is the module of the Power Platform that enables data integration.  Moreover, this tool allows to target repetitive tasks, which do not necessarily require human intervention, and then to automate them.

 Automate the work influx with Microsoft Power Automate
Automate the work influx with Microsoft Power Automate

Power Automate can also help you manage approval flows. For example, if you need to create a new supplier in your system, you can automate an approval process. The manager or person in charge will receive a notification to verify this entry and can approve or reject it.   Another example is you can send a survey to the participants of a conference. Is it possible to analyze participant responses from your own management system without entering the data manually? Yes, this is another useful feature of the Power Automate module: you can synchronize data between two systems. Similarly, if you have a registry system, which is in an SQL database or other, you can bring this data into your Common Data Service (CDS). You can then take a flow, in Power Automate, to ensure daily synchronization.

What is Power Virtual Agents?

Although you might not have noticed it, chances are you have already chatted with a virtual agent created by Power Virtual Agents. This fourth module of Power Platform is the one that allows you to create chatbots; robots which can answer customer queries on websites. You could install a virtual agent on a customer support portal. This automated system will be able to answer the most frequently asked questions of your customers. This will allow your employees to focus on calls that truly require human intervention.

Add a chatbot using Power Virtual Agent by Microsoft
Add a chatbot using Power Virtual Agent by Microsoft

You could also use a virtual agent within your company. It is possible to integrate a chatbot within the Teams chat application. Your employees will be able to ask all the questions they have without disturbing their colleagues:

“How can I change my keyboard from English to French?” "How do I update Windows?"(Or any other question!)

In addition, your marketing department can also install a chatbot on the Facebook page. This way, your subscribers will be able to ask questions at any time about your location, the prices of your items, your after-sales service, return policies... In fact, the transmission of this information does not necessarily require the intervention of a human. And a chatbot is fully capable of answering these questions. However, for more specific questions, the virtual agent will be able to transfer the customer to a live agent who will follow up.

4 modules  

In short, you have seen all 4 modules of the Microsoft Power Platform: Power BI, Power Apps, Power PLC and Power Virtual Agents. So, we hope that this article will help you to better understand how these tools help you:  

  • Visualize your data quickly in real time to make better decisions.  
  • Create applications to facilitate the management of your daily life  
  • Automate administrative tasks to optimize your efficiency  
  • Improve your customer service by providing faster responses to customers with artificial intelligence.  

Finally, at XRM Vision, we can help you in two ways: with training and in the realization of your projects.  Contact one of our experts, who will offer you personalized advice.   ____   This article was made possible thanks to the commitment of our CRM expert Éric Sauvé, MVP.