At MIBAR, we’re huge fans of Microsoft’s entire Power Platform. Why? It’s simple. Just ask yourself the following question: How many applications do you know of that are robust enough for an enterprise but easy enough and affordable enough to take home with you?
Individual, Small Business, or Enterprise: The Power Platform Has Something for Everyone
Think of it like this: we love Acumatica and NetSuite and would recommend either for our midsized and enterprise clients in a heartbeat—but know as well as you that using an ERP solution to manage household finances would be overkill.
This is what makes the Power Platform unique. It’s a rare set of applications that can range from personal use to the enterprise.
Want to use Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Flow) to seamlessly connect your CRM tool with SharePoint to cut down on storage costs? You can.
Want to use PowerApps to build a customer portal accessible from any device? We’ve made it happen.
Maybe you’re a parent who wants to scale it down a bit, using PowerApps to keep track of diaper changes, feedings, and sleep and Power BI to visualize the patterns. Guess what? That’s possible too.
It can be even easier. Maybe you just want to automatically tweet out an article from your company website when it’s published or want a push notification when your favorite blog posts something new. You’re just a few clicks away.
Many Levels of Understanding
Think of the Power Platform like the game of Monopoly—except in this case, you won’t lose all of your friends.
The Rules Are Simple
If you’ve never seen the game before, you could start playing in a couple minutes. Roll the dice, move your piece, follow instructions and repeat until all the players but one runs out of money (or someone flips the board). Simple.
…But Only Scratch the Surface
Now, say you want to understand more about the game. You read the rulebook and notice that there’s something called the property shortage rule—there can never be more than 32 houses on the board. In this, if one player can control the supply of houses, no one else can build.
Then, if you take a bit of time to read the caveats of the game, you’ll realize that statistically, orange and red properties are the most likely to get landed on, making them the most valuable.
Now, did you know that there are Monopoly tournaments with very real winnings? These events feature real-world masters of the game, who understand every single detail of the game.
Power Platform: Easy to Learn, Hard to Master
Just like the game of Monopoly, you can get started using the Power Platform right now. The rules of the game are simple: Power Automate automates tasks, PowerApps lets you build point and click apps, and Power BI lets you analyze data.
In less than ten minutes, you can create a simple automation in Power Automate. But that only scratches the surface of the platform. With a bit of learning, you could start using Power BI to present information about a spreadsheet or look at a table on a webpage.
Then, with a bit more knowledge, you could start connecting multiple data sources. Maybe create a business process flow that triggers multiple steps in a workflow (with a bit of knowledge, you could create an expense report approval workflow). Then, you could make an app for your workforce to submit these expense reports. Then with the right knowledge, you could attach this information to a project, tracking the expenses by client, project, or employee.
Making the Most of Power Platform
However, just like the person who knows that a Monopoly player statistically has a 2.9929-3.1858% chance of landing on Illinois Avenue, this only scratches the surface of the processes and strategies. Did creating a workflow like the one mentioned above make it easier for your team? Yes, and it only took a few hours. In fact, Microsoft offers free courses on the Power Platform. In just over two hours, you could learn to create a canvas app in PowerApps.
Knowing this, even the 45 hours of learning paths in the Microsoft Power Platform catalog only can get you so far.
The beauty (and inherent challenge) of the Power Platform is that that anyone can get started.
For example, Power BI is a product that can deliver across industries and can help turn anyone into a citizen data scientist. In fact, it’s one of the reasons many enterprises ignored it initially—many believed that something this affordable was below them. The ones who tried it found out how wrong they were.
But like any enterprise-ready application, there are hundreds of thousands of moving parts that can be accessed. Want to connect NetSuite or Acumatica to Power BI? You can. Want to make these solutions better through automation, business intelligence or easily created apps? It’s not impossible to learn.
However, just because it’s not impossible doesn’t mean it’s easy. Getting the report you want from the information you provide takes hours to understand how part a affects part b, c, d or e in order to generate said report.
Say you want to track every single product you make, compare it with the shipping and manufacturing errors, and then use this data to issue credits to customers. You can.
Say you want to analyze thousands of SKUs spread across dozens of locations over the course of multiple years using two different data sources. To get this report, you’ll be tracking margins, inventory quantity, and margins for each item category—before tracking this at each location, breaking it down even further to understand which vendors are selling well. You can.
Does the process of doing either of these sound overwhelming? We’ve done it for our clients.
Learn more by reading how we helped Wildlife Trading Company connect historical data with live data to make smarter decisions with Power BI or how we helped AP&G get a better understanding of GP and Excel data, download our free guide to Business Intelligence, and contact us for a consultation.