A constant message during Inspire was about partners adding value to their customers through everything they do. It is clear to see that Microsoft has taken massive strides in helping partners to do just that with creating connectivity and collaboration across the entire business applications range. Now with their Power Platform they have created something that is not only going to add value to customers but will also revolutionise the way business use data, make decisions and run their businesses.
The Power Platform is the newly branded collective name of the following apps::
- Power BI – Business intelligence platform, Unifying data from many sources to create interactive, immersive dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights and drive business results.
- Microsoft Flow – including powerful workflow automation directly in your apps with a no-code approach that connects to hundreds of popular apps and services.
- PowerApps – application build platform. Build apps in hours—not months—that easily connect to data, use Excel-like expressions to add logic, and run on the web, iOS, and Android devices
Individually, each of these add value to the customer and give them great insight for their businesses. However, what happens when you bring them together through the Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps is that you achieve greater functionality and vision across the enitre business. Most of all this offers unrivalled opportunity for the partner to add even more value to customers faster and at lower cost. On average it costs about 70% less to develop an application with PowerApps and Flow. While delivering more saving through increased process automation and efficiences by about 15%.
There are endless possibilities and opportunities with the Power Platform to turn insight into action when they work together, such as embed PowerBi into PowerApps, PowerApps data field into a PowerBI dashboard, Microsoft Flow going directly into PowerApps, there are many more opportunities for customers to experience serious innovation and empower their employees.
You have added reassurance that all these apps are built on top of Azure, so you also get the compliance and security that you expect from a Microsoft solution.
Data is at the core of most apps, and that’s no different with PowerApps. However, that data is usually outside of the app and dragged in through a connection called Data Connectors. These allow you to connect data from external systems into the app. As the apps in the Power Platform are built on the Common Data Service for Apps there is a direct connection with all Dynamics data. This provides partners a good up/cross sell opportunity to extend Dynamics 365, Office 365 or just use PowerApps as a standalone solution.
PowerApps has three major components which can be used for app development:
- Canvas apps start with your user experience, crafting a highly tailored interface with the power of a blank canvas and connecting it to your choice of 200 data sources. You can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications. *
- Model-driven apps start with your data model – building up from the shape of your core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across devices. *
- Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with PowerApps and allows you to store and model business data. It’s the platform on which Dynamics 365 applications are built; if you’re a Dynamics customer, your data is already in the Common Data Service. *
Microsoft explained that it is easy and simple to try building out your first app and you can access resources on Microsoft Docs, or if you prefer a more hands on approach then QBS run classroom-based workshops to show you practical ways to build apps.
The final piece of advice to the assembled partners was to incorporate PowerApps into your business, and to get out there and build. Microsoft see PowerApps as the best way to get new customers, build trust and add value. PowerApps also presents a great opportunity to accelerate the sales cycle for partners: providing customers with discreet applications in advance of a wider business applications roll out. This providers rapid return to value directly to the customer.