Microsoft rapidly innovate, update and release new products and solutions, which can make staying on top of changes difficult. However, this frequent pace of innovation makes Microsoft technologies very exciting. One of the biggest new areas from Microsoft that you will read a lot about is the Power Platform.
What is the Power Platform?
The ‘Power Platform’ is a collective term for three Microsoft products: Power BI, PowerApps and Flow. They provide the means to help people easily manipulate, surface, automate and analyse data and can be used with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 (as well as other third-party apps and other Microsoft services). The Power Platform is possible thanks to the Common Data Service (or CDS), which is essentially the underlying data platform that provides a unified and simplified data schema so that applications and services can inter-operate.
Why is the Power Platform so important?
In this digital age, we are extremely reliant on data – and the amount of data companies are creating is continually increasing. While all this data is inevitable, it is useless unless companies gain insights and meaning from it - to gain tangible value.
Historically, data analysis, app creation or automation would be achieved by IT/Development teams. This would require staff to outline their requirements and aims, submit these requests to their IT department (or even an external partner) and then see whether it was approved and subsequently, wait for it to be built. This would be time-consuming and would use valuable resources internally or be costly if fulfilled externally. What're more, those requesting the solution would tend to have an immediate need and waiting for weeks could cause internal delays.
This is why the Power Platform is so exciting. The Power Platform enables data democratization – the ability for digital information to be accessible to the typical (non-technical) end user. It provides three technologies that allow staff to do more with their data themselves without coding knowledge. While it doesn’t allow the intricacies and flexibility of custom coding, it does provide a simple method for most users to be able to create, automate or analyse their data in ways which have never been possible for the average worker.