Introduction to the Power Platform: 3 Examples of How You Can Use It in Your Business
What is the Power Platform and how can you use it in your everyday life? Here, you get a brief introduction to the Power Platform and 3 examples of how it can help you work more efficiently.
Microsoft Power Platform is a suite of tools that allows anyone to develop applications, portals, chatbots, and automate business processes with little to no code. In addition, Power Platform allows users to incorporate AI and sophisticated analytics into apps and workflow processes without having to be a data scientist.
It makes it very easy to integrate with Microsoft services like Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, as well as hundreds of third-party cloud services like SAP, Salesforce, and Freshbooks to name a few. Microsoft Power Platform consists of four components:
- Power BI
- Power Automate
- Power Virtual Agents
- Power Apps
Together, the four tools can help you analyze and visualize data, automate processes and workflows, and build custom apps.
Go quickly from idea to solution with Power Platform
Now that you’ve had a quick introduction to the Power Platform, let’s focus on Power Apps. In short, Power Apps is a platform solution that enables you to quickly create mobile and web apps —without having to write code—using prebuilt templates and drag-and-drop functionality.
The applications created within PowerApps can be used for a variety of functions to help you streamline your business processes. It also allows users, who are away from a desk, work on-the-go from a completely customized user interface.
Let’s try to make it more tangible.
We have put together three examples of how the Power Platform can give you great tools for automating processes and accelerate your business digital transformation. These examples are inspired by real Power Apps solutions we have helped our customers build.
The last example shows how the Power Platform as a single toolbox can be used to create a better base for data-driven decisions.
Example 1: Faster inspections with greater customer and employee satisfaction
Our first example is from the construction industry.
Challenge: The inspections were a hand-held process which had to be repeated many times daily, which often resulted in errors in communication amongst the various stakeholders.
Once a home is sold – and before it can be handed over to the new owners – it must be inspected to ensure that everything is as it should be. There are many different areas of inspection, including: electrical, plumbing installations, insulation, etc.
Typically, the problems identified in this inspection were written down on a piece of paper. It could be anything from a running toilet, a missing foot panel, or cracks in the ceiling. From there, the inspector notifies the sub-contractor of the tasks to be performed.
Because it was a manual process, there were mistakes and misunderstandings between the contractors and the inspectors.
Solution: An application that gathers all information related to inspections and handover.
Using Power Apps, we built an app in which inspectors could report problems identified in their reviews.
Inspectors can then create an immediate case for each issue that they discover during the inspection. They can also easily assign the work to the right sub-contractor.
In the same app, the sub can see what tasks they have been assigned and report back as the work progresses.
In addition to the time that will be saved by digitizing the process, the company will also:
- Reduce misunderstandings and enhance awareness with image documentation of the problems identified.
- Improve collaboration between suppliers, contractors, and any other employees in the company.
- Provide a better overall experience for their customers.
Example 2: More quality and agility in the handling of invoices
The second example is about a company that works with health insurance.
Challenge: Highly time-consuming process to handle and approve invoices.
The company handles thousands of cases annually, and every single invoice was handled manually.
The invoices were then printed and sent to three different employees, who each had to sign and approve them.
The handling of every single invoice would often have delays due to, for example, holidays or employees’ busy schedules.
Solution: An application that automates invoices handling
If the company already has licenses for SharePoint and Outlook, it may in fact be possible to digitize the invoices immediately and without additional licenses.
By digitizing and automating the process, the company no longer depends on employees to be physically at the office to be able to sign and approve an invoice.
This means that the pace of handling invoices can increase significantly. At the same time, there will not be the same risk of an invoice getting lost or falling in the cracks.
In general, the company will get the following benefits:
- Improve the process efficiency because they can now track every single invoice.
- Employees can focus their time and energy on higher value-added tasks.
Example 3: A better base for data-driven decisions
This last example resonates with many of our customers.
Challenge: Find and interpret the key figures and data needed to make effective and sound decisions in a timely manner.
Today, most firms use data in some fashion for decision making, but the necessary data and the relevant key figures are often scattered around the company’s various IT systems, including anything from sales systems to inventory management and ERP.
Therefore, it takes both time and effort for those who must make data-driven decisions to find, collect, and interpret the data they need.
Solution: An automated process that collects and shares data with decision makers.
Data is king – distribution is everything.
If data is to make a difference for the company, it must be shared with the right target groups internally.
Through Microsoft’s Azure Services, we can create a “data warehouse”. Here we collect data from all the different data sources. By connecting the Power Platform to our ‘data warehouse’, we can easily share data and insights across the organization.
This can be done in the form of list reports, dashboards, or a simple PDF file which the decision-makers in the company receive at regular intervals.
This automated process makes it’s easy to find the insights you need, but there are other benefits as well, including:
- There are clear definitions and streamlined reporting.
- You can easily follow the coherent picture your data demonstrates in the long run.
- You can ensure control of your data, thus creating higher data security.
If you would like to discuss the advantages and possibilities that Power Platform can bring to your business, please feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our experts.