The Microsoft Power Platform consists of an expanding number of applications. In its early days, it included—Power BI, PowerApps, and Power Automate. These three applications are created to enable companies to analyze their data, interact with their data, and automate business processes. As the Power Platform matured, new applications were added to it — Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate Desktop and AI Builder. Those additions opened new horizons for the ever-evolving needs of modern businesses, providing seamless access to chatbots, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence.
Each component of the Power Platform is built on the Dataverse which is a database hosted in Azure Cloud. The advantage of this is that all data exists under a unified data model with a handy pre-existing database schema, allowing the Power Platform applications to interact with one another seamlessly. The Power Platform is a flexible platform and can be used with Dynamics 365, Office 365, SharePoint and over 200 other third-party applications, some of which your company likely already uses.
Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet or a collection of any cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses. Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize, and discover what is important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want. Whether it is data from projects, finance, sales, marketing, or operations, Power BI lets you analyze, compare, and present your corporate data to provide you with the insights you need to run your company.
By taking advantage of Power BI’s data visualization abilities, organizations can gain insights that lead to better decision-making and reduced information silos. When data exists in disparate sources, it can be hard to make sense of it all and identify trends or patterns. But with Power BI, it is easier than ever to combine and analyze all your business data through an intuitive and visually compelling user interface.
Power Apps is a service for building and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile – without the time and expense of custom software development. Like all other Power Platform tools, Power Apps can connect to more than 200 systems, allowing users internal and external to your business to interact through intuitive interfaces and experiences.
Power Apps offers extreme flexibility to companies, helping them accelerate internal and external projects and operations to increase productivity and collaboration and to reduce costs. It is not only the time it takes to develop business applications that Power Apps helps minimize, but also the manual effort and unproductive time it takes teams and individual stakeholders to perform actions and make decisions related to their business data.
With Power Automate, anyone from a basic business user to an Information Technology professional can create automated processes called flows. From complex approval processes to notification handling and data integration, Power Automate has over 200 connectors to let you design, streamline, and automate workflows, no matter what systems your company uses. Typically run on the cloud but also available for on-premises data sources, Power Automate flows can help drastically reduce inefficiencies of mundane tasks.
Power Automate can be used to increase productivity, reduce costs, foster collaboration, and optimize business processes. Power Automate flows can enable employees to interact with their corporate systems and data, empowering them by requesting their input only when it is most valuable.
Power Automate for Desktop
Power Automate for desktop broadens the existing robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities in Power Automate and enables you to automate repetitive desktop processes. It is quicker and easier than ever to automate tedious and repetitive processes with the new intuitive Power Automate desktop.
Power Automate for the desktop makes it easy to run robotic process automation remotely both as an attended or unattended service. Its ability to connect with Power Automate on the cloud enables you to extend local process automation and make them interact with your business software and tools.
Power Virtual Agents
Image source: https://powervirtualagents.microsoft.com/en-us/
Power Virtual Agents lets you create powerful AI-powered chatbots that can answer questions posed by your customers, employees, or visitors to your website or service. Power Virtual Agents integrates with backend systems, including Microsoft products and others. From Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, the Dataverse and Salesforce to hundreds of other services, Power Virtual Agents provide the ability to interact with software using natural language. Chatbots can be trained to expand on several topics, allowing your intended users to engage in Q&A conversations that are multi-threaded. Power Virtual Agents’ built-in reporting capability provides the insights your business needs to understand the conversations that are taking place, while also allowing you to monitor the performance and usage of your chatbots in real-time.
Power Virtual Agents is best used to provide automated response handling 24/7. In multiple business scenarios, it can also be used to improve employee and customer satisfaction, allowing anyone to resolve issues at their convenience.
AI Builder is a Microsoft Power Platform capability that provides AI models that are designed to optimize your business processes. AI Builder enables your business to use intelligence to automate processes and glean insights from your data, no matter where it is stored. With AI Builder, you need significantly less overhead to access the power of AI. You can build custom models tailored to your needs or choose a prebuilt model that is ready to use for many common business scenarios.
The Power Platform AI Builder integrates with Power Apps and Power Automate, as well as the Dataverse to enable you to interact with your data, analyze and automate. When used in a business context, the AI Builder can help reduce manual labor and automate repetitive processes. A common use case of the AI Builder is leveraging visual recognition to process and analyze structured files.