We see a lot of questions from people asking what the power platform is and how they can make the most of it. Microsoft has released hundreds of documents on the subject but sometimes it’s just too much. In this blog post along with some of our future posts, we are hoping to help break down this barrier and explain some of the benefits you can start taking advantage of right now or where you could get help from partners.
This post however, will focus on the Power Platform and aim to answer some of your questions at a high level about what it is and what components make up the Power Platform. We’ll even touch a little bit on licensing to help show how available the Power Platform is to you already.
Why is the Power Platform important?
Microsoft released the first parts of the Power Platform back in 2016 with Power Apps and Power Automate. These tools were aimed at helping “Citizen Developers” or Champion users within a company quickly building mobile or desktop apps that could help solve many business problems quickly.
The key advantage of the Power Platform is that it suddenly gave everyone access to data that was all over their Office 365 environments. This in turn enabled everyone to start building forms, automating approval flows, and connecting to the information stored in SharePoint at no additional cost.
Since 2016 Microsoft has continued to invest in the Power Platform and it now feels like one of its flagship offerings for anyone that has Office 365. We now have Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI & Power Virtual agents all coming together to build what is known as the Power Platform.
This went one step further recently with the release of Power Apps and Power virtual agents for teams. These enabled people to build apps within their team channels and not having to access a separate webpage to interact with them.
This enabled businesses to start utilising their Office 365 tenants and transform paper or manually intensive processes into quick and effortless solutions with the help of Power Apps and Power Automate. By digitising forms or creating automated approval processes that took hours to create instead of months.
How Do I Get it? Power Platform Licensing
Microsoft licensing for the Power Platform can sometimes sound complicated and with there many different types of licenses it is. The diagram below thanks to Perspicuity gives a great indication if your current licenses include the Power Platform apps.
What this table means is, if you’re looking to use data that already exists within your office 365 tenant e.g., SharePoint, OneDrive, or Outlook. Then as long as you have a license above you will be able to start using the Power Platform with no additional cost.
The additional cost comes in place if you want to access data outside your Office 365 tenant. To do this you will need “Premium Connectors” that are available on the licensed models which are called the following.
- Power Apps per user
- Power Apps per App
- Power Automate per User
- Power Automate per app
Power Bi sits within its own area with licenses, the way we break this down to our customers is as follows. You can use the PowerBI desktop client to create reports and connect to your data for free however, when you want to then share this report with others you will need to acquire a PowerBI Pro license.
Why Hire a Partner for Power Platform?
So, we mentioned that the Power Platform was aimed at Citizen developer and that anyone could pick it up to start building. This is true for the most part but with all great ideas sometimes comes complexity.
Or simply there might not be enough time in the day for someone within your company to be able to dedicate the time to build an app and that great ideas are suddenly years away.
A Microsoft Partner who deals with the Power Platform such as Nimbitech can help you right from the beginning of your ideation all the way through to delivery. They also have dealt with a wide range of clients and apps previously and will be able to help guide what will and won’t work. They can also help clear any of the clutter around licenses or where to store your data to future-proof your application.
Another way we help our customers is to be there as consultants when our clients start using the power platform themselves but get stuck. In these cases, we come in and help them overcome the current road blockers and provide training to help with it in future. Have a look at the case study section of our website to find ways we’ve helped people in the past claim back ROI with the Power Platform.
So far, we’ve learnt that the Power Platform is a powerful set of tools available for free with most of Microsoft’s licenses. Along with where the premium licenses come into play. We’ve also gone over how the Power Platform consists of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and Power BI. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll deep dive into each of these components including some of their teams’ alternatives. We aim to help you better understand each of them and give you some examples of how they could solve problems within your business.
Further details about the Power Platform and each of its components can also be found on the Microsoft website. You can also find some great learning material on the Microsoft learn website. Microsoft Learn will guide you through written text and videos to create your first App.
For further reading on Power Apps and how it revolutionised app development, take a look at our blog post. If you are ready to reach out to a partner already, you can get in touch with us by visiting our contact page.