How to Improve Processes with Microsoft Power Platform

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Using multiple spreadsheets, separate files, and numerous emails as part of your business process can be time-consuming and repetitive, but for most, it might seem like the only way to get anything done. However, Microsoft 365 offers a set of tools that can eliminate many of your daily repetitive or manual tasks. The Power Platform, which consists of applications such as Power Automate, Power Apps, Power BI, and more, can be used to streamline key business processes and enhance your overall productivity.   

However, the tools in the Power Platform may seem a little more advanced than some of the others in the Microsoft suite as you begin to use them. That’s why it’s essential to start learning how to leverage them now, so you can stay up to date as new capabilities emerge. 

To help you familiarize yourself with these tools and empower you to start using them at your business, the SUCCESS team has outlined what each tool does, as well as some examples of manual tasks you can eliminate when you put the Power Platform to work.  

What is Power Apps?

Power Apps is a tool that allows you to simply build custom web applications without needing extensive knowledge of coding or web development. Whether you need a simple data-entry form or a complex business application, understanding how to leverage Power Apps can streamline the development process.  

When working with Power Apps, it’s important to understand that the tool uses three components: canvas apps, model-driven apps, and portal apps, the last of which is now known as Power Pages and included as a separate tool in the Power Platform.  

So, what is Power Pages and how is it different from Power Apps? Like Power Apps, Power Pages requires little knowledge of coding or web development and can be used to create secure, data-driven, and responsive web pages and websites quickly and efficiently. Where Power Apps and Power Pages differ, however, is that Power Apps is primarily used for creating applications for internal audiences (your team), whereas Power Pages is primarily used for creating applications for external audiences (your customers, key stakeholders, partners, etc.). 

What kind of applications can I make using Power Apps and/or Power Pages?  

Once you’ve learned the basics of Power Apps and Power Pages, you’ll be able to create applications specific to your business, such as: 

  • Custom Forms: Create user-friendly data entry forms for capturing and storing information (Power Apps). 
  • Inventory Management: Develop apps to track and manage inventory levels in real-time (Power Apps). 
  • Employee Onboarding: Design apps to streamline the onboarding process with checklists and training resources (Power Apps). 
  • Field Service: Build mobile apps for field service workers to report issues, track tasks, and log work (Power Apps). 
  • Website Creation: Build and launch secure, professional websites quickly without deep coding knowledge (Power Pages). 
  • Content Management: Easily update and manage website content through a user-friendly interface (Power Pages). 
  • Customer Portals: Develop self-service portals for customers to access information and services (Power Pages). 

View a step-by-step example of how to use Power Apps to make a sign-in/sign-out form with our resident Power expert, Dee Ramos: Creating the Home Screen for a Sign In and Sign Out app with Power Apps – YouTube 

What is Power Automate?

With Power Automate, you can create simple automations to eliminate some of the time-consuming processes that take your focus away from more important tasks. Creating workflows that automate repetitive tasks reduces the risk of human error and allows for the better allocation of resources to projects that offer more business value.  

What are some processes that can be automated with Power Automate? 

As you become more familiar with the capabilities of Power Automate, you’ll be able to more easily complete tasks such as scheduling and posting social media content, managing your document libraries, generating various reports, and more:  

  • Email Notifications: Automate sending notifications based on specific triggers (e.g., new entries in a database). 
  • Approval Workflows: Simplify approval processes by routing documents and requests to the right people. 
  • Data Syncing: Connect different applications to ensure data consistency across systems. 
  • Task Management: Automate task creation and assignment based on project milestones or deadlines. 

 You can view a step-by-step demonstration of how to archive visitor sign-in/sign-out logs with Power Automate here: Efficient Archiving with Power Automate – YouTube 

Related: Go with the Flow: How Power Automate Can Make Completing Tasks Easier Than Ever – SUCCESS Computer Consulting 

What is Power BI?

Power BI makes it easier to connect and analyze datasets, organize your business’s intelligence, and make informed business decisions by providing interactive dashboards and reports that are easy to understand and share. With Power BI, organizations can track key metrics, identify trends, and gain actionable insights, ultimately driving better business outcomes. 

What insights about my business can I gain from Power BI? 

When put into action, Power BI ensures your data has value by bringing it to life with easily understandable visualizations such as pie charts, column graphs, scatter plots, and more. These visualizations could represent raw data such as: 

  • Sales Reports: Generate interactive sales reports to monitor performance and identify trends. 
  • Financial Dashboards: Create comprehensive dashboards to visualize financial health and performance metrics. 
  • Customer Insights: Analyze customer data to understand behavior and preferences. 
  • Operational Metrics: Track key operational metrics to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. 

What is  Copilot Studio?

Copilot Studio (previously known as Power Virtual Agents) is an advanced AI-powered virtual assistant that works with various Microsoft productivity tools to increase your efficiency. When integrated with other Microsoft tools, Copilot Studio can enhance productivity, automate repetitive processes, and generate insights by helping users complete everyday tasks.  

What tasks can be simplified with Copilot Studio? 

Within Copilot Studio, there are a number of different AI-powered assistants that can help complete processes involving:  

  • Content Creation: Generate drafts for emails, documents, and presentations. 
  • Data Analysis: Automate data processing and visualization to extract insights. 
  • Coding Assistance: Provide code suggestions and debugging help for developers. 
  • Project Management: Create and manage project plans, timelines, and task assignments. 
  • Customer Support: Draft responses to customer inquiries and automate common support tasks. 
  • Meeting Summaries: Generate summaries and action items from meeting notes. 
  • Workflow Automation: Streamline repetitive tasks across different applications. 

Power Up with the Power Platform 

Microsoft’s Power Platform is a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance efficiency, foster innovation, and leverage data for strategic decision-making. By integrating Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power BI into everyday operations, organizations can create a cohesive and dynamic environment that supports continuous improvement and growth. To get started, contact us today, and we’ll help you discover the power of Microsoft and the Power Platform.