Just How Powerful is the Power Platform? A Microsoft Regional Director Weighs In

The aptly named Microsoft Power Platform empowers nearly everyone in your organization to build compelling, mobile-ready business applications, automate processes, and analyze data without writing a single line of code. This all might seem a little too good to be true, so we sat down with our President, Co-founder, and Microsoft Regional Director and Microsoft MVP, Eric Overfield, to see if the Power Platform is really all it’s cracked up to be.  

What do you like most about the Microsoft Power Platform? 

“As a coder at heart, I admit I find Power Apps most exciting. We recently built a client a custom application using Power Apps, and I can tell you that if I had to build this app within another technology from scratch, it would have taken months and months, not to mention every modification would require a new distribution. Power Apps not only accelerate the build but it allows for the latest code updates to access few features quickly and easily.  

What I think is most impressive about power apps is how truly broadscale they are; facilitating non-coders to build some impressively complex business applications quickly and easily. While you can still do some really sophisticated things without code, the extensibility of Power Apps allows us to take things even further. Once you begin to tap into some more elaborate scenarios, coding experience is required, but the speed at which you can build it and the long-term maintainability of it is extremely impressive.” 

Why should you choose Power Apps? 

If you want to save potentially thousands of hours of development time, then Power Apps are for you. You can create a truly compelling application without any or possibly minimal coding knowledge. Of course, there are limitations, but for many organizations and many scenarios, it makes the most sense. Power Apps are scalable because they allow you to save time and money in development, and it’s much more manageable for a non-technical admin to maintain. We were able to save a client well into the six figures building a power app vs. a custom application from scratch.  

What excites you about Power Automate? 

Automation is essential to any business’ success. Approval workflows, messages/email notifications, routine checks, escalations, and more are simple ways to unload mundane tasks to help your team focus on the important work. Automations also ensure consistency. There are currently many tools to accomplish this, but most are expensive and confusing. With Power Automate, a non-coder can easily build an automation process, test it, and manage it from a logical and intuitive interface. With Power Automate, you can easily see the processes as a whole and drill into what’s happening. The price point is accessible and allows for many people to create process workflows without having to code. 

How does Power BI empower organizations?  

Power BI allows you to easily and beautifully present data with custom dashboards, charts, the skies the limit. Understanding data and finding ways to tap into that knowledge is essential to business resilience. The world is changing and evolving faster with every moment, and organizations need to be able to make informed decisions about their future initiatives. With Power BI, you can quickly visualize data in a consumable way, delivering actionable insights you can move on instantly.  

The newest member of the Power Platform is Power Virtual Agents; how do you see this impacting the digital workspace? 

Power Virtual Agents, released in December of 2019, put the power in non-coders hands to build essential chatbots to engage customers and clients. Once again, providing a way to unload repeatable tasks and free up our team to focus on the most valuable work. Chatbots also provide a way to offer support around the clock allowing for more asynchronous communication—an essential part of an effective digital workplace in 2021. Microsoft is continuing to enhance Power Virtual Agents through AI optimization, making them even more conversational, natural, and personal. 

Obviously, they call it the Power Platform for a reason, are they truly better together? 

One of the main reasons that we continue to champion Microsoft-driven digital workspaces is because of the integration possibilities. There are so many moving pieces in a digital workspace, and we owe it to our teams to integrate these tools to the fullest. The Power Platform is no different. Automations are essential to many successful Power Apps and Virtual Agents. And all of these actions are creating valuable data that is much more easily consumed through Power BI.  

We recently created a sophisticated application to help a team empower their field workers. The solution’s success relied heavily on Power Apps and Power Automate ability to work well together, while integrating with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. I’m extremely excited to continue to help clients tap into the full potential of all these tools working in tandem.  

Are you looking to take advantage of the Power Platform but don’t know where to begin? One of our PixelMill Power Platform experts would love to chat with you today!  

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