Comparing SAP BusinessObjects with Power BI

What is the Power Platform and How Will It Help You?

Microsoft’s Power Platform is a collection of low-code tools that will take data and processes in your organisation and help you gain insight and improve efficiency. You’re probably already using Microsoft Office’s suite of tools, the Power Platform suite can empower you and your staff even further.

The tools in the Power Platform stable include Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and Power Pages. They connect and integrate with Microsoft 365, borrowing roles, licencing and security from there; as well as allowing information to flow to storage and other analytical tools in the Azure platform.

Power BI is fast becoming the industry standard business analytics tool, able to connect to a huge range of data sources both on-premise and in the cloud.

Power Apps is a low-code application development platform that leverages Microsoft Dataverse (a service that provides a simple foundation to store and use data from multiple sources).

Power Automate is a service that allows to users to create their own business process automation flows to reduce manual repetition in regular tasks.

Power Virtual Agents is a build-your-own-chatbot service using no-code interfaces.

Power Pages is a low-code website building platform.

As you can see, Microsoft are trying to push out the ‘build-your-own’ model to everything now. It used to be that Word documents and Excel spreadsheets were the extent of a business user’s technical skills, with the odd PowerPoint presentation thrown in. Extremely confident people would maybe try their hand at Access and a few forms for data collection.

App development, databases and websites were strictly the domain of specialist teams within an organisation.

Now that more and more of the working population have grown up learning to code, or are at least used to working with more intuitive and simpler design interfaces, the general level of IT literacy has improved. With that, Microsoft have obviously decided that there is a market for providing access to simplified developer tools so that businesses can avoid the bottlenecks and expense associated with bespoke application development.

Most businesses will still baulk at allowing just anyone to create apps and externally facing websites with these tools, but it does mean that maybe the BI team won’t be reliant quite as much on IT, or that smaller companies can get by without bringing in external developers for small internal app creations.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to look at the Power Apps tool and how it can be used to quickly create useful forms, collect data consistently and reduce reliance on spreadsheets. I’ll show how it can be used with the other tools in the Power Platform to add insight to other data and automate certain tasks. I’ll look at the parts of the Microsoft ecosystem that it works with and demystify the jargon around it.

To understand how you can benefit from the Power Platform then speak to us at Codestone.

Keith Fisher, Senior BI Consultant, Codestone

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