In this day and age of business, it is important for organizations to incorporate modern technology into their operations. This is especially true for small to medium sized businesses, who may be up against much larger competitors in their market. This is why the trend of outsourced IT and managed services has grown in the SMB field in recent years. One of the IT support companies London SMBs have been partnering with for some time now, TechQuarters, is highly focused on helping businesses modernize using products like the Microsoft Cloud.
Microsoft Cloud & the Power Platform
The Microsoft Cloud is a blanket term for a range of Microsoft’s products and services that have been either migrated to, or built natively using their Public Cloud infrastructure. These products include Microsoft Azure (which provides IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform.
All of Microsoft’s Cloud products can provide immense benefits to businesses, but let’s focus on Microsoft Power Platform. It is a line of applications that leverage Cloud integration, AI, Machine Learning, and Automation. The reason it is something of a game changer for smaller businesses is because it makes available a range of strategies and technologies that would traditionally only be available to larger organizations with better resources. Now, however, the Cloud makes it much more accessible and affordable. The infrastructure and technologies are all part of the service that you may monthly for.
So, what products and services does a business get with the Microsoft Power Platform? Below is a rundown of each product.
Note: Microsoft Power Platform is best utilized in conjunction with Microsoft 365, which includes Office 365, Outlook and Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams. Though the integration is not key to all the apps in Power Platform, some are inclined to make workflows in M365 more efficient.
- Power BI
In business, data is extremely important. Cold, hard data is the most effective way of predicting the future of your business and the market. Power BI is a product designed specifically to analyze and visualize data. It uses artificial intelligence to analyze large data sources more efficiently than any human user could manage to, and you can link as many different types of data sources, from as many different places as you want. In fact, the more data you can feed into the app, the more insights you could potentially gain.
- Power Apps
Businesses can build their own custom applications with Power Apps. It is a low-code platform – meaning that it contains a library of pre-written code, and that code is displayed in a graphical and text-based format, thus making it easy for people with little or no coding experience to build their own software. Using Power Apps alongside Microsoft 365 allows businesses to incorporate custom applications into their Microsoft workflow.
- Power Automate
As the name suggests, Power Automate is a product designed to automate workflows across your organisation’s technology stack. If a business is onboarded to Microsoft 365, they will be able to automate processes according to various triggers – in other words, they can program specific actions to occur in response to digital events, such as an email being sent to a specific address, or a file getting uploaded to SharePoint. Some of the ways you can use Power Automate include synchronizing data, organizing files, sending automatic alerts, etc.
- Power Virtual Agents
This is a recent addition to the Microsoft Power Platform. Power Virtual Agents is a software that enables businesses to write their own AI chatbots. Chatbots are an excellent tool for customer service if you are a small to medium sized business. The advancements in natural language processing mean that chatbots are getting better at communicating with human users. You can link internal data sources to a chatbot that are relevant to customer services, so that the chatbot is able to access information and provide it to customers very quickly. This is a great solution for SMBs who want to improve their customer services, but are limited by budget.