I got the power (platform)!
You’ve probably heard of Outlook and you’ve probably heard of Excel. But, you may or may not have heard of the Power Platform. The Power Platform is an extended set of tools within Office that enhances the capabilities of the normal Office tools that are used on a daily basis (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, etc.). Designed for more confident users that want to utilise a deeper, more involved suite of capabilities, the Power Platform requires a brief learning curve that once surpassed, allows you to use AI and machine learning coupled with your existing Office 365 data to forge enhanced tools that allow you to save time, initialise new processes and gain vital trends and insights into your business.
With three different vectors for you to master, the Power Platform is versatile, meaning you can tread whichever path suits you, incorporating some or none of the other complimenting Power solutions.
PowerApps is an app creation tool you can use to create internal mobile apps that your company can use for a variety of purposes. There is an emphasis on “no-code, low-code”, meaning you don’t have to be an expert developer to understand how to create apps easily. Despite the breadth and depth of the tool set of PowerApps, Microsoft is conscious in making it intuitive for non-developers to make meaningful and game-changing apps for their enterprises. There have been some real success stories of everyday workers creating apps that revolutionise the way their business works. Your creations are only limited by your imagination! Power Apps give you the potential to solve business process problems.
Formerly Microsoft Flow, Power Automate bridges the gap between Microsoft apps and a plethora of other services, allowing you to automatically complete a huge array of tasks in a large capacity. Power Automate has a varied learning curve, but once you’ve mastered the basics, Power Automate allows you incredible flexibility that is limited by only your imagination. Once you’ve setup a few flows, you will find that mundane and repetitive tasks can be handled by Power Automate, allowing you to spend valuable time elsewhere. Admittedly Power Automate does take some time to grasp in comparison to the other topics we’ve covered in this article, but it’s potentially the most powerful tool out of the bunch. The constant additions being made to Power Automate are really starting to set it apart as one of the sleeper hits of Office 365. Some straightforward examples include automatically saving email attachments to your OneDrive.
PowerBI is the pinnacle of business intelligence within the Office 365 ecosystem. It accepts data from a wide variety of sources and sizes (PowerBI handles high volumes of data with ease), and allows you to craft meaningful insights in a pinch thanks to it’s extensive visualisation tools. You can even use natural language queries to swiftly take a query of yours and turn it into a visual. This intuitiveness is felt throughout PowerBI, which can be seen in just how quickly it’s popularity has and continues to increase. Just like many of the other programs in the Office ecosystem, you have both a desktop client or a web companion version to use when handling data. There are both free and paid-for features within PowerBI and the wider platform itself. As you can imagine, there is some slight extra functionality that can be achieved via the paid-for features.
Power to the People!
The Power Platform is undoubtedly an incredibly useful pool of programs to draw from, fusing together the familiar layout of existing Microsoft products with a powerful toolset. They are of course additional programs that supplement the core Office offering, so it’s by no means compulsory to use them, but if you feel you have a relative prowess with Office already, the Power Platform may be the next step for you. Because these tools do not form part of the “traditional” Office programs, the Power Platform may not be available to all users on certain licenses of Office, and you may find that certain features incur costs. If you want to learn more about the Power Platform contact us 0800 6521 365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to further your Office skills, book onto one of our regular Office workshops, where you’ll obtain some useful tips and tricks.