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Microsoft Power Platform

What is the Power Platform?

The Microsoft Power Platform is a business application platform comprised of three products:

  • PowerApps: A business forms technology

  • Power Automate (formerly Flow): A workflow system.

  • Power BI: A business intelligence platform .

The platform provides the means to help people easily manipulate, surface, automate and analyse data and can be used with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 (as well as other third-party apps and other Microsoft services).

 

The Power Platform is possible thanks to the Common Data Service (or CDS), which is essentially the underlying data platform that provides a unified and simplified data schema so that applications and services can inter-operate.

Developers build applications on the Power Platform using graphical design surfaces with minimal coding, allowing less experienced developers and even power users to be productive.  This type of platform is referred to as a "Low Code" platform.  

Why use a Low-Code Platform?

Speed: Of all the benefits of low-code development, the ability to significantly and positively impact the delivery of new software and applications is the most important. In his August 2018 blog post, Why You Need To Know About Low-Code, Even If You’re Not Responsible for Software Delivery,  Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, John Rymer, wrote that low-code offers the potential to “make software development as much as 10 times faster than traditional methods.” 

Decreased Costs: It’s no secret that talented developers are in short supply and command a premium salary. But their talents are wasted on many projects when an analyst/power user can do the same thing, as long as they have the tools to enable them. A low-code platform is just the tool that can do that. 

Built-In Devops: Traditionally, there are two distinct groups within IT: developers, and operations. Developers create applications. Operations is more complex. For simplicity, consider “Operations” as everything IT does that does not involve writing code, either manually or using a low-code solution. These “non-code” tasks include things like security vulnerability scanning, testing, integrations, hosting, backups/disaster recovery, analytics, etc.

Higher Productivity: Low-code development allows more apps to be built in less time. What used to take months can be reduced to days…even minutes. With low-code development, time is no longer a barrier to real innovation. . 

Why use the Power Platform?

Industry Analysts Favor Microsoft's Offering: Both Forrester and Gartner place the Power Platform among the leaders in the low-code marketplace. 

Price: Organizations that already have Office 365 licenses may find that the platform comes at no additional cost. For those without licenses already, the cost per user / month is as low as $5/month.

Integration with Office 365: The platform can run stand-alone but can also be embedded in SharePoint, Dynamics and other portal-ware.  It also has built-in connectors to SharePoint to easily read and write with lists and react to events.

How can I Extend the Power Platform?

Power Platform + Azure

Low-Code Platforms cannot do everything that full stack platforms can: While the types of automation workloads that the Power Platform can handle expands, there still remains certain features that are better built in a full stack platform.  An example would be a system that needs embedded drag and drop functionality which PowerApps does not currently support.

Extend with REST: Nearly every cloud service includes a REST API. One can use any REST API from within Power Automate to integrate with these systems.

Extend with Microservices / Cloud-Native Stack: Developers can use the programming stack of choice to build microservices in Azure and AWS and then call them from the Power Platform.

Why use Distributed Logic for your Power Platform Needs? 

Experience on the Power Platform: While the Power Platform has only been mainstream for a couple of years, we have built dozens of applications for our customers. 

Our project Approach and Process: For more than 20 years, Distributed Logic has been building custom enterprise applications. We've taken best-practices from these past projects and incorporated it into our Power Platform development approach.

Tools: Over the past 2 years, we've created a large collection of customer service flows. Service Flows are packaged functions that can easily be incorporated into any of the Power Platform components. This tool kits expands the Power Platform, speeds development and reduces costs.