It’s not often that a new range of tools come onto the market that really change the existing landscape. And it’s even rarer for these transformative tools to be accessible to SMEs.
The great news is, the Microsoft Power Platform is bucking this trend. It’s an innovative set of tools that can help transform your business quickly and cost-effectively – especially if you’re an SME.
Whether you’re looking to create apps, improve workflow or start automating some manual processes, the Power Platform is a smart way to create end-to-end solutions that’ll genuinely give you a competitive advantage.
We’re already seeing our clients benefitting from the platform and we’re keen to help other SMEs do the same. So this blog is a quick introduction to the possible opportunities.
If, after reading the blog, you’d like to discuss any of the tools in more detail, you can book a call with one of our experts. We’re always happy to help.
The Microsoft Power Platform – a low investment, high return solution
After many years helping clients with digital transformation, we’ve found that SMEs often feel they need to buy into large systems if they want to innovate effectively. Many of these platforms are expensive and have a one-size-fits-all approach, which means that businesses end up bending to fit with the software, rather than the other way round.
The Microsoft Power Platform is a welcome alternative. It’s a low cost, high return platform that allows you to take small incremental steps towards change – testing and learning as you go.
To give you an idea of how it all works, let’s delve a little deeper.
The Power Platform is made up of four core elements: Power Automate, Power BI, Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents. We’ll cover these in turn.
Automate processes easily with Power Automate
As the name suggests, this is a cloud-based flexible automation tool. Designed to cut out those repetitive everyday tasks that take up your time, it comes with a range of ready-made templates as well as recommendations for the kind of apps it could dovetail with.
Our clients are using Power Automate for a wide range of solutions including managing workflow, getting notifications, collecting data – and much more.
Take a look at the video below for the full lowdown.
Why we love Power Automate
Easily boost productivity
You can save time and build easy work flows for a whole range of individual and large-scale tasks.
Join the dots
Connect to over 100+ data sources, straight out of the box, including Office 365, SharePoint, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter.
First step to integrating AI
Built-in Artificial Intelligence means you can automate manual tasks and start building out your own AI processes.
Keep data secure
Securely connect to on-premises data and cloud-based services so you can keep information secure, and make the most of the data you already have.
Power Automate makes automation a much simpler and low-risk process, however you do need to have some foundations in place to make the most of these capabilities.
To see how ready you are for automation, why not take our free Automation-Ready Assessment? Simply answer a few quick questions and you’ll receive a handy top-line report, as well as possible next steps for your business.
Take control of your data with Power BI
Put simply, Power BI is a cloud-based data visualisation and reporting tool that helps you bring all your data together in one place. Using a series of smart dashboards, you can see your different datasets and get a real-time view of your business data on any device, anywhere.
The beauty of Power BI is that you can easily spot trends, see correlations and share useful insights with your teams.
Why we love Power BI
All your data in one place
With all data in one easy-to-understand place, you can quickly see what’s working and what’s out of kilter.
In a few clicks you can share reports and dashboards with your teams. This means it’s easy to ensure everyone is in the know and on-board.
Turn insights into action
You can combine Power BI with Power Apps and Power Automate to quickly build business applications and automated workflows.
Simplify your processes with Power Apps
We’ve found that solving business challenges is so much simpler with Power Apps. You can create apps quickly and cost-effectively, then integrate them seamlessly into your business.
When it comes to the types of apps you can create, your imagination is the only limitation. You have the potential to create apps for capturing and sharing information, simplifying systems and removing labour intensive processes within your business. The fact you can connect your apps to Salesforce, SharePoint and Dropbox in a matter of minutes is also a real plus point.
Why we love Power Apps
Use across all devices
You can access your apps across all devices, wherever you are. So you can keep everything moving when you’re on the go.
Maximise control and security
Power Apps makes it easy to control your apps, as well as set up data policies, permissions and control options.
Boost your productivity
Create a whole suite of apps to support different roles across your business, like removing time-consuming manual processes and capturing real time data.
To discover how Power Apps can support your business growth, book a free consultation call with our digital transformation lead.
Power Virtual Agents – smart chatbots made simple
Like many people, you may be thinking that chatbots and virtual assistants are complex and out of reach for most SMEs. A few years ago, this was undoubtedly true. But now, the Power Platform is making chatbots accessible to many more businesses.
In fact, you can create sophisticated, AI-powered bots that can deal with communications issues and answer questions round the clock.
Why we love Power Virtual Agents
Easy to manage
A clear visual interface means it’s now possible to manage powerful chatbots, even if you don’t have AI expertise.
You can quickly integrate chatbots into your everyday services and processes. This can include looking up records, personalising conversations and handing over to live agents if needed.
Benefit from smarter bots
Get suggestions on which topics to build, plus monitor and improve your chatbot’s performance using AI and data-driven insights.
If you’re thinking of introducing chatbots or automating some of your business processes, why not take our Automation Ready Assessment? As the name suggests, it’ll quickly assess how ready you are for automation.
What about the cost?
Now you have a top-line view of the benefits and capabilities of the Microsoft Power Platform, you might have another question in mind: “how much does it cost?”.
A few years ago, this kind of technology would have been inaccessible for a lot of SMEs. But, as you may have guessed, the Power Platform has changed all that.
Its tools are great value for money and can integrate seamlessly with your existing technology set up. What’s more, you can create bespoke apps or build automation tools using low cost monthly licenses, which works out more cost-effective than paying for large off-the-shelf systems.
How the First Solution Group can help
Like what you’ve heard so far? Then, maybe we can help.
The Power Platform offers many opportunities to help your business gain a competitive advantage. The key thing is knowing which elements to use – and which will have the most positive impact on your bottom line.
We’ve been helping our clients tap into the Microsoft Power Platform for a while now. And through this experience, we’ve learned that a solid digital transformation strategy is really important for getting the most out of this innovative technology. It also ensures you’re clear on what’s required – and that you only pay for the technologies you really need.
When you have this strategy in place and know which elements to implement first, you’ll be in a strong position to start applying the Power Platform tools and enjoying the high returns that follow.
If you’d like to see how we can help your business harness the Power Platform, and kickstart or optimise automation, please get in touch. We’re big advocates of these tools and will happily share our expertise and advice.
Alternatively, if you’d like to see how ready you are for Automation, you can take our free Automation-Ready Assessment. In just a few minutes you’ll get your results along with some suggested next steps to help take your business forward.
About First Solution Group
The First Solution Group is made up of three businesses. First Solution, an award-winning IT management service and technology strategy company. First Digital, which supports business transformation through the delivery of low investment, high return technology. Plus, First People, a resources company, providing the right leadership, operational and technical skills to support business transformation.
Book a call with our Digital Transformation lead to see how we can help you.