A guide to what can be achieved with Power BI, PowerApps and Flow

Organisations are becoming more and more effective at harnessing data, thanks to an increasing number of applications, growing customer touchpoints and the reduced cost of cloud storage.

Companies can only harness the power of this data when they master the ability to manipulate and analyse it to meet business goals. For example, an organisation may be great at keeping records on interactions with customers, but without the tools to dig deeper into the frequency, type and sentiment of these interactions, it can be hard to know how this can help enhance and grow its services.

Introducing the Power Platform

Recognising the power of data, and approaching a global IT skills shortage, Microsoft set its sights on creating a set of platforms to empower everyday users with the ability to create apps, visualisations and workflows to help them and their colleagues achieve more.

With this, the Power Platform was born. Made up of Power BI, PowerApps and Flow, this toolset enables users to continually improve services by ‘Analysing’, ‘Acting’ and ‘Automating’- known within Microsoft as the ‘Triple-A Loop’.

The Power Platform has been designed by Microsoft to be simple to use, even for those with limited technical expertise, to lower the technical threshold and put the power into users’ hands. This all helps to promote digital transformation as a mind-set throughout an organisation, rather than something that happens in an IT department whenever time and resources allow it.

Power BI: Analyse

Power BI, Microsoft’s self-service business intelligence application, makes it possible for users to connect multiple data sources to analyse and gain insight into the vast amounts of data they collect. Regardless of where the data resides; on-premise or Online, in a Microsoft application or something different; users can bring it into Power BI and gain a holistic view of the data that drives their organisation.

What makes Power BI special is its usability: supporting natural language query and featuring familiar Excel-like controls, it gives users the ability to self-serve and derive exactly the insights that they need for their roles.

PowerApps: Act

PowerApps gives people the ability to create interactive mobile and web applications without writing a single line of code. Microsoft has seen a huge uptake of PowerApps as organisations realise the benefits of creating simple ways for field workers, volunteers and students to access, input and update data quickly, on whichever device they choose.

As part of the connected Microsoft ecosystem, the data captured in PowerApps can be used to drive insight and automation across all other areas of an organisation. PowerApps supports hundreds of connectors to other systems, enabling users to push and pull data between PowerApps and a CRM system, document library or line of business system.

PowerApps also comes with access to Microsoft’s Common Data Service (CDS); a home for data not naturally stored in other applications, which can also be easily accessed by Flow, Power BI and Dynamics 365.

Flow: Automate

Flow is Microsoft’s no-code process automation tool. It gives users the power to create complex workflows to reduce human error, increase productivity and enhance the speed at which work can be completed. By removing the requirement for human intervention to carry out manual tasks, organisations can redirect their attention to other revenue-generating services and save a significant amount of time and money.

Much like Power BI and PowerApps, Flow provides a mechanism for connecting services from across an organisation’s technology estate. It comes with over a hundred connectors out of the box and makes it simple to create connectors to lesser-known systems too. All workflows run in Microsoft’s Cloud and are therefore fully managed and secured by Microsoft.

Getting started

Together, Power BI, PowerApps and Flow provide an incredibly powerful set of services that enable organisations to identify areas for improvement, create solutions, and automate actions.

At Pythagoras, we’re passionate about helping organisations get up to speed with all elements of the Power Platform. Through workshops, build and learn sessions and training exercises, we can help people become a Power Platform Pros with the skills to transform their organisation. We also provide extensive consultancy and project services around the Power Platform to bring an organisation’s processes to life.