Power Platform was originally developed by Microsoft as a response to the increasing demand for custom solutions from businesses that could not afford to hire full-time developers. It has since evolved to become the most popular low-code/no-code tool for citizen developers wanting to create custom business solutions and automate workflows - without the need for extensive coding knowledge.
The platform is composed of five main components: Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, power Pages and Power Virtual Agents, along with other tools such as Power Platform Governance and AI Builder.
Below we've built a list of 10 unique and interesting things you may or may not know about Power Platform.
1. Custom Connectors
Power Platform allows users to create custom connectors that can integrate with various APIs and data sources. This feature is not widely known, but it can help users extend the functionality of Power Platform and integrate it with other services.
Power Platform custom connectors can be used to integrate with virtually any third-party service or application, even if there is no existing connector available in the Power Platform's library of pre-built connectors. With the custom connector feature, users can create custom API connectors using open standards such as OpenAPI, Swagger, or Postman. Custom connectors overview | Microsoft Learn
2. Power BI Embedded
Power BI Embedded reports offer a high level of customization and can be embedded into any web or mobile application. Power BI Embedded provides an API that allows developers to programmatically interact with Power BI reports, including features such as filtering, navigation, and drill-through. This allows developers to create a seamless user experience that integrates Power BI reports directly into their applications. Power BI Embedded reports can be branded and styled to match the look and feel of the host application, providing a consistent user experience.
Power BI Embedded supports row-level security, which allows control over which data is displayed to each user based on their role or permissions. This provides an additional layer of security and ensures that sensitive data is not accessible to unauthorized users. Overall, Power BI Embedded reports offer a powerful tool for developers to create custom applications that leverage the data analytics capabilities of Power BI. Learn more.
3. Power Apps Portals
Power Apps portals offers a wide range of out-of-the-box templates and pre-built components that can be used to create external-facing websites. Power Apps portals provide a low-code platform that enables users to create custom websites that can interact with data and processes from Power Platform applications. The pre-built templates and components include features such as registration forms, knowledge base articles, event calendars, and discussion forums, making it easy for users to create websites that meet their specific needs.
4. AI Builder
The future is now and AI is here to stay! Microsoft's AI Builder is a low-code platform that allows users to build and deploy AI models for various use cases. One little-known fact about AI Builder is that it offers pre-built AI models for solving common business problems, such as object detection and sentiment analysis. These pre-built models can be customized and integrated with other applications and services, making it easy for users to create AI-powered solutions quickly and efficiently.
Another little-known fact is that AI Builder supports a wide range of data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, SharePoint lists, and SQL Server databases. This allows users to bring in data from multiple sources and use it to train AI models that can provide insights and predictions. The platform offers a user-friendly interface with a visual designer that enables users to define the input and output of their AI models. AI Builder uses machine learning algorithms to automatically generate the code necessary to train and deploy the models, eliminating the need for extensive coding knowledge or expertise. Learn more.
5. Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents leverage Microsoft's Cognitive Services, a suite of pre-built AI services, to enhance the functionality of the chatbots. For example, users can use Cognitive Services to perform natural language processing, sentiment analysis, or speech-to-text conversion. This makes it easier for users to create chatbots that can understand and respond to complex customer inquiries and requests.
Additionally, Power Virtual Agents offers integration with Power Automate, enabling users to automate complex workflows and processes using the chatbot as a front-end interface. This provides a seamless user experience and improves efficiency across the organization. Overall, Power Virtual Agents offer a powerful tool for creating AI-powered chatbots that can improve customer engagement and streamline business processes. Learn more.
Dataverse is the new name for Common Data Service. It is a cloud-based service that allows users to store and manage data across multiple applications and services within the Microsoft ecosystem. With Dataverse, users can standardize and store their data, which can help to reduce duplication and inconsistencies in data across different applications and services. It also provides tight integration with other Microsoft tools like Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI, which allows users to easily create custom apps, automate workflows, and generate reports and dashboards using the data stored in Dataverse.
Dataverse is built on top of Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, providing high scalability, reliability, and performance. Its security and compliance features, such as role-based access control, data encryption, and compliance with various industry standards and regulations, make it a suitable choice for businesses that need to maintain data privacy and security. Learn more.
7. Power Automate Desktop
Power Automate Desktop offers advanced automation capabilities that can help users streamline their workflows and save time on repetitive tasks. It provides a visual designer that allows users to create complex automation workflows using a drag-and-drop interface, without the need for extensive coding knowledge or expertise.
Additionally, Power Automate Desktop includes a wide range of pre-built connectors that can be used to integrate with hundreds of applications and services, including legacy systems, web-based applications, and cloud services. Another little-known fact is that Power Automate Desktop offers advanced automation features, such as conditional logic, error handling, and looping, that can help users create more sophisticated workflows that can handle complex business processes.
Power Automate Desktop also includes a built-in recorder that can be used to automate tasks by recording mouse and keyboard actions, making it easy for users to create automation workflows for repetitive tasks. Learn more.
8. Power Apps Templates
Microsoft's Power Apps templates is that they offer a wide range of pre-built templates that can be used to create custom applications without the need for extensive development knowledge or expertise. Power Apps templates provide a user-friendly, low-code platform that enables users to create custom applications for a variety of use cases, including project management, customer relationship management, and employee onboarding. The pre-built templates offer a range of features and functionality, such as data visualization, form creation, and workflow automation, making it easy for users to create custom applications that meet their specific needs.
Additionally, Power Apps templates offer integration with other Power Platform products, such as Power BI and Power Automate, allowing users to create powerful end-to-end solutions that span multiple products. Learn more.
9. Custom Visuals
A good Power BI report is clean, simple and well-designed. Custom visuals provide viewers a more intuitive and comprehensive understanding of their data. Custom reports can also be shared by publishing them to the Power BI marketplace or embedding them in a Power BI report.
Microsoft's Power BI marketplace provides a wide variety of free and paid custom visuals that users can download and use in their reports. Users can also create their own custom visuals by using the Power BI Developer Tools, which include a visual development environment, a set of APIs, and a debugger. Learn more.
10. AI Insights & Power BI
Microsoft's Power BI Desktop includes AI Insights, which is a feature that provides advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities to help users automatically detect trends, correlations, and anomalies in their data. AI Insights also helps users with data quality issues and enables them to create predictive models using machine learning algorithms. Moreover, AI Insights in Power BI Desktop allows users to generate auto-generated reports using AI-powered features such as Quick Insights and Explain the Increase.
One of the most interesting aspects of Power BI Desktop's AI Insights is the ability to integrate custom machine learning models using open-source frameworks like Python or R. This allows users to create custom AI visuals or import pre-built ones from Microsoft's AI Visuals Gallery. AI Insights also includes the ability to create natural language queries, which can be useful for generating insights and reports more quickly and easily. Learn more.
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