5 Ways Microsoft Power Platform Delivers on Data Strategy

Customers Love Microsoft Power Platform for a Reason

Today more than ever, telling your company’s story through data is wildly compelling. And being able to aggregate and consume data quickly to convey business analytics from end to end is growing in popularity and complexity every day. Choosing the right data strategy and solution will feed your organization today and tomorrow. Ensuring your people are connected plays a significant role in how you harness, absorb, depict, and deliver business intelligence as demands and opportunities for using data to make minutely informed business decisions evolve.

Low-code/no-code software like Microsoft Power Platform is one approach that enables your employees to begin paving their own path towards data delivery through app creation, automation, and analytics. Maintaining the integrity of your information and keeping it safe and secure in the process of making it available for consumption, is an integral part, as well. With relatively little skill ramp-up, cost, and with security baked in, Power Platform continues to grow and expand in the marketplace as a great component of data strategy.

According to Microsoft’s announcements at their recent 2022 Build event, third-party and custom app use has grown 10 times over the past two years. And over the next five years, Microsoft expects citizen developers to create 500 million new apps. Microsoft Power Platform is a collaborative tool, which feeds directly into this trend.

Power Platform is a great entry tool for streamlining business processes through data connectivity and leveraging all the capabilities without the premium cost. It’s flexible and a fantastic way to connect disparate enterprise systems to improve efficiency and rapidly adapt to changing business conditions, while connecting your people through capability. And most customers already have Power Platform installed with their Microsoft Teams investment!

“Most people’s business processes have changed drastically over the last two years, so utilizing the Power Platform now really makes sense to build on functionality, no matter where you’re working,” Em D’Arcy, Hitachi Solutions Power Platform MVP, recently explained.

A Flexible Solution that Scales Your Needs

According to Hitachi Solution’s tech hub of Power Platform experts, customers should ask several questions when considering leveraging Power Platform for streamlining data workloads, including:

  • Where is the data currently? Is it on-prem, in the cloud, or both?
  • How many people interact with your data daily?
  • How complex are your organization’s data issues?
  • What volume of data are you seeking to harness? Large? Small?

The Power Platform utilizes many different data sources and answering these questions will help your solutions provider understand what data source is the right one for the job. It may be that you can first address many solutions through SharePoint and Teams, before building into Dataverse, for example. And Dataverse isn’t the only data platform integrated with Power Platform. All these considerations take into account not only cost efficiency but user readiness and the level of security required.

Addressing these core questions will also help you determine your initial strategy and total cost of ownership, as well as whether, to begin with a low-code/no-code solution, a custom solution, or a hybrid answer to your data needs.

“We are collaborating with our customers to determine their business process. We like to look at things that are scalable,” said D’Arcy. “Power Platform really becomes key when you have multiple data sources in multiple locations, including legacy systems, which aren’t easily integrated. Power Apps can be the conduit between all those sources to bring everything into one place,” she explained.

Power Platform works seamlessly with pro-code tools as well, allowing customers to leverage traditional development methods where they best fit, while extending the experience with low-code tools — for example, Power Apps connected to Microsoft Azure Datalakes.

This flexibility, scalability, and affordability are three key components of why Microsoft Power Platform is growing at such a rapid rate — with 7.4 million low-code developers using Power Platform solutions around the world, according to Microsoft.

Connecting Your Data Builds Organizational Clarity

Connecting data from multiple sources and being able to analyze it in one place with one line of sight is really powerful and Power BI does that for you with an exceptionally low barrier to entry. According to Microsoft, today there are more than 300 million active Power BI developers, which speaks to its accessibility.

For analytics, Power BI is an extended part of the Power Platform family and can interact with Power Apps and Power Automate, but also tooled independently or with other cloud solutions. It resembles the rest of the Power Platform in that it is relatively easy to implement, with a low entry cost, while delivering a very flexible and scalable model for customers.

Hitachi Solutions’ Vice President of Analytics, Cary Holley, explains, “I see the rest of the Power Platform as workflow and quick app development, but Power BI is almost a different animal. It’s more integrated with the broader modern data estate. Customers are looking for how Power BI can unify all their data assets that are in the cloud.”

Often customers are seeking to bridge to modern architecture and cloud enablement from on-prem, but first need to consider evolving business needs and how they’ve changed. They also need to consider how they might look in the future versus how they managed their analytics in the past. It’s not always just a lift and shift, it’s a whole new way of doing business.

“Whether in Microsoft Azure SQL, Datalakes, or Dataverse coming directly out of Dynamics or Synapse, customers want to unify and build out all these assets and their data is at various stages of evolution. They want one platform to do the data mining, discovery, operational reporting, and analytical reporting,” added Holley.

Power BI is that unifying workspace and can be the main data access point for an organization to leverage new features and connectors continuously in development by Microsoft.

“Our customers know their pain points and Power BI solves the complications brought from many legacy BI systems,” said Holley. “I often hear a similar call to action from customers, which is they need to hustle and corral their data, and how do they see through it all?”

Power BI collects a company’s data and delivers it in full-color depictions for each user and according to the role. That picture is created and customized by the end-user, depending on individual needs. The accessibility of Power BI echoes the value of the rest of Power Platform’s capabilities and speaks to the collaborative process it encourages to solve business issues through Power Platform.

Hitachi Solutions Power BI experts help our customers scale for a modern data estate, using modern techniques, approaches, and architecture. We use Platform as a Service (PaaS) to enable customers to leverage their data and engage their people to reach better business insights with speed and scalability.

Watch our short video (2:41) to learn more about Power Platform and Platform as a Service (PaaS):

Implement with Good Governance for Best Overall Outcomes

Governance and security are core considerations for mapping out a digital strategy for all solution areas. This is particularly true for the rapid rate at which Power Platform expands within an organization’s users and makers, who are eager to solve their business issues.

While Power Platform is delivered with security baked in through Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), our experts recommend introducing guidelines early in the process of implementation. Clear, company-specific direction and best practices not only help build trust among stakeholders but enhance the overall impact.

The goal is to empower users to innovate in such a way that they are building solutions safely and accessing data in a secure way, while also taking into consideration company brand guidelines and design. Hitachi Solutions developed several app templates to help get makers started. Users know they can solve their daily business issues through that solution, and they are able to deliver better business outcomes overall.

According to Holley, when rolling out Power BI, vendors should always include guidance.

“Central organization and workspace management are key. We help our customers organize their workspaces, establish the right level of service, and build out their workspaces to align with the personas within their organization. We provide best practice guidance for their Azure active directory group structures, and we provide an administration console. We also address performance bottlenecks in their Power BI tenant. Because adoption is so easy, without proper advisory services, and best practice governance, organizations can get ahead of themselves in no time,” he explained.

Creating the right recipe of solution and service for your unique narrative is what Hitachi Solutions does for our customers. From early advisory to road-mapping your digital journey to scaling enterprise-wide, we help them clearly see the whole picture of the integration and how it affects business performance.
“When the customer is ready, we can help them safely and securely make Power Platform available to the entire organization with a click of a button,” added D’Arcy.

Develop Your Future State at Your Own Pace

Building your employees’ data literacy is part of being able to tell your story. The level of skill needed to build something on the Power Platform completely varies.

SharePoint is a simple interface most people can grasp, but it has its limitations, and shouldn’t be used for more complex issues requiring a greater level of security. This scales all the way to massive system-critical applications. While this illustrates the flexibility and scalability of the Power Platform, it also punctuates that one size does not fit all when introducing its capabilities to all your stakeholders. Depending on your business issues, your needs will scale from zero technical skill to the pro-developer level.

To that end, Hitachi Solutions offers workshops to address your unique problem set and offer guidance to build your path forward. User experience is a major driver and key when building any solution. Model-driven apps are cock-pit type apps often used in administration. They will utilize Dataverse. A canvas app is different and can use multiple different data sources. Power Platform will flex depending on the need. According to our experts, a client’s needs will dictate the right data source solution.

Spending time with the end-users helps determine the right base for your solution. Hitachi Solutions offers workshops for prototyping a digital strategy prior to implementation. Not only to confirm it is the right way forward for your company but also to measure how employees weigh in on adoption.

Understanding staff training and augmentation needs, as well as their overall outlook on change, are two ways our Advisory Services team helps us successfully support customers during the “test” phase.

“Once we have alignment from the organization, we then prototype, pulling in key stakeholders and making sure the chosen solution addresses specific needs. We work towards fully understanding our customers and their unique objectives to ensure the right way forward and determine how best to implement, train, and deliver a successful transition,” explained Dave Horstein, Advisory Services Principal.

Choose the Right Solutions Partner

How you develop your business intelligence will fundamentally affect how you deliver your company’s story today as well as tomorrow.

With years of data and analytics capabilities and implementation expertise, Hitachi Solutions innovates with Microsoft technology, developing both custom-built modern solutions and out-of-the-box IP and support. Leveraging Power Platform for data and analytics offers customers the flexibility and agility to embrace low-code development while continuing to adapt to ever-changing demands on data and how it is consumed.

Choosing the right solutions partner to help develop a data strategy for your organization is paramount to growing at scale, with the agility to flex as data continues to disrupt the way we do business and build our collaborative muscle.

The bottom line is Hitachi Solutions can work with you to drill down and find the right narrative to build your unique data story. We’ll then help you break it down, chapter by chapter, to ensure your data is created, harnessed, and collected, and is accessible and secure for all audiences. With Hitachi Solutions as your data and analytics partner, you’re able to continue to read and write your story through data, now and in the future.

Find out more about Hitachi Solutions and Microsoft Power Platform here. Contact us to learn more.