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Embracing modern solutions for solving business issues requires ongoing insight and innovation. And in today’s “do more with less” work sphere, empowering your employees to solve their daily business issues and maximize performance is ever more paramount. With Microsoft’s Power Platform, your recipe for success is closer than you think. It gives end-users the potential to quickly solve business issues. With a little gatekeeping on the front end, it’s fast and easy to set up best practice guidelines. This allows makers to develop solutions safely for your company because the performance capability is baked into the platform.
Recently, we spent time with Hitachi Solutions experts Em D’Arcy, Senior Solution Architect and Microsoft Biz Apps MVP, and Michelle Martin, Senior Power Platform Consultant, to discuss Hitachi Solutions’ approach to solving business issues for our customers with Microsoft’s Power Platform.
Governance from Go
Hitachi Solutions recommends that our Power Platform customers begin slowly and support developers with guidelines to keep things safe for everyone.
“When we talk about best practices, one of the common scenarios for our clients is putting a governance scheme in place from the very beginning. Governance isn’t about security roles and preventing employee access, it’s the complete opposite. It’s creating safe spaces for makers that enable them to develop in a way that doesn’t inhibit the organization,” explained D’Arcy.
With minimal training, Hitachi Solutions can help structure simple guardrails for customers, so employee solution makers can work to solve business issues with Power Platform in a very secure way, protecting the company against any unintended data leaks.
Another part of governance is adoption, which tends to get neglected.
“Not only does Hitachi Solutions implement safe development spaces, but we also teach best practices to optimize user experience and outcomes. A common session we offer is Microsoft’s “App in a Day” — Power Platform app building 101. In addition, Hitachi Solutions offers 201, which focuses on the technical side of things that people may not be as familiar with. We have something for everyone, added D’Arcy.
The key point is to have a conversation about governance and what that looks like for you and your makers early (or wherever you are now) in your implementation. The experience varies depending on the phase of development. Sometimes customers change their mind about incorporating governance after they’ve experienced how quickly Power Platform can build up and out, and then they seek our guidance.
Transitioning from Microsoft SharePoint to Power Platform for Modern Solutions
Transitioning from SharePoint into Power Apps is very natural for many. SharePoint has an item limit. For those who are using this solution to manage their data, this becomes an issue. In addition, SharePoint is not a relational database, so there are capability limitations from the outset.
“If a customer has never used Power Apps or Power Automate, transitioning from a legacy system like SharePoint, for example, can be a little tricky and there are best practices to follow. We guide and advise our customers through this process, something that really helps in the long term,” said D’Arcy.
To solve this problem, our team encourages customers to use Microsoft Dataverse — a relational solution with no limitations that seamlessly integrates with the Power Platform with little complexity. Using Dataverse, makers can build rich applications with Power Platform — allowing data to be integrated from multiple sources into a single source, which can then be used in Power Apps.
According to Martin, “In many ways, it’s a natural progression. And it’s easier if our customers go all in, versus trying to keep SharePoint as a database.”
“It’s an incredibly scalable product without the scary licensing fees upfront,” added D’Arcy.
What is Rapid Solution Development?
Rapid Solution Development (RSD) is Hitachi Solutions’ Tech Hub of Power Platform experts. We work closely with our clients to help them achieve Power Platform success. From building complex applications and automations to collaboratively up-skilling of client makers and advisory services around platform governance, we meet our customers where they are and accelerate their success and user adoption of low code tools.
If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer, you probably already have Power Platform in place. Now you just need to unlock the ingredients to make sure you get the full flavor and benefits. It’s the idea of guiding our customers through the platform implementation process while solving business issues very quickly.
Traditionally, developing solutions for better business outcomes takes several months or longer. In the last couple of years, along with the rapidly evolving professional landscape in which we find ourselves today, there is a distinct need to do more with less. In short, we need a lot more automation. Microsoft’s Power Platform, and how Hitachi Solutions delivers it, allows for that to happen in a secure environment.
“We’re able to implement and develop solutions for our customers within days, weeks, and months in comparison. We work with our customers to gather their requirements and to understand their business processes,” said D’Arcy.
Templates for power virtual agents can get things up and running very quickly to address some common business needs, like help desk request chatbots, for example.
“Another chatbot would be a request form. You go to (Microsoft) Teams, input ‘Hi I’d like to request …’, and then it’s automatically sent to a SharePoint form or list. It’s quite simple to build something like this with Power Platform,” emphasized Martin.
Capability and Development are Ongoing Builds
There are best practices for keeping up with ongoing Power Platform developments without getting overwhelmed.
“We tell our customers to start slow. Take baby steps,” said Martin.
Power Apps will spin up automatically, and there are templates (built by Hitachi Solutions) that our customers can use to get started. There’s a simple progression to making the solution work best for you.
“Key best practices I speak about every day with our clients is governance,” said D’Arcy. “Without a governance plan, things can spiral quickly. Implement governance as soon as possible, regardless of your stage of development.”
Examples of Power Platform at Work
One of the most popular solutions in the platform for our customers is the inspection app. It’s extremely popular in manufacturing and for retail clients. It’s a nice interactive checklist for common occurrences within a working day. In a manufacturing setting, for example, it’s quite common for someone to walk the floor for safety procedures. Historically, that’s a “pen and paper” inspection.
“We implemented a very easy-to-use phone app for that process and all the follow-ons. Creating and implementing these everyday checklists is a fast way to get started with Power Platform,” Martin explained.
Service requests are also immensely popular with Power Apps. Field technicians can receive requests on their phone in real-time and send status updates to the requester as the work is performed. Everything is real-time from end to end. That is an easy, streamlined “do more with less” fix for many of our customers.
Today, modern solutions for better business outcomes involve doing more with less. Power Platform is right for the recipe. Add a splash of oversight. Season to taste.
Check out our short Q&A video on Power Platform from our resident expert, Em D’Arcy!
Find us at global.hitachi-solutions.com.