by James Townsend
Microsoft is not only a leader in packaged software products for business productivity, operating systems and accounting, but also in providing the development platforms for creating custom solutions.
The Microsoft Power Platform is a family of products that are seeing rapid growth. The Power Platform includes Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual agents. It features capabilities for non-coders to create solutions as well as support for developers. Many organizations, especially small business and non-profits, do not have developers on staff yet they need to automate their processes to respond to rapidly changing requirements.
Last month, the Power Platform was prominently featured at the virtual Microsoft Ignite 2020 conference. Microsoft announced Power Automate Desktop, a desktop-based robotic process automation (RPA) authoring solution for coders and non-coders to automate processes across desktop and web applications using a visual workflow editor:
The Web Recorder and Desktop Recorders track keyboard and mouse interactions, storing them as a clear automation path that can be replayed across web apps and Windows applications.
Power Automate offers the AI (artificial intelligence) Builder
to create, train, and publish AI models without writing a single line of code, using templates and a guided process. The supported AI models include prediction, form processing, object detection, category classification, and entity extraction via a simple, intuitive interface. Get straight to productivity with prebuilt AI scenarios including key phrase extraction, language detection, sentiment analysis, text recognition (OCR), business card reader, entity extraction, receipt processing (preview), and category classification (preview).
While the Power Automate Desktop and the AI Builder are impressive tools on their own, what makes Power Automate more compelling is that includes Azure AI and other Azure capabilities, Office 365, Dynamics 365 and the Common Data Service
If you are familiar with Dynamics 365 apps such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Project Service and Field Service then you already have seen how Power Apps works, because these are essentially Power Apps that Microsoft has created and supports rather than custom apps you create for your organization.
All these apps and tools live in the context of Office 365, making it easier to manage security and log access and activities. The integration with messaging to send email notifications is inherent in the platform, along with dozens of integrations with Microsoft Office for reports, documents spreadsheets and calendars.
The platform is so rich that it attracts ISVs such as InfoStrat and Serenic to build our solutions on this platform. That way our customers benefit from the extensive R&D investments that Microsoft makes in artificial intelligence, usability, security and performance.
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