When it comes to Power Platform training for US government agencies and commercial enterprises, power platform including Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents can help you in both regards.
In the realm of digital solutions, Power Platform stands as a beacon, illuminating avenues of efficiency and innovation for both US government and commercial sectors. Its comprehensive suite of products caters to diverse business needs, empowering individuals to create solutions that amplify their effectiveness and deliver superior outcomes. Allow Dynamics Edge to guide you on a journey into the depths of Power Platform, its primary products, and the transformative impact they can create.
Power Platform, developed by Microsoft, is a robust ecosystem that brings together a range of tools, applications, and services. It comprises four primary products: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents. These products have been meticulously designed to simplify and streamline the creation of custom business applications, automate repetitive tasks, unearth valuable insights from data, and provide engaging conversational experiences, respectively.
The unique value proposition of Power Platform is its ability to serve both US government and commercial enterprises effectively. Power Platform’s components are designed to meet stringent compliance requirements, making it a reliable choice for government agencies. Meanwhile, its scalability and versatility make it equally suitable for a wide array of commercial applications.
Power Apps, as the first component of Power Platform, acts as a linchpin for the low-code development realm. This platform empowers app makers to weave together feature-rich applications, sidestepping the necessity for extensive coding. The two core strands of Power Apps – Canvas Apps and Model-Driven Apps – each offer unique avenues for application development.
Picture a canvas. An empty expanse where every stroke of the brush shapes the final masterpiece, where creativity flows unrestricted by predetermined forms. That’s the essence of Canvas Apps. Every aspect of these applications – from the user interface to the user experience – can be molded by the app maker’s hands. For example, consider a state government agency seeking to streamline public service requests. In this scenario, SharePoint, a platform offering advanced web-based collaborative tools, along with SharePoint Lists, a collection of data in SharePoint, could serve as potent resources.
SharePoint Lists could help store and manage the data for reported issues, while the interface for reporting could be developed using a Canvas App. SharePoint’s high customizability, coupled with the expressive power of Canvas Apps, can create a user-friendly interface that facilitates easy reporting for citizens. But why stop at SharePoint Lists? Consider an on-premise SQL Server, a relational database management system from Microsoft. This could also contribute to the data pool used by the Canvas App, providing more comprehensive data to work with.
Bringing disparate data sources together can be a game-changer. Here, Dataverse enters the picture. It provides a scalable, secure, and compliant data platform built into Power Platform. By shifting some data to Dataverse, the agency could leverage the advantages of centralized data storage while still maintaining a seamless, unified Canvas App experience for the users.
While the freedom of Canvas Apps resembles an artist’s creative process, Model-Driven Apps echo the architect’s craft. They pivot around the underlying data model and business processes, assembling components like building blocks to craft the app’s layout and user interface. A case in point would be an electronics manufacturer looking to manage complex supply chain processes.
In the hands of such an enterprise, Model-Driven Apps could serve as a powerful tool to streamline supply chain workflows. The manufacturer’s data, from product inventories to supplier details, could reside within Dataverse. The harmonization of data from disparate systems into Dataverse, facilitated by ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes and Power BI dataflows, can break down data silos and provide a unified data platform. This centralization of data would aid in the efficient management of the manufacturer’s supply chain processes.
Model-Driven Apps feature components like tables (formerly known as entities), columns (formerly known as fields), and records. One can liken a table to a spreadsheet where each row, or record, denotes a unique set of data, and each column signifies a particular type of information. This methodical structure permits the effortless visualization of data relationships and processes. The ability to construct and comprehend intricate relationships like 1:N (one-to-many), N:1 (many-to-one), and N:N (many-to-many) significantly enhances the organization of data handling.
Let’s explore the 1:N relationship more. Imagine an electronics manufacturer using a Model-Driven App with a variety of tables. Among them are an ‘Inventory’ table, where each record represents a different product, and a ‘Suppliers’ table, where each record represents a different supplier. The manufacturer might want to track which products are provided by which supplier. Here, a 1:N relationship comes into play, where one supplier (the ‘1’ side) can provide many products (the ‘N’ side).
This relationship can be established using a lookup column on the ‘Inventory’ table’s form, pointing to the ‘Suppliers’ table. This lookup column enables each product record to be associated with a supplier record, setting the ‘1’ side from the ‘N’ side.
With this setup, each time a new product is added to the ‘Inventory’ table, the manufacturer can easily select the appropriate supplier from the lookup column dropdown. The system is simple and intuitive, saving the manufacturer time and effort.
Moreover, a subgrid on a ‘Supplier’ form can display a list of all products related to that supplier. This list shows the ‘N’ side of the relationship from the perspective of the ‘1’ side, providing a convenient summary of all products provided by a specific supplier.
Shifting the focus to N:N relationships, consider a scenario where a product can be associated with multiple suppliers, and a supplier can provide multiple products. Two lookup columns, one on each table, won’t suffice. In this case, a subgrid on the forms of both the ‘Inventory’ and ‘Suppliers’ tables can come in handy. These subgrids will display all associated records, reflecting the interconnected nature of the N:N relationship.
The simplicity of Model-Driven Apps’ visualization of these relationships is noteworthy. Lookup columns and subgrids on forms and views make the 1:N, N:1, and N:N relationships easily discernible. They allow for effortless navigation to a related record and provide an easy way to associate or disassociate records. All this can be achieved without being a database designer or developer. Model-Driven Apps thus provide an intuitive, clear, and comprehensive picture of how these relationships work.
Power BI’s integration with Model-Driven Apps further augments the user experience. Power BI’s ETL processes and dataflows, along with its AI-driven analytics capabilities, can be brought to bear right within the app, delivering a powerful, embedded analytics experience. While classic dashboards remain an option, Power BI embedded dashboards stand out with their modern, clean, and advanced data analytics capabilities.
In the grand tapestry of Power Platform, Canvas Apps and Model-Driven Apps each weave unique patterns. From a local law firm looking to improve client service with a Canvas App for secure appointment bookings and document uploads, to the same firm harnessing a Model-Driven App to manage case progression, these two types of apps offer endless possibilities. By facilitating streamlined workflows and boosting productivity, Power Apps can significantly enhance the operational efficiency of various organizations.
The crucial differentiator between Canvas and Model-Driven Apps lies in the level of customization versus the ease of creation. Canvas Apps provide greater freedom for customization, allowing you to define every detail of the app, which might be useful for the restaurant in Los Angeles seeking a unique customer engagement experience. On the other hand, Model-Driven Apps are quicker to assemble, ideal for a tribal government agency needing to rapidly deploy a solution for community engagement.
Next, we encounter Power BI, a powerful business analytics tool that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. For a retail outlet analyzing sales data or a government agency in Washington DC reviewing public services utilization, Power BI can uncover valuable insights and drive informed decision-making.
Power Automate enables the creation of automated workflows between apps and services, allowing users to automate repetitive tasks and improve productivity. Imagine a law firm automating document approval processes or a Redmond-based international government agency streamlining multi-stage review processes, freeing up personnel for more value-added tasks.
Finally, Power Virtual Agents enable the creation of intelligent, conversational chatbots without the need for developers or data scientists. These chatbots could serve an LA restaurant taking table reservations or a local government agency providing 24/7 answers to citizens’ queries.
To empower more individuals to become adept at leveraging the Power Platform, Microsoft offers the PL-100 certification. This exam validates one’s ability to envision and create effective business solutions using Power Platform, focusing on problem-solving and process automation. Successful candidates earn the title of ‘Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate.’
Dynamics Edge’s PL-100 training can help you prepare to earn a Microsoft Certified: certification, titled ‘Power Platform App Maker’, which is geared towards individuals who employ their creativity and problem-solving skills to design and implement solutions that automate and simplify tasks. This certification evaluates one’s expertise with Power Platform, highlighting their ability to understand the data and processes they work with, and how to apply Power Platform tools to create useful business applications.
Within Power Platform certifications, besides Power Platform App Maker training there are also others like PL-400 training, to help you prepare for the ‘Power Platform Developer’. The roles of an App Maker and a Developer may seem overlapping, yet they differ subtly in their focuses. An App Maker mainly operates at the front-end, focusing on designing, implementing, and problem-solving within the apps’ user experiences. In contrast, Power Platform Developer training delves deeper into the back-end, focusing on programming, system integration, and customization of the apps and their data handling capabilities.
This differentiation becomes apparent when we consider Power Apps, both Canvas and Model Driven. An App Maker, working with Canvas Apps, might focus on the app’s user interface, layout, data sources, and user experience in Power Apps training for App Makers. They may design the navigation, data views, and interactions within the app. On the other hand, a Developer might be more engaged with the Model Driven Apps, where they would work on deeper system interactions, handling data relationships, and customizing system behavior, alongside maintaining the app’s lifecycle.
In Power Automate training, an App Maker might learn to create flows that automate regular tasks, while a Developer could go further, creating complex flows, integrating multiple systems, and even building custom connectors. Similarly, in Power BI training, an App Maker could learn to focus on building interactive reports and dashboards, whereas a Developer might work on creating complex data models, custom visuals, or integrating Power BI with other systems. In Power Virtual Agents training, an App Maker could learn to create chatbots to facilitate customer interaction, while a Developer would extend the chatbots’ capabilities, integrating them with other systems or services.
The PL-100 certification encompasses various aspects, from designing business solutions, analyzing and visualizing data, to creating business solutions. App Makers are expected to create high-level designs, identify existing data sources, map a problem domain to Power Platform tools, design user interfaces, select reporting options, create and manage apps, and much more.
After the updates on March 15, 2023, there’s an increased emphasis on managing Power Platform components during development. This includes tasks like creating a publisher in Dataverse, creating a Dataverse solution, and managing canvas apps. This update underscores the importance of understanding the application lifecycle management in the Power Platform ecosystem. In short, the PL-100 certification ensures an App Maker is skilled in envisioning, designing, and implementing effective solutions in the Power Platform.
Therefore, when one earns the PL-100 certification, they demonstrate not just their technical proficiency but also their problem-solving and design-thinking skills. This versatility, combined with the ability to leverage the Power Platform, makes PL-100 certification holders a valuable asset to any organization. With the continuous evolution and updates in the Power Platform sphere, the PL-100 certification ensures the candidates stay ahead, ready to tackle modern business challenges with innovative and effective solutions.
Whether you represent a US government agency, an international organization, or a commercial entity, Power Platform and its components stand ready to fuel your digital transformation. By harnessing Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents, and by investing in certifications like PL-100, your organization can empower its personnel, streamline its operations, and drive its success into the future.
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