Harnessing the Power of Power Platform: Where to start

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Everyone works in technology now. No matter what your organization does these days, technology is the enabling engine.  The days of IT experts alone holding the application development keys are done.  Now, the need for IT agility and speed supersede the need for control. That’s led to an era of low-code and no-code tools. It’s become possible for non-IT departments, teams, and even individuals to build their own technologies to solve their own problems. To use these tools, you don’t have to be an expert in anything other than the job you need done. 

It’s been called the age of the “citizen developer” because building internal solutions is no longer a grueling campaign fought by manager civilians and programmer soldiers. With low- to no-code tools like Microsoft Power Platform, everyone in the organization, from IT to line-of-business managers to individual contributors, has an empowered role to play in solving technological problems together, democratically.

This more decentralized approach raises some tricky questions, though.  Which tech solutions require deep IT expertise and which can non-experts create?  How should non-IT personnel be held accountable for apps they build so that they align with organizational standards of quality and security? In the new realm of citizen developers, what’s the right balance between governance that’s neither too tight nor too loose? 

This article provides an example of the creative opportunities made possible through Microsoft’s Power Platform and its four key components: Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents.  It also sets the stage for a follow-up series of articles that address not just how to use the palette of Power Platform options but also how to implement guardrails to ensure results that are consistently positive across the enterprise.

Let’s start with an example.

Case Study: IT in an Emergency

One of the largest gas and electric companies in the U.S. needed a faster way to respond to emergencies. If there’s a downed power line, wildfire, power grid shutdown, or other safety incident, this company needs to dispatch response teams to the site immediately. There’s no time to wait for information or for systems to come online. The teams need the right equipment and the right technology right away. They need it on mobile devices in remote areas. And crucially, it can’t be too complicated or difficult to use in an emergency.

This energy company’s mobile emergency IT deployment tool needed to:

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