How to Create an Ecosystem for the Power Platform
At its highest level, many of our projects here at CSG Pro focus on taking data from one or many systems and making it consumable by other systems. The reality is that custom extraction (through APIs or custom connectors) is challenging and often expensive, whether you roll your own or work with the multitude of data integration vendors out there. It’s also a huge hurdle if you want to empower citizen developers to build their own solutions to fill the inherent gaps of your business systems.
When you’re in the market for new software solutions, it can be challenging to avoid “silver bullet” thinking. This can be especially challenging with Microsoft’s Power Platform offerings that promise easy business transformation.
The marketing message goes something like: The days of expensive, slow-to-market solutions developed by expensive resources are gone. Citizen developers can build their own solutions. Power Platform is your first step into a brave new world of automation and efficiency.
We wish it was as easy as Microsoft says it will be (hence CSG Pro’s existence).
We’ve dove into the people/adoption side of Power Platform before (just a few times). This time let’s focus on the ecosystem and infrastructure that will help your organization get the most value out of the Power Platform.
Here’s the Deal with Power Platform Connectors
The software systems you use for your business store data in spreadsheets, lists, and/or databases. If you want to use that data for reporting, automation, or apps, you need to have some way of accessing it.
Power Platform Connectors directly connect to those databases for you to then use for your needs.
Microsoft knows that data integrations are a major source of friction for their customers. They have heavily invested in building out native connectors for not only the Microsoft ecosystem but the vast number of software systems or database vendors.
Creating and Supporting the Environment for Business Transformation
Part of creating and encouraging the environment that enables digital business transformation is making it easy (or easier) for people to accomplish the work that needs to be done. Training and Centers of Excellence help solve the skill and capability part. But then there’s the question of whether people can access the systems and data they need to build the solutions your organization needs.
Once your organization has decided to make the time and dollars investment on Power Platform, there are cost-savings benefits in continuing to build an ecosystem and infrastructure that supports and bolsters that investment.
As your organization looks to add or replace key business systems, criteria should be whether or not it plays nice with other systems and provides you unfettered access to your data. Microsoft now has over 325 native connectors that work with the Power Platform—the list will continue to grow.
If you choose a system that already has a native connector, there will be a much more seamless experience for your citizen developers in being able to more quickly leverage systems for new solutions. If not, you should consider the cost of the custom connectors as part of the cost of ownership.
The Power Platform is a fantastic suite of products that takes time and money to properly leverage within your organization. When you choose systems that support the people investment you’re making—and the investment of the systems that you’ve already made—you’re creating an environment that enables people to do their best work.
This is obviously not the only criteria that should be considered, but it should make your shortlist of questions when vetting new vendors.
The CSG Pro team is standing by if your team needs Power Platform guidance to support your business transformation goals. Reach out to get started.