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Organizations that purchase the Office 365 E5 reap many benefits, including more than 23 different workloads and services. These services include hosted email, cloud storage, SharePoint, PowerApps, Power BI, Microsoft Flow, Teams, Skype for Business, Yammer, Cloud PBX and more.
While many companies are still trying to make the most of Exchange Online, SharePoint and OneDrive, there are other organizations that have shifted their attention to the Microsoft Power Platform, seeing that it can provide capabilities that go beyond SharePoint.
Power Platform consists of the three main products: PowerApps, Power BI and Microsoft Flow. In some ways, Microsoft Power Platform competes with SharePoint, and, in others, it replaces it. Here is how each of these components works.
PowerApps is the replacement for InfoPath 2013 when support ends in 2026 -- and it offers far more capabilities than its predecessor, including mobile app development, rich UI for end users and an easy-to-use designer that requires no coding experience. Microsoft is incentivizing its partners to help customers build apps using PowerApps to solve some business challenges, such as collecting data in the field using custom mobile forms, delivering data with images and reducing mobile development costs.
The incentive is up to $2,000 in funding to go toward initiatives such as App in a Day and marketing dollars to host Build Your Own PowerApps in the amount of up to $5,000. This is a clear push by the vendor to increase the adoption of the platform.
SharePoint administrators no longer need to rely on Microsoft Visual Studio or SharePoint Designer to create complex workflows and custom actions to connect to different systems such as CRM, ERP and cloud services. The workflow engine is fully hosted and called Microsoft Flow. The platform offers more than 272 connectors to services including YouTube, Twitter, SharePoint, email, Dropbox, Marketo and more. Flow enables administrators and business users to use the web portal to create and publish workflows with zero coding.
Many enterprises now consider Microsoft Power BI to be a top contender when it comes to data visualization and business intelligence tools. Users familiar with SharePoint Performance Point have already set their eyes on Power BI, with its ability to use R-programming and machine learning, along with the mobile app. Power BI is free to customers, but if any dashboards need to be shared across an organization, a paid subscription is required. Power BI can be embedded within SharePoint pages or accessed from the mobile app, making the program flexible for business users. It also requires no development knowledge unless advanced functionality around statistical modeling and R-programming is needed.
With most Office 365 users taking advantage of the E1, E3 and E5 plans -- all of which include the Microsoft Power Platform services -- there are ample opportunities for IT and business users to move away from SharePoint.
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