Why should an ISV build on the Power Platform?
Why choose the Power Platform as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV)?
Well, first, let us look at what Microsoft has done with the Power Platform. Over the last 24 months, they have separated Dynamics 365 applications from the underlying platform. De-coupling Dynamics 365 applications like Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing means that the platform now exists as a standalone tool, called the Power Platform.
ISVs are able to build software applications on top of the Power Platform, which is already proving to be a strong foundation for line-of-business software applications.
In recent times, Microsoft has separated the way data is stored in the Power Platform.
Traditionally all data was stored in Azure SQL. Now that has been separated out into three distinct storage types.
- Azure SQL for relational data.
- Unstructured data resides in file storage or Blob Storage in Azure.
- Cosmos DB is used for log storage and telemetry-type data.
This robust, scalable data architecture underpins the Power Platform, allowing for many scenarios, including the management of Big Data, as well as structured and unstructured data within the Common Data Service (CDS) environment.
The Power Platform is architected with security at its core. All data at rest is encrypted by default. Data in transit is also encrypted. You can use ExpressRoute if there is a requirement to connect a corporate network. As the technology is built in Azure, authentication is handled by the same robust, tried and tested authentication model working across Office 365, with extended authentication capabilities coming in the future.
The platform also meets key global compliance standards, whether it be GDPR, HIPPA, data residency, PII, among many others. A full list can be found in the Microsoft Trust Center.
Automation and Integration
Microsoft has taken Azure Logic Apps and built Microsoft Flow on top of providing a user interface for citizen developers to build automated processes from an automation perspective. Flow also includes over 200 connectors, allowing integration into many other applications and platforms.
If we look at the history, originally the technology underpinning the Power Platform from an automation perspective was Windows Workflow Foundation. Which is now superseded by Flow, so any ISV building new solutions today should try to avoid any dependency on the old workflow engine.
Microsoft has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to privacy and integrity, even when it comes to opposing governments trying to legislate access to information. Brad Smith, the Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft, famously led a challenge to a domestic search warrant issued by the US Government seeking access to data stored in the company’s data centers located in Ireland.
“Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said last week the US government should not be able to act unilaterally to access such data without taking into account the laws and interests of other countries.”
This stance has been backed by other tech companies like Google and Facebook.
This is just one example of how Microsoft has been building public trust; others include their commitments to protect user privacy, environmental sustainability, and humanitarian causes.
Another reason ISVs should build on the Power Platform is that there is already a robust global community with Dynamics 365 skills gained over the last 16 years, many of which are transferrable to the Power Platform. This community of experts, whether it be developers, architects, or functional consultants is a formidable asset for any companies building on the Power Platform.
Because the Power Platform is architectured on Azure, it supports enterprise scalability. Therefore, any application you build on the platform as room to grow as requirements evolve. What is possible is limited only by your imagination.
Traditionally ISVs have built their applications with a dependency on Dynamics 365 licenses.
For example, Dynamics 365 for Sales. With Microsoft’s, new Power Platform licensing (P2), ISVs can build applications without a dependency on higher cost Dynamics 365 licenses.
Any savvy ISV will try and de-couple any dependency on a Dynamics license, in favor or the Power Platform P2 license.
Microsoft has moved Mixed Reality into the Dynamics suite of products that sit on the Power Platform. ISVs could extend their solution using Mixed Reality, so by building on the Power Platform they can more easily pivot into this space.
When thinking about future proofing, it is also worth considering how AI will play into the Power Platform story. Where we are going with the Common Data Service is allowing a gateway into AI, providing a practical way that companies can structure, manage, and manipulate the lifecycle of their data.
Looking to the future, we also should consider platforms as a whole. I recently read a book by Kevin Kelly, the founder, and editor of Wired magazine. He said,
“A platform is a foundation created by a firm that lets other firms build products and services upon it… Platforms are factories for services; services favor access over ownership.”
Microsoft’s Power Platform, with its extensibility across Office 365 and Azure is one of the only platforms in the world offering end to end scalability.
Go to Market
When an ISV is considering the eco-system they want to invest in channels to market should be a key consideration. Microsoft, with its global subsidiary network and field sales teams, offers a robust channel to market. That, combined with the app marketplaces (currently undergoing an evolution) such as AppSource, provide ISVs access to Microsoft’s existing customer base.
In addition, Microsoft’s Partner Network unlocks access to global markets.
So, why should an ISV build on the Power Platform?
Because if you do, you are investing in a future-proofed solution and hitching your cart to a technology with unlimited potential.
What are your thoughts on the opportunities presented by the Power Platform?