Bundles have become key ingredients in large enterprise digital transformation journey. Analysts from both Gartner and Forrester have been talking about orchestration technology to power cloud initiative. And you maybe have seen bundles available in terms of Power Platform license guide where for instance Power Automate flows can be used in the context of an app with a Power Apps license given – just to name an example.

When talking about business value assessment and key differentiation of Power Platform vs. other vendors, most of the time you could still suprise with a statement like

A key different of Power Apps as a low-code application creation tools is – it is part of a platform approach!

unknown developer

In the visual below, I will try to explain what is meant by this and why it forces a lowered maintenance effort in total and increases efficiency in digital transformation.

Tool orchestration regarding Dev Tools and App modernization

When you make a decision on low-code tools these days, you should reconsider your decision steps. First in terms of your DevOps strategy being scattered or more centralized. Second, in terms of your transformation looks for quick wins or a long-term more agile story. This reflects into instant savings or new business empowerment in regards to business outcomes.

Taking a look on the left side, you might feel familiar with a couple of developer tools typically used over the course of time in your company – decisions to use them made in the past. Today, you therefore feel somewhat in the era of mutiple dev tools being used and questions upcoming like – „How am I going to integrate these services?“ When it comes up to orchestrated dev tools as a platform you might step into your current vendor strategy lacking. This is where your maintenance effort increases and you´re looking for a simplification.

Forrester and Gartner called this the orchestration of tools as a platform to lower the maintenance effort, increase efficiency and allow for more agile digital transformation.

Taking a look at the right, you see how Power Platform + additional services could help with and shows what orchestrated tools as a platform could look like driving your cloud initiative(s). What remains true on the app modernization side with the help of pro developer tools and low-code tools coming together, also remains true on the automation side. See following.

Tool orchestration regarding Hyperautomation

Here you can see what a strategy could look like transforming your actual process automation strategy into a hyperaumotation strategy. The term raised in October 2019 by Gartner providing top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020. In the above visual you find examples for individual or multiple process automation tools and on the right you see benefits outlined in an orchestrated platform with Microsoft´s Power Platform. Again, those services being easily combined with additional services. So another challenger for a comparison of Power Automate vs. other automation software could be:

„A key different of Power Automate? It is part of a platform approach.

a process advisor
Tool orchestration regarding Business Intelligence

I´ve been recently part of an enterprise-customer making a decision on cloud intiative, driven by data they already collected over the years. As you can imagine, what works with visuals provided for automation and app-modernization earlier, also works in a combo with business intelligence. Depending on your digital transformation journey, there´s a couple of benefits you will get from an orchestrated platform + using additional services easily like outlined in the top right corner (again, just providing examples here).

Could you imagine that decisions based on data can be drastically simplified with above approach?

You may ask yourself – what happens in an orchestrated plaform approach? Well, before we´re getting there, let me finalize by adding the fourth pillar inside Power Platform, which is intelligent assistant. Have you heard about Omni-channel? You thought about this being a good way of increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction?
Struggled in the past, due to the tools being used. That decision made caused them to be integrated and integration became the challenge in your current project?

Microsoft´s Power Platform and Power Virtual Agent might be an answer to it, combined with additional services as outlined here from the Azure or Dynamics 365 world.

Tool orchestration regarding intelligent Assistance

Okay, I guess with all the visuals provided so far, you already understand how tool orchestration in a cloud initiative could successfully be implemented. You´ve seen examples driven from:

  • App modernization
  • Process Automation
  • Data Analytics or Business intelligence
  • Intelligent assistance

Nevertheless, you´re not yet fully convinced this all could work inside your company to lower maintenance effort, increase efficiency and digital transform. Furthermore, this not only drives low-code or citizen development, instead is for all developers?

Tool orchestration regarding data sources

So let´s add the last mile on benefits, which is again in regards to data sources. You absolutely should feel familiar with the visual above showing to the left the amount of data sources that may be used inside your company, growing over the time. Each of them adding a challenge in your future data strategy. Need examples?

Well what about a GDPR „Please forget“ request? Would you be able to proceed this request within 72hours timeframe? What about a master-data management approach? Tried this in the past but integration remains a challenge and big data never got to a mature level? Could you easily access business application data, like from a ticketing system inside your intelligent assistant composer?

Above you see Microsoft Dataverse in an orchestrated data platform which by far doesn´t mean, let´s get rid of all the task fitting data sources and build a big (fits all and everything) database. Consider it as helping you with orchestrating by integration capabilities, such as virtual entities, a common data model, and developer extension. Want to know more about this, cause you thought Microsoft Dataverse is just another database? Please follow this. In a previous article I also outlined a comparison between Microsoft Dataverse and Azure SQL.

In the end, all of these visuals provide conversation starters to talk about „orchestration as a platform“ and set the foundation for your ecosystem on business operations. Having questions? Please leave a comment, or use Twitter to comment or reflect on this.

Until then,…