Power Platform Takeaways for CRM Admins

I attended the Power Platform event in Portland on 12/3 and 12/4/19, and wanted to share my three main takeaways with the Dynamics CRM community. As I have been a CRM System Admin, that is my reference point. Read on to see how Microsoft is now truly open to the world; how they are embracing the “Citizen Developer” revolution; and why the term CRM is no longer used by Microsoft (but the functionality remains).

1) Microsoft has become much more vendor agnostic under Satya

The Power Platform is the evidence in the old CRM space: ‘flows’ that connect to hundreds of non-Microsoft products, and Power BI Connections to virtually any data source.

The key to Power Automate, or flow, is connectors to other products. Of course, there are connectors to everything Microsoft, from SharePoint to Outlook to One Note to Excel to the CDS… But the big difference is you can connect to non-Microsoft products, such as: Act!, EventBrite, Gmail, Mailchimp, Marketo, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and even Salesforce, among hundreds of choices. Game changer.

PowerBI can of course create connections to Microsoft assets such as Excel, SharePoint, SQL, and Access; but you can also gather data from non-Microsoft sources as well: Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, Facebook, Salesforce, Google Analytics, SAP, Quickbooks, Twilio, and many more I have never even heard of. The generic OData feed can extend that access to any OData compliant DB.

 2) The ‘Citizen Developer’, #LessCodeMorePower and #LowCode revolution is here. 

Microsoft is making a huge push to expand the developer ecosystem into the front office: enabling accountants, farmers, and health care pros (all of whom I met at the Portland Power Platform conference) to build automated solutions in the Power Platform. (Most are beginning with PowerBI.) 

The Power Platform was in fact designed to service this citizen developer, low-code revolution because IT backlogs were hampering productivity. At the conference a Microsoft employee stated a statistic that the “demand for mobile apps is growing 5x faster than IT departments can deliver”.

 More information presented by Microsoft at this conference:

  • 500 million apps will be built in the next 5 years. More than all apps built in the last 40 years.
  • 65% of those apps will be in the low-code category. Estimated Low-code developer platform market to exceed $52B by 2024. 
  • Steep growth trajectory. There are now 1.4M active Power Platform community members.  400,000 new members in the last 3 weeks alone.

PowerBI has a huge presence in Portland; time for the other PowerApps to catch up. Let’s go PDX!

3) Goodbye CRM – Hello Apps

The old CRM has been broken up into the CDS (Common Data Service, consisting of all of the data and all of the metadata: form and view definitions, e.g.) and Power Apps (forms and views and a sitemap). 

Microsoft doesn’t make any architectural distinction between their Power Apps, like “Sales and Marketing”, “Connected Field Service”, or “Talent”; and ISV Power Apps, or your Power Apps. They are all just apps.

Please follow me if you are interested in a longer post on this topic, to be posted shortly.

In sum, CRM System Admins need to embrace this brave new world, and build apps!