It was quite recently that Sally’s company had launched a fitness equipment in the retail segment, which was branded “Fitness in your Space”. This meant that the marketing department had to buckle up for a flurry of campaigns and event-planning to showcase the new product category. But the marketing functions, in the current situation, existed as isolated ecosystems – much like the ‘cast-away’ islands, in the Pacific Ocean – with no scope of reach or access to each other! The cut-off systems and their users, and the lack of streamlining of mission-critical processes had been considerably impacting lead-generation, customer experience and sales. What gave the double whammy was an impending covid wave hinting at a long phase of remote work collaboration, plus the anticipated surge in online shopping by customers during this season. Integration of systems and collaboration of resources was the need of the hour to drive the ‘Fitness in your Space’ brand to success.
To undertake the transitioning of systems to boost sales and empower both users and the business with integrated processes on a unified platform, Sally was transferred to the Marketing department. ( With her past success with the Azure Migration project, the leadership team felt that the Marketing functions could power-up under Sally’s astute guidance). The mission on hand was to bootstrap the migration of the Marketing functions to Power Platform. Microsoft Power Platform was the obvious choice as her company was already using the M365 platform, making integration with MS Power Platform easier and simpler. At the forefront of benefits, the Microsoft Power Platform offers:
Funnelling down to the specifics of Marketing requirements such as internal, external communication, advertising, design, sales, CRM, Sally outlined how the different tools and apps of Microsoft Power Platform– Power BI, Power Pages, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate and Power Apps, which can be leveraged for a wide range of functions from Managing social media, automation of content creation, email lists campaigns to Enabling Targeted marketing, to name a few.
But Sally had to dive deeper to discover how best the Marketing functions can be streamlined with the Power platform tools.
Though the Microsoft Power Platform presented ease-of-use and self-service capabilities, Sally sought specific technical expertise to execute the project. Primarily, because she wanted to have a comprehensive roadmap for the business transformation underway; secondly, her research on the subject had revealed that the nitty gritty details of MS Power Platform can extrapolate to optimal leverage of its scope; thirdly, custom solutions and redesigning the IT landscape which can help align with the business objectives. With these objectives in mind, Sally went ahead with shortlisting Microsoft-certified partners with a wealth of experience in Power Platform, to carry out the business transformation journey for the Marketing department.
She booked an appointment with a renowned Microsoft-certified technology partner for a session at her office, roping in a developer, a data scientist, and an end user, from her team. The SMEs of the company were briefed on the premise for using Microsoft Power Platform, with the business context and organization background.
The SMEs presented their deck of how Microsoft Power Platform can boost marketing functions in the following areas:
The presentation sailed through different elements such as security, Modernization, data sources, and sorts. Sally and her team assimilated the information given to them. After a short 15-min break, during which time Sally prepped a set of specific questions, the SMEs engaged in interactions with the team to answer their queries and clarify their doubts.
(Sal for Sally; EUser– End-User, DS– Data Scientist; Dev: Developer; SME: Subject Matter Expert)
Sal: You spoke about security and governance. I am looking at multi-level security with a robust governance and compliance system. Does Power Platform help me achieve that? If so, how?
SME: Security and Governance is a lot easier and comprehensive on the Microsoft Power Platform.
DS: There is lot of talk happening around Power BI. And there are the die-hard fans of Tableau who vouch for its analytics and visualization tools & features. Which is better? And for those using Tableau, can they migrate to BI?
SME: Their (Power BI & Tableau) core is Business Intelligence, which help you mine the data and translate them into meaningful analytics and insights. Both Power BI and Tableau have their own merits. Where Tableau on one hand, can handle humongous volumes of data at a stretch, BI is faster and performs better with a smaller volume of data.
There are the cost-friendly and ease-of-use aspects of BI. It ultimately depends on your business requirements, the volume of data and the scope of interoperability you seek with other MS apps.
As for migrating to BI from Tableau, there is an exclusive migration process done that requires technology experts who will ensure minimum downtime and cost-effective migration.
Sal: We all look to a futuristic solution for our business. In that context, are Microsoft Power Apps scalable? Can these apps grow with the growing business?
SME: Yes, scalability is a driving factor for Power Platform’s widespread usage. Depending upon the enterprise requirements, Power apps can be used to build no-code, responsive, scalable applications on web-interfaces. All the apps within the Power Platform spectrum offer enterprise-level scalability.
DS: Moving from the front-end interfaces to back-end data, how is back-end management of data, handled in Power Platform? What are the most used and best data sources, for Power Platform?
SME: One among the many things, which makes Power Platform versatile, is its support for multiple data sources. It offers connectors for both on-premises, cloud, and other popular data sources. To name a few, you have: Office 365, SharePoint, Salesforce Twitter etc. are among the many data sources, which can be used with Power Platform.
DS: When we think of Data source, we also think of data storage and data warehousing. Given the background of Power Platform, how important is it to modernize one’s data warehouse?
SME: Modernizing your data warehouse is no longer an option – it is a business imperative, and it is not just for Power Platform alone. Data warehouse modernization helps you to adopt newer computing approaches which drive:
Sal: When it comes to modernizing other apps in Power Platform how seamless it is? Does it happen without much downtime or business disruption?
SME: For improving operational efficiency and reducing developmental costs, it is critical for your business to modernize your legacy apps. With a custom roadmap charted as per your business requirements, you can modernize the most critical business applications with the low-cost and low-code Power Platform, with ease.
Dev: When we discuss Operations and Development working in tandem, how crucial it is to align with DevOps in the context of Power Platform?
SME: Irrespective of the platform, DevOps is synonymous with Agile Software Development. It plays a critical role in any application deployment, as it brings together engineering, security, development, IT operations and quality. Application and services get delivered faster with DevOps practices and businesses realize better outcomes.
E-User: Is it necessary for all users to adapt to the new platform? Will it be disruptive if few of the users continue to work on the legacy apps?
SME: Without users, business functions will cease to exist. The user interface is an indispensable aspect to drive our systems, functions, and processes. So, even a single user siloed from the transition, will be disruptive to your business continuity.
To drive successful user-adoption, you need to undertake rigorous user-training to get them accustomed to the platform. The training should be on an ongoing basis and in a phased manner.
Sal: That sums it up from our end. Thanks so much for coming over and explaining everything in detail about Power platform. Our leadership team would touch base with you, soon!
SMEs (handing out brochures): Our pleasure! We look forward to hearing from you.
Sally’s company went ahead with the technology-collaboration with the Microsoft-certified Partner. With a clear and custom roadmap, the marketing department’s functions were integrated on a single unified platform. Not only was it cost-effective but also harnessed the full potential of the Power Platform to enable streamlining of processes, collaboration of resources and automation of processes, with governance and security. Within a period of two months, the transformation was seamless, with increased user-adoption in the first phase itself.
By the 3rd month, with the incoming of another covid wave, more than 80% of the workforce went into a remote work mode and online shopping witnessed a growing preference. What was also noticed by Sally and her team was a boost in leads and sales, with positive feedback trickling in from customers on their SM handles. It was a moment of triumph for Sally, who had steered the ‘Marketing’ ship through troubled waters and managed to discover new shores with their customers. For the first time, in a long time, she did not cringe prepping the weekly deck of Projections and Real time insights, for the Marketing Team. The transformation was for real, for sure!