Existing product and platform skills

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A solution architect needs to be aware of peripheral technologies, in addition to the directly targeted applications. The following list describes the technologies and applications that a solution architect should be aware of when implementing Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 applications. This list is incomplete and will change over time, but it is a baseline for solution architects. Generally, an architect will have an interest in one or two of these technologies and applications but will need an awareness of each of them to be successful.

Microsoft Power Platform

Microsoft Power Platform is a business application platform that helps support and extend Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure, as well as third-party services and applications. Microsoft Power Platform offers low-code automation, actionable data-driven applications, and customizable business logic that can improve business processes, systems, and workflows. In addition to low-code automation, professional developers can use code to further extend the capabilities of the platform.

Graphic showing that Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power
Virtual Agents are supported by Data connectors, AI Builder, and Dataverse

Power BI

Data is everywhere. Power BI helps people harness that data into actionable insights. Power BI connects to hundreds of data sources by using standard connectors and to nearly unlimited data sources by using custom connectors. Power BI has dashboards and tiles to build visualizations by using browser-based and desktop tools. Power BI tiles can be embedded in Power Apps, and Power Apps can be embedded in Power BI dashboards.

Power Apps

The three types of Power Apps are: model-driven apps, canvas apps, and portals. Model-driven apps begin with the data, specifically the data model. Canvas apps will certainly use data but will begin with building the user experience on a canvas. Power Apps portals provide a website experience to external users to transact with Dataverse data.

With canvas apps, you can design and build a business app from a canvas in Microsoft Power Apps without writing code in a traditional programming language such as C#. Design the app by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas.

Model-driven app design is a component-focused approach to app development. Model-driven app design doesn't require code, and the apps that you make can be simple or complex. Unlike canvas app development where the designer has complete control over app layout, with model-driven apps, much of the layout is determined for you and largely designated by the components that you add to the app.

Power Apps portals allow makers to build a website and corresponding webpages by using standard web technologies such as HTML and CSS. Portal webpages can contain components to surface Dataverse data through lists and forms based on corresponding model-driven views and forms. Power Apps portals also employ an authentication and entity permission model to protect private and sensitive data.

Power Automate

Power Automate democratizes intelligent automation by empowering everyone, from end users to experts at the forefront of technology, to seamlessly build automated flows. It brings UI-based automation together with API-based automation. With Power Automate, savvy users and high-code developers can build automation in their business applications.

Data connectors

Data is at the core of most apps, including those that you build in Power Apps. Data is stored in a data source, and you bring that data into your app by creating a connection. The connection uses a specific connector to talk to the data source. Microsoft Power Platform has connectors for many popular services and on-premises data sources, including SharePoint, SQL Server, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Twitter. A connector might provide tables of data or actions. Some connectors provide only tables, some provide only actions, while others provide both. Your connector might be either a standard or custom connector.

AI Builder

Not every organization employs a data scientist. With AI Builder, you can bring artificial intelligence to every organization to allow them to gain more insight into the data that they already have. AI Builder offers both pre-trained and trainable models. AI Builder require Dataverse to work and is only available with Power Apps and Power Automate.

Microsoft Dataverse

Dataverse lets you store and manage data that's used by business applications. Data within Dataverse is stored within a set of entities. Dataverse includes a base set of standard entities that cover typical scenarios, but you can also create custom entities that are specific to your organization.

Power Virtual Agents

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents improves customer and employee satisfaction, lowers support costs, and bolsters employee productivity with the power of AI. Empower business users by providing an easy-to-use solution to create and manage virtual agents/bots without having to write code. SaaS-based Power Virtual Agents uses the flexibility and scalability of Microsoft Power Platform with the power of AI to provide an extensible and customizable solution that is suitable for any customer service scenario.

Dynamics 365 model-driven apps

Dynamics 365 model-driven apps are descended from Customer Relationship Management (CRM). These Dynamics 365 apps are model-driven apps that are built on the Dataverse platform.

  • Dynamics 365 Sales - Enables you to build strong relationships with your customers, take actions based on insights, and close sales faster. Use Dynamics 365 Sales to keep track of your accounts and contacts, nurture your sales from lead to order, create sales collateral, create marketing lists and campaigns, and even follow service cases that are associated with specific accounts or opportunities.

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service - Allows you to earn customers for life. Build great customer relationships by focusing on optimum customer satisfaction with the Customer Service apps. Customer Service provides many features and tools that you can use to manage the services that you provide to customers.

  • Dynamics 365 Field Service - Helps you deliver onsite service to customer locations. The application combines workflow automation, scheduling algorithms, and mobility to set up mobile workers for success when they're on site with customers to fix issues.

  • Dynamics 365 Marketing - Is a marketing-automation application that helps turn prospects into business relationships. The app is straightforward, works seamlessly with Dynamics 365 for Sales, and has built-in business intelligence. Use Dynamics 365 Marketing to create graphical email message, share information across sales and marketing teams, and more.

Finance and Operations apps

The following Dynamics 365 applications are descended from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP):

  • Dynamics 365 Commerce - Delivers a comprehensive omnichannel solution that unifies back-office, in-store, call center, and digital experiences. Dynamics 365 Commerce enables you to build brand loyalty through personalized customer engagements, increase revenue with improved employee productivity, optimize operations to reduce costs, and drive supply chain efficiencies, ultimately delivering better business outcomes.

  • Dynamics 365 Finance - Helps you automate and modernize your global financial operations. Monitor performance in real time, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions to drive business growth. Use Dynamics 365 Finance to drive strategic financial decisions with artificial intelligence, unify and automate your financial processes, reduce operational expenses, and decrease global financial complexity and risk.

  • Dynamics 365 Human Resources (formerly Dynamics 365 Talent) - Streamlines many routine recordkeeping tasks and automates several processes that are related to staffing your organization. These processes include employee retention, benefits administration, training, performance reviews, and change management. It also provides a framework for human resources staff to manage areas of oversight.

  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management - Helps you transform your manufacturing and supply chain operations. Use predictive insights and intelligence from AI and Internet of Things (IoT) across planning, production, inventory, warehouse, and transportation management to maximize operational efficiency, product quality, and profitability. Use Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management to innovate with intelligent manufacturing operations, modernize warehouse management, optimize production performance, maximize the lift of your assets, and automate and streamline your supply chain.

Additional products and services

The following list describes additional products and services that solution architects should be familiar with:

  • AppSource - Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) build products and offer services through AppSource. You might find a solution that reduces the work that is needed for the solution that you require, and with AppSource, the products and services have been verified by Microsoft.

  • Azure DevOps - A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers. Azure DevOps enables formerly siloed roles, development, IT operations, quality engineering, and security to coordinate and collaborate to produce better, more reliable products.

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Insights - Use an intuitive and flexible customer data platform to unlock insights and power personalized customer experiences. Unify all your customer data across the full range of sources to get a single view of customers.

  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection - Help protect your e-commerce business, and your customers, against fraud to help reduce costs, achieve higher revenue, and improve your customers' shopping experience.

  • Dynamics 365 Guides - Design spaces more efficiently. Take physical designs from concept to completion with confidence. Dynamics 365 Guides helps you make informed decisions before you build.

  • Dynamics 365 Remote Assist - Work together from anywhere. Empower technicians to collaborate more efficiently by working together from different locations with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens, Android, or iOS devices.

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Voice - Capture, analyze, and act on customer and employee feedback with a simple-yet-powerful enterprise survey solution.

  • Mixed Reality - The result of blending the physical world with the digital world. Mixed reality is the next evolution in human, computer, and environment interaction and unlocks possibilities that before now were restricted to our imaginations. It is made possible by advancements in computer vision, graphical processing power, display technology, and input systems.