Introduction to portals

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Model-driven and canvas Power Apps deliver business functionality to people. Microsoft Power Apps portals extend Microsoft Dataverse to internal and external audiences such as communities, customers, partners, and employees.

Diagram of Power Apps portals and audiences.

Power Apps portals come with a variety of preconfigured portal solutions that target diverse audiences. Starter portals have many features that add value to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 service apps. The following sections explain how these features help modern businesses engage a modern audience.

Modern audience

People have various experiences with customer service support, both positive and negative. Frequently, customer service support experiences involve being put on hold for a long time and waiting for a customer service agent to answer the call. Another negative experience might involve writing a letter, mailing it, and waiting without any expectation of a reply. Customer service support experiences should be positive and convenient. Rather than being put on hold, most people would prefer to use self-service capabilities on the company's website, where their issue will be sent directly to the supplier's knowledge base for the products and services. Similarly, instead of writing a letter, people can engage in the online community forum and get instantaneous answers from other users who are sharing their related experiences.

Portal capabilities empower the majority of online consumers who prefer to find answers on their own through self-service and community options. By using Power Apps portals, you can provide them with a branded, personalized, self-service experience. Portals help you provide an organized, searchable knowledge base to deliver consistent, up-to-date answers and community experience for peer-to-peer support and direct interaction with your subject matter experts. Additionally, portals provide simple navigation with seamless transitions between self and assisted support.

Out-of-the-box mobile optimizations for portal and knowledge articles ensure that customers can get the help that they need, any time and from any device.

Consumers are a major driver of this trend:

  • The majority of global consumers now expect brands and organizations to offer a self-service portal.

  • Nearly one-third of consumers keep in touch with brands they've done business with to make sure that they are getting the most out of their purchase.

  • Half of the consumers are using multiple channels to stay connected, including web, mobile, telephone, social, and self-service channels. Often, consumer use many channels for a single support experience.

Providing a web portal interface takes advantage of these user trends and brings any type of engagement, including partner, group, and employee scenarios, that directly accesses Dataverse to create a modern connected experience for external users and internal business operations.

Modern business

Your business is already using Power Apps. Consider the additional capabilities that using Power Apps portals can deliver:

  • Provide self-service support - When your business is growing, rather than having to employ extra staff in call centers, you could use Power Apps portals to add self-service capabilities to your website so that your customers can search knowledge articles, engage with other customers, find answers, and create support cases when needed (that go directly into Dynamics 365 Customer Service), all without a single interaction from your resources.

  • Build a sales pipeline - When a lead fills out a Contact us form on your company website, this information is recorded in Dynamics 365 Sales where the record can become part of your sales pipeline automatically.

  • Empower employees - When an employee needs a new computer, they can fill out an online form, where the information will be recorded in Dataverse so the helpdesk staff can immediately access and process this information.

  • Engage mobile workforce - Empower agents on any device, wherever they work. Field technicians can process and complete work orders in the column, instantly updating Dynamics 365 Field Service.

Power Apps portals capabilities

Power Apps portals are built on top of Dataverse. This architecture comes with a major benefit. All the differentiating features of model-driven Power Apps are the features of Power Apps portals as well, including:

  • Centralized management

  • Common Data Model

  • Roles and permissions

  • Forms and views

  • Business rules

  • Declarative workflows and actions

  • Plug-in architecture

  • Integration with other services

  • Dataverse extensibility

  • Audit

Power Apps portals deliver a complete content management system out of the box, with all content stored in Dataverse. As a result, content can be edited through the portals studio and also directly by using the Portal Management app. Additionally, the robust Dataverse security model can help secure the content.

The following table describes the key capabilities of Power Apps portals.

Capability icon Capability Description
Content Seamless, responsive, and customizable web design for any user on any device. Full tracking and context are available because Dataverse is the operating system for all interactions.
Functionality Quickly build more secure, functional websites to interact with Dataverse with no coding required. Track customer interactions across all channels and capture them in a custom Power Apps or Dynamics 365 instance.
Extensibility Use powerful Microsoft Power Platform business processes that are natively extended through the web front end. Integrate portals with other systems like SharePoint or Power BI. Extend portals with custom development to cater to complex scenarios.
Security All data that is used to build portal content is protected more through Dataverse security model. Power Apps portals extend this model to help secure and tailor the content for the target audiences who are not Basic Users.