Last October, Microsoft made a new app called Power Pages widely available. Here we’ll dig into what exactly Power Pages does, and why you might want to use it.
What is Microsoft Power Pages?
Power Pages allows users to create, host, and administer business websites, without a web developer. The idea is that what may have taken a developer days or weeks to build, someone with basic SharePoint or Excel skills can spin out in a day. Building a Power Pages site is similar to building a SharePoint site, with the pages broken up into sections. One major difference with these sites is that they can be accessed externally, whereas a SharePoint site is accessed internally. Let’s dive into the app and how utilizing it might be beneficial for your organization.
How Does It Work?
As with other Power Platform apps, the back end of Power Pages sites is Dataverse – Microsoft Power Platform’s cloud-based data service. Dataverse stores information like a traditional database, but has added benefits including security features, analytics, and automation. By leveraging Dataverse, Power Pages allows you to build sites using the same business data that you use for building apps, workflows, intelligent virtual agents, reports, and analytics with other Microsoft Power Platform components in your organization.
This really is the key to Power Pages’ value. Site visitors can perform an action on your page (for example, submit a request for technical support) and that information will be tracked in Dataverse and can be accessed by Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, or any other Power Platform app.
Power Pages is similar to SharePoint in terms of how pages can be broken up into sections and the types of layouts that can be used. The main difference between sites on Power Pages and SharePoint is that Power Pages is for hosting external-facing business websites that are secure, while SharePoint is for internal use.
What Can You Do With Power Pages?
Power Pages is not exactly new – it is an evolution or rebranding of Power Apps Portals. Sites made with Power Apps Portals can be edited with Power Pages without any migration or update required. The new app differs from its predecessor in that it offers a new design studio experience, allowing users greater control over the layout, functionality, and style of their pages. This includes a variety of templates for even easier page creation.
Some of the templates available address common use cases, such a sign-up page for an after-school program, but these are easily altered to serve different functions. There are also more generic templates. It’s even fairly easy to build a page from scratch, or further customize a site with HTML, CSS, or JSON code if you have someone with those skills on staff.
There are a wide variety of use cases for Power Pages. You could simply use it to build your business a quick and inexpensive public-facing website if you don’t already have one. However, where we see the most potential value in the app is in its ability to create pages that are only accessible to people you grant access to. When you set up your Power Pages site, you can determine who has access.
One particular use case for Power Pages is for organizations that need to allow specific external users (such as vendors or clients) to access certain information that isn’t public-facing, but due to privacy concerns it is not possible or preferable to provide that access through their SharePoint environments. In this case, a Power Pages site is a great fit, because the organization can limit who can access the information on the site.
Some other potential use cases for Power Pages include:
- Community Services
Develop a site that includes services like permitting, licensing, grant applications, and outage reporting.
- Customer Self-Service
Develop a site that delivers 24/7 support or services such as warranty registration, support inquiries, or appointment bookings.
- Partner Operations
Develop a site that supports your partners through portals for supplier onboarding and sustainability tracking.
Let Klarinet Solutions Help You Construct Your Power Pages Site
We understand that Power Pages is a relatively new offering, and it might be difficult to discern the value it could bring to your organization, which is why we are here to help. As experts in all things Microsoft, including SharePoint and Power Pages, we can help you decide whether a Power Pages site is needed for your business.
As digital workplace experts, we work with you to determine which solutions best meet your goals. Get in touch with us today!