Peter Sprague, Director of Solutions Engineering
Putting apprehensions about ERP projects at ease
What’s in a game? Well, a lot if you played Blue Pong at User Group Summit/AXUG.
Blue Pong is a game where you try to bounce ping pong balls into a cup. The team at Blue Horseshoe uses Blue Pong to connect with trade show attendees in a fun way, while allowing people to compete for great prizes.
To showcase both the Blue Pong game, and our experience integrating Microsoft Power Apps with Power BI, we created a real-time leader board. This leader board tracked everything from individual score, to distribution of made shots, as well as a performance comparison of left and right-handed players.
Power Apps and Power BI are part of Microsoft’s Power Platform. Along with Power Automate, these products center around your data.
- Power Apps helps you add, edit, and see data
- Power BI helps you see your data
- Power Automate, previously known as Microsoft Flow, helps you transform and share your data
Working together, the Power Platform really can solve problems. We're sharing a simple, step-by-step guide showing the in-depth knowledge and tracking we were able to implement, by collecting just a few data points along the way.
Here’s how we used the Power Platform to create our leader board.
Define and add data with Power Apps
Create the data source. Keeping it simple, we used Excel and created columns for the data points we wanted to capture.
Connect Excel via the Power Apps connector for OneDrive for Business and Excel Online. This connection gave us everything we needed to capture and store our data while making it available within Power Apps.
Create the Power App. Within a few minutes, we built an introductory screen to add the initial data points (player’s name and throwing hand). The secondary screen allowed us to capture the throws by player data.
Share the data. When the scorekeeper hit the Done button, the Power App sent the data to Excel to be committed and stored in OneDrive for Business in Azure.
Consume and analyze data in Power BI
We pulled the data into Power BI’s data model from the Excel Online document in OneDrive for Business. This gave us our leader board. The Power BI dashboard gives you the ability to consume the data in a visual and meaningful way. Depending on the data, you can display the measures in many ways and visualizations to show the best representation of the data based on your story and audience.
In the case of Blue Pong, we split the measures between overall data (leader board and total throws, made shots, games and players) and filtered data (left or right handed, % made and number of made shots per cup on the table).
Share the data
We shared our data using a Power BI dashboard. For our use case, this dashboard was the ideal option. It provided a real-time leader board and shared some of the more “interesting statistics.”
The Power Platform did provide us with additional options to share the data. This included Power Automate to trigger communication based on data creation, updates, or other actions that are data related.
Our ideas using Power Automate included:
- Emailing a player his/her score upon game completion
- Emailing game admins if a score recorded is not accurate within the confines of the game
- Emailing all participates at the end of the day with high scores
- Posting the high scores to Twitter
Microsoft Power Platform: What's next for you?
While you may not create a Blue Pong like game for your business, the Power Platform gives you significant opportunities to do more with your data from collection through visibility.
The Power Platform has the potential to:
- Capture data without disrupting basic processes
- Consume and analyze that data in an intelligent and meaningful way
- Share or distribute the data (information) to the right people and in the right way