DynamicsCon Live 2022 Preview: What can manufacturers do with Power Platform?

August 30 2022

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Azure McFarlane began her Power Platform career while working in the pharmaceutical industry, where she held a range of manufacturing-related roles over nine years. She will be sharing her industry experiences and accomplishments in a session at DynamicsCon Live, taking place on September 15 and 16

McFarlane, who is now a consultant at Microsoft partner HSO and a Microsoft MVP, told MSDW that her Power Platform work at her previous employer, GSK, spanned several of the roles including manufacturing operator, regulatory affairs, data analyst, and project manager. Because the pharmaceutical manufacturing environment blends regulatory demands, precise processes, and IT complexity, bringing in a new service like Power Platform presented both opportunities and hurdles. She will be talking about both of those perspectives in her session, she says.

I’ll explain how, over the course of time, this Power Platform effort grew in terms of what we could add to it, including an app that I built for a regulatory team at our site, capabilities for different facets of manufacturing, not necessarily just Dynamics 365 F&O focused, but more about how we could use Power Platform in the grander scheme of things as well, in settings that people may not think of.

As she became the resident Power Automate expert at GSK, McFarlane led a bootcamp and trained other employees on the technology. And her involvement in the Microsoft community also expanded over time. She is an inaugural member of TechStylers, a women in tech group that began in 2020 and continues to hold events online on a range of topics from career advice to technology demos to mentorship.

Community has continued to play an important role in her Microsoft career, she says.

I don't know what my life would be like without it, I'll put it that way. I got introduced to the community maybe about six months into my journey and previously was just [focused on] internal to work. And it really helped me grow as an individual in terms of getting the exposure to everyone. There are always people who are willing to help. Twitter was my way into the community. I've been told to blog or update my LinkedIn profile, and I was like, that's too public for me. I'm not going to do any of that kind of thing. And so Twitter was really where I had my start and where I could just post some of my work. But also it was really great just to have this reach of people who work in the same space, whether you're actually working for a consulting firm or you have your own business or you were a developer-turned-analyst at a company like me.

There are always people around who are there to help and they're your cheerleaders, and then you give it back, too. So it comes full circle because now I can contribute as well when people have questions. Whether they're beginners or they're not familiar with a certain API, I can give my 99 cents to them.

With Power Platform still growing quickly, newcomers can still tend to get focused on one service and feel overwhelmed trying to understand the full scope of what’s possible, McFarlane says.

About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com.

Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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