Within the Microsoft Power Platform, connectors serve as essential conduits for the smooth transfer of data between every service present within the Microsoft clients’ technological ecosystems, thanks to their integration of pre-built actions, triggers, and application programming interface (API) connectivity, connectors provide unparalleled building blocks for low-code development. This empowers developers to effortlessly create richer applications and workflows, freeing up their time to focus on high-value development activities that drive real impact.
Microsoft released a post on 11th May 2023 wishing to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional community of developers, partners, and publishers who have been instrumental in helping Microsoft reach the incredible milestone of 1,000 certified connectors. This achievement represents an astonishing 1,000 highways that Microsoft’s customers can use to effortlessly connect their cloud-based applications, services, and data sources within the Microsoft Power Platform. These connectors are immediately usable out-of-the-box, providing unparalleled accessibility and ease of use. Thanks to the unwavering dedication and passion of the Microsoft low-code community, the Power Platform Development Community have never been better equipped to accelerate the development of solutions that enhance productivity and streamline business processes.
A compilation that is expanding rapidly
Seven years ago, Microsoft embarked on a mission to build connectors in-house, with a primary focus on products within the Microsoft ecosystem and a few select third-party products that possessed broad market applicability. However, it wasn’t long before the team realised that the demand for connectors amongst customers was far greater than what they had initially anticipated. As the number of new services continued to increase, customers were increasingly tailoring their low-code platforms to cater to specific industry use cases, and niche markets began requiring connectors for highly specialised applications.
Thankfully, Microsoft was able to leverage its extensive community and establish a certification program for partners and publishers to collaborate with its internal teams to build, test, contribute, and publish new connectors. This collaborative effort led to the creation of an ecosystem that boasts a staggering 1,000 certified connectors, with 300 of them having been added in the last year alone. Together, these connectors provide developers with access to over 12,000 actions, enabling them to build new solutions that drive impact across diverse industries and use cases.
Expansive network of connectors
For individuals looking to familiarise themselves with the connector ecosystem, the Microsoft Power Platform’s certified connectors provide services to Power Apps, Power Automate, and Azure Logic Apps by default. Recently, the ecosystem has expanded to include other services like Microsoft Viva Sales and Microsoft Teams. In addition, these connectors can connect to on-premises systems through gateways to enable on-premise applications.
The “certified” designation refers to connectors that are readily available out-of-the-box for users by default, as opposed to “custom connectors” that are accessible on a per-environment basis. Within the certified connectors, there are three primary types: first-party, verified publisher, and independent publisher.
First-party connectors are developed in-house by Microsoft, primarily representing Microsoft services such as SharePoint, Excel, and Dataverse. However, a few first-party connectors are for major external services like LinkedIn and YouTube.
Verified publisher connectors are created by third-party companies that leverage APIs they own to expand extensibility between their services and Microsoft Power Platform. Autodesk is among the most recent additions.
Independent publisher connectors are made by “independent publishers” who can be anyone, including MVPs, citizen developers, students, or employees. These connectors utilise open-sourced APIs rather than APIs to services they own. Our ecosystem has hundreds of rich use-case scenario IP connectors, including OpenAI, WhatsApp, and Discord.
Each certified connector originates as a custom connector within the publisher’s personal environment. Publishers can then submit their connectors to our GitHub, where they are introduced to the connectors’ certification team. This team, the core group at Microsoft, offers support, validation, and testing to every partner, taking their connector from an idea to a reality and ensuring each one is deployed for the public and considered fully certified.
Your low-code journey to the next level
Many organisations embark on their low-code journey with Microsoft Power Platform and a limited number of connectors to essential systems such as customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning. This approach can lead to quick returns on investment and the realisation of value. However, what follows the completion of the first project is particularly exhilarating. As customers recognise the broad potential for low-code solutions across other areas of their business, they begin to discover new value and accelerate development with the help of available connectors.
Whether you’re starting your exploration of low-code solutions or looking to expand your existing low-code footprint to unlock the full potential of your people and data, Microsoft’s ever-expanding catalogue of connectors is there to make every step smoother and faster. If you’re looking for inspiration on where to go next, explore these resources.
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