What is Microsoft Power Apps?
Microsoft Power Apps Power automate is one of the tools with the Microsoft Power Platform that enables you to build custom apps, to accommodate your business needs or solve your problems when you cannot find a suitable off-the-shelf solution. The apps you use can quickly connect to your stored business data, that is either located in an underlying data platform (for example Microsoft Data verse, previously known as the Common Data Service) or within an on-premise/online data source, for example; Excel, SharePoint, Office 365, SQL Server and Dynamics 365.
Types of Power App
Power Apps has three different types which are used for development:
Canvas Apps: Like working from a blank canvas, users start with the data source, add workflows and then finally create the design. This approach offers more flexibility than model-driven apps.
Model-Driven Apps: With model-driven apps, much of the layout is controlled by the data connected and information entered into the app – what you feed in generally decides the outcome. This approach is more commonly used if the app you’re designing requires complex business logic.
Portals: for creating web portals (websites) that can be shared both internally and externally, allowing users to interact securely with data stored in Dataverse.
Benefits of Microsoft Power Apps
- Solving Business Challenges
When an off-the-shelf solution isn’t available Microsoft Power Apps can provide a bespoke solution to solve your business challenges; a few examples include:
Staff holiday allowance: Create a holiday app for employees to input their holiday. Introduce an approval procedure from Power Automate to approve or reject requests
Lead capture for field sales: Empower your salespeople in the field to capture leads via an app, as opposed to waiting till they’re back in the office. Features like business card scanner also enables information to be gathered instantly
Event registration: Create an event registration app which enables attendees to register and check-in, then automatically collect their details in your database
Employee expenses: An employee expenses app, allowing your employees to enter details of any expenses and attach photographs of receipts for easy tracking
The nature of Power Apps means that a solution can be built for any inefficiencies within your business.
- Mobile Access
The apps are designed to be accessed across mobile/tablet devices or a web-based browser, meaning employees can use their app from anywhere. One of the benefits of using Power Apps on a mobile or tablet device, is that you can leverage the smart mobile functionality to capture photos, videos and signatures, as well as completing interactive forms.
- No Coding Required
What sets Power Apps apart from other offerings is the ‘low-code approach to app development’. This means essentially anyone can build an app, even without technical experience. Although it’s worth noting that there’s actually quite a learning curve for those who want to build their own apps, so unless you’re a developer you should ideally work with your Microsoft Partner to design and build anything but the simplest applications. One of the key benefits of a low-code approach, is that it is much faster to deploy an app compared to traditional development methods.
- Cost Efficiency
Conventional app development can be costly and time-consuming in comparison to Power Apps; Power Apps Licensing starts as low as £3.80 Per User/Per App/Per Month and due to the low-code approach, development time can be kept to a minimum.
- Integration with Microsoft Tools
One of the main advantages of the Power App Platform is that being a Microsoft solution, it is full capability to integrate with other Microsoft tools. This means that developers can leverage data from Microsoft applications (e.g. Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Excel etc) and other third-party services. There are a range of connectors available for Power Apps, meaning that there is scope to connect seamlessly with other platforms.