Power Apps; Understanding What it is and Why to use it

Businesses today don’t want to stick around bulky applications which they have to log in using their computer and enter the data. They want beyond that, they want things to move quickly on their fingertips. They want to punch in things on the go, while traveling, just like browsing another app.  They want to drive their business their way, not just according to products capabilities and limitations.

So to suffice such requirements of businesses, power apps comes into play.

What is Power Apps?

Microsoft Power Apps

Microsoft Power apps is a platform on which business user can build mobile/table apps for business quickly. Power app is part of D365 suit and as the tagline of Microsoft for powerapps “Apps that mean business” suggests, it has been built keeping in mind the fast pace of today’s growing businesses and their day to day need of doing things on the go on mobile devices.

When I say business user, I mean a user without coding background can easily build powerapp using drag and drop, visualizing the app design and working on excel-like formulas on screens and components. There is no hardcore programming knowledge required to be able to build power apps(Unless you want to build your custom connectors).

The power of power apps lies in the number of different connectors it offers. It can connect to around 223 different services which includes many Microsoft products/platforms as well as 100s of other products like Dropbox, WordPress, YouTube, Twilio, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter etc. List of all connectors is available here.

As power apps are part of D365 it needs a llicense Pricing information is available here.

Why to Use Power Apps:

If the business wants mobile/table application which can be build in short span of time, doesn’t require deployment overhead like native mobile application and want to connect to any connector in almost no time, then power app is for that.

You can build apps from scratch using the predefined templates for various connectors and start developing the app instantaneously.

You can design your app using different controls available like Gallery, buttons, labels and select different layouts for your app. To start building your first power app go to https://create.powerapps.com/studio/#

I’ll write down some use case scenarios where power apps will be useful and can be built easily to start work:

  1. Want to capture details of the customer visiting an office into simple form and get it stored into google sheet/excel? Get it mailed over to particular users? Store these records into any system like Dynamics CRM as a lead record? Power app can do that.
  2. Want to make entries of goods having barcodes by scanning the barcode into any system like D365 Operations using a mobile application? Power app can do that.
  3. Want to give a simple EMI calculator to sales reps that they can calculate EMI on the go on their mobile phone through power app? Power app can do that.
  4. Want to take pictures of things related to business and store them in SharePoint/Dropbox? Power app can do that.
  5. Want to build a simple mobile application where your employee can mark their time and absence and store the data into almost any system at back-end? Power app can do that.
  6. Want to send notifications regarding any announcement to app users on their mobile? Can be done using push notification in power apps.

So there can be many business scenarios where power apps capabilities can be leveraged to get the things done with less effort and less cost.

It’s easy to build, require less time in setup and publishing and doesn’t need to be published overplay store/app store for downloading. One power apps application container can be downloaded from the Play store/app store and you can see all of the applications which have been shared with you by an administrator by just logging into the container application. Even if the application got updated by the publisher, the user need not update their app as next time when they log in/open the power apps application, they’ll see the updated application. So certainly, in terms of ease of using and deployment, it’s very easy and convenient.

Also, the publisher/power app developer just needs to publish the updated version from power app web editor or power app studio and all user accessing that power app will automatically get updated application next time they log in.

So the conclusion of this post is that businesses already using Dynamics platform can utilize power app capabilities to further enhance their user experience and simplify and speed up their process or new customers can use power apps with license plan 1 and can purchase more plans if needed later. They can get the new apps build easily and time and cost involved will always be very less than native mobile applications.

In my next post, i’ll be discussing further about types of power apps and how to build them!

 

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