PowerApps is a Microsoft product, and its public preview was launched in April 2016. Over the years, Microsoft has improved the tool in such a way that any business can make the most of it. At present, if you are thinking, ‘what is PowerApps?’, the simple answer to this is ‘an app development tool.’
However, there is much more to this app development tool that Microsoft offers. You can leverage PowerApps features and functionalities to build powerful internal applications, and automate and simplify processes and services. Let’s dive into more details.
What is PowerApps?
PowerApps is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows one to create apps for Windows, Android, and iOS, along with web applications. The templates and drag-drop functionality can help non-developers to create useful custom apps for their business. Azure Cloud is used to build the capabilities of PowerApps.
You can transform the manual business work to automation without more coding by using the apps created by PowerApps. Running a single app on multiple platforms is taken care of by the PowerApps platform by handling the requirements of the underlying operating system. All you need to do is create an app, and the rest all is handled.
How Can You Make the Most Out Of PowerApps?
Why are more businesses relying on PowerApps to build applications? This is a question on the mind of every person looking for business tools. PowerApps offers a range of features that can help businesses increase productivity, Return on Investment (ROI) and decrease app development costs, time, and efforts.
Here’s how you can make the best of the PowerApps platform for your business.
1. Easily Integrate Microsoft and Third-party Applications
You can easily connect to Microsoft services like Office 365 Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Excel, and much more. The PowerApps also supports third-party connectors like Google Calendar, Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP.
2. Leverage Common Data Service (CDS)
The Common Data Service (CDS) can help you access, manage, and store data from different sources of business applications. CDS stores the data in the entity format and in a secured way. You can control the access to the database by setting permissions and levels based on your business workflow.
3. Cost and Time Effective Development
When it comes to app development, all businesses think of lots of time and cost involved. However, with PowerApps, you can save both of them. You can make a single app at 10 USD with the help of this app development tool.
The ready-made templates, no coding, and drag-drop can help non-tech users develop applications. It is also perfect for businesses who don’t have a development team on board but wish to automate parts of their business through apps.
4. Make Canvas and Model-Driven Applications
The Canvas apps are simple and use case-specific. They are created using a no-code interface and drag and drop functionality offered by PowerApps to carry out specific tasks like submitting a report or creating a record. You can integrate it to Microsoft and non-Microsoft services.
The Model-Driven apps are a bit complex and are built using Dynamics 365 framework. You can carry out more multiple tasks using this kind of application. In this type of application, you can only connect to CDS for the data source.
5. Easily Share Created Applications
Sharing the created apps among the coworkers is very easy with PowerApps.
All the above points can help you make the most of the PowerApps for your businesses. You can build apps without compromising with the help of this powerful tool provided by Microsoft. And if you are already a developer, you can add more value to your application by enhancing it using PowerApps.
Pros and Cons of PowerApps
There are some pros and cons of PowerApps experienced by a range of users while using it for app development.
- Integration with PowerBI and Flow makes it easy to analyze, act, and automate the business process
- Data can be connected with a variety of data sources
- Can be integrated with most of Microsoft services as well as some third-party applications
- Clutterless user interface
- Does not require coding knowledge to build apps
- Model driver PowerApps can be implemented quickly with the help of pre-packed forms and views
- Makes it easy to automate business processes, especially the areas like accounting and sales
- The learning curve for users from non-technical backgrounds
- Makes it difficult to share applications outside the business
- Cannot publish applications on any stores; Apple, Play Store, and Microsoft Store
- Cannot create applications for consumer consumptions
- Limited opportunities to edit code, which can be an issue for more advanced users
Why Should You Use PowerApps?
With all the above features, you will be already interested in using PowerApps to design apps for your business automation. However, there is one more reason that makes it necessary to use PowerApps – using PowerApps with SharePoint.
The InfoPath forms services in SharePoint will be discontinued after April 2023. You will have to use PowerApps instead of InfoPath, post that to work with SharePoint. Also, there are no updates to InfoPath after the 2013 version release, so you have to use whatever features currently available. With PowerApps, you get a new product which Microsoft is pushing to its audience.
You can expect evolving features and bug-fixes with each new version. This makes PowerApps the right tool to adopt when it comes to web and mobile app development for multiple platforms and browsers.
PowerApps itself is quite powerful, and it also works well with other tools from Microsoft. With the integration of PowerBI, Flow, and cloud-based services like Azure and Dropbox, you can easily get more work done via the app created by PowerApps.
Now that you know what is PowerApps and how it can help you in your business to increase overall productivity, let’s look at some stats.
When apps are created using PowerApps, as per Microsoft, there is 188% ROI over three years and 74% reduction in app development cost. These are excellent numbers for businesses of any size, and a reason why you should consider using PowerApps.