Microsoft Power Apps is a suite of tools, services, and connectors that enables organisations to build custom business applications that connect to internal business data.
Power Apps are part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, which also includes Power Automate (for automation), Power BI (for data analysis), and Power Virtual Agents (for building chatbots).
The Power Apps suite gives businesses of all sizes the ability to create their own applications to solve specific problems, streamline operations, or improve efficiency, all with a low-code or even no-code approach .
- PowerApps is a product by Microsoft for developing and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile
- While PowerApps enables no-code app creation via a drag-and-drop interface, more complex applications require coding skills for a customised functionality.
- PowerApps is integrated within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, interacting with data from multiple Microsoft and non-Microsoft services, enabling businesses to create diverse and personalised tools.
Power Apps: Key Features
Power Apps consist of four key components:
Canvas Power Apps allow users to create apps by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, similar to designing a slide in PowerPoint. The app maker has complete control over the app layout.
The app can be connected to more than 200 data sources, from Excel to Salesforce.
Model-Driven Power Apps are data-centric and are built around your data model – core business data and processes in the Dataverse. The underlying data guides the app design process and can automatically generate a responsive UI.
The model-driven approach focuses on viewing your business data which means that much of the layout is determined by the components you add such as dashboard, forms or charts.
Power Apps Cards are micro business apps containing organisational data and processes, along with interactive and light user interface components that can be embedded within other applications.
Microsoft Dataverse is a secure business data platform that stores and manages data used by applications such as Power Apps.
Data within Dataverse is stored within a set of tables that can be queried similar to other databases.
What Are the Benefits of Using Power Apps?
Power Apps is part of Microsoft Power Platform which is growing at 72% year-over-year. This makes it one of the fastest-growing Microsoft businesses at scale .
The reason for this growth is that Power Apps has benefits that give competitive advantage to businesses of all sizes. Some of the benefits include:
Power Apps uses the low-code/no-code approach that allows for faster development and deployment of apps, meaning businesses can adapt and respond to changes quickly and effectively.
The logic can also be adjusted more easily, if requirements change, compared to traditional custom business applications.
Power Apps seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft products such as Teams, SharePoint, Azure services and external data sources such as social media or CRMs.
With Power Apps, businesses can create custom apps without the need for expensive software development, saving both time and money.
Maintenance of Power Apps is also much cheaper and doesn’t require input from IT.
Built-in AI Capabilities
Microsoft AI Builder provides AI models that can be used to automate processes and provide insights within the Power Apps.
This allows businesses to make use of the latest artificial intelligence solutions in their businesses without large investment.
Who Should Use Power Apps?
Power Apps is designed for a broad audience including technical and non-technical users.
Power Apps is successfully used by every business function within an organisation including HR, finance, IT, business users and Executives.
Remember, Power Apps is used to build custom business applications so the users and use cases are many and varied.
Power Apps Use Cases
Power Apps has a wide variety of use cases across different industries. Here are a few examples:
- In manufacturing, a Power App could be used to track inventory or manage production schedules.
- In retail, it could be used to streamline the process of product ordering and delivery.
- In healthcare, Power Apps could be used to create patient scheduling and management systems.
- In education, it could be used to develop an app for managing student records or tracking course completion.
Check out our case study that shows how we built a timesheet Power App for an accounting practice.
How to Build Power Apps?
The high level process of building a Power App involves several key steps:
1. Plan Your App: Identify what problem you’re trying to solve and what functionality your app needs to solve it.
2. Choose App Approach: Decide whether a canvas app, model-driven app, or a portal will best suit your needs.
3. Connect to Data: Use Power Apps’ data connectors to connect to your data sources.
4. Design Your App: Use the drag-and-drop interface to design your app, adding controls, data fields, and more.
5. Test Your App: Once you’ve built your app, test it to ensure it works as intended.
6. Deploy Your App: Once testing is complete, deploy your app so users can start benefiting from it.
Do I Need to Know How to Code to Use Power Apps?
No, Power Apps is a low-code/no-code platform, meaning you can create and use applications without needing to write code. However, more complex apps and workflows do require coding knowledge.
Can I Share the Apps I Create With Others in My Organisation?
Yes, Power Apps allows you to easily share the apps you create with others in your organisation.
How Does Power Apps Integrate With Other Microsoft Products?
Power Apps integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products like Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure, allowing you to leverage these services in your apps.
The Bottom Line
Microsoft Power Apps offers a powerful platform for creating custom business apps without needing extensive coding skills.
With its intuitive interface, extensive integration capabilities, and cost-effective approach, it’s an excellent tool for businesses seeking to improve their processes and foster innovation.
Whether you’re a business analyst looking to solve a specific problem or a developer looking to streamline app creation, Power Apps provides the tools you need to succeed.