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What is Power Apps?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

A look into Microsoft’s low-code application building platform.

Power Apps was Microsoft’s answer to empowering small- to mid-sized businesses to create enterprise-level business applications. Before the platform, businesses with small tech budgets or limited coding skills could not build custom apps themselves. Instead, they had to rely on third parties––an expensive process that didn’t always result in business needs being met.

Now, Power Apps is enabling small- and mid-sized businesses to meet specific needs via the easy-to-use, robust platform. Below, we’ll dive into what Power Apps is, its top features, and how to build a Power App application.

Meet Power Apps

Power Apps is a collection of apps, services, and connectors and a data platform where users can build custom business applications. Applications can then be connected to business data via Microsoft Dataverse or other online data services (i.e., SharePoint, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, etc.) All Power Apps tools are low-code, meaning users, regardless of their technical skill, can quickly build business applications without writing a single line of code. Once created, Power Apps can run seamlessly on browsers or mobile devices (including phones or tablets).

Because Power Apps is extremely low-code, it’s highly customizable and easy to use. The platform can be used to solve specific business problems, including task or role-specific scenarios like field sales enablement, inspections, integrated marketing view, prospect-to-cash, and more.

A Look into Power Apps’ Features

  • Canvas apps: Power Apps’ simple drag-and-drop interface enables its users to build custom, powerful apps without any coding. Users simply upload all the elements of the app onto the platform and begin building.

  • Seamless integration with additional Microsoft tools: Because Power Apps is part of Microsoft, the platform seamlessly integrates with Microsoft tools like SharePoint, OneDrive, Excel, and more. Non-Microsoft tools, like Salesforce, can also seamlessly connect to the platform via one of the platform's 200+ connectors.

  • Model-driven apps: Unlike canvas apps where users have complete control over what the app looks like, model-driven apps follow a pre-determined layout. The app’s design depends largely on the components added by the user.

  • Common Data Service (CDS): CDS allows users to utilize the data stored within business applications.

  • Cloud connectivity: Power Apps connects directly to the cloud, enabling users to access business apps with ease. The platform also connects to cloud services like Google Drive, SQL, Dropbox, and more.

  • Sharing: Applications built within Power Apps can be shared across teams with ease.

  • Portals: Users can build low-code, responsive websites using similar tools. Once created, the websites interact directly with data stored in CDS.

  • App management: As users are creating apps, analytic and reporting tools carefully check apps before and after the building process for bugs, errors, or slow performance.

  • Data security: Powerful data security features, including multi-factor authentication, audit trails, regulatory compliance, versioning, and user permissions, ensure business apps and data stay secure.

  • AI capabilities: AI models and data capture further streamline application development.

Power Apps Use Cases

The flexibility and customization of Power Apps make it ideal for businesses across industries. Below are just some of the ways in which the platform can be utilized:

  • Employee onboarding: Because Power Apps can access additional Microsoft applications, HR departments can use Power Apps throughout the onboarding process. For example, HR teams can build an application where new employees can access the employee handbook, contact information, and business forms.

  • Service request applications: Power Apps can be utilized as a Help Desk for customers or employees needing to submit an IT support ticket. It can also be used to collect service requests for purchase orders, maintenance, HR requests, and more.

  • Event management: Using the platform’s AI capabilities, Power Apps can streamline manual processes in event management, including event registration, building schedules, digital itineraries, and attendee directories.

Essentially, Power Apps has endless possibilities in regard to the applications business teams can make. Whether applications are internal or client-facing, each has the possibility of improving communication, increasing productivity, boosting efficiency, and improving decision-making.

This is only the beginning of what Power Apps can offer. Said Kolby Beck, Power Apps Expert and Solutions Architect at JourneyTEAM,: “Power Apps are powerful because they allow users to quickly create custom applications without needing to write complex code. This makes them accessible to a wide range of users, including business analysts, citizen developers, and IT professionals…Overall, Power Apps are for anyone who wants to create custom apps to automate processes, improve productivity, and drive digital transformation in their organization.”

How to Build a Canvas Application in Power Apps

Building customized business applications is incredibly easy. After logging into the platform, just follow the steps below:

  1. Set up the data source and select entities, tables, or tabs the app will use.

  2. Create a new app. Choose whether you want to create a sample app or template. Then determine where you want to create the app (i.e., in CDS, Teams, Excel, etc.)

  3. Add connectors if needed.

  4. Create applications screen, including home screen, list view, view form, and edit form.

  5. Publish

It’s crucial to carefully test your application from start to finish to ensure it runs smoothly, contains no errors, and fulfills your specific business need.

Boost Power Apps Success with JourneyTEAM

Despite the ease of use of Power Apps, the platform is constantly growing. As new features and capabilities are introduced, JourneyTEAM provides the expert support and guidance needed to get the most from the platform.

Contact JourneyTEAM today for help getting started with Power Apps!

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