Businesses across the world are in a period of digital transformation and need application development capabilities that allows them to improve workflows and processes with ease. PowerApps is Microsoft’s latest solution that streamlines app development and addresses the growing demand for fast ways to develop and customise applications. During 2018, PowerApps received many significant updates to solidify its role with other key Microsoft services, such as Flow and Power BI. Using PowerApps your business can create business solutions quickly and easily.
What is PowerApps?
PowerApps is a powerful tool used to create business apps that function on almost all web browsers – Android, iOS and Windows – with a simplified interface for all users.
PowerApps is part of Microsoft’s business application platform, now referred to as Power Platform. PowerApps is natively integrated with workflow engines such as Microsoft Flow to add logic and automate your processes easier. You can also pull data from Dynamics 365 or Office 365 to seamlessly create customised apps that solve problems specific to your business or fulfil a variety of processes that are usually limited to on-premises or dependent on corporate connected PCs.
How does PowerApps work?
Similar to Office 365, PowerApps has a simplified ‘drag-and-drop’ graphical tool for users to create their apps. You can then add controls (text fields), forms, media (photo, video) and screens, you can also connect your mobile app to external data sources and publish your app to the web and across multiple mobile and desktop devices through user-friendly menus.
To get started using PowerApps;
- Install the PowerApps Studio app from the Windows Store
- Login using your Microsoft account credentials
- Choose a pre-built template and choose its layout (phone or tablet). Tablet ensures your app automatically operates within a web browser
- Configure a connection to your desired data source, such as Dropbox or OneDrive
What can you create on PowerApps?
Generally, apps that are developed using PowerApps usually fall into two categories;
Model-Driven Apps are generally used for functions using your business data. These apps can operate on all devices with a responsive design and generally display data dashboards, forms, checklists and charts to benefit user experience.
Canvas Apps tend to follow more specific business processes. You can use Azure Functions to extend your app’s capabilities to the cloud, embed your apps directly into your SaaS tools or website to create an integrated solution, while creating Excel like expressions to add logic and define the business rules that run automated workflows, validate your data and drive processes.
Basically, non-developers can bring together data across solutions and workflows with ease, while experienced programmers can build powerful custom apps on the platform. Using PowerApps allows you to develop and deploy apps that are developed in-house to your team at a faster rate.
Does your business need PowerApps?
Traditionally application development was a difficult task for businesses to complete effectively. Traditional tools often required coding experience, which meant many individuals were unable to develop applications. Utilising PowerApps has a variety of benefits to businesses, such as;
1.Agility of Software Design
Building new apps or editing existing apps can often take time and specific skillsets. However, using PowerApps users can make basic changes to model-driven apps with ease.
Apps that are created using PowerApps are immediately mobile and cloud compatible. Once your app is completed, it is easy to distribute it to smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
One of the main key strengths of PowerApps is that it is a Microsoft solution, which means that PowerApps is compatible with other Microsoft solutions. This allows your team to work seamlessly using your application.
In general, PowerApps allows your business to drive digital transformation at a pace that suits your business. Its extensive capabilities ensure that app experts get the most from Microsoft’s integrated business development platform, partnering with a software developer allows you to create apps that target specific business processes.
As it is integrated with Office 365, Teams and SharePoint and is part of the Microsoft Power Platform (Flow and Power BI), PowerApps is best suited to businesses who wish to leverage the Microsoft ecosystem to customise their business platform.
As Microsoft Gold Partners, we are experts in Microsoft Technologies. We have partnered with many businesses across Ireland to boost their business processes utilising Microsoft’s capabilities. To learn more about how PowerApps can benefit your business, contact our team!
Traditionally, Microsoft Excel has been the ‘go-to’ reporting tool for businesses around the world, however, Power BI offers businesses even more powerful analytics and reporting features. Power Bi offers businesses faster experimentations with visualisations, statistical functions and calculations across broad datasets, and the ability to derive answers through the rapid recombination of fields. There are a variety of ways that Power BI supersedes Excel, below we will explain how utilising Power BI can benefit your business.
1.Access and Store Large Amounts of Data
Power BI has impressive compression abilities for Microsoft Excel and text/.csv files, which allows you to access, analyse and visualise large quantities of data that Excel cannot open. Many computers may struggle to open a file larger than 300 megabytes, making analysis and reporting through Excel challenging. Thus adding several smaller .csv files to data, like sales data for neighbouring regions, will be incredibly difficult to combine with your previous dataset and analysis.
Large datasets don’t have to be reduced in size and aggregated to show a more encompassing analysis. All granular details and summarisations can exist in one file together and be accessed through drill downs.
Users also have the opportunity to modify and prepare data:
- Transformations and edits including changing formats, deleting rows, adding columns and transposing data.
- Adding relationships within different tables.
- Adding new datasets easily as additional useful data is uncovered.
When using Power BI, the painful repetition of data preparation is reduced or eliminated as the software will remember the data preparation steps and automatically repeat them during data refreshes.
2.Spot Trends Easily
Analyzing trends with Power BI is extremely easy. With built-in time intelligence features, it only takes seconds to view vast amounts of data. Data can be viewed by various dimensions and attributes, including date-time dimensions.
3.Intuitive UX Features
Users can easily make data on Power BI visually appealing, even if users have limited creativity or UX skills. Power BI’s drag-and-drop functionality, easy resizing, and copying and pasting makes those who are accustomed to Office 365 feel at ease when using Power BI.
Incorporate your brand into reports through utilising colour schemes with Power BI themes. Your marketing team can now create Power BI branding themes, in the form of a .json file, and Power BI users simply have to import this theme during the development of a report. From this theme, users can create graphs and charts that follow the business’ ‘theme’.
Once you have constructed your Power BI analysis, you will need to publish and disseminate your dashboards and reports. In Excel this would generally involve emailing a large file to your team or uploading it to a shared device or SharePoint portal. Through utilising Power BI, this process has been completely revolutionised. Through using Power BI you can upload or update data to Power BI and automate the refreshing of underlying data, to make this data available to your team, simply publish this data.
Power BI can revolutionise how you share information with your team. Power BI is easily configured and allows users to track metrics, understand insights and visualise data. Creating reports on Power BI allows your business to understand the past and present while also understanding potential future trends. Contact our team today to learn more about how adopting Power BI can benefit your business!