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7 Must Have Office 365 Apps #6: PowerApps

Mo Anwar | | May 7, 2019

As we move to digital workplaces, non-technical employees will become more and more involved in finding ways to use technology to its fullest. Traditionally, developing applications to solve business problems was the responsibility of the Information Technology staff. With new tools such as Microsoft PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow, which we will cover later, gaining ground, that may change.

 

Technology power users and employees who hold titles such as Business Analyst will undoubtedly become the employees who build apps to meet their specific needs in the future. PowerApps, in conjunction with Microsoft Flow, is making that eventuality a reality in many organizations.

And, it’s all due to the advantages that PowerApps provides.

PowerApps Users Can Be Non-Technical

Non-technical users have been successful using Microsoft’s PowerApps. It doesn’t require the skills, nor the effort needed to learn a coding language. Some users have compared the learning curve to those for Excel or Access. As a result, users are reducing application development time and complexity. Users can increase their productivity virtually in real time. They don’t need to wait for the IT department to produce the required capabilities.

From the IT perspective, letting power users develop their own applications is a big benefit. IT can concentrate on building systems and capabilities that can have long-term and widespread effects on business outcomes.

PowerApps are Mobile

Existing information systems are still struggling to satisfy the requirements of their mobile workforce in many organizations. However, in today’s business environment, that can prove to be a disability when it comes to improving an organization’s competitive edge.

Many companies have employees who are either out of the office frequently, or who don’t even work from the organizations’ physical location. The mobile capability is built in PowerApps, making mobility functional out of the box.

PowerApps Close the Gap Between Need and Delivery

In traditional application development projects, the people who will use the application are separate from the people who design and deliver it. That is unavoidable because users don’t understand exactly how system requirements need to be defined. And, the developers don’t perform the user’s job hence lacking the required context.

That’s not to say that it’s anyone’s fault. It’s easy for users to assume some feature will be included in the design because they are so familiar with the process, they don’t even think to mention it.

Regardless of the cause, when users design their own apps, there will be fewer stakeholders involved, and the users will quickly identify what the app needs to address. The users have even more power with the use of both PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. Flow allows the users to add the logic that is required to automate the business processes controlled by the app.

PowerApps Can be Enhanced by IT Professionals

There may be times when a user can’t create an app with every feature that’s required. In that situation, a developer can extend the application using the Common Data Service for Apps or Microsoft Development platforms for applications.

PowerApps Can Easily Access Required Data

Virtually every business process has data at its core. Therefore, it’s critical that a non-technical user have easy access to the data they need.

PowerApps can access data using over 200 “connectors,” which are other places where data resides. The most common connectors include SharePoint Online, Office 365, OneDrive, Dropbox, Excel, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce to name just a few.

Final Thoughts

Applications such as PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will bring change to the organizations that use them. Business users will be able to take more control over the ways in which technology can increase productivity.


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