Business Benefits of Microsoft Power Apps.
You might have heard of Microsoft Power Apps, however, are not entirely sure what it is or how your business can utilise this platform. In the following blog post, we aim to explore Power Apps, the benefits, examples of how apps can be used within an organisation and pricing…
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What is Microsoft Power Apps?
Microsoft Power Apps is one of the tools with the Microsoft Power Platform that enables you to build custom apps, to accommodate your business needs or solve your problems when you cannot find a suitable off-the-shelf solution. The apps you use can quickly connect to your stored business data, that is either located in an underlying data platform (for example Microsoft Dataverse, previously known as the Common Data Service) or within an on-premise/online data source, for example; Excel, SharePoint, Office 365, SQL Server and Dynamics 365.
Types of Power App
Power Apps has three different types which are used for development:
- Canvas Apps: Like working from a blank canvas, users start with the data source, add workflows and then finally create the design. This approach offers more flexibility than model-driven apps.
- Model-Driven Apps: With model-driven apps, much of the layout is controlled by the data connected and information entered into the app – what you feed in generally decides the outcome. This approach is more commonly used if the app you’re designing requires complex business logic.
- Portals: for creating web portals (websites) that can be shared both internally and externally, allowing users to interact securely with data stored in the Common Data Service.
Benefits of Microsoft Power Apps
1. Solving Business Challenges
When an off-the-shelf solution isn’t available Microsoft Power Apps can provide a bespoke solution to solve your business challenges; a few examples include:
- Staff holiday allowance: Create a holiday app for employees to input their holiday. Introduce an approval procedure from Power Automate to approve or reject requests
- Lead capture for field sales: Empower your salespeople in the field to capture leads via an app, as opposed to waiting till they’re back in the office. Features like business card scanner also enables information to be gathered instantly
- Event registration: Create an event registration app which enables attendees to register and check-in, then automatically collect their details in your database
- Employee expenses: An employee expenses app, allowing your employees to enter details of any expenses and attach photographs of receipts for easy tracking
The nature of Power Apps means that a solution can be built for any inefficiencies within your business.
2. Mobile Access
The apps are designed to be accessed across mobile/tablet devices or a web-based browser, meaning employees can use their app from anywhere.
One of the benefits of using Power Apps on a mobile or tablet device, is that you can leverage the smart mobile functionality to capture photos, videos and signatures, as well as completing interactive forms.
3. No Coding Required
What sets Power Apps apart from other offerings is the ‘low-code approach to app development’. This means essentially anyone can build an app, even without technical experience. Although it’s worth noting that there’s actually quite a learning curve for those who want to build their own apps, so unless you’re a developer you should ideally work with your Microsoft Partner to design and build anything but the simplest applications.
One of the key benefits of a low-code approach, is that it is much faster to deploy an app compared to traditional development methods.
4. Cost Efficiency
Conventional app development can be costly and time-consuming in comparison to Power Apps; Power Apps Licensing starts as low as £7.50 per app/per month and due to the low-code approach, development time can be kept to a minimum.
5. Integration with Microsoft Tools
One of the main advantages of the Power App Platform is that being a Microsoft solution, it is full capability to integrate with other Microsoft tools. This means that developers can leverage data from Microsoft applications (e.g. Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Excel etc) and other third-party services. There are a range of connectors available for Power Apps, meaning that there is scope to connect seamlessly with other platforms.
Power Apps leverages the Common Data Service (CDS) which uses a role-based security model. For users, this means that security roles can be established using a certain set of access permissions, ensuring that employees only see the data appropriate for their job role.
When businesses first start using Power Apps, there can be concerns about user access and restricting certain information within an app. However, Microsoft have implemented functionality to ensure that the apps are secure, and privileges can be granted where necessary.
How to use Power Apps within your Organisation
As mentioned previously mentioned, apps can be built for any business scenario. To get businesses started, Microsoft have provided various templates in the Power Apps Gallery.
PragmatiQ Solutions have also created a Power App for managing employees’ holiday, see below for the demo:
Hi, my name is Diana, and I’m one of the technical consultants at PragmatiQ Solutions. We are going to be doing a series of videos over the next few months demonstrating varying capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics platform. And today, I’ll be giving you an overview of the holiday app that can be used within your organisation.
This app sits inside of Dynamics 365 and can be accessed via mobile, allowing employees to request and track holiday and managers to complete the approval process. In order to access your application on your mobile, you will need to download the Power BI mobile application, which is available on your App Store or Google Play.
This can also be embedded in Teams, but right now I’ll show you a desktop version that will offer you an insight on how this is going to look on your mobile. In order to access the application, you will need to log in to our Power Apps with your company email, which would then display all the apps shared with you in the organisation. As you can see, there is no username and password protection you when you open up these because Power Apps will recognise your credentials and you’ll be able to get it right away.
I will now present to you the content available to employees, allowances and how to create a leave request. This is my available balance, which is going to display my remaining balance and how many days I have used, I will go now and create a new request from the plus button. There are multiple times of request I can choose from. Right now I am going to choose holiday and I will select tomorrow, start from 8am and I am going to do it for a day and a half.
So duration is one day and a half and description is going to be holiday.
I’ll click on the submit button, then it is going to take me to the review page where I can choose to either submit the request or if I want to edit any details. I can choose to change anything I want here, I’ll just do this and I will submit now everything is all right. So I’m going to click on the green button. This has been completed, so right now my manager is going to receive an approval email for testing purposes.
I will show you other pages available in the application, which is the balance and leave request, which is showing all my requests from the past, within this year, which are approved, pending or declined. And again, I can see the page where I can create on your request.
I’ll show you the email that is going to be received by my manager. It is showing the employee, the date where this has been created and all of the other details I have submitted in the request.
Now they can choose to approve or reject. I will just go ahead and do this, so this has been approved. Right now, if I go back to the app and go to balance and I’m going to refresh it, it says another day and a half has been used, which has also been taken out from the remaining days.
Now I’m going to see my leave request. I am going to look for a holiday that has just approved, as you can see it here.
I will show you the email that the employee’s going to be received. The following has been approved, manager comments. The same format is going to be sent if this request has been declined, saying your request has been declined.
This is it for now. I hope you found this useful. And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us using the details on screen. Our email is [email protected], where you can phone us on 01908 038110. Thank you.
Hi, my name is Diana, and I’m one of the technical consultants at PragmatiQ Solutions. I presented in our previous video the holiday application capabilities and today I’ll go through the approval workflow that sits behind the application this is connected to the Common Data Service in Dynamics 365 where the application is fetching his data from as well as the Power Automate approval workflow.
In this video take you through each step of the automation happening in the background of a request is being submitted and the logic behind it. As you can see in the first step of the flow this will be triggered when a leave request is going to be created in the database, as soon as the user is going to submit a request with a mobile app.
Next. we’ll need to get the leave request that has been created the user that has submitted it and a leave allowance associated with a particular user. In order to get the label of the drop-down value for the lead type, the string maps entity within the current environment needs to be listed. This step is required in order to get the actual name of the option selected, that’s because option set values are stored as numbers. This is then being assigned to the previously created variable which now will show the option as needed.
Next, we will need to check the type of request that has been submitted and if it’s holiday, is going to start an approval. As I showed you in the previous video, there are multiple types of leave requests that can be submitted but, in this example, only the holiday type is going to start the approval and calculate the remaining balance.
This is how the approval looks like. The assigned to field is going to be the list of managers or whoever is going to approve or reject requests. The body of the email that is going to be sent, dynamic details, duration, the beginning/start date, and the end date and so on.
After this has been sent to the manager, the flow is going to wait for a response order from the approver and if it has been approved this is then going to update the created leave request and is going to change the status to approved. The user is going to receive an email saying that your request has been approved and all the details that have been submitted and some manager comments. However, if the leave request been declined the leave request is going to be set to decline and again the user is going to receive an email saying that your request has been declined. and again, the same format.
However, if the leave type is not going to be a holiday, let’s say it’s going to sick, the manager is going to receive a report saying that this employee has submitted this kind of leave type which I briefly show you with string maps. Again same details and the user is going to receive an email saying that the request has been submitted, again same format. However, if the leave type is going to be sick this is going to calculate a total of sick days that have been used by that particular user and it’s only going to be visible to the managers. Basically this is going to add the duration selected by the user and is going to add it to the current sick days used.
Thank you for now, I hope you find this useful and if you have any questions then please feel free to contact us using the details on screen our email is [email protected] or our phone is 01908 038110. Thank you.
Power Apps Pricing
Run Single Apps
Best for businesses that want to license each user to run a single app, with the flexibility to stack licenses for each additional app.
Run Unlimited Apps
Per User, Per Month
Best for businesses that want one license for each user, regardless of the number of apps they need to run.
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Many businesses will be familiar with the struggle to find an appropriate solution to a challenge that they are facing. In so many cases, a business app would have been an obvious choice, but in the past they have been costly to develop and very slow in the making. Microsoft has recognised this common problem, resulting in the creation of Power Apps, enabling businesses to create solutions to fit all their needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.