Microsoft Power Apps - a vital component of the Power Platform - is a no-code/ low-code rapid application development environment that combines services, connectors and data platform to enable us quickly build custom business apps. The easy to use drag & drop user interface of Power Apps development environment enables citizen developers to build applications needed to digitalize and automate their business processes. Professional developers can use its extensible platform to programmatically interact with data and metadata, apply business logic, create custom connectors, and integrate with external data.
Most organizations have some core enterprise systems, including ERP, CRM, BI etc. There are however numerous functions that individuals perform, which are not enterprise wide, but frequent enough, and they remain manual. The data capture of these processes remains in silos, and the information is either not shared, or very hard to share with other people, and of course with other systems. The absence of automation and digitalization of these processes impacts organization's mission of digital transformation. Power Apps have been designed to change this. Business users can use Power Apps to quickly develop custom apps for to automate their processes, and integrate them with the systems in rest of the organization. One can build rich business logic and workflows with Power Apps, which can connect to both online & on-prem data sources of all types - Excel, SharePoint, Office 365, SQL Server, Dynamics 365, Dataflex Pro, and numerous other data sources by using the in-built connectors. Power Apps have inbuilt access to Dataflex, and can use it for data storage, without any additional cost.
The Apps built with Power Apps have by default a responsive design to work with various device types, and run on all platforms - iOS, Android, browsers. A user can create an App, and publish it to enable other members of the organization use it.
Dynamics 365 applications, including Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing are also 'Model-driven' Power Apps. They all use the underlying Dataflex Pro, which makes it possible to build custom apps using Power Apps that work directly with the business data generated by these apps.
Power Apps enables us build 3 types of applications:
To design and build apps, the Power Apps platform comes with:
Plug the gaps in your enterprise process automation and digitalization with Microsoft Power Apps.
No long cycles for enterprise architecture, designing and prototyping. Ready to view quickly, and easy to improve with time. Quick deployment and rollouts. Easy integration with diverse systems.
Give every business function in the organization the power to have an app as a point solution for their specific processes. No mega apps cutting across functions, and complicating design, development and user acceptance. Stay Agile – focusing on working software, rather than elaborate documentation. Even advanced functionality like pre-built AI components available to integrate quickly.
Extensibility available for professional developers with tools to seamlessly extend app capabilities with Azure Functions and custom connectors to proprietary or on-premise systems.
"…(Alletec’s) ability to quickly understand our business, and the ideas they brought to the table as we developed the solution, and the implementation of the design has been seamless. We have found a Microsoft partner that has skill set, a track record, and represents great value"
One Foundation – New Zealand
The Power App portals were launched in October 2019, and since then this is the only type of portal available. The Dynamics 365 portals are also now referred to as Power Apps portals.
There are 2 licensing models possible for Power Apps. There is a 'Power Apps per App plan' which enables users full capabilities of Power Apps to run up to 2 apps (and one portal) for a specific business scenario. The current price for this plan is - US$10 (conversion rates applied in each country) per user, per app, per month. The other license model is 'Power Apps per user plan'. Users with this plan can run unlimited Apps. This plan currently has a cost of US$ 40 per user, per month.
Organizations typically start with a Power Apps per App plan to start experiencing Power Apps. Users would use apps for a single business scenario, and be able to use up to 2 Power Apps, plus one Power Portal. These licenses are stackable. That means, a single user may be more than one 'per App' licenses, to access additional applications.
No. If you have an embedded canvas app within a model driven app, it will be counted only as a single app.
Guests wanting to use an app must have same license types as a non-guest. These could be the per app, or per user plans, access rights included in Microsoft 365, or Dynamics 365. The one flexibility however is - this license may be assigned through either the tenant hosting the app being shared, or the home tenant of the guest user.
Microsoft 365 Admins can buy Power App and Power Automate plans, Besides, any customer can sign up for a free trial.
It is very much permissible to mix and match the power app license types.
Limited Power Apps use rights are available with select Office 365 licenses. These users can run unlimited custom canvas apps, but not the model driven apps. They can data accessible over the standard connectors, but not the Premium or Custom connectors, or data gateways. They also have the rights to execute Power Automate flows. They can not store and manage data with Dataflex Pro (Common Data Service), or create/ access custom entities. The daily API request limit for these users is 2000.
Users of Dynamics 365 applications have limited rights to use Power Apps within the same environment as the Dynamics 365 application. This enables users to customize and extend Dynamics 365 applications. This usage must be within the context of the Dynamics 365 application. These users can run both canvas and model driven custom apps. They can use all connector types - standard, premium, custom, as well as the on-premise data gateway. Some Dynamics 365 applications impose a limit of 15 custom entities which may be created or used by a user. Power Automate flows can also be used within the context of the app. Utilization of AI Builder however requires a paid access.
Power Apps are typically used to build multiple point solutions within an organization. These include several tasks that typically remain manual, despite the implementation of ERP and CRM systems. Power Apps give users the ability to quickly build applications to automate simple processes, connect to a vast number of data sources, digitalize the process at the point of data capture, integrate with Power Automate, Dynamics 365 and other applications to get the data to where it's needed. The Power Apps can be either Canvas apps, or Model Driven apps.
Power Apps run across platforms - Android, iOS and Windows. These apps can run on any device type.
You can sign up for a free trial of Power Apps, Automate and Virtual Agents at the Microsoft site.
Power Apps projects must be planned with business users. This requires closely understanding the work environment and daily tasks undertaken by various user categories and making an assessment of the processes that will be good candidates for automation with Power Apps. The development of Power Apps can then be planned with a Microsoft Power Apps partner like Alletec. IF you have sufficiently experienced internal work force, it may also be feasible for you to get the development and deployment done internally. Usually, engaging an external company - at least to begin with - is a good strategy.
Power Apps have a no-code/ low-code platform.
You can get access to free trial licenses from Microsoft site, and then procure the needed licenses to start building and using Power Apps.
With Power Apps you can quickly build mobile applications - that work across platforms and devices - to automate your manual processes, and integrate them to your other internal systems.
Yes, there are out-of-the-box connectors available to connect Power Apps with Dynamics 365. These connectors used to be in the category of 'standard' connectors earlier, but have subsequently been moved to Premium category.
Yes. Power Apps can bring immense productivity benefits. The most common usage of Power Apps is in automating manual processes, and integrating the data with other enterprise systems.
The per App license costs US$10 per month. The per user license costs US$40 - as of now (October 2020)
Power Apps is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering from Microsoft. Other than your own device to run the app, everything else runs from the cloud.
You can create Power Apps free during your usage of the trial license. Outside this, you have to have one of the valid license types.