Microsoft has been coming out with helpful productivity tools in the way of apps for office 365, including Planner, Flow and Delve, to name a few.

These are some fantastic apps that expand and tie together the Microsoft ecosystem in a way that makes so much sense that it feels like second nature from the start.

Microsoft released the PowerApp in 2015 as part of the “Power Trio” – the other two products being Flow and Power BI. In Microsoft’s vision of a cloud-first, mobile-first workforce, enterprises have to be able to disseminate and communicate data and information to employees no matter where they are and regardless of the device they are using. This is why the tools provided by PowerApps are so important to enterprises using Office 365.

What is PowerApps?

PowerApps is a tool that enables creation of no-code apps in a matter of minutes. The strength of PowerApps is that it cuts development costs associated with producing a custom app, drastically decreases time from concept to creation, and enables businesses to be more agile in order to stay current with changing times. PowerApps is simple enough to transform the learning curve of coding on mobile devices into a matter of a few clicks yet deep enough to provide developers options to customise functionality.

How useful are the apps developed in PowerApps?

This is a must-have tool for a company using SharePoint and wanting a companion mobile experience. The keys to a great mobile experience are:

  • A well-designed user experience.
  • Mobile-optimised business processes.
  • Sound Mobile infrastructure.

A well-designed user experience makes it easy for end-users to pick up the device and intuitively navigate the app.  PowerApps analyses the data in a SharePoint list, suggests a logical layout, and creates an interface based on several pre-configured templates. This includes multiple screens, familiar controls and functionality built-in to edit items, send changes back to SharePoint from the mobile app, sort the order and have pre-determined navigational paths. Looking at the interface below, it’s clear what to press to perform any of these tasks. If asked to see all posts on new investors, refresh, edit author, delete a post or send changes back to SharePoint, little to no instruction would be needed.

Most loved: What is to be loved most about PowerApps is the integration with core SharePoint functionality.

So – how easy is to create your first SharePoint based PowerApps?

Microsoft designed PowerApps to be a no-code easy entry portal for app development. The quickest path to creating a SharePoint Online app (using the new list experience) can be completed in three easy steps.

  1. On the list, click ‘Create an App’ under PowerApps dropdown in the menu bar.
  2. Select format, change default columns shown and orientation (optional), then name and save.
  3. Download PowerApps to your mobile device and login to your O365 account.

Can I extend this experience by customising?

PowerApps provides a number of options to customise apps: create an icon from a standard list of images mixed with a background color palette; upload your own image; customize the design based on screen size; or specify landscape or portrait mode. The functionality is customizable through specialised functions included for math operations, string manipulation, table creation, custom actions and event receivers, dates and even REST calls. PowerApps incorporates a host of tools and options to customize the look, feel and function of the app just short of coding it from scratch.

Can I connect to any data source?

In addition to SharePoint lists, Microsoft included an array of possible data sources. PowerApps even allows connection to multiple sources within the same app, establishing a versatile tool for data collection. Here are of the data sources that PowerApp can connect:

  • SharePoint
  • SQL Server
  • The Common Data Service
  • Dynamics 365
  • Office 365 Users
  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Twilio
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

You can see the full list from here.

Bottom-line

A mobile-first, cloud-first workforce needs to be able to innovate, collaborate, and communicate on many levels and on many devices. Restricting the creative potential of employees in a futile attempt to exert control will do more harm than good. Microsoft PowerApps is just one more tool enterprises are going to have to get accustomed to if they want to be successful in today’s mobile business environment.

We at Prometix definitely see PowerApps ballooning in popularity as Microsoft turns its focus from new iterations of SharePoint to expanding the vast Microsoft products ecosystem and promoting synergy between those products.

Please feel free to contact Prometix to understand more about PowerApp or any other Office 365 App and how it can be used within your organisation.

 

Prometix have organised a breakfast seminar to go through some of these cool new features and strategies to make them usable and useful for your business case.  For information and registration please click here.

BreakfastSeminar

About Prometix: At Prometix, we design implement and support Microsoft based technology solutions that help our client’s staff to more easily use and share information as individuals and in teams. We work with our clients to establish a structure that makes information easier to create, store, find and share with others. We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.

For more information on our success stories please feel free to call us on (02) 8072 0666 or email enquiries@prometix.com.au
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