In this blog I’ll show you how even a non techie like me can get a PowerApp up and running within a few minutes. The plan is to create an app that:
- Allows me to view contact data in Dynamics 365
- Edit the data using the app
- Return the changes back into Dynamics 365
PowerApps are brilliant. They allow you to work with various data sets, are easy to use and can be set up in minutes. This is a gift and a curse, you could end up with huge numbers of apps that are difficult to manage and dont improve anything. Always consider the business process/need before you jump in (unless you’re like me and just like to play)
What are PowerApps?
PowerApps is a service for building and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile – without the time and expense of custom software development. (https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/)
How do I get them?
If you have an Office 365 Enterprise E1 or above subscription, you have PowerApps! Here’s more detail about licencing
How do I access them?
Via a web browser or the PowerApp mobile app. You’ll need to share your creation with colleagues if you want them to use it
How do I create them?
Within Office 365, ‘Explore all your apps’ > select PowerApps
You have lots of options and can build the app from scratch. In this example we’ll use one of the excellent templates that’s ready to use out of the box (Start from data).
Select ‘Create’ and then select Dynamics
Search ‘Contact’ > Select the Contacts table > hit connect
You’ll see that the app has appeared (with data from Dynamics 365 pre populated). There’s loads of opportunities to edit different parts of the app or add new pages etc
When you’re happy you can save the app and share it with others who have a PowerApp licence
You can open the app within a browser or via the PowerApp app on your phone
Open the app and add/edit contact detail as you see fit. In the example below I’ve added a new contact
Which automatically appears in Dynamics 365 when submitted
Here’s a quick video I created to demo how easy it is to create a PowerApp out of the box
Whats the catch?
PowerApps were designed to be used for business Mobile Apps – meaning internal use. You’re not going to create a PowerApp to share with everyone in the world. They’re not designed for consumer consumption
There are a few things to think about if you’re going to start creating apps for your business:
- You’ll need to understand what the business is trying to achieve. What process will a PowerApp improve
- How will you manage the apps moving forward. Will they be required by the business long term or just used for short projects
- Keep an eye on updates, these could affect how the app works with other software eg: Dynamics, Flow etc. As Microsoft adds/removes software functionality you’ll need to be aware of the changes and the impact it could have on other software…
With all that said, they’re still a great way to get a technology solution into the hands of business users. They can also aid adoption because staff only see the detail they need rather than a screen full of detail that doesn’t help them do the job.
How do I find out more?
For the more geeky among you, here’s a link to a great Microsoft resource