Whether its targeted ads popping up on Instagram or that expense management app you use when you have to submit a gas receipt for the company rental, mobile applications directly influence our daily decision-making and have transformed how we access and digest our information.

Even as we are well aware of the value apps bring to our livelihood, the art of developing a meaningful app has long been deemed a practice reserved exclusively for coding geeks, or those who have committed their lives to mastering this skill. Today Microsoft continues to lead the charge towards eliminating the barrier to application development.

Microsoft rolled out PowerApps as part of Office 365 late in 2015 with the goal in mind of enabling businesses to build customized apps efficiently without needing any coding expertise or experience. This new technology has revolutionized the game in application development by giving non-developers the autonomy to move their business forward by streamlining and automating key businesses processes that were once strictly manual.  

Moreover, the ability to access the platform through a web browser, extracts the need to budget for servers or infrastructure that would traditionally be required to support such a robust solution. Likewise, a business can get started with PowerApps for just $10 per month for two applications and one portal, or $40 per month for unlimited applications. With an Office 365 license, it’s even easier to add Power Apps to your stack.

The benefit of minimal capital investment and IT expenses and are valuable however getting the apps you need when you need them is critical. One of the biggest benefits of Power Apps is how quickly one can develop a useful, functioning app. Power Apps removes many time-consuming elements from the traditional development process and instead replaces them with an intuitive drag and drop interface, resulting in rapid app development.

Canvas vs. model-driven app – what’s the difference?

Depending on your needs, Microsoft has provided two ways to create an app in the platform, you can go the canvas or model driven route. While both have similar components to their design, canvas apps and model-driven apps are best suited for different use cases. As the name denotes, canvas apps provide a blank canvas allowing the author to drag and drop to design the user experience whereas with model driven apps, the author first selects the data elements which then drives the user interface components which are preselected for you but can be customized according to the data being used.

In one instance, you might use canvas apps to help shape your COVID return to office plan and design an internal portal-registration tool for your employees to better manage the influx of people in the office. Model-driven apps, on the other hand, are better for creating end-to-end solutions. For example, creating internal workflows for the customer support team where after a support ticket has been created, it must be then routed, addressed, updated, marked as complete, etc. This type of cross-collaboration across teams would be ideal for a model-driven app.

Access to your data on-the-go – wherever you are:

While there are countless use cases that fit in the PowerApps wheelhouse, a key advantage is the mobile capability of the platform. Rapid app development is nice but for road warriors if it would be almost worthless if it still requires you to be plugged into a computer to access your data. PowerApps allows you to develop an app for a mobile device right in the same interface so you can always be sure that the valuable new app you are building will work for your road warriors.

As your business needs evolve and your solution needs to scale, Microsoft also introduced Power Automate which is a workflow and process automation tool that integrates with PowerApps. When building an app, there are many scenarios where we may want to automate a process while using the app and this is where Power Automate comes into the process to create logic that performs one or more tasks when an event occurs in a Power App.

MIBAR COVID Tracking App Delivers Safe Return to Work

Looking for technology to help your return to office strategy? Click here to learn more about our internal COVID work in-office app or to schedule a time for a quick demo of the PowerApps platform for your business. 

Additional Power Platform Resources

Automatically Backing Up PowerApps Applications and Power Automate Flows

Predictions Satisfied: How the Power Platform Exceeded Expectations

Making a Low-Code Reality With PowerApps