This post explains about Microsoft Dynamics 365 PowerApps. PowerApps is a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering hosted by Microsoft in the cloud on the Azure platform. Most license plans for Office 365 and for MS D365 include licenses for PowerApps. If you’re running Dynamics 365, in all likelihood you’re already licensed for PowerApps as well and are thereby free to use it to extend what you can do with Dynamics 365.
PowerApps is a way to create mobile apps or web-based applications that have nothing to do with Dynamics 365 per se or that extend and enhance Dynamics 365 by connecting with data and processes inside of Dynamics 365 and providing additional functionality, akin to a software add-on or bolt-on product.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 PowerApps Capabilities
- Search through a document knowledge base stored in SharePoint for Office 365 from your smartphone and comment on articles.
- Schedule technicians for appointments and automatically update their availability in the Dynamics 365 Resource Scheduling application.
- Onboard employees by providing information about where to go, whom to see, what their login credentials are, and so forth, by securely transmitting the information to the new hire’s smartphone.
- Provide detailed, step-by-step instructions and easy-to-understand pictures and diagrams to manufacturing workers in a factory-floor shop via Android tablets to help improve quality control and adherence to state and federal regulations.
- Capture customer sign-off when jobs are complete, and update that information back to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations to serve as a backup for subsequent billing.
These are just a few examples. Use your imagination. There is truly no limit to the efficiency gains you can achieve by linking applications, workforces, customers and vendors, employees and administrators, email and databases, and on and on — and doing so in the cloud and using mobile applications.
The Advantages of Creating and Deploying Solutions built on PowerApps include:
- Anytime/anywhere access: Everybody has a mobile device (their smartphone) with them at all times.
- Global Microsoft cloud capabilities: You can take advantage of them because everything is cloud-based, so you don’t need to design, purchase, install, and maintain your own computer network infrastructure.
- Available data connectors: You can quickly integrate with disparate services from different SaaS providers.
In PowerApps, you can build apps from scratch, starting with a blank template. In the hands of an IT professional, a programmer, or even a functional ERP or CRM Dynamics 365 consultant who doesn’t necessarily know how to code any computer programming languages, PowerApps can be a rapid application development environment used to create robust apps, without requiring low-level coding.
1. Canvas Apps
- Canvas apps are built without code and are configured using a drag-and-drop UI similar to PowerPoint.
- This provides the users with a high level of control over the user experience and can make the interface clean and intuitive.
- These apps are meant for simple and specific use-cases, such as submitting an expense report and can connect to both Microsoft (Sharepoint, SQL, etc.) and non-Microsoft (Twitter, Dropbox, etc.) data sources.
2. Model-Driven Apps
- Model-driven apps are built using the Dynamics 365 framework and can only connect to the Common Data Service as their data source.
- These applications are more suited to complex scenarios with multiple functions and utilize the Unified Interface UX.