What is PowerApps

PowerApps is a SaaS (Software As A Service) that developers and non-technical users can use to build custom business apps that can be used across platforms, whether it be on a browser, mobile device or tablet. PowerApps allows you to easily create an app that extends the functionality of Dynamics 365 Finance.

In this blog post, we explore the business value of using PowerApps in conjunction with Dynamics 365 Finance.  We also get into some specifics about features in PowerApps that could concretely benefit your organization.

Benefit from using more than one data source

 

What is the Common Data Model? Common Data Model includes a set of standardized, extensible data schemas that Microsoft and its partners have published.

You can connect to your data from Dynamics 365 and the Common Data Service (CDS). The Common Data Service provides a single data model with the ability to source data from multiple systems, use related data, and permits users to view and update data in real-time. CDS allows you to securely store and manage data within a set of standard and custom entities, and you can add fields to those entities when you need them.

In other words, you can connect your app to your data no matter where it comes from. When you update data in the app, you’re also updating data from your data source. What you update and how you update them is accomplished through pre-built entities or you can customize those entities yourself.

Easily move your app from Development to Production

Data sources are brought into the app with what we call a connection. A connection uses a feature called a connector, so your app can ‘talk’ back and forth with your data source. PowerApps has connectors for data stored in D365, SQL, Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, SharePoint and third-party applications such as Dropbox.

When developing in PowerApps, your app defaults to connect to data in your current environment. If it moves to new environment, your connector can easily update to the data in the new environment. This means if you build your app in a Development environment, your connectors are updated as you move to your Test and Production environments.

Built for use on a browser, mobile or tablet device

 

Please note: Whenever you publish an app, your app will be upgraded to run on the latest version of Power Apps – which means it will get the benefit of all the latest features and performance upgrades we’ve added since you last published.

The turnaround time from the completion of development to use can be very quick. As soon as your team loads the app on their phone or tablet, they can take it wherever they go.

Once you design and publish your app, your colleagues can use it immediately. Your team can find your new app the Dynamics 365 Home page, or you can email the app URL. Because you don’t have to publish and distribute your app through Google Play, Microsoft Store, or App Store, there is next to no delay in getting started in your app’s use.

If you create an app for use with Dynamics 365, your team members can use your app on the Dynamics 365 mobile app or in a web browser on a tablet. Our best practice recommendation is that you use your app in the Dynamics 365 for phones and tables mobile app.

This benefit is especially useful for remote work or jobs that involve multiple locations.

Use your app to push notifications on your device

You can add push notifications in your app used on a mobile device. Push notifications help your team prioritize time-sensitive tasks.

From a pre-configured workflow, you can add push notifications for triggers that require immediate attention. For example, use push notifications if you need to:

  • Bring attention to a record that was just added
  • Notify the record owner to a change made to the record
  • Take an action at a pre-determined time interval

This is helpful if a record requires some processing before it reaches you for approval. Or, if you need to act on a record, as soon as the record is added or changed.

Ideas of how to use PowerApps

PowerApps sounds like a good idea, but how can you use PowerApps in a way that is helpful for your business? Here are some ideas:

  • Onboarding employees
  • Tracking inventory in real time
  • Simplify approval workflows
  • Calculate mileage expenses between multiple destinations
  • Track repair progress
  • Get customers’ approval on repair jobs.

To learn how to develop a PowerApp that can transform your manual business processes into digital, mobile-friendly, automated workflows with integration to your Dynamics environment, register for our April 30 live webinar, “Best Practices for PowerApp Development with Microsoft Dynamics.”