Get All Access for $5/mo

How Microsoft PowerApps Can Help You Build Apps and Improve Your Company's Productivity This software-as-a-service might be able to help your business get more done.

By Nathan Sinnott

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Omar Marques | Getty Images

Technology is constantly evolving and improving how we communicate and operate, and in recent years, mobility has become the main focus. With the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) practices becoming increasingly more commonplace throughout more and more businesses, time and connectivity have never been more valuable.

In 2017, Microsoft PowerApps was released to simplify the process for businesses to produce mobile and desktop apps. It is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) comprised of connectors, services, apps and data platforms designed to quickly and seamlessly build business applications according to specific business needs.

What exactly does Microsoft PowerApps do?

Essentially, Microsoft PowerApps allows businesses to create apps that convert their manual processes into automated and digital processes, which is easy to learn without the need for any prior coding experience. It also allows businesses to securely create, share and connect their apps and external data sources such as Salesforce, SharePoint and Dropbox, with anyone on any device within a matter of minutes.

Which Microsoft Office subscription is best for PowerApps?

In order to get Microsoft PowerApps, you need a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E1 or higher. However, this doesn't allow access to every feature, as PowerApps operates on two subscription plans:

  • Plan 1 subscriptions are ideal for users needing to access data stored in custom apps, cloud services, on-premises data and run canvas apps using premium connectors.
  • Plan 2 subscriptions are ideal for both administrators and users that require more advanced capabilities such as real-time workflows, custom code plug-ins and running model-driven apps.

How does it work?

Microsoft PowerApps can be accessed via desktop devices or from its mobile app on handheld devices. Creating a mobile or desktop app is made easy with its drag-and-drop user interface. Here is a four-step process you can use:

  1. Select a pre-built template and ensure it runs with your desired tablet or phone layout.
  2. Import your elected data into the app by connecting to a data source such as OneDrive, Dropbox or Salesforce.
  3. You can then quickly drag-and-drop various forms, screens and controls including camera controls, images, text fields, videos, choice fields and much more to create their desired app.
  4. Finally, click the publish and share buttons to have the app shared across the entirety of the business.

What are the features and their benefits?

Why should your business be using Microsoft PowerApps? It all depends on what your business's needs are. Are you wanting to automate workflow? Are you wanting to integrate all external and internal business data into one program?

There are many features and benefits to using Microsoft PowerApps, here are the main benefits to start taking advantage of.

  1. Superior data integration. By utilizing Microsoft's common data service (CDS), PowerApps enables your employees to access business data from over 200 various data sources such as Outlook, Salesforce, SharePoint, Dropbox, Dynamics 365, OneDrive, PowerPoint, Excel, Twitter and many more. This allows staff to easily access and share business data on the go no matter their location.
  2. Boosted staff productivity. PowerApps lets businesses create desktop and mobile apps designed for their specific functions and needs. This can include self-service apps such as onboarding employees and managing payroll information, recording client information and processing approvals and requests. That way, staff can do smaller, mundane tasks quickly from their phone rather than setting aside time to catch up throughout their week.
  3. Control, security and compliance. Microsoft PowerApps gives businesses complete control via its admin center. This is where businesses can see all their listed apps and administer data policies, permissions and user control options. Businesses benefit from full security, as every app created in PowerApps automatically links to Microsoft's active directory domain service (ADDS), which authenticates, authorizes and enforces security policies for all devices and users. Because all apps are built on Microsoft's CDS, every app is also automatically General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.
  4. Automated processes and functions. Businesses can automate their functions and processes without the need for manual input. For example, they can send important information, news and updates to staff and clients on their phones with push notifications, as seen on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. PowerApps also allows for increased functionality such as reporting and resolving issues, even when management is not in the office.
Nathan Sinnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder & CEO of Newpath Web

Nathan Sinnott is a tech geek and entrepreneur. He's the CEO of full-service digital agency newpathweb.com and investor in a handful of other businesses and startups. He loves scuba diving, surfing and volunteering for an Australian wildlife foundation, rescuing injured native wildlife.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.

Business News

Serena Williams Once Tried to Deposit a $1 Million Check at an ATM Drive-Thru: 'I Never Played for Money'

The tennis legend recently appeared on an episode of "Hot Ones" with Sean Evans.

Business News

Wells Fargo Analysts Tested 75 Bowls at Chipotle — and the Portion Sizes Were Wildly Inconsistent

Zachary Fadem and a team of analysts ordered the same bowl 75 times at eight different NYC restaurants.

Business News

Mark Zuckerberg Says an Upcoming Meta Product Left Testers 'Giddy'

Meta is almost ready to show this gadget to the public.

Business News

Over 10 Billion Passwords Have Been Exposed in the Largest Password Hack in History

The data is thought to have been collected over the past two decades.