PowerApps is a solution from Microsoft that allows non-developers to quickly and easily create custom apps. Since its launch just over five years ago, Microsoft have continued to develop its Power Platform – which includes PowerApps, along with Power Automate and Power BI.
These solutions have been built to help people and organisations get more value and insights from their data using ‘no-code low-code’ methods to open up the possibilities to less technical users. PowerApps ties closely with other core Microsoft services, such as Dynamics 365, Azure and Microsoft 365, but also connects to third-party services, such as Salesforce, Twitter and many more.
The benefits of using PowerApps includes reducing costs to develop apps, improving employee productivity and strong return on investment. According to Forrester Consulting “the average cost to develop an application is 74% less with PowerApps”. Now, its worth being aware that is a limitation to the capabilities of PowerApps and more complex or sophisticated apps will require custom development, however PowerApps opens up many new possibilities to users to create apps that deliver fast value.
There are two types of PowerApps that can be created: Canvas apps and Model-driven apps. Canvas apps are the true ‘low code’ apps, that focus more on presenting visual data in an easy to consume way intended for mobile devices, while model-driven apps are data-led and do require more technical know-how (Dynamics 365 is a model-driven app). For these examples, we are using Canvas apps with the intention that more people can easily create and experiment with these apps.
When you first go to create a PowerApp you can either create one from blank, or you can use some pre-built examples. These are a great way to introduce the concept of PowerApps, explore the capabilities and find inspiration.
We’ve listed a mix of app examples to inspire you of what is possible with PowerApps – some of these are available as pre-built templates within PowerApps.
Employee onboarding – Simplify staff onboarding with an application to manage the process. With onboarding checklists and tasks and signposting to useful welcome resources, this can help make the onboarding process much smoother and easier to manage for a better experience.
Health & Safety training – Centralise signposting to health and safety training videos, include exercises and track participation so that you can keep a register of who has taken the training and has yet to complete. This could be integrated with Power Automate to email those that haven’t yet completed the training to send regular reminders and reduce manual admin tasks.
Expense management – Let staff submit expenses online and build in approval processes, to make it easy for employees to manage their expenses through an app. Use camera functionality to take away paper-based expense management and improve the process efficiency.
Leave requests – Allow staff to easily request and track their holiday, give managers an approval process and have the option to open up calendar visibility to departments or teams to better track who is on annual leave.
Meeting room booking – Easily book meeting rooms and see which rooms are available or in use to better manage room bookings. This could be extended to be desk booking if your organisation operates hot desking, or other booking systems, such as company van/car bookings or equipment booking.
Visitor/Employee check-in – An app where visitors can check into your offices, capturing key details such as name, car registration and person visiting. You could connect this with Power Automate to automatically email the person they are visiting to let them know their visitor has arrived. Alternatively, this could be used for employee check-in if tracking staff for Health & Safety purposes.
Inventory/Asset management – Keep a clear view of inventory figures and track stock intake and requests to help with asset management and auditing.
Hardware requests – Give staff a simple way to track and manage hardware requests, whether to replace old kit, request new items or for new starters. This could have an approval process built-in and even list different available hardware based on team requirements, so that staff only see the options that are available to them.
Staff recognition – Create a simple app where employees can give staff recognition and shout-outs and give visibility company-wide, helping to build employee engagement.
Creating simple PowerApps can greatly improve productivity and help save valuable time on manual or disjointed tasks. Why not start with an example app that is pre-built to start getting a feel for what’s possible? There are plenty of free training and resources from Microsoft Learn. If you have any questions around Power Apps or the wider Microsoft stack, please get in touch.