Microsoft 365 is a set of cloud-based tools and functionality that is constantly expanding. PowerApps and Flow are two of the tools available in M365 that allow companies to drastically improve business processes in a fraction of the time it would take for custom development and at a potentially lower cost than third-party services. For those unique situations where a business needs to connect to a custom API with PowerApps or Flow, a developer can create a custom connection that can be leveraged in M365.
PowerApps is a tool that enables the rapid development of custom applications that will leverage data from a wide variety of sources including SharePoint lists, SQL Server, Dynamics 365 and 200+ more services. The PowerApps authoring tool features a drag and drop interface as well as an Excel-like formula language for manipulating data and objects. PowerApps can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets and browsers. Microsoft has created a PowerApps player that can be downloaded by Android and iOS devices as well as to the desktop.
Additionally, PowerApps are published to the cloud and can be opened through Dynamics 365. One key benefit to this framework is that you only have to create a single app and it is instantly usable by any device without having to publish to the Android store or go through the approval process with iOS. That is a HUGE time saver!
In the past if you wanted to create a workflow for SharePoint, it had to be developed in either SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio. These workflows were strongly coupled with SharePoint. Often, a third party tool would be required for advanced workflows and workflows that leveraged data or processes outside of SharePoint. While SharePoint Designer will continue to be an option in the near future, Flow offers much more versatility. Flow is not coupled to SharePoint but a cloud service that can connect to many data sources and be triggered by a wide variety of events. This allows for much more complex workflows in M365. These features set Flow up to be an Enterprise Workflow option instead of having to bring in a third party tool. There are several out of the box Flows to boost productivity in the work place and automate work tasks and more while on the go.
As Microsoft focuses more on cloud-based services, PowerApps and Flow will continue to improve on functionality. New connections to data sources, additional controls for PowerApps, and more actions for Flow are added on a consistent basis. The M365 Community is very active and new suggestions for improving PowerApps and Flow are always valued by the Microsoft teams that work on those services.
Pivotal Consulting is partnering closely with Microsoft to leverage all of the features in M365 to develop best of breed solutions for our clients. To hear more or schedule a consultation Contact Us!
PowerApps and Flow are important additions to the Microsoft Cloud stack and will rapidly become the go-to tools for building business applications and managing data. For detailed information on PowerApps visit the Microsoft PowerApps site. For information on Flow, check out the Microsoft Flow portal.
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