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Microsoft Power Apps is a component of the Power Platform, which enables business users to automate and build applications that improve business processes with no code or very little code. Power Apps differs from classic software development in regards to app lifecycles and how users or developers interact with them.
For a business analyst, chief financial officer or sales representative, building a fully functional app to solve business challenges is appealing, as many modern organizations prefer to solve challenges internally. If users can build mobile or desktop apps with Power Apps within minutes, they can quickly address common gaps in data collection from end users, customers or other entities that may have relied on emails or Excel files. Non-technology organizations can use Power Apps' non-developer resources to transform users into app designers.
Explore the top seven benefits of Microsoft Power Apps below.
1. Speed of app creation
Power Apps accelerates app creation. Users have three ways to build apps with Power Apps, which are the following:
- Use an existing SharePoint Online list or other data sources to generate apps.
- Use a blank canvas in the Power Apps designer.
- Use existing templates in the Power Apps Portal.
2. Low-code and no-code
The Power Apps web interface offers toolboxes that enable the design and development of the app's form through the GUI, so apps do not always need to have code. The designer interface offers capabilities to adjust screen layouts and add and remove fields.
3. Microsoft and other third-party service integrations
Power Apps can connect to different data sources and online services with few development requirements. Some integrations include Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and third-party services such as Salesforce, Adobe and Dropbox.
4. Business process automation
As part of the Power Platform, Power Apps can access Power Automate -- formerly Microsoft Flow -- which enables organizations to automate several activities, including notifications, approvals, documents or record routing. Power Apps can trigger Power Automate's workflow engine to enable developers and business users to add automation functionality based on end-user behavior or data changes.
5. Low cost of app ownership
App development and deployment have several associated costs, including licensing of components and developers. With Power Apps, a low-code or no-code platform, development costs are much lower.
From a licensing perspective, all Microsoft 365 subscribers can access Power Apps services but are limited to non-premium connectors that connect to most Microsoft Online services. If the organization wants additional premium connectors, the following two paid plans are available:
- Per-app plan: $10 per user monthly for individual app access
- Per-user plan: $40 per user monthly for unlimited apps
Microsoft announced in July it will change these plans on Oct. 1 due to customer feedback. Both plans will decrease by 50% -- the $10 to $5, and the $40 to $20.
6. AI capabilities
As many organizations want to incorporate AI capabilities in their apps, Power Apps enables developers to add intelligence to business apps with its AI Builder feature. This eliminates the need for data scientists and advanced AI developers to build different models. Power Apps' AI capabilities offer several options that users can embed into the apps to increase productivity.
Power Apps offers the following AI capabilities:
- business card readers with automated data capture from images using optical character recognition
- category classification
- identity document reader
- invoice processing
- key phrase extraction
- language detection
- receipt processing
- sentiment analysis
- text recognition and translation
- interactive bots
7. Cross-platform access and ease of deployment
Users who develop mobile apps outside of Power Apps must undergo Apple or Google's review before they can roll the apps out to those catalogs or stores. Power Apps enables companies to build and quickly deploy apps to their designated catalog from the main platform. Users can share and access any app developed within Power Apps from a tablet, web interface or mobile device. This eliminates unnecessary complexity seen with traditional app development.