Microsoft Power Apps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for the business needs. Using Power Apps, the users can customize business apps that connect to the business data stored either in the underlying data platform (Common Data Service) or in various online and on-premises data sources (SharePoint, Excel, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, SQL Server, and so on).  PowerApps also integrates with Microsoft Flow, is a tool for businesses to use in order to automate messaging and data-sharing between Microsoft and third-party business apps such as OneDrive and Salesforce, MailChimp, Office 365 and SharePoint.

Objectives of Power Apps

The PowerApps will allow individual users to run applications for a specific business scenario, while the Flow per business process plan will enable critical business processes to be implemented with capacity that serves teams, departments or the entire organization. Both seek to make it easier for organizations to get started and scale as their unique needs grow over time; whether its implementing one scenario or a single business process, without having to purchase unlimited premium plans for all their users.

Apps built using Power Apps provide progressive business logic and workflow capabilities to transform the manual business processes to digital automated processes. Power Apps “democratizes” the custom business app building experience by enabling users to build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code. Power Apps also provides an extensible platform that lets pro-developers to interact with data and metadata, apply business logic, create custom connectors, and integrate with external data. Further, apps built using Power Apps have a responsive design, and can run seamlessly in browser or on mobile devices (phone or tablet). The objective of PowerApps is to enable business users to build new capabilities via apps, without requiring that they have code expertise. PowerApps allows you to create Mobile Apps that run on Android, iOS, Windows (Modern Apps) – and with almost any Internet browser. PowerApps is also a mobile app! It is essentially a container that makes mobile apps much easier to use across mobile platforms.

In PowerApps, data is stored in a data source, and the user can bring data into the app by creating a connection. The connection uses a specific connector to talk to the data source. So, if you choose to use a cloud storage connector as the data source, then the data is stored in cloud. To start creating, install PowerApps Studio for Windows. The user will be able to connect to data sources and start composing apps in a visual designer that doesn’t require code. A great way to get started is to generate an app from the basic business data.

Power Apps and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Power Apps/Power Automate capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central enable users to extend and customize the Office experience. Users can create applications and flows based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central data. These productivity apps can also utilize data outside of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central by connecting to common services including Box.com, Facebook, and many more via the use of standard connectors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central applications, such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing also use the underlying data platform (also known as Common Data Service) used by Power Apps to store and secure data. This enables the user to build apps using Power Apps and Common Data Service directly against the core business data already used within Microsoft Dynamics 365 business central without the need for integration.

Collecting Data for Power Apps

Common Data Service let the users to securely store and manage data that’s used by business applications. Data within Common Data Service is stored within a set of entities. An entity is a set of records used to store data, like how a table stores data within a database. Common Data Service includes a base set of standard entities that cover typical scenarios, but the user can also create custom entities specific to the organization and populate them with data using Power Query. App makers can then use Power Apps to build rich applications using this data. The standard and custom entities within Common Data Service provide a secure and cloud-based storage option for the business data. Entities let users to create a business-focused definition of your organization’s data for use within apps. Common Data Service has a rich security model to protect the data integrity and privacy of users while promoting efficient data access and collaboration. The user can combine business units, role-based security, record-based security, and field-based security to define the overall access to information that users have in a Common Data Service environment.

Building an app typically involves data from more than one source; while this can sometimes be done at the application level, there are also cases where integrating this data together into a common store allows for an easier app building experience, and a single set of logic to maintain and operate over the data. Common Data Service allows data to be integrated from multiple sources into a single store which can then be used in Microsoft ecosystem like Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents along with data already available from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central applications.  Here are some of the advantages of common data service mobility usage in Power Apps from various Microsoft ecosystem.

  • Scheduled integration with other systems: Data which is kept within an application can be regularly synchronized with the Common Data Service to allow you to leverage other applications data in Power Apps.
  • Transform and import data using PowerQuery: Transforming data when importing into the Common Data Service can be done through PowerQuery from many online data sources, a common tool used across Excel and Power BI.
  • One time import of data: Simple import and export of Excel and CSV files can be used for a one time or infrequent import of data into the Common Data Service.
  • Business rules validate data across multiple fields and entities and provide warning and error messages, regardless of the app used to create the data. Business logic with code supports advanced developer scenarios to extend the application directly through code.
  • Business process flows guide the users to ensure they enter data consistently and follow the same steps every time. Business process flows that are supported for Model driven apps. Workflows allow the user to automate business processes without user interaction.

Advantages of using Power Apps in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Following are the benefits of Collecting Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Data through Common Data Service:

  • Easy to manage both the metadata and data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central which are stored in the cloud. Businesses don’t need to worry about the details of how they are stored.
  • Wide array of user interface (UI) options and templates with easy to secure business data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central which can be securely stored so that users can see it only if granted access. Role-based security allows the user to control access to entities for different users within the organization.
  • Access the business date from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business central application, which is stored within the Common Data Service allowing the user to quickly build apps using Power Apps.
  • Data types and relationships of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are leveraged directly within Power Apps.
  • Logic and validation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central through define calculated fields, business rules, workflows, and business process flow to ensure data quality and drive business processes.
  • Productivity tools used in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are available within the add-ins for Microsoft Excel to increase productivity and ensure data accessibility.
  • Build Apps against the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Data quickly against the business data within Power Apps or using the Pro Developer SDK.
  • Powerful mobile functionality and manage reusable Business logic and rules already defined in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central entities are applied to the Power Apps to ensure data consistency regardless of how the users are accessing the data or through which app.
  • Extensive number of integrations through reusable skills across Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power Apps:  Users with skills previously used in Power Apps or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can now leverage those skills across the Common Data Service platform, creating entities, forms, charts, etc. are now common across various applications.

Power App pricing

New and renewing customers will have the flexibility to choose PowerApps per app or per user plans.  PowerApps users will be able to run any flow that is triggered directly from an app, or from the data that app updates. Here are some of the pricing details:

  1. PowerApps per app plan: Allow individual users to run applications for a specific business scenario based on the full capabilities of PowerApps. Pricing will be $10 user/app/month.
  2. PowerApps per user plan: This shall equip individual users to run an unlimited number of apps, without any feature restrictions. This takes the place of existing P1 and P2 plans and will be $40 /user / month.
  3. External users (authenticated) plan:  $200 for 100 logins/month.
  4. External users (anonymous) plan: $100 for 100,000 web page views/month.
  5. Flow per user plan: This shall equip individual users to create unlimited workflows and business processes based on their requirements. This means the existing Flow P1 and P2 plans will collapse into a single simplified per user plan. Pricing will be $15 user/month.
  6. Flow per business process plan: This shall work critical business processes with capacity that serves teams, departments or the entire organization, for an unlimited number of users. Pricing will be $500 business process/month for up to 5 active workflows.

SIROCo Support:

SIROCo is one of the most accomplished leaders in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central implementation through extensive support for attaining optimum business threshold. Microsoft PowerApps is a business App development platform across all situations; whether it is the data-modeling tool, the UI designer, or maximizing reusability with its long list of entities and growing selection of templates, the low-code concepts. We work with Microsoft PowerApps to create best suited Apps for your business needs. For business users who are lacking Excel proficiency and expertise in working with data modeling; we are the excellent end point IT support with an open heart to customization as per the user needs.