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PowerApps Checklist: 10 Things you need to know

As you are getting ready to build your first PowerApp? Here is a list of what you should know before you begin:

  1. Do you know your data source?

    • This is an important question, and you guessed it, because of licensing… but I will get to that at a later point. PowerApps has nearly 300 connectors, which can be found here. A decision needs to be made on where you would like to store your data. Common storage locations are SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Excel and Common Data Service (CDS)(Link to blog about what CDS is).
    • Your data source could also determine what type of app you can build. With the Common Data Service, you can build model driven apps which are designed around business functions and business processes.
  2. Do you need a custom connector?

    • If you do not see your data source in this list of connectors, you may need to build your own custom connector. With a custom connector, you will be able to bring data into your PowerApp just like the out of the box connectors.
  3. What license is needed?

    • Depending on what connector you need for your data, you can use PowerApps for O365, P1, P2, or Dynamics 365 licenses.
      • If you have O365, you will be able to use PowerApps at no additional cost if your connector is on the list of free connections. Some of these include: SharePoint, Excel, and OneDrive.
      • If you are an end user that needs to connect to a premium data source, such as Common Data Service, you will need a P1 License.
      • If you are an app builder that needs to connect to a premium data source, such as Common Data Service, you will need a P2 License.
      • If you are already using Dynamics 365, you will inherently have a full PowerApps license for no additional cost.
  4. On what device will users be accessing the app?

    • The decision here is an important one for usability. If most of your users are out in the field and will be using the app on their cell phone, you should build the app in “portrait” mode. If users will be accessing on their desktops, you should build the app in “landscape” mode.
  5. Do you need any workflows?

    • Flow is the preferred choice for running any workflows based upon data in PowerApps, and O365 in general. Make sure to document these workflows as part of the beginning stages of any project. With Flow, you will have access to the same connectors used in your PowerApps,plus handy connectors like Approvals, which are easy ways of generating email approval workflows.
  6. Do you need custom branding? Or can you get away with an out-of-the-box theme?

    • When you create PowerApps, you are easily able to switch between the out of the box themes that are made available from Microsoft. But sometimes, they might not fit the branding you are looking for. Currently, you are not able to make a custom PowerApps theme. If you will need a lot of custom branding for your PowerApp – you may need to budget more time for the creation of your app.
  7. Do you need to report on your data?

    • If you need to report on your data, the best place to do so would be in PowerBI. You can create powerful visuals based on the same connections that you have used to create your app. So no matter whether the data is in SharePoint, CDS, Dynamics, Excel, or any 3rd party connectors, you can get powerful insights.
  8. Who will manage the PowerApp?

    • A very important question. When change requests inevitably happen, who takes ownership of those changes? Is it IT or a power user within the team? PowerApps is designed for power users to be able to handle much of the workload, but it is still a great idea to have an IT member or external consultant with more expertise on call.
  9. Who will train end users?

    • The great thing about PowerApps, is that they can be designed in a way that is intuitive to users. Of course there will still need to be some training. Outlining who should be conducting the training is crucial so that users don’t get left behind. Poor user training generally leads to weak user adoption.
  10. Get familiar with the PowerApps roadmap

    • This is important to check every so often due to the steady rollout of new features coming from the PowerApps team. By checking the roadmap here, you can see the new features coming down the line that might solve the need you are looking for, or provide a more usable feature for your end users.

 

PowerApps Checklist

About the Author:

As an Aerie Consulting Solution Engineer and Microsoft Certified Solution Expert in Business Applications, Bernie has a passion for understanding client needs and finding ways to simplify and enhance their work.  What Bernie loves most about Office 365 is how it streamlines processes for businesses of all sizes. While every organization is unique, they all have the same need to get more done in less time. Dynamics 365 and PowerApps are the solutions to do that.

Reference: 

Thibeault, B (2018). PowerApps Checklist: 10 Things you need to know. Available at: https://www.aerieconsulting.com/blog/powerapps-checklist-10-things-you-need-to-know [Accessed 26 September 2018]

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