Reinventing Business Process with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow
After months in preview, finally PowerApps and Microsoft Flow (cloud-based services) have hit “General Availability” that enables us to build custom apps and build workflows to automate our business problems and needs.
What’s more fascinating is that these new toolsets are heavily baked in modern SharePoint document libraries and lists and successors of our old tools SharePoint Designer and InfoPath that were used to create business solutions by the owners of SharePoint sites and in most cases without writing any code. You just have to google and see there are tons of articles and presentations covering these old toolset topics. Typical in-house business solutions include, purchase order, travel request, absence management, contract management and many other scenarios that interact with SharePoint as datasource.
It is very clear that the direction is set of building modern business solutions on SharePoint as well as connecting and integrating to other non Microsoft cloud services through PowerApps and Microsoft Flow technologies. Currently, any business solutions created by SharePoint Designer 2013 and Infopath 2013 are still supported until 2026 to stay aligned with SharePoint Server 2016 support lifecycle. However, no tools or paths exist yet to upgrade or migrate your old solutions based on SharePoint Designer and Infopath to new toolset, hence we have the opportunity to reinvent our business process solutions using new tools.
Unlike SharePoint Designer 2013 (free download) and Infopath 2013 Designer (Office CAL), PowerApps apps are built with PowerApps Studio (windows app) or web browser, whereas Microsoft Flow flows are built using just a web browser. Additionally, there is PowerApp mobile app (iOS) and Flow mobile app (iOS) to monitor, manage and create solutions as well as other devices too. There are tons of resources, tutorials and examples to get started and good starting point is with PowerApps Help and Microsoft Flow Help. To give you an idea of what services you can connect,you can check the available PowerApps connections and Flow services which are constantly updating.
In addition to the PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, Power BI (suite of business analytics tools to analyse data and share insights) combines the power of business application platform to build end to end applications with integrated set of services. More details can be found on business application platform innovation.
In terms of pricing, there is a stand-alone pricing, and following Office 365 plans include PowerApps and Microsoft Flow:
- Office 365 Business Essentials
- Office 365 Business Premium
- Office 365 Enterprise E1
- Office 365 Enterprise E3
- Office 365 Enterprise E5
In summary, the future of building modern business applications using PowerApps and Microsoft Flow is exciting and in the coming months I hope to share more information and examples on this topics.
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