Microsoft PowerApps and Flow are available to all

Technology sucks. It’s okay for you to agree, because we wouldn’t be in business if it didn’t. If users could improve one thing about their technology, it would undoubtedly be usability. IT consultants, service providers, and contractors have all made careers out of translating complex and confusing technobabble into accessible business solutions.

Some technology service providers might end up leveraging that complexity to nickle-and-dime small- and medium-sized businesses to death, but that’s not how we do it. To maximise profits for both your organisation and ours, we provide our clients with reliable cloud-based storage and productivity software. Microsoft’s latest offering doubles down on that by making enterprise-level technology easier to use, and more importantly, easier to customise for your individual needs.

PowerApps

Because this post is all about simplicity, PowerApps can be summed up as follows: a service for creating mobile and web applications that doesn’t require writing a single line of code.

All you want to do is design a web application that provides price quotes based on the data in your inventory database. That shouldn’t be too hard, right? You have images, price points, and a pre-written sales script, but even the thought of combining them into a single, easy-to-use webapp would send most people into fits of anxiety. Microsoft’s PowerApps make the app-creation process as straightforward as picking and choosing which data fields go where on the page.

Accessible from any web browser, you can start new projects or continue work on existing projects from anywhere with an internet connection. Webapps, or Windows apps, can be customised for phone, tablet or desktop displays after selecting your data source (e.g., OneDrive, Salesforce, SharePoint, etc.). From there, it’s no more complicated than adding, organising and customising your webapp. The whole process can be finished in as little as five minutes. Check out an example below.

Flow

Whereas PowerApps is looking to guide your customers and employees through a process, Flow is looking to eliminate as many unnecessary tasks as possible. If you want to send emails to social media followers who mention your business, Flow allows you to create an “If X, then Y” recipe to make that happen automatically. If your conditional event said, “If @mycompany name is tagged in a tweet, then send a personal message that says, ‘Thanks for the mention!’,” then you could eliminate the work required to stay engaged with social media customers.

A lot of software vendors have done their best to include this sort of functionality in their products, but bare-bones platforms such as Twitter and Slack don’t allow for much customisation. Worse yet, when an “If X” statement takes place in one app, it’s virtually impossible to make that trigger a “Then Y” follow-up in an external service or platform.

With 72 connected third-party services, Flow allows you to create conditional events to customise no-frills platforms, or to tether two disconnected applications to each other. Cliché as it may sound, the possibilities for automating your business’s day-to-day tasks are limited only by your imagination.

Availability

Since November 1st, both PowerApps and Flow come packaged along with all Dynamics 365 licenses and all Office 365 Enterprise, Business Premium, and Essentials subscribers. But based on the immense amount of operational potential PowerApps and Flow offer, and the hundreds of services they connect to, businesses shouldn’t write off the possibility of signing up for them as standalone services.

Microsoft offers packages for non-365 customers. This means that if you’re a G Suite user, you still have the opportunity to create recipes that connect your Drive storage to social media platforms, customer communications, and more.

Anything that brings you one step closer to being able to ditch your IT service provider is probably a good thing. Complicated technology may keep a roof over our heads and bring food to our tables, but there’s no way the team at Damson Cloud would prefer that technology gets worse before it gets better.


Even if it means burning the midnight oil to find new customers and clients, we prefer functional technologies over complicated ones. And that’s why we believe PowerApps and Flow are the next great things for your business. Call us today to learn about how you can begin using them at your small- or medium-sized business.