Microsoft Power Platform | Power Apps (Video)

In this recorded webinar, we discuss Power Apps. This below video offers a chance to learn about Power Apps and get a general overview of Power Apps capabilities.

Discover the type of apps you’re able to build, learn about the data points you’re able to connect and see Power Apps being used on a mobile device.

*Note: this content is not focused on the development side of Power Apps.

Webinar Transcript:

Ziad: Hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are around the world, and welcome to our “Power Platform” webinar today on Power Apps. I hope everybody’s staying safe and healthy in whatever is going on. And today we will be discussing like we’ve discussed already previously around Power BI and Power Automate. Now, the final component of Power Platform being Power Apps.

So today’s agenda entails, basically, we’re going to be able to go through a few slides here to set a little bit of expectation around what Power Apps can do for you, and then dive into a demo real quick and see if we can actually create, or, at least, you know, start creating a Power App, okay?

So, to begin, 70% of organizations believe that their data is not used to their fullest extent. What that means is that people have data, companies and organizations have collected data over time, and now the question is, “Well, that’s great, we’ve got all this information, all this data that’s lying around, what do we do with this? And how can we make it meaningful? How can we make it drive some strategic values, or growth, or other initiatives that we want to, kind of, have? So we’re not focused on now, mining that data, but rather, analyzing it and getting, you know, useful content out of that.” Whereas a couple of years ago, the struggle was really that, “We don’t really have a lot of data. We can’t say for certain any of these changes.” Whereas, now it’s quite the opposite, so it’s progressed forward. And organizations find it fairly hard to do that because the culture isn’t developed yet, and so, you know, as well as within those cultures, the tools and applications are provided for employees or members in the organization to be able to do that. So the idea here is, culture obviously matters, right?

So 70% of transformations are actually failing because of cultural related issues. We realize that knowledge workers and, you know, people who have had historic experience find it fairly difficult to measure, you know, how that culture has been transformed and/or what kind of behavioral changes need to be put in place, right? And so, you’ve got skilled workers, you’ve got people that have the knowledge, you’ve got, you know, the mindset for it, and now, you need some tools that can help you grow in the economy that we’re living in as well as in many of the other categories even when, you know, economy is fairly stagnant, right? And, of course, we recognize that there are companies out there that are taking that data, 86%, challenged, analyzed, unstructured data. How do we use tools to be able to take that and make it meaningful? So the missing link isn’t data, it’s how do we use tools to act as a catalyst to drive successful transformation and a culture towards innovation? That’s the long story short, I guess.

So Power Platform, like I mentioned, has three specific categories. We’ve done webinars and events around Power BI and Power Automate already. And so, you know, feel free to take a look at those on our website as well. And today, Power Apps and how we can connect data sources and things like that. So within the Microsoft family, though there’s a lot of changes that keep happening, the change is always towards a positive direction. Meaning, all the data sources, everything is acting seamlessly with one another. There’s connections between all the different applications, you know, we’ve got a common data server, and so on, and so forth. You can extract data from multiple sources to be able to make it work for you, right? And so, what’s the benefit of having, then, Power Apps, which is a low code app development product to help you gain that?

Well, number one is efficiency, right? So the ability for you to utilize the multiple systems that you have and translate that into a system that can then, you know, be interactive with you to be able to give you the data, whether it be through AI or other technologies that are embedded, is fantastic, all right? The ability for you to save time, money, you know, resources, and all the effort that used to take place in developing those applications which can now literally be done in minutes if set up correctly, right?

It’s estimated that 65% of app development will actually be, you know, low code by 2024. And that’s not too far away from now. And if you think about that stat, it’s actually pretty phenomenal, whereas, right now we’re not there yet, but Microsoft and Encore as a gold partner are definitely heading towards that innovative direction.

So, traditionally, this is what’s happened, we’ve got the IT department which is very, very expert in security, governance, let’s say compliance, all of those different resources, and from a technology standpoint are fairly integrated, and products can become scalable. Then you’ve got the business which has got, you know, a wealth of expert knowledge and, you know, the ability to solve problems that really have, you know, a critical, you know, strategy behind it, and so on, and so forth. Power Apps and Power Platform, kind of, combines the two together to take those ideas and put it into something that we can apply, right? And if you think about, you know, you don’t really need any experience in terms of coding, you don’t need to learn a new language, you may not even need to know any IT background whatsoever to be able to develop that, that idea is phenomenal.

So how do we take the advantage of this, right? So, you know, 37% of the organizations are still using paper to manage their business processes, very, very manual processes, right? Whereas, you know, a good, you know, 60%, 63% are becoming paperless and going online, going to the cloud, and using those resources, right? So if you fall into one of those categories, there is a better way to do things. Sixty five percent of the organizations report that there is app development backlogs. So there needs to be something more efficient, right, where you can have professional developers already embrace, you know, let’s say, a low code application development and automate some of those repetitive aspects of DevOps, and within that life cycle, right? And so, it’s estimated that 500 million applications will be developed in the next five years. So the potential here is significant, it’s growth, but as well, the return on investment is fairly large as well. So on a three-year term, a 362% return on investment based on less application development, cost of effort that’s put in, that’s pretty great, okay?

So how does this low code stuff work? Well, a lot of the products that are out there are off the shelf. So you might’ve heard the term, you know, “There is an app for that,” and if you don’t think there is, there probably is or can be. As well as some of those processes can be solved if not by off-the-shelf products of applications that are out there, by specific custom-based apps that are dependent on the data that you’ve inputted, or applications that are specific to your organization, and process, and business. So the ability to do both of those off-the-shelf type products, custom applications, is great, and within power apps, there is this idea of having canvas apps as well as apps that are model oriented or driven through other prebuilt applications that you can also utilize here, okay?

Within the industries, there’s a lot of people who will say, “Well, you know, it’s great for this industry, but it doesn’t work for this industry or this business.” You know, these are all the industries that have clients currently within Encore and Microsoft who are using, you know, technology like Power Apps to be able to disrupt their business, right, and to be able to transform their business. And with everything that’s going on right now, it’s almost, you know, crucial to be able to spend time proactively either investing or being educated across these products. Organizations are using these Power Apps to optimize their processes, drive efficiencies within their organizations, as well as, from a, you know, perspective of all the different types of use of Power Apps can be specific for whether it’s nonprofit, or education, or finance, businesses, healthcare, so on, and so forth. So, really, I don’t like to say this a lot, but the sky is really the limit, right? So it’s great for organizations, great for all sorts of makers whether you’re in IT or you have absolutely no idea what IT or app development is, as well as for innovation, all right? In general, to be able to leverage, you know, common data servers to be able to build, you know, using AI technologies, and so on, and so forth.

So a recap, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, use data between all sorts of, you know, connectors through common data server or other data that you may have, whether it be just Excel spreadsheets that you can use as well. It’s basically utilized throughout all sorts of applications such as Dynamics, you know, whether it’s sales/marketing, you know, business central, or ERP systems, Office 365. It’s really built in and fully managed through the common data service, right? So your applications can be generated, you know, and you don’t need, you know, legacy systems or things like that to be able to do that. You can also build Power BI or Power Automate formerly known as Flow. And all of this, kind of, works seamlessly together, right? So that’s the idea around this. I’ve got a short video, I’m not sure if the audio will show but the captions should be enough based on an organization that has incorporated Power Apps and the entire Power Platform into their business. So I’m going to attempt to this right now, and then, we’ll go right into the demo in about two minutes. So take a look at this.

Woman: Traditionally, mobile software development is pricey and lengthy, and requires a very specific set of skills. It’s just never been this easy and this quick to create applications.

Instructor: Perfect. So let’s dive now into our demo for today. Here we are. So if you log into your Office account, I’m just going to do this online. So portal.office.com or office.com should be able to access all the applications that you have within that license, and other then, if you’ve got the proper license, you should have the ability to build Power Apps. So I’m just going to click that, literally open some of them here. And within this particular application, you could see a whole bunch of different tabs here. So within the home tabs, you’ve got, you know, how can you connect data, you’ve got SharePoint, you can, you know, have Excel data, you can SQL Server, Common Data Service, so on, and so forth, as well as other data that you can actually use to build Power Apps, right, and build applications that can help you [inaudible 00:13:25]. I don’t have any connections to any of those data right now, but if you did or could, it would show up here.

So you know, you could use the Excel files, so on, so forth. Then, within this tab, it actually gives you quick clicks to be able to create applications right away, right, through here. So you can create an app from a blank canvas, basically, or a canvas app from a blank sheet as well as Model-driven apps as well, or other apps as well that come from portals of prebuilt apps. You can see some other apps that you’ve already created and use some of that learning as well.

Now that’s just within your home, let’s say your main page. Of course, if you dive deep into some of these areas, for example, then you can learn some quick guides and stuff that Microsoft has shared to how you can, kind of, create applications. You can take a look at all the apps that you have, create new apps from here, as well as import other apps that you’ve created. You can see a Microsoft Dynamics 365 icon that’s here as well. You can capture data and build applications that have been customed to your environment within Dynamics as well as the ability for you to create apps in the next app same way as I showed you in the first home tab, as well as if there were any other templates. So you’ve got other templated apps per se within here as well. They’ll help you do some quick tasks as well. So whether it be, you know, Power Apps training for Office, you’ve got some of that stuff here, a Service Desk, a Leave Request. These are some really, you know, easy, quick button applications that you can, you know, create to be able to run apps with, basically, no code involved, just being able to connect data.

So, for example, if I wanted to open, you know, this particular application or this app that will actually help me do estimations and things like that, I can create that app and it would basically run all the integrations before that, speak that language, and now that app would be basically ready and created for me to connect data too, right?

For that particular reason, I don’t have that data at this time so I probably wouldn’t be able to create that entirely, but we could get down to connecting other datas and having entities within that data if we’ve got solutions that are prebuilt that we can put into here, they’re called multiple different solutions, you know, export from data lakes and things like that, have custom connectors, and so on, and so forth. You can also link your Power applications through any Flows that you may have created or can create so that there’s an automated/automatic, kind of, application that takes place once, let’s say someone clicks a particular product, maybe they get, you know, some information from it, or so on, and so forth. I’ve created a couple Flows here, but you can link these Flows again to your applications. And then, of course, using the AI builder, if you connect data bases and give permissions to be able to do those, you can actually create that. And this is where all your solutions, once they’re created, and managed, and connected, this is where your solution environment would be. And you can actually create different solutions within here and manage them.

So let’s dive into creating an app, and let’s create an app, basically, from scratch. So let’s do a canvas app. Now, in this case, you can call, you know, this app anything you’d like. So, you know, in this case, I’m going to create an app where if you were to go onto this application, you can basically order devices or manage your products. Let’s say we wanted to get hardware, or computers, or things like that. So let’s call it Encores Device Management App, okay? You could have it so it’s formatted whether it be on a tablet, or a laptop, or a phone, and, by the way, these are cross-platform experiences, so you can have it on multiple things. In this particular case, I want to stick to keeping the formatting so that it could fit a tablet, okay? And we go Create, and that basically launches a main screen where you can actually create now an add on to the application as well. This is the other one, just loading.

And then, this is basically setting up all of the backend stuff that you would need for that app. It gives you a clear canvas. Like now, you can interact with this application, you know, rename the entire app, and so on, and so forth. As you will notice, I’m going to skip this for now, but, basically, we could, you know, grab stuff from, you know, galleries, or forms, and the other interactive things that I’ve already built for, but let’s skip this for now. And now you’re in your, basically, your Power apps, you know, area.

So a couple things to, kind of, go through here. Right here’s where you can fill what kind of color you’d like. So if I want, for example, a fill or something like that. This is where you can add functions. This is very similar to how Excel functions work, so you don’t need to know anything more than Excel to be able to do that, and I’m going to show you a couple of those here as well. This gives you a Tree view. So, like you can see here, this gives you all the Tree view for your different screens. I could duplicate a screen once I’ve developed it, I can add more screens to it so they can go to, let’s say your home tab, then they can go on other computers, and laptops, or cell phones, so on, and so forth. And, of course, if I wanted to connect other data sources, that’s where I would do it from as well.

I can also insert certain things on my canvas, which we will get to as well. But let’s start by, you know, renaming this screen. And let’s call this screen, you know, let’s just call this Device Management, right? And so, we’ve renamed the screen, or we can call it, you know, our main screen, so on, and so forth, you could call it whichever way you’d like. If this is, perhaps, your home, right, so we can call this the Home screen.

Now from here, you can actually insert certain things on it, for example, like I mentioned, if you click this plus sign, I can insert a text label and this will give me… And I can either drag it on or just click it similar to what I did. And you’ll see a text box, kind of, open up as well as, things that you can change within that, whether it’d be the text, the font style, right, position on thing, color, so on, so forth. And you could change that text from within the function here or if you double click the text box, it will actually change that here as well. And, of course, you can zoom in or out to be able to see the content as well. But let’s change this text box and, you know, we can call it, you know, our app. So this was our Device Ordering app, I think. Application, right? So we’ll just call it that, and, you know, put that on there, and that’s it. So now you’ve got the text here, right?

Now, for this text, we want them, perhaps, you know, customize it or change the position of it. Maybe, we want this to, kind of, go all throughout the top banner here so we can actually, you know, using these features, do that. As well as, if you go down here to position, you can change the position so that it’s, you know, flat against the top here, and then just drag that across, okay? Of course, there’s other things that you can do to this as well, for example, add some color, let’s say, right, or, you know, change the font, etc, etc. You can have a fill added behind it, right? So I don’t know what I want. Probably not a good color, that’s horrible, let’s just stick to white, right? Other background images that you may want to have, so on and so forth, within that screen, right?

So let’s go back into this text here, and now I want to, perhaps, you know, and you can do all sorts of different things here, center it, right? It all belongs, similar to how you would do with any Microsoft product, really, and you’ve got, you know, just the heading within that title. Now, this can also be, for example, a button or things like that that you can create where if they were to click this, it would actually link them to another, kind of, page as well, okay? And so, if I wanted to change the fill to something else you, you know, you can, kind of, do that here. I really don’t want to, but there we go, right? So there we go, we’ve got, you know, a nice banner that’s up there as well now.

Additionally, you can add, let’s say another text just by, you know, dragging it on, like I mentioned, right? So you can add that and let’s say we want them to, maybe, you want this particular thing to greet me every time I come online, so you can give it a function. So let’s say we go to text, and the text that I want here that I want them to do is, maybe, you know, say, you know, whoever logs in, let’s say they’ve got access to log into this application, I want it to greet him or her, and so on, and so forth. So in this case, I’m just the administrator so it’s just going to greet me. And this function here, “Hello,” and then, so on. So user will, basically, depending on which user logs in, their name will be populated here, right? So it will say like, “Hello, Ziad” or “Hello, so on, so forth,” depending on how you’d like to do it. So let’s, you know, bold that, change, maybe, some of the font, let’s stick to keeping it purple. And again, you can move this, so on, and so forth, like that with all the formatting that’s there. So now you know you’re in the right place, you can, you know, change the alignment and things like that.

Now, of course, as this application gets developed, you don’t want to lose any of the data, you want to make sure that all the things that you’ve created actually work. And so, you can go into this app checker, and if I click on that and I say, “Okay, recheck all my formulas that I’ve put in.” Again, I haven’t put many formulas, but any formulas that I’ve put in or things like that, you can actually get those checked up, and it’ll tell you if there’s any mistakes or things like that that you should look out for.

Additionally, within the application, you can go into the file settings here. And if you go into settings, you can change the logo of your application, you know, to whatever you’d like. And you can, of course, browse and upload your own logos as well, you know, on top of that, and, of course, change any of the colors or things of these icons that you’d like to, kind of, utilize to help, add a description, change your names again.

If you want to change orientation of this, so right now it’s a landscape, if you want a portrait that, maybe it’s good for better settings this way. I like to keep it landscape. Again, you can have different widescreen and custom size orientations and things like that as well. And, of course, we’re going to go to advanced settings, similar to how you would have, you can turn on and off multiple different functions within the application as well to be able to support you as well.

Within here, like I mentioned, go Connections. You can Save it or Save as, as well as Share this particular application with other users so that you can collaboratively work within the application. Then, of course, you may want to restrict some of that as well, and that can also be done on the backend, right?

So we’ll leave the size and orientation. Like I mentioned, we’ll leave, you know, if you wanted to save the application, let’s say, so we save it so it’s not lost, we can go File, Save, and then it’ll ask you, “Well, where do you want to save it?” Okay, I want to save it to this computer or the cloud, let’s just save it to the cloud. And Save, and it takes a couple of, you know, seconds here to be able to save that.

Now, after that happens, we can go back and add a gallery, let’s say, for upgrade. Let’s Share. We can see versions. That’s great. Again, to this Insert tab here, and we can add specific galleries as well as, you can go to the gallery icon up… Oh, sorry. Gallery icon up here if you go into Insert gallery. And you can have different ways that you can, you know, showcase your data. So in this case, let’s choose horizontal right now. I want to be able to see the gallery, and you’ll see a template, basically, come up.

Now within this, you don’t really have to do too much to be able to add more data into it, all of this is pretty customized. I mean, the more images that you want to see, you can actually change that, as well as, if you want to add sources of data, let’s see if we can connect some data, maybe just through Excel. And I should be able to just, you know, connect my data, let’s say, to Office Users, right? And if I do that, it would actually take that data, and now I can connect via Excel, okay?

And then, of course, you’ve got, you know, your data that’s populated here, right, that you can, you know, go down and select specific types of data that you want to import. In this case, I’m going to import the device ordering data, and that will auto populate the data so long as my data is clean on Excel, pictures with other things like that. I want both Devices and Manufacturers. So these are different sheets that I’ve caught there, and I want to connect that data. And you’ll see it populate based on the data that I’ve allowed it to access, right? So it’s that easy to be able to do that.

You can also edit this gallery now, right? So if I wanted to go with it, there’s a little pencil mark here, I can edit each gallery. Now, whatever I make changes to this specific one, all of these ones will change automatically. So, for example, I can reduce the size on this, and so, you know, you can see that all the applications are being changed. I can, you know, have different name changes on here. I can change just the image of this, right? And so, all of the images will just get smaller or larger, so on, and so forth. And then, if you just notice the scroll bar down here, once this application is active, and I can make it so that I can preview that application as well, you can see that there’s a scroll bar, right, and preview, and I can see all of the applications or all of the products that I’ve got in my inventory viewer there, okay?

So I’m going to leave that for now. And, of course, change the settings the way you’d like to or how many you’d like to see in a particular screen, and so on, and so forth. You can also add, for example, other types of galleries like vertical galleries where you can have different icons and I can change it by brand, let’s say. So I can filter those galleries to say, “I only want to see, you know, tablets with specific buttons here, okay, I want to see, maybe, the Acers ones, I want to see all of the Dell laptops, I want to see all of the products that I have or accessories that I have,” so on, so forth, as a vertical gallery as well, right?

You can also insert, you know, dollar amounts by inserting another text and having, you know, prices on here. You can code them, color the prices. And, of course, the first application takes a little while, and plus, I’m, kind of, going through it fairly quick here to, kind of, show you, but, you know, if you’ve got this set up once, you just duplicate and replicate the same screen, for example, here, right? And you can see all the stuff that I’ve added onto this gallery. And if I duplicate a screen, well, everything in that screen gets duplicated, so my next screen or my next… And then, of course, rename it. Maybe, it’s my page 2, or, maybe, it’s, you know, you’re ordering. When you’re ordering, this is where you want them to, kind of, go, or where they can see, you know, their cart, for example. This is just one type of application or one type of Power App that you can create. And, of course, you can, maybe, build, you know, a form here that they have to fill out and complete, and you’ve got information on it. And all of that stuff really happens from Insert. So whether you want to edit a form or put a form in, add galleries, add icons, right, and then, there’s different inputs as well.

So the reason why it’s no code is, like, all of this, the coding really gets done back here, right? All of the applications and the data that you need, all the pictures, shapes, so on, and so forth that you need is down here, and then, you basically add, you know, the actions to it or functions to it through here. So if you want it to, you know, maybe I want to change the height, I want to change the position, and so on, and the functions are here, right? The ability for you to do that is down here.

So that’s the limited time that we have today for our webinar today. However, if there are any questions or things like that, that you may have post this, and what you can and can’t do, and how you can have this setup for your organization, you know, feel free to reach out to me directly, and I’ve shared my information here as well for you to be able to reach out directly. And/or if there are some questions, just, you know, kind of, email me and we will be able to answer those. So, thank you for joining our webinar today for Power Apps, and I will look forward to having your emails for more information.

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