Power Apps can be daunting, to both new users and experienced users alike. Whether, you have a rough idea of the app you need to build in mind, or have never built an app before, our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide will help you get started on your Power Apps journey to Digital Transformation.
Step One – Identify The Problem
Before you begin building any Power App, it’s important that you understand the purpose of the application. To deliver a successful application, it’s vital that you understand the problem or challenge, you are trying to overcome or solve.
If you are trying to overcome a large complex challenge, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed. Here, we recommend breaking down your problems, into smaller more manageable chunks. Let’s start with three simple questions to get you started:
- What is the problem?
- Who is experiencing the problem?
- Logically, how do we solve that problem?
By clearly answering these questions, you can create a problem statement or user story, that helps you focus not just on delivering a new piece of technology, but on delivering true value to the people that will use it. Microsoft has created a useful guide on Planning a Power Apps Project, that you can find here. It acts as a great starting point to help convert ideas to solutions.
Step Two – Choosing the Right Type of App
When you start creating any app on the Power Platform, you are given three choices: Canvas apps, Model-Driven apps, and Portals. Before selecting an option, it is important to consider the purpose of the application you are building, the need for flexibility, and the data sources you will be relying on.
Canvas Apps: Canvas is the flexible option, that gives you the ability to build a full user interface and attach the app to multiple data sources. It’s best suited for smaller challenges, such as digitising data capture processes in situations where either pen and paper, or excel is currently being used.
A model-driven app: This more structured application option uses data stored within the Dataverse. This type of application automatically generates UI that is responsive across devices. These apps are perfect solutions for your critical line of business processes.
Portal: Portals act as a customer-facing layer to your Dataverse database and allow people outwith your organisation to access your data via web pages without the need for additional Power Apps licenses.
Step Three – Build your Power App
Due to the low code nature of Power Apps, creating your own solution is a more intuitive process than you may think. To create your App:
- Sign in to your account on make.powerapps.com
- Select Apps from the left navigation. Select new app, and pick the type of application type you want to build.
- Choose a template and select use.
- When building your app, you can preview any changes and explore how it works in preview mode.
Step Four – Test your App
Testing is a vital part of deploying any new process within an organisation. When you introduce a new app you want to ensure it is adequately solving the challenge you identified in step one. Testing enables you to identify issues early, prior to deployment.
Here are our best practices for testing your new app:
Keep test cases small, each test should only test a specific feature or functionality. If you make your tests too wide, you can’t easily identify where the fault is and this can slow development and improvements.
Prior to each test, define your expected result. To ensure each test runs efficiently it should have an expected result. This will enable you to measure the expected outcomes against the actual outcomes.
Step Five – Launch your app
Once built and tested, it can be launched and shared with your organisation. To streamline your apps you should have a governance structure. Some aspects to be considered include:
- Save your App to the cloud, rather than locally. This means it can be shared with others.
- When making updates, ensure you save and republish the app, so users can access the latest version
- Create and follow naming conventions so your apps can be organised through function, and are easy for employees and external users to find.
Digital Transformation with Power Apps
Power Apps gives millions of non-techie employees the opportunity to create meaningful change through technology. By following our step-by-step guide, anyone in your organisation with a license can begin building apps that transform business processes.
To learn about the power platform in action you can read our case study on how CalMac transformed its processes with bespoke applications. Or talk to one of our experts on how your business could experience digital transformation utilising power apps today.