The great thing about Microsoft is that it is constantly improving its technology offering. With the SaaS business model, new features and updates are released on a regular basis. But, occasionally, with so many updates, it can be hard to keep on top of them all. This can mean missing out on getting the most from your Microsoft investment.

In this blog, we are going to explore some of the recent new feature announcements for Microsoft Power Apps, how this adds to the value organizations can expect to enjoy from using the platform. Not only will we highlight what we think is great about these particular updates, but we’ll look at the key business benefits of Power Apps as a package. This will include:

  1. The new Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit in Dataverse for Microsoft Teams
  2. Updates to the Azure File Storage and Excel Online (Business) connectors
  3. New data source environment variables for canvas apps and cloud flows

The value of Power Apps

Power Apps is one part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, along with Power Automate and Power BI. These three tools are designed to empower business users, including those without specialist IT and developer expertise, to drive digital transformation across the business.

Power Apps allows users to build custom applications; Power Automate is a workflow and process automation solution, with seamless integration across the entire Microsoft ecosystem and beyond; and Power BI helps users generate business data, reporting, and insights to help monitor and optimize operations across the business.

The ease of use, familiar interfaces, and range of functionality helps non-developers get stuck in when it comes to digital transformation. No one knows finance processes better than the Finance team. So why not give them the tools to make the changes they want to see?

With IT departments often stretched to their limits, this can help shift the burden of transformation projects from slow, expensive, all-encompassing, IT-led to smaller, more targeted initiatives led by the line of business. So, let’s look at the recent updates and see how they add to the value the Power Platform brings.

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1. A template for strategic excellence

The Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit was first released in 2019 to help organizations better adapt the Power Platform for business-critical operations. It provides a collection of templates and features to develop improved strategies for adopting, maintaining, and supporting the Power Platform, with a special focus on Power Apps and Power Automate. It also offers guidance and guardrails for areas such as admin and governance, which are crucial for businesses to keep on top of – especially as remote working becomes ever more important.

In April 2021, the CoE Starter Kit functionality has been extended so that it can be installed in Dataverse for Microsoft Teams. Many organizations have rolled out Teams or significantly boosted adoption in the platform to overcome the challenges of remote communication and collaboration. Many have done this due to the pandemic, but the trend of shifting towards this way of working was there before. By incorporating Microsoft Teams into the Starter Kit, it makes it even easier for businesses to ensure integration between the various Microsoft services and apps they use.

2. More connections = better collaboration

Another of the new releases is improved connectors to Azure File Storage and Excel Online (Business). Connectors help your employees connect to the people, processes, and systems they need to get work done. Better connectors mean more seamless integration. And seamless integration means better collaboration and productivity. What’s more, Microsoft has stipulated that ease of use and clarity were part of the goal with this update.

The true value of the Power Platform is in making the complex seem simple.  Microsoft is committed to providing powerful tools that anyone can use. And this is clearly another step in the right direction.

3. More data source variables

Sometimes the applications you have built in PowerApps need to be customized, optimized, or they may need to be moved. This can be complicated because errors can occur in the process, especially as the app remains connected to the same SharePoint lists.

Fortunately, data source environment variables make exporting and importing PowerApps possible. And the more, the merrier – as more data source environment variables means organizations gain more control over applications.

During the last year businesses have learned they need to be prepared to adapt to change to ride ongoing waves of disruption. Having more control to customize applications and move them between environments is key to becoming an agile and nimble business. With this update, not only can you do more with your apps, but it is also easier now, too.

Unlock the key business benefits of Power Apps

The Bauen Group is here to help you make the most of your Microsoft investment. This includes staying on top of the latest changes and additions to the Microsoft stack. In all honesty, there is a lot to keep track of, and it’s easy for these to slip under the radar. We can make sure you never miss a thing.

When it comes to getting more value from Power Apps and the rest of the Power Platform, it is important to understand how to match the tools available for the goals your organization have prioritized. We work closely with our customers to tailor the best technology solutions to their unique requirements. Together, we can help drive digital transformation and ensure that the Power Platform can take your business to the next level.

To learn more about the key business benefits of Power Apps and for help keeping up with the latest feature releases and updates, get in contact with the team at the Bauen Group today.