PowerApps – Low Code, High Productivity Business Applications

As with any ground-breaking innovation, there have been some big changes and product pivots around PowerApps and the Common Data Service (CDS), and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE), this, both professionally and personally is an exciting time for me.  Technical, functional professionals, also the aptly coined ‘Citizen Developers’, have an application to configure business applications using the Dynamics 365 framework, without actually having Dynamics 365. Satya Nadella announced in his Corenote speech that “…500 million new apps will be created in the next 5 years.”

Microsoft have, in layman terms, merged the two platforms. With the amount of information, hype and focus from Microsoft, I wanted to simplify the complex for myself, team and contribute to the Microsoft community. I will include resources at the bottom of this blog.

Microsoft see the Power Platform and Dynamics 365 see as the worlds connected business cloud. The Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement modules are Model Driven PowerApps with the Common Data Service as its database.

Adopting Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement features, the Common Data Service and Model Driven Apps have continued to gain cadence in development. The inherited features from Dynamics 365, which are now in Model Driven PowerApps and Common Dara Service are:

Model Driven PowerApps

              Dynamics 365 App Designer

              Unified Interface


                             Rich Controls

                             Time Line Control


              Business Process Flows



              Security Model

              Processes (Workflows)

              O365 Integration

              Server-Side Sync


              Office templates

              Mobile and Tablets

              ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)

Common Data Service

              Business Rules

              Calculated and Rollup Fields


              ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)

              Web services


              Workflow extensions

Take Out

The data model is customer centric, accounts and contacts, but it’s not CRM. XRM is here without having a full CRM system, and a fraction of the cost of ownership. Users can configure a data model in the Common Data Service, create an aesthetically consistent Dynamics 365 app using the App Designer, configure Forms, Views and Dashboards and you have a new app within a few hours.  This app will have Business Process Flows, Business Rules and Workflow to provide business logic and automation, which is flexible to tailor to end user’s needs. Despite the app been rich in features, and utilising multiple data sources, it is a no code, low code solution. Licencing is considerably more cost effective compared to Dynamics 365 licencing. Apps are quick and easy to create, rich and full bodied in features, and will increase efficiency and productivity.


Microsoft PowerApps documentation

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