Power to the people: introducing Microsoft Flow and announcing the public preview of PowerApps

Every organization faces constant pressure to do more with less. While technology is often key to operating more effectively and efficiently, cost and complexity have often prevented organizations from taking maximum advantage of the potential benefits. The growth of SaaS (software as a service) has lowered barriers – no need to deploy servers or to install and configure complex software systems. Just sign up and go.

The result? People in departments from sales to marketing, from operations to finance now have the power to select and adopt tools to improve their own processes. And they’re not slowing down to ask for permission.

Today, we’re excited to make two important announcements we believe will help these people achieve more: the introduction of Microsoft Flow and the public preview of Microsoft PowerApps.

We know not every business problem can be solved with off-the-shelf solutions. But developing custom solutions has traditionally been too costly and time consuming for many of the needs teams and departments face—especially those projects that integrate across multiple data sources or require delivery across multiple devices from desktop to mobile. As a result, too many technology needs end up unsolved or under-optimized. We piece together spreadsheets, email chains, and manual processes to fill in the gaps.

PowerApps and Microsoft Flow are both aimed squarely at these gaps. They give people who best understand their needs and challenges the power to quickly meet them, without the time, complexity and cost of custom software development.

Introducing Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is a brand new SaaS offering, available today in preview, for automating workflows across the growing number of applications and SaaS services that business users rely on.

How much time do we spend sifting through streams of messages for the few notifications that matter? How much manual labor is spent transferring information from one place to another, or entering data into tracking systems? Too often these tasks are done manually, or not done at all. Some examples:

  • I get hundreds of emails every day, and my notification options are all-or-nothing. It’s hard to keep up with all that traffic when I’m travelling. I’d like to get an SMS when specific people like a key customer prospect reach out directly to me.
  • Our teams are constantly meeting people at events and following up over email. We want to ensure we don't miss any of these leads, but re-typing information from emails into our CRM system is tedious.
  • We work with agencies who create content and upload large files to OneDrive or Dropbox accounts. Our teams want to know right when the latest files arrive, without having to check every 30 minutes, and then they want to transfer a backup to SharePoint Online as soon as it comes through.

Microsoft Flow makes it possible to automate all of these scenarios and many, many more. Business users can connect their accounts, take advantage of pre-built templates, and create their own flows in an easy visual designer that works anywhere on the web.

Public preview for Microsoft PowerApps

PowerApps is a service that fundamentally transforms and accelerates how organizations build custom line of business applications.

PowerApps connects to the cloud services and data sources you're already using, giving business analysts and specialists the ability to quickly build apps that suit their specific needs—without writing code or struggling with integration issues. Apps can be published instantly to co-workers across web, tablets and mobile devices without waiting for app stores. PowerApps also integrates with Microsoft Flow, making it possible to trigger flows from within apps.

With PowerApps, business experts can work more efficiently together with their counterparts in IT and consulting partners, literally on the same page in a visual designer—or solve problems on their own. This makes it dramatically faster not only to build an app the first time, but to keep iterating and evolving it as needs change.

Are you managing a budget or a cost estimator in an Excel spreadsheet, trading emails with sales people in the field and doing manual data entry just to accurately bid projects for customers? Use PowerApps to deliver that estimate on the spot, from a mobile phone. Do you have a team of service technicians filling out paper forms or struggling with legacy systems to enter data? Build web and tablet apps that modernize these processes to take advantage of capabilities like camera, GPS, pen controls and more.

As of today the latest version of PowerApps is available for everyone to try through our public preview. A huge thank you to the private preview users who have been working with the earliest iterations of PowerApps and delivering great feedback.

 

 

This is an exciting time to be developing business applications. Our team is thrilled to be announcing the availability of these new services in public preview and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

For more information, please visit the follow resources:

Microsoft Flow

Microsoft PowerApps