After yesterday’s post about licensing in Microsoft Flow, I thought it would be useful to do the same comparison for PowerApps.
Powerapps comes with 4 different flavours of Flow.
- Included in Office 365
- Included in Dynamics 365
Often people use either of the two included options, simply because that is the one that they have available as licences have already been bought. Like with Microsoft Flow I think it is useful to make a good choice. This choice can however be a difficult one as it isn’t always clear what is included and what is excluded.
I’ll start by looking at the pricing page for PowerApps.
This already shows some of the benefits of the paid for plans. With the included in Office 365 version of PowerApps you can extend Office 365 application like SharePoint, Teams and Excel. On top of that you can create and run canvas apps and you can created Flows.
Plenty of questions to ask here!
How can I extend SharePoint, Teams and, Excel? What is a canvas app? If I can create flows, which flow plan do I need?
When you look at the features listed on the same pricing page you will find some more differences.
Looking at the Dive into the details section further down the page some of the differences between the plans can be found.
Canvas Apps and Model-Driven Apps.
All of the plans have Canvas apps. But what are canvas apps? PowerApps has two different type of apps, Canvas Apps and Model-Driven Apps. The both type of apps can be found within the Create option of PowerApps. Model Driven Apps are only available with the P2 and the Dynamics option.
The Canvas apps re apps that you can run within a SharePoint web part, directly within a browser, on your mobile or even directly in Teams. The Model driven apps are similar to Business Process Flows and they are a part of Dynamics 365. Both Business Process Flows and Model Drive Apps are made to talk to the Common Data Service (CDS). One of the available templates is the Fundraiser Donations template as shown below.
Do you remember InfoPath and the custom forms in SharePoint?
With PowerApps you can add new custom forms in your modern SharePoint Online environment and you can also add new apps that can be accessed from the View menu. So that you can create custom views.
The apps that you develop in PowerApps can also be called form Teams. This means that you don’t have to tell your users to go to SharePoint, they can simply run their app from the place where they are and not the place where the technology has been developed.
Do you also dislike the Excel interface? of course you like your own excel spreadsheets, but do you understand someone else’s? PowerApps can read the data from a spreadsheet, using the spreadsheet tables as a data store. i’m never too sure about doing this as data should live in a database rather than a spreadsheet that is used as a database. But still, there can be a good reason for using spreadsheets as they are easier to manage by power users.
From PowerApps you can start flows, pass data form your app into the flow and let the flow do all the complicated processing/automation jobs. For the possibilities with Flow please look at my many flow posts.
Common Data Services
So far no need for a licence yet. Although as I mentioned I don’t like storing data in Excel! What is the better option. SharePoint list can be an option, however SharePoint is also not a database and there have been plenty of scalability issues in the past. The better option is the CDS. The CDS is based on the data model of Dynamics 365/CRM. Storing your data in the CDS will help when you look at enterprise wide applications. Your application can share data where needed. The CDS is available within Plan 1 and Plan 2.
Like in flow Plan 2 comes with its admin center. The admin center for PowerApps uses the same model of multiple environment and data policies. This should be a major reason to go for P2, if you are serious about PowerApps development. All the same arguments that I raised in my Flow post will be valid here too.
The admin center for PowerApps is the same as the Flow Admin Center. It can be found at the following url:
Similar to Flow, you will need a P1 or P2 plan to make use of the Premium Connectors. Please find the full list of premium connectors in my flow post mentioned above.
When to choose which licence?
Now that we have seen the differences, it is time to consider what is best for you? Of course we all want free, but do we also want to miss all the advantages that the paid for versions of flow give you?
Do you consider developing advanced coded solutions to avoid the P1/P2 licences? Remember the reason why you decided to go for low/no code solutions? This is a strategic decision to make. If you want to go free, you could always consider developing SPFx apps instead. That will however require more development resources.
Do you want to be able to protect your business data? The Data Loss Prevention options in the PowerApps Admin Center might convince you there.
Do you want to take PowerApps development seriously and use multiple environments or are you happy to accept down time when you upgrade your app?
Do you need to connect into application that don’t have any existing connectors in PowerApps?
Many questions that need answering, hopefully when you answer the above questions you will be able to make your choice for the right PowerApps plan.