In this series of blogs, we explore the key capabilities in Office 365 and SharePoint to create business solutions, with a primary focus on PowerApps.
Instead of listing the functionalities, we help you build a PowerApp.
Part six of a series.
With Microsoft releasing PowerApps on November 1st, many Office 365 subscribers can now get a better feel for its features and integration capabilities. Although PowerApps has been touted as a successor to InfoPath, is it the right product to replace your InfoPath Forms today?
Let’s find out.
Should You Switch From InfoPath Forms to PowerApps?
The answer to that question: It depends! PowerApps provides a lot of the functionalities that InfoPath provided – albeit in a very different UI.
Users tend to like the form layout, which mimics an 8.5″x 11″ sheet of paper you can fill out and submit. Also, because PowerApps was designed for mobility first, it looks good and works best on a mobile phone or tablet.
But, it’s most important to understand the tolerance your end users have for change to help drive your software selection. If the traditional form layout is holding you back, Nintex or K2 can fill that role.
How Does PowerApps Handle Printed Submissions?
As of today, it doesn’t handle printing at all. Although the PowerUsers Group has submitted the feature request, printing is not on the current roadmap for PowerApps.
If printing is a key component for your organization, a third party can provide the support you need.
Can You Share Forms on SharePoint with Vendors?
Not currently. PowerApps will have the ability to embed apps in the browser in the near future, but it remains to be seen if you will be able to share them externally at that point.
As of today, PowerApps can only be leveraged by users inside of an Office 365 tenant.
What if you Don’t Use Office 365 or Cloud?
PowerApps is currently only offered as software as a service (SaaS). As of now, there have not been any announcements about offering an On-Premise version.
Is Our Organization a Match for PowerApps?
If you don’t have any of the above restrictions, most likely!
However, understanding the functionality of your current InfoPath forms, and then mapping and redesigning them to take advantage of the functionality in PowerApps could become a very large undertaking.
I’ve seen many InfoPath forms with validation rules, action rules, and custom code that need to be documented. Some also need a fit gap analysis to understand the right solution architecture for the new PowerApp.
I don’t recommend rushing the decision without first understanding the complexity of the current InfoPath solution. If you need guidance, just ask!
But Microsoft Says Anyone Can Create a PowerApp…
Sure, it’s easy for anyone to create one, which is where organizations may find themselves in trouble if there is no architecture or governance put into place before rolling out PowerApps. With the ability to connect to numerous data sources and custom APIs, this opens up a lot of ways for users to get themselves into a quagmire if they don’t plan ahead.
Microsoft said the same thing about InfoPath when it was first included in the Office suite, and I can tell you I have spent many hours unraveling the unnecessary complexity of InfoPath forms for clients. If you’re interested in letting Centric help you plan, deploy, and support your conversion from InfoPath to PowerApps, let us know!