In today’s world, hybrid and remote working setups have become the new normal.
Consequently, Teams, Microsoft’s virtual collaboration platform, has witnessed a stunning uptick in users, growing to an astounding 270 monthly active users in the December 2021 quarter.
And these numbers speak for themselves. Employees are basically living in Teams; therefore, organizations that deploy Microsoft technologies must provide all tools — solutions that enable process automation or custom apps that create standardized business workflows — within Teams, offering employees a single pane-of-view environment to keep operating productively.
Microsoft PowerApps is a low-code solution that allows organizations to develop custom apps, workflows, and tools for and within Microsoft Teams.
PowerApps is Microsoft’s low-code app development platform (LCAP), consisting of an extensive suite of apps, connectors, and tools, designed to help pro and citizen developers build apps in an intuitive, graphical interface.
Microsoft PowerApps comes with pre-built templates, canvas, model-driven scenarios, and drag-and-drop functionality that allow developers with varying levels of technical prowess to develop apps that address many business needs.
Let’s explore more.
Our go-to guide on building custom apps using PowerApps for Teams
Creating and publishing low-code and no-code apps for and within Teams has never been easier.
When a team creates or installs an app built with PowerApps for the first time, the system develops a new Dataverse environment for the selected team to store, manage, and share workflows, team-specific information, apps, and chatbots created with PowerApps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents.
Microsoft Dataverse for Teams is a low-code data service that provides rich data types, relational data storage, easy-to-use editable data tables, one-click app deployment to the Teams store, and robust, enterprise-grade governance.
PowerApps provides an integrated environment within Teams to quickly build workflows and edit apps. Once done, it takes one click to publish and share the app with your entire team.
Moreover, once an app is created or installed, users can decide which team is responsible for maintaining, customizing, and sharing it.
Certain Microsoft 365 subscriptions provide the ability to create Microsoft apps within Teams. Dataverse for Teams is available alongside the Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Teams capabilities as part of select Microsoft 365 subscriptions, excluding EDU A1 and SUB SKUs. Click here to know more.
Let’s get started!
Microsoft offers two ways to leverage the apps created using PowerApps in Teams:
- Using the Power Apps personal app from the default Teams catalog and developing apps to share within Teams.
- The second option is installing the apps built using Power Apps directly from the Microsoft Teams store.
1. Installing the PowerApps personal app in Microsoft Teams
A Teams application that has personal scope, the PowerApps personal app is available by default on Teams and can be added as a tab in the channel of your choice. You must do the following
- Open Teams and choose “More added apps.”
- Look for PowerApps, and then select “Add.”
And you are done. Right-click on the PowerApps icon and select “Pin” for quick access from the left pane. Or, if you are working with the desktop app, just click on “Pop up out” to open PowerApps in a different window.
2. Building a Custom App for Microsoft Teams with PowerApps
Building a custom app for Microsoft Teams with PowerApps involves the following stages:
- Sign into Teams, select PowerApps, and then click on Start Now.
- Select a team where you want to create the app. Click on “Create” and then enter the app name. If it’s the first app being created in the particular team, you’ll witness a new dataverse environment being created for the specific team.
- Since data for apps within Teams lives within tables, the next step would be to create a new table. To create a new table, select “With data,” select “Create a new table,” and give a new name to your table that clearly describes your dataset.
- Add columns with specific types (numbers, dates, text, etc.), name them, and create choice columns with lists of options and lookups.
- Start filling rows with data. To create a new row, either select the empty rows and start putting in the new data, or add the required number of rows and paste copied data into these rows.
- Build an app from scratch, or choose from a selection of pre-defined templates that can be customized or extended as much as you deem fit. Manually connect data to the template gallery and form, update fields in the gallery and forms, select a background color, and optionally update the app title.
- Save and preview the app.
- Select Publish to Teams so others in the team can use the App.
How can Acuvate help?
As a Microsoft Gold Partner and global player in next-gen digital services and consulting, Acuvate leverages Microsoft PowerApps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and other renowned Microsoft technologies to build custom Teams apps, chatbots, and workflows that increase business efficiencies and support collaboration, information orchestration, and intelligent analysis.
Over the past few years, we have helped several enterprises across a wide range of industries build and deploy custom apps within Teams using Microsoft PowerApps.
Most recently, we built a custom Microsoft Teams app for an international supplier of geographic information system software and geodatabase management applications, for digitizing administrative and onboarding activities leveraging Microsoft 365, MS Teams, Power Platform to meet the customer’s onboarding needs that accelerated employee onboarding by 40%.
To know more about how Acuvate can build innovative apps to solve unique business challenges, please feel free to schedule a personalized consultation with our experts.