Summit North America Preview: Combining the capabilities of PowerApps, Flow, and Power BI

June 28 2019

Editor's Note: is collaborating with the User Group Summit North America to explore the upcoming conference in a series of preview articles.

Although October may still seem like a long ways off, preparations have already begun for User Group Summit North America, October 15-18, in Orlando. One of those preparing is Lori Valone, technology and tools architect at Teradata, a San Diego company which providing data intelligence products and services. In addition to speaking at the event, she'll be attending for the first time. Valone shared some of her plans to present and discuss her Power Platform work.

Leveraging the elements of the Power Platform together

Working with Teradata, Valone is the in-house expert on building tools with the Power Platform. She began with Flow, then expanded into using PowerApps.

PowerApps was able to fill in some of the gaps left by Flow. I really got hooked on PowerApps and have been leveraging it recently, building a program management application. I'll grab it to migrate some data … I also have been using it prototype things more frequently. When we've needed to provide an example of how something should work for developers, I can completely model it [better than I could with] flat screenshots in just a couple days.

Attending her first PowerApps-related conference earlier this year, Valone had the opportunity to network and meet experts whose videos and guidance had helped her learn to the Power Platform. She created two proposals for talks: One was accepted for SharePoint Saturday Charlotte, while the other was chosen for Summit North America.

PowerApps, Flow and Power BI: I'm using all of them integrated together. [My presentation] talks about using all of these tools together. The session is called "Better Together: Leveraging Power BI, PowerApps, Flow and Teams." It will focus on the program management app as the example. The core application is built in Power Apps, but also uses Flow to do reminders and automated reporting on a scheduled basis and Power BI to do detailed reporting for things like project status and charters. PowerApps was originally designed for mobile, but I use it exclusively on desktop. Getting data out of the application isn’t Power Apps strong suit but Power BI provides this functionality. The app's launched through a tab in Teams so people can get to it very easily and not have to hunt down the application.

For other Power Platform users of any level of experience, Valone recommends starting small and pursuing iterative development, "going for reinforcements" from the community when needed. From time to time she has found and reported bugs to Microsoft.

It is an evolving product and you have to be prepared that sometime things happen you didn't expect and may not intend. Anytime you have a continually growing product that's always a risk.

Looking to the future of the Power Platform

Because the 2019 event marks her first time attending, Valone isn't sure what the event's biggest themes are likely to be, although she anticipates good sessions coverage of Flow, Power BI, and PowerApps. She noted some recent changes that have impacted how she does her work:

Components is probably the number one change from a PowerApps perspective. Being able to create a reusable component in PowerApps, it lends consistency. It could be something as simple as your top heading bar. I pass the component the text I want to appear. The bar looks the same and I don't have to write it on every page. When our logo changed last year I had to go through every screen and manually change it…Now I don't have to worry about that. I can use reusable components to enable me to do that easily. In Flow, allowing you to run approval cycles longer than in the past I think will be very useful. Those are the two that stand out the most.

Looking toward the future, Valone hopes that Microsoft will go beyond existing capabilities to allow the creation of reports as a PDF or PowerPoint:

Being able to do it from PowerApps would be nice. Currently that requires you to build HTML and send it as an email. That capability would probably be the number one thing and I've heard that echoed by others. The biggest gotcha is delegations -- where the work is done. There are continuing to be improvements in the commands that are delegable. Work to expand in that area would definitely be helpful. So far it hasn't caused me roadblocks but with more and more apps and data I can see it coming.

For those planning to attend she added:

Bring an open mind and open ears. There's definitely a lot to be learned. Bring your questions. I'm looking forward to an opportunity for open exchange.


About Power Platform Summit North America:

Power Platform Summit North America is the “must-attend” annual conference for users of the Microsoft Power platform – Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow. With credible peer-to-peer knowledge exchange at its core, this event provides focused learning and networking as users gain instrumental solutions for their everyday Power platform challenges and larger organizational goals. In every industry and across the globe, Summit is well known as a premier user-centric experience. This year, Power Platform Summit 2019 promises to be the biggest and best event ever – with more sessions, deeper insights, additional networking and plenty of unique new on-site activities.

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.

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