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Power Apps vs. Power Automate: Which Solution to Choose for Your Business

Paul Kovalenko Paul Kovalenko | October 17, 2023 | 10 min

Are you having difficulty choosing between Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate? If so, this Power Apps vs. Power Automate review is just what you need to read. Both platforms are good for creating custom applications and automating workflows for businesses. But what the difference between Power Apps and Power Automate, and which is better?

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll dig into features, use-case examples, and plan prices, share real-life results of tests we have run, and take you through the experience of each service with real interface screenshots.

We’ll start with a basic explanation for anyone unfamiliar with these power platforms.

Power Apps Overview: What It Is, Main Features, Use Case, and Examples

Tagged as Microsoft’s “suite of apps, connectors, tools, services, and data platform for building custom apps,” Power Apps is a many-in-one solution for developing low- and no-code apps, streamlining automation processes, and performing self-service analytics for businesses. The idea here is to facilitate app building by offering different templates, third-party apps, and connectors for business users.

Tagged as Microsoft’s “suite of apps, connectors, tools, services, and data platform for building custom apps,” Power Apps is a many-in-one solution for developing low- and no-code apps, streamlining automation processes, and performing self-service analytics for businesses. The idea here is to facilitate app building by offering different templates, third-party apps, and connectors for business users.

Big brands using Power Apps include the World Health Organization, Chevron, and Unilever. Plus, our most recent survey reveals that the healthcare industry is now interested in adopting Power Apps solutions for handling patient data, controlling inventory, simplifying employee onboarding/offboarding processes, and automating workflows like patient check-ins and treatment plans.

Here’s a use case: At the peak of the 2020 pandemic, a local Seattle healthcare organization needed help tracking the number of available beds, ventilators, masks, and other critical resources. Launching the power platform Emergency Response solution for healthcare helped frontline workers get real-time results from their mobile devices.

Hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies can now automate their workflow, track their resources, exchange critical medical info, schedule appointments, handle referrals, check symptoms virtually, and much more. See what the Power Apps Emergency Response solution looks like:


Power Automate Overview: What It Is, Main Features, Use Case, and Examples

Formerly known as Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Power Automate is a platform as a service for building automated solutions for repetitive and mundane tasks and business processes in all Office 365 apps using drag-and-drop tools. With over 150 pre-built connectors, thousands of templates, and AI builders, you can quickly create automation solutions with zero or low code. As part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power Automate combines digital process automation (DPA), robotic process automation (RPA), and artificial intelligence enhancements.

Here’s a real-life example: Hearing Australia, a hearing services provider, needed a system to help community engagement officers and audiologists collect the information gathered from community visits. They didn’t have enough internal bandwidth to develop a system themselves, so they explored the Power Platform as a low-code, self-build approach.

They created two model-driven PowerApps with multiple Power Automate cloud processes. Power Automate is the system’s central nervous system. It’s used to automatically update fields with geolocation information, sync data with a SharePoint Online list for historical data purposes, and refresh the clinical dataset to generate Power BI reports.

The low-code Power Platform solution, built on Dataverse as the data source, enabled them to collect and update data remotely, even when offline.

Major Differences between Power Apps and Power Automate

Comparing Power Automate vs. Power Apps and choosing one to work with is a tough call. Understanding the key distinctions is important for making an informed decision. Power Apps or Power Automate? Let’s discuss their main differences.

1. Real Cost and Pricing

Power Apps

Power Apps offers three pricing plans for businesses: 

  • The “Power Apps Premium” per-user plan costs $20 per user per month. This choice is for companies with many users working with an unlimited number of Power Apps.
  • The “Power Apps per-app” plan costs $5 per month. This plan is a good deal for businesses trying to solve one problem at a time. With this license, each user can make one app/portal (custom, template, or model-driven).
  • The “Power Apps pay-as-you-go” plan may be the best option for teams that already have a Microsoft Azure subscription. It costs $10 per active user/month charged against Azure and is based on the number of custom portals or apps each user runs in a month.

Power Automate

If your company has active Microsoft 365 or Dynamic 365 subscriptions, you already have access to Power Automate. Otherwise, you can choose between two versions:

  • “Power Automate Premium” costs $15 per user per month. This option offers attended RPA and DPA, mining data storage, Dataverse entitlement, and 5,000 AI builder credits.
  • “Power Automate Process” costs $150 per bot per month. This plan licenses a single automation bot for unattended RPA and DPA flows. Extra add-ons are available for an additional cost. 

2. Integration and Automation

Now that you know what the two solutions offer in the way of pricing, next, let’s look at Power Apps vs. Power Automate in terms of integration and automation.

Power Apps

Power Apps is an app builder and can be integrated with many dashboards and services like SharePoint, Outlook, Excel, OneDrive, PowerPoint, Salesforce, and many more. Typically, Power Apps’ integration capabilities are bidirectional because you can access the Power Platform from Office 365 and vice versa.

Power Automate

Power Automate is a top choice for everything process automation. With this platform, you can connect to over 200 services and manage data from cloud or on-premise sources. Power Automate can also integrate with the Microsoft solutions your organization may already be using, like Teams and SharePoint, for seamless onboarding and increased productivity.

Winner

While both Power Apps and Power Automate have automation capabilities, Power Automate shines brighter for complex automation processes spanning many applications. However, Power Apps has better compatibility with a greater number of Microsoft platforms.

3. Security and Privacy

Microsoft Power Automate vs. Power Apps in terms of security and privacy is a tie. Each provides extensive security measures for user authentication, authorization, data confidentiality, and privacy compliance. For instance, Power Apps integrates Azure Active Directory, data loss protection (DLP) policies, and role-based access control. Meanwhile, Power Automate integrates with Office 365’s security tools, including compliance regulations, data encryption, and more.

4. Documentation

Power Apps

Using Power Apps, you can create apps that work well with multiple document management systems, such as OneDrive and SharePoint. Typically, you can create documents and edit and collaborate with your team on your app’s design interface.

Power Automate

Power Automate offers document management automation features. Using this platform, you can automate workflows that trigger events within a document, like editing and sending notifications.

Winner 

Both Power Apps and Power Automate documentation systems work, and the winner in your books will depend on your business needs. 

5. Flexibility and Convenience

Power Apps

Power Apps is highly flexible because it can be accessed from a computer, smartphone, or any other device with a browser. Also, this platform can be used to design custom data entry forms.

Power Automate

Power Automate is compatible with computer devices only and cannot be used to make personalized forms. 

Winner

In terms of flexibility and convenience, Power Apps wins by a long shot.

6. UX and UI

Both Power Apps and Power Automate provide drag-and-drop functionality and ready-made templates for easy creation. Because Power Apps works on all devices, its user interface supports responsive design, allowing it to conform to different screen sizes. Although Power Automate only works on PCs, its user-friendly interface allows for easy workflow management.

7. Versatility

When running a versatility test for Power Apps and Power Automate difference, we noted that both platforms are highly versatile and can solve a wide array of business challenges. Although Power Apps is mainly for app building, it can also take care of processes involving automation, workflows, data analytics, team collaboration, and others.

8. Membership Offers

Power Apps

Power Apps is part of the Office 365 services and is the best choice for businesses with pre-existing MS Office subscriptions. This is because the platform works hand-in-hand with other Microsoft services and can’t function without them. 

Power Automate

Power Automate is hosted in the cloud, specifically Microsoft’s Azure. So, this platform is the right one for businesses looking for a platform that can be integrated into the Azure cloud. Power Automate process functions are independent of other MS software.

9. Teamwork and Independent Projects

Both Power Apps and Power Automate are great for effective team collaboration and solo projects. However, because Power Apps is more flexible, adaptable, and versatile, it provides a better playground for seamless collaboration and efficient teamwork.

10. Revising and Enhancing Features

When building an app on Power Apps, all changes are made in real time, right there in the app field. On the flip side, Power Automate relies on an external platform, Flow, to effect changes to it. Therefore, revising and enhancing the platform is easier and faster with Power Apps, which is especially beneficial for businesses that update their projects regularly.

Benefits Comparison: Power Apps vs Power Automate

There is a long list of differences in the benefits Power Apps and Power Automate provide. To paint a clear picture, we’ve compiled a quick overview comparing the two tools in terms of benefits.

BenefitsPower AppsPower Automate
💦 Main useCustom app-building platformWorkflow automation platform
⭐ User rating8.3 ★★★★☆8.3 ★★★★☆
💵 PriceFrom $5 to $20/monthFrom $15 to $150/month
🔒App development requirement✅ Low-code✅ Zero-code or low-code
🆓 Free trialNoYes
✈️Creation speedFastFast but metered in free plans
💰Savings and cost allocationsCost-effective Cost-effective
📑 Entry-level set-up feeNoneNone
📡 Standard connector provider extensibilityYesYes
📱Mobile friendlyYesNo
👨‍💻 User interfaceFriendly for app design and automation processesFriendly for workflow automation processes
⚜️ Design User-friendlyUser-friendly
🕺FlexibleYes, highly flexible and versatileYes, but there’s room for more flexibility
🙂 Emoji add-onsYesYes
➡️ Common examplesInventory management system, client intake forms, employee onboarding app, service request appEmail notifications, tracking information, appointment scheduling and reminders

Which tool to Choose: Power Apps or Power Automate?

All factors considered, there’s no clear winner to choose between Power Apps and Power Automate. It all depends on your company’s specific needs, workplace requirements, and processes it wants to automate. While pricing may be an essential factor to consider, it’s not everything.

For instance, Power Automate workflow processes are limited to desktop computers. So, for organizations in the, let’s say, healthcare industry that require programs to run on tabs and mobile devices for real-time communication between medical professionals, Power Apps is the clear winner. If your business needs include creating data entry forms or other personalized forms, Power Automate will come up short.

For businesses requiring workflow and process automation, Power Automate is the superior choice. Overall, while both power platforms offer a range of features that can help businesses streamline their operations and reduce manual processes, the distinction between Power Apps and Power Automate is clear. Do your research, discover your business pain points, and make an informed choice. And yes, you can deploy both platforms. They work better together.

Consider Langate as Your Trusted Partner

If you’re still unsure whether to choose Power Apps or Power Automate, we’ll help you decide. Langate’s team of expert developers has what it takes to plan, develop, implement, deploy, and maintain a power platform. Granted, both Power Apps and Power Automate require little to no code, but don’t give in to the DIY pull. Integrating Power Apps and Power Automate with other Microsoft apps and tools, as well as creating complex automation solutions, requires expert assistance. Everything being equal, our team of expert Power Apps developers can quickly get you a prototype tailored to your unique needs. Try us!

Conclusion

Developing a custom business app solution doesn’t have to involve a million lines of code, programming languages, and thousands of dollars. With MS Power Apps, you can quickly develop a unique app that caters to your business needs. With over 86% of Fortune 500 companies currently using Power Apps, it might be a mistake to miss out on this opportunity. Still, if your task is to develop complex solutions, you’ll require the help of professional developers with a strong tech background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Power Apps include Power Automate?

No. Power Apps and Power Automate are stand-alone MS products but can be combined. Typically, Power Apps licenses include Power Automate capabilities within the app’s context.

What are the cons of using Power Automate vs. Power Apps?

The disadvantages of using Power Automate are: 

  • Users require training.
  • It’s unsuitable for long-lasting workflows.
  • Workflow editing is impossible.
  • Form customization is unavailable. 

On the other hand, Power Apps doesn’t support multiple users at once. It also has limited customization and is incompatible with external systems.

What are the most important differences between Power Apps and Power Automate?

The major difference between both platforms is in how they are used. Power Apps runs in tandem with other Microsoft Office products, while Power Automate is interconnected with Azure. 

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