Power Apps vs. Power Automate: A comprehensive guide to choosing the right tool for your business

June 30, 2023

Power Apps and Power Automate are two powerful tools offered by Microsoft’s Power platform that enable businesses to create custom applications and automate workflows. These platforms share many features but also have significant differences. It is crucial to understand these distinctions before determining the best fit for your business.

So, what sets these two products apart, and which should you choose? In this comprehensive guide, we will thoroughly compare the two applications and help you decide the best option for your business.

What is Microsoft Power Apps?

Power Apps is a comprehensive suite of applications, services, and connectors, coupled with a robust data platform, that offers a fast and efficient development environment for creating custom applications tailored to your business requirements.

With Power Apps, you can swiftly construct business apps that seamlessly connect to your data, whether in the underlying data platform (Microsoft Dataverse) or various online and on-premises data sources such as SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and more.

The power of Power Apps lies in its ability to deliver apps with sophisticated business logic and workflow capabilities, automating and digitizing manual business operations. In addition, these apps are designed to be responsive, adapt to different screen sizes, and run smoothly in web browsers and mobile devices like phones or tablets.

Power Apps offers a range of features and capabilities that empower users to easily create custom applications. Here are some key features of Power Apps:

  • Low-code development: Power Apps provides a low-code development environment that allows users to build applications without extensive coding knowledge. It is a visual designer and drag-and-drop functionality makes it accessible to developers and non-developers.
  • App templates: Power Apps offers a variety of pre-built templates that can be customized to fit specific business needs. These templates cover many use cases, such as project management, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management (CRM).
  • Data integration: Power Apps seamlessly integrate with various data sources, including Microsoft services like SharePoint, Excel, and Dynamics 365, as well as external sources like Salesforce and Dropbox. This integration enables easy access to data and facilitates real-time data updates within the applications.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Power Apps allow applications to be created once and deployed across multiple platforms, including web browsers, mobile devices (iOS and Android), and desktops. This cross-platform compatibility ensures that users can access and use applications on their preferred devices.
  • Customization options: Power Apps provides extensive customization capabilities, allowing users to design and modify the user interface, add business logic, and incorporate custom code using JavaScript and TypeScript. This flexibility enables the creation of tailored experiences and functionality.
  • Security and governance: Power Apps includes robust security features, such as data encryption, role-based access controls, and integration with Azure Active Directory for user authentication and authorization. It also offers governance capabilities to manage app lifecycles, control data access, and enforce compliance policies.
  • Collaboration and sharing: Power Apps supports collaboration and sharing, allowing multiple users to work together on app development in real-time. It also enables app sharing with specific individuals or groups within the organization or even externally with partners or customers.
  • AI Builder: Power Apps integrate with AI Builder, a component that allows users to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into their applications. AI Builder provides pre-built AI models for tasks such as form processing, object detection, and text recognition, making adding intelligent automation to apps easier.
  • Offline Functionality: Power Apps offers offline capabilities, enabling users to access and interact with applications even when not connected to the internet. Data changes made offline are synchronized with the server once a connection is reestablished.

What is Microsoft Power Automate?

Power Automate is a cloud-based service provided by Microsoft that allows users to create and automate workflows across various applications and services. Power Automate enables users to automate repetitive tasks and streamline business processes by integrating different systems and services.

With Power Automate, users can create automated workflows, known as flows, by connecting various triggers, actions, and conditions. These flows can be built using a visual designer with a no-code or low-code approach, making them accessible to technical and non-technical users.

  • Automation of repetitive tasks: Power Automate allows you to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, reducing manual effort and freeing up time for more important work. By automating routine processes, you can increase productivity and focus on higher-value activities.
  • Integration of different systems and services: Power Automate supports a wide range of connectors, enabling seamless integration between various applications and services. This integration capability allows you to streamline workflows and data exchange across different platforms, eliminating the need for manual data entry and ensuring data consistency.
  • No-code/low-code approach: Power Automate provides a visual designer that allows users to create workflows without extensive coding knowledge. This no-code/low-code approach makes it accessible to users with varying technical skills, enabling business users to create and manage their own workflows without relying on IT departments or developers.
  • Rich set of pre-built templates and connectors: Power Automate offers a vast library of pre-built templates and connectors that provide ready-made solutions for common automation scenarios. These templates cover a wide range of applications and services, making it easier to get started and accelerate the development of automated workflows.
  • Support for multi-step workflows: Power Automate allows you to create complex, multi-step workflows with conditional logic and branching. This flexibility enables you to build sophisticated automation processes that can handle complex business scenarios and adapt to different conditions or inputs.
  • Notifications and alerts: Power Automate enables you to set up notifications and alerts based on specific triggers or conditions. You can receive notifications via email, Microsoft Teams, or other communication channels, ensuring that you stay informed about important events or changes in your processes.
  • Integration with artificial intelligence: Power Automate integrates with AI Builder, allowing you to incorporate artificial intelligence capabilities into your workflows. You can use AI Builder to extract information from documents, analyze sentiment, detect objects in images, and perform other AI-related tasks, enhancing the automation and decision-making capabilities of your workflows.
  • Monitoring and analytics: Power Automate provides monitoring and analytics features that allow you to track the performance of your workflows, view detailed logs, and gain insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of your automation processes. This visibility helps you identify bottlenecks, optimize workflows, and ensure smooth operation.

Comparison of Power Apps and Power Automate

For businesses to choose the best option for them, it is essential to understand some key differences between the two platforms. Here is a quick overview of the features followed by a detailed comparison:

FeaturesPower AppsPower Automate
PurposeCreate custom business applicationsAutomate workflows and processes
User InterfaceProvides a visual interface for app designOffers a visual interface for workflow creation
App DevelopmentLow-code development platformNo-code or low-code development platform
Data IntegrationConnects to various data sourcesIntegrates with multiple applications and services
FunctionalityBuilds interactive apps with user inputAutomates tasks, approvals, and notifications
TriggersUser interaction or data changesEvents, schedules, or triggers from other systems
ActionsUser-driven operations within the appAutomated actions based on predefined logic
IntegrationCan be embedded within other applicationsConnects with external systems and APIs
UsageCustom application developmentWorkflow automation and process optimization
ExamplesCustomer portals, data entry forms, surveysApproval processes, email notifications, data sync

1. Pricing

Power Apps

PowerApps offers three business plans: Per App Plan, Per User Plan, and Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Plan. The Per-App Plan costs $5 per user per app per month and is designed for solving specific business scenarios.  

Each license provides rights to one app or one Power Apps Portal. Users can have multiple Per App licenses if they require access to multiple solutions. The Per User Plan costs $20 monthly and allows unlimited access to Power Apps within service limits.

The Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Plan allows users to pay for Power Apps via Azure subscription with no upfront purchasing or license commitment. With the PAYG plan, users only pay when they use the Power Apps app, and it includes Microsoft Dataverse storage capacity. The PAYG plan also offers the flexibility to pay for additional storage.

Power Automate

Power Automate offers two payment plans: “Per User Plan” at $15/user/month for unlimited cloud flows, premium connectors, and administrative functions, and “Per User Plan with attended RPA” with exclusive access to RPA and AI.

Additional flows can be purchased for $100/flow/month, and AI builders are available for $500/unit/month. In addition, power Automate provides flexibility and customization options for businesses’ automation and workflow needs.

2. Changes and enhancements

One significant distinction between Power Apps and Power Automate lies in the process of making changes and enhancements.

Power Apps

When modifying a Power Apps app, you can conveniently do so within the Power Apps environment. Any updates or modifications you make to the app will automatically take effect.

Power Automate

Power Automate relies on an external program called Flow to make changes and enhance existing processes. By utilizing the user-friendly graphical interface of Flow, you can easily incorporate new steps into an existing process through drag-and-drop functionality.  

Due to this disparity, modifying Power Apps is generally faster and simpler than modifying Power Automate routines. Therefore, if you frequently need to update your program, Power Apps is the superior platform.

3. Measure of flexibility  

Flexibility and convenience are key differentiators between PowerApps and Power Automate.  

Power Apps

Power Apps offers greater versatility and adaptability compared to Power Automate. This is primarily due to the cross-platform nature of PowerApps, which allows access from any device with a web browser.

Power Automate

Power Automate processes are limited to desktop PCs. Therefore, if you require your program to be accessible on mobile devices or web browsers, PowerApps is the superior choice.

For instance, PowerApps enables you to create custom data entry forms, whereas Power Automate workflows do not support personalized forms.

Additionally, PowerApps exhibits better compatibility with various Microsoft programs, including SharePoint, Dynamics 365, and Power BI. In contrast, Power Automate workflow integration is exclusively supported by SharePoint. If you value flexibility and the ability to integrate with different platforms, PowerApps is the ideal solution.

4. Workflows

Power Apps

One key factor contributing to this distinction is the multi-platform support of Power Apps, enabling usage on mobile devices, desktop computers, and web browsers.

Power Automate

Power Automate workflows are limited to desktop computers. Therefore, if you require the capability to access your app on mobile devices or web browsers, Power Apps is the preferred platform. An illustrative example is the ability of Power Apps to create customized data entry forms, a feature not available in Power Automate workflows. Moreover, PowerApps is versatile in integrating with other Microsoft products such as SharePoint, Dynamics 365, and Power BI.

Power Automate workflows are primarily integrated with SharePoint. If you seek a platform that offers enhanced adaptability and versatility, PowerApps is the optimal choice for your needs.

5. Document management

Both Power Apps and Power Automate offer distinct features and approaches for managing documents.

Power Apps

  • Document-centric apps: Power Apps allow you to create document-centric apps where documents are a core part of the user experience. You can design apps that provide functionalities for creating, editing, and managing documents directly within the app’s interface.
  • Document libraries integration: Power Apps seamlessly integrate with SharePoint document libraries, allowing you to leverage SharePoint’s robust document management capabilities. You can connect your Power App to a SharePoint document library to access, upload, update, and delete stored documents.
  • Custom document forms: Power Apps enable you to design custom document entry and editing forms. You can create user-friendly interfaces with specific fields and controls tailored to document management tasks. These forms can provide validation, workflows, and business rules to ensure data integrity and streamline document-related processes.

Power Automate

  • Document workflows: Power Automate offers a wide range of workflow automation capabilities, including document-centric workflows. You can create automated processes that trigger actions based on document events, such as creating a new document, modifying its properties, or updating its status.
  • Document approval and review: With Power Automate, you can build workflows for document approval and review processes. For example, employees can create flows that send documents to specific users for review, track their feedback, and notify stakeholders upon completion.
  • Document integration and processing: Power Automate connects various document repositories, such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and cloud storage services. You can create workflows that automate document integration, synchronization, migration, or extraction of specific data from documents.

In conclusion, Power Apps is well-suited for building document-centric apps with custom forms and seamless integration with SharePoint document libraries. On the other hand, Power Automate specializes in document workflows, approvals, and integration with various document repositories.

Therefore, depending on your specific document management requirements, you can utilize each platform to create efficient and customized solutions.


So, the question stands: Power Apps vs. Power Automate- which one is the right choice for you? Both Power Apps and Power Automate are two powerful tools offered by Microsoft for custom application development and workflow automation.

While Power Apps is focused on creating responsive apps with extensive customization options, Power Automate excels in automating tasks and integrating systems. Choosing the right platform depends on the specific needs and preferences of your business.

If you want to streamline the workforce and enhance business efficiency, reach out to us at marketing@confiz.com and let our experts help you decide between Power Apps and Power Automate and choose the right platform for your business.