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Migration to Power Apps from Microsoft Access in 10 Steps

Microsoft Power Platform launched about five years ago and has since attracted over 20 million users and 7.5 million developers. Compared to Microsoft Access, the Power platform offers a more cost-effective solution for managing business applications with limited resources. Moreover, using power apps instead Microsoft Access gives you an upper edge through cross-platform compatibility and seamless integration with external data sources, whether cloud services, APIs, or CRM databases. 

But are Power Apps really a better alternative to Microsoft Access, as many users claim? And how do you switch to the former if you’re already using Microsoft Access? In this article, we zoom into more business benefits that your organization stands to get by moving from MS Access to Power Apps and the steps to implement for a successful migration. We also highlight the prevalent challenges to anticipate during the process and how to resolve them. Keep reading to learn more. 

Microsoft Access Vs Power Apps: Capabilities You Get by Using Power Apps Instead Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a relational database system within Microsoft 365 suite and can be used to store business information for reporting, reference, and analytics. The platform can also be used to build website databases and manage accounts or bills. On the other hand, Power Apps include a service-based suite of applications, connectors, and a database platform that provides a swift development environment for creating business-ready applications.  

Although MS Access and Power Apps are both powerful tools for building innovative business applications, there are key differentiators that make the latter a better choice for your organization. For instance, here are the capabilities that you’ll get after you migrate your Microsoft Access database to Power Apps:

Greater customization and extensibility

Unlike MS Access, Power Apps come with a visual development environment that features a drag-and-drop interface. This means you can swiftly build custom applications that synchronize with your unique business needs, even without extensive prior experience in coding. For startups that are running on a shoestring budget, this can mean a cost-saving opportunity by reducing overreliance on dedicated development resources. 

On top of that, you can leverage the platform’s suite of pre-built templates to design an intuitive and visually-appealing user interface that brings a higher adoption and satisfaction rate. If you need more extensibility and advanced customization, Power Apps also offers support for custom scripting—you can use JavaScript or the platform’s formula language, Power Fx.

Cross-platform compatibility

Another capability that you’ll get after you replace MS Access with Power Apps is cross-platform compatibility. Technically, this means you can build custom apps and deploy them for use on various platforms, including iOS and Android mobile operating systems and web browsers. This can increase flexibility to support remote work, a model that has proven to make employees 47% more productive. This capability can also help you increase customer engagement through consumer-facing solutions, such as mobile apps and self-service web portals.

Cloud-based deployment

As a cloud-native platform built on the Microsoft Power Platform, Power Apps inherent cloud-based deployment capabilities. This allows you to leverage cloud-based applications that can scale effortlessly to complement growing business needs without sacrificing high performance. Additionally, this capability translates to seamless updates and version control without the need to re-installing the updated software, saving you time to focus on user experience.

Better data connectivity and integration

Migration to Power Apps from Microsoft Access gives you a competitive edge with better data connectivity and integration. This is made possible with native connectors that seamlessly integrate with an array of data sources, including cloud-based platforms such as Salesforce and Azure SQL databases. With a custom API, you can use this capability to gain real-time data access for improved accuracy and decision-making.

Moreover, Power Apps support integration with legacy systems through a custom gateway and connectors, allowing you to include heritage technology in modern business applications. But even so, upgrading legacy systems is highly encouraged, especially if you’re going to prolong their value and lifespan.

Migration from MS Access to Power Apps in 10 Steps

Follow these steps to migrate your Microsoft Access database to Power Apps:

1. Comprehend your access application

The first step is to analyze your current Access database to comprehend its structure, dependencies, and functionalities. It will also help if you identify the application’s macros, forms, tables, and queries to document workflows and business logic.

2. Assess the feasibility of migration

Evaluate whether it’s feasible to migrate port MS access over to Power Apps and determine if your team requires special considerations during the process. This is especially true when the Access database features custom or highly-advanced functionalities.

3. Plan your Power Apps strategy 

Determine the goals and metrics that you want to achieve with Power Apps in terms of functionality, integration requirements, and user experience. Most importantly, define the scope of the migration and identify the data sources that need to be integrated with the new platform to develop a successful strategy. 

4. Design the Power Apps solution

The next step is designing the Power Apps platform, which extends to determining the navigation structure and layout of the screen. Also, you need to design Power Apps forms with their corresponding views and reports for seamless replication of access app functionality.

5. Migrate the data

Extract, clean, and transform the data in access to ensure compatibility with your Power Apps model. You can export this data to Azure SQL database, SharePoint lists, or any cloud-based platform of your choice.

6. Build the Power Apps solution

Create the screens, views, and Power Apps forms, based on the design created above and configure data sources using custom APIs. After building, use Power Automate to execute the business logic and workflows. 

7. Refine and optimize as much as needed

Go back to the users and stakeholders and collect their feedback on the new solution to optimize performance and fine-tune the user interface as much as needed. 

8. Implement training for user adoption

Provide users with resources and training courses to lower the learning curve and increase adoption rates.

9. Migrate users

Onboard users and move the Access database to Power Apps after setting necessary rights and permissions for individual access. You can use the active directory to manage user authentication.

10. Implement ongoing monitoring and support

Monitor usage and performance on an ongoing basis to provide necessary support and maintenance whenever issues arise.

Prevalent Challenges in Migrating from MS Access to Power Apps

While Power Apps offer a range of business benefits to take your organization to new heights, the migration process is not that easy. Expect to experience various challenges in migrating from MS Access to Power Apps, including: 

Data migration and integration 

Businesses usually integrate their access databases with external systems or data sources, which must be replicated in Power Apps. However, migrating and integrating data from these sources can be an uphill task, given that they all have unique architectures. This requires you to develop an encompassing data migration strategy that extends to extraction, transformation, and loading processes for a seamless transition. Moreover, you can also leverage native Power Apps connectors like Dynamics 365 or SharePoint to integrate the data. 

Legacy system integration 

The migration process can be more complicated if your existing Access database is integrated with legacy software or technologies, limiting its compatibility with Power Apps. To solve this, you can leverage alternative integration methods, such as custom API and connectors as data gateways for on-premise connections. 

Cost considerations 

There are various additional costs involved with the migration other than the project’s expense, including licensing fees and infrastructure requirements. Assess the available Power Apps licensing options to determine the best pricing model that offers swift scalability and long-term business benefits. Most importantly, work with a partner who helps you adopt a generally cost-effective migration plan to optimize expenses from the start. 

Ready to Migrate? Consider ModLogix as Your Trusted Partner 

ModLogix invites you to transform your tech heritage to future-proof business success through a range of custom services, including cloud migration, legacy application upgrades, and API integrations, among others. As a certified gold member of the Microsoft Partners Network, we have the expertise and knowledge resource to lend valuable help in migration from MS Access to Power Apps. 

We have a robust portfolio to demonstrate our maturity and experience in the field, including this SQL server upgrade project, where our team defied integration shortfalls and data issues to conduct successful data migration and standardization. The result was a fully functional Microsoft SQL Server 17 that unified systems and aligned business processes for greater flexibility and future growth prospects.

Contact us today to convert MS Access to Power Apps and experience a new business world of endless possibilities. 

Final Thoughts 

Using Power Apps as alternative for Microsoft Access empowers your organization to unlock limitless potential with cross-platform business applications that readily integrate with an external data source of choice. While there are various challenges that you might face during migration, including legacy system integration, working with a knowledgeable and experienced partner will help you solve them for faster setup and successful adoption of Power Apps. 

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