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Chukke
Regular Visitor

Building Power App on top of Access database with VBA tool

At our company we have an extensive dataset with a large VBA application. Overall user satisfaction with this VBA application is high, but we do not want to add new features to an old program. However, we want to keep the VBA application with its current functionalities.

Now, we would like to use a PowerApp which uses the data in the Microsoft Access database. I was surprised to hear that it is not possible to connect our Access database to PowerApps. I found that it is possible to migrate the Access database to a Dataverse database, but following questions remain:

  • Would this mean we can no longer use our VBA application to modify and interect with the data in our Access database. Or is it possible to automatically sync the Dataverse database with our Access database so we keep the data identical?
  • If no, what are our options? Rebuild the VBA application in PowerApps with a Dataverse back-end?

I look forward to hearing your insights.

4 REPLIES 4
AhmedSalih
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hello, @Chukke, according to the documentation you can keep the link between Dataverse and Access tables. That means your users can still use the VBA to update the access data which will reflect in your Dataverse tables as well.

 

Once migrated, Access users can continue using their existing desktop client to manage their data. They're also able to use Power Platform to manage their data. Plus, they can:

  • Create applications for desktop, laptop, phone, and tablet.
  • Create automated processes based on the data and services in Dataverse or Dataverse for Teams.
  • Create AI-driven virtual assistants based on the data.
  • Perform deep analysis on the stored data using business intelligence.

 

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dpoggemann
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @Chukke ,

 

Overall I have worked with a number of Access and other legacy technology applications and migrated them to Model-Driven application with Dataverse backends.  In general this is a great strategy long term to support growth, ability to leverage AI, strong security, etc. etc. etc.  

 

Microsoft Access has some great capabilities as you know and I have had challenges in the past migrating to the Power Apps side.  Specific areas of challenges have been in areas of the reporting, complex columns in Access, and UI complexity.

 

There is no option to utilize a Power App that leverages Access Database on the backend, it supports the opposite as mentioned by @AhmedSalih above.

 

Normally I see it as a "re-imagining" of the application and business processes and look at how it can be moved to a full Power Apps solution (usually primarily model-app but I have had great success with Custom Pages and Embedded Canvas Apps to help provide some advanced capabilities).  

 

 

 

 

Hope this helps. Please accept if answers your question or Like if helps in any way.
Thanks,
Drew
Chukke
Regular Visitor

Thank you @dpoggemann and @AhmedSalih  for your replies.

 

Ahmed I agree that a complete overhaul would be an ideal scenario and it is the long-term path we are thriving to do.

Has any of you had any experience in running existing VBA applications in Access on the migrated Dataverse database? I know you can migrate, but I fear that the existing VBA applications would seize to work.

dpoggemann
Most Valuable Professional
Most Valuable Professional

Hi @Chukke 

I have prototyped it only but there were a number of limitations when I completed.  See the details herehttps://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-apps/maker/data-platform/migrate-access-to-dataverse 

 

Overall this could be a first step and you could start from a copy of your Access database to see any issues that arise but rewriting to be cloud first would be the best solution in my opinion.  I know this is sometimes a big effort though.

 

Hope this helps. Please accept if answers your question or Like if helps in any way.
Thanks,
Drew

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