Why Use PowerApps?

Up until the advent of low-code development platforms, building and customizing enterprise-grade applications was a complicated, time-consuming and expensive undertaking. Professional development teams would be needed to build the supporting infrastructure, writing multiple lines of custom code for each new application. And, with the constant demand for new applications to solve business problems, there was never enough resource. PowerApps was created to create bespoke applications using visual tools, workflow engines and data in their existing systems. The result, the ability to build applications that solve real business problems, integrate with core business systems and  work across all platforms and devices. 

What is PowerApps?

An offering from Microsoft, PowerApps is a low-code/no-code development platform that gives you the ability to build new apps in a fraction of the usual time. PowerApps is associated with the Office 365 tools that you know and love, leveraging many of their features and giving businesses of all sizes the opportunity to build custom apps, drive process automation and create efficiencies. 

In the words of Microsoft, PowerApps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment for your business needs. What this means is that with very little coding knowledge, you can get an application up and running. And not just any application; applications built with PowerApps connect to your business data wherever it is stored and can be deployed instantly across all platforms and devices. 

The main features of PowerApps include:

  • The ability to create business apps for mobile and desktop.

  • A simple drag and drop visual interface for application design.

  • Familiar excel-type expressions to define business logic and workflow capabilities.

  • Connectors to over 200 different apps and data sources.

PowerApps makes fast, customised app development accessible to every business without the costs associated with traditional development. The result is that your business is able to convert manual processes into automated digital processes that are fully responsive and run seamlessly on all devices. And, any user can do it, without the need to write code. 

The Benefits of Using PowerApps

PowerApps puts the power in everyone’s hands to build applications. Whether it is a business user creating a simple app with the drag and drop designer or a professional developer using the extension to take apps to the next level with advanced AI capabilities. With PowerApps, your business can:

  • Improve productivity – by using PowerApps to eliminate manual processes, forms and workflows you can empower your employees to achieve more.

  • Increase resource – PowerApps is intuitive and easy to use meaning that your IT team can start building apps immediately, and the rest of the business can learn in just a short time. 

  • Remain compliant – PowerApps provides a secure application environment ensuring that data security and compliance are safeguarded.

  • Take control – PowerApps has an admin centre which enables you to see all of your apps, users and permissions to ensure you have full control and flexibility at all times. 

  • Achieve more – by unlocking data from the different places within your organisation, regardless of whether in the cloud on on-premises, you can create maximum functionality within your apps.

  • Stay connected – as PowerApps integrates with many of the apps and data sources you already use, such as SharePoint and Dynamics, you can create one connected platform.

Why Choose PowerApps Over the Alternatives?

If you’ve been considering using a low-code development platform, it’ll come as no surprise that the market is developing quickly. So, with around 100 vendors fighting for dominance, what puts PowerApps at the front of the race? The short answer is that Microsoft has adjacent-market power and deep pockets, but more importantly than that it has a strong product. Microsoft is vying to dominate the most common use cases for low-code and process automation by:

  • Offering a bundled platform – PowerApps is more than an individual platform; it comes as a combined offering with Power Automate, Office 365 and Dynamics. If your business already uses Microsoft products then it is an obvious choice. The platform is deeply integrated with the Office tools you already use, making adoption and integration a much easier process. 

  • Investing in technology – being a heavyweight in the field of low-code platforms, Microsoft can afford to make major investments in technology. This will include moving PowerAutomate from a basic workflow product to a true DPA platform for wide deployments along with other sophisticated use cases. For example, Microsoft has announced that it will incorporate robotic process automation capabilities into its offering this year. 

  • Exposing more business people to software development – chances are most of your employees use Microsoft tools every day. By making a low-code platform that leverages the Office skills of your existing workforce, you are able to create a new class of developers. With more business people able to build simple applications, you can vastly improve productivity. 

Ultimately, what sets PowerApps apart is that it can be used by developers and non-technical developers. By achieving this, the platform can bring the power of process automation to a non-technical audience and help your business deliver more. 

Developing Your Low-Code Strategy

If you already use Microsoft products, and you need to build more applications more quickly, it could well be time to develop your low-code strategy. If Microsoft continues with its level of investment and support to date, it may well be like SharePoint, suddenly present in every enterprise. To get the best out of what PowerApps has to offer, you need to create governance and create business value that aligns with your strategy. This will mean offering a level of  training to your professional developers and citizen developers, ensuring governance over application development and integration, and developing technology standards that manage the power that you will be putting in everyone’s hands. 

PowerApps certainly has a lot to offer your business; you should consider using the low-code platform if you’d like to have more:

  • Productivity- eliminate manual processes, forms and workflows and empower your employees to achieve more.

  • Resource – PowerApps is intuitive and easy to use, meaning that both professional developers and business users can deliver enterprise-grade applications.

  • Compliance – PowerApps provides a secure application environment ensuring that data security and compliance are safeguarded.

  • Control – PowerApps has an admin centre which enables you to see all of your apps, users and permissions at all times. 

  • Integration – PowerApps integrates with many of the apps and data sources you already use, working to build one created platform and one source of the truth. 

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About the author

Drew Alexander is the Co-CEO of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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