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Microsoft PowerApps: A Simple Platform to Build More Powerful, Customized Apps

by Nagarajan Anandan

In an effort to introduce a, quicker and easier, no-code development platform at a reduced cost (if not altogether free) Microsoft has introduced a powerful, agile, user-friendly, and incredibly helpful tool for both non-professionals and experienced coders: Microsoft PowerApps.

Microsoft has introduced a powerful, agile, user-friendly, and incredibly helpful tool for both non-professionals and experienced coders: Microsoft PowerApps.

It’s another way of making application development available in largely a drag-and-drop environment to those organizations that don’t have the manpower, budget, or resources to utilize the traditional application development model. It’s also a way professional developer can create apps quickly and with more flexibility. With Microsoft PowerApps, companies who don’t have a developer budget or even a developer at all can quickly build a customized app from scratch, which they can easily share with their team.

Consider these benefits:

Usability

In the past, app development was an endeavor that only a small number of professionals could accomplish. The skill level and experience needed for even the most basic business solution applications was too high. Companies could only code when someone who could code was available to code. That meant specialized personnel and increased cost. With PowerApps, new apps can be conceived, built, and distributed all within the group that needs them. There is still a level of expertise and skill needed to create a workable, useful app, but all the necessary parts and instructions are built into the PowerApps for anyone to use.

Speed

In today’s fast and furious pace of business, the lack of speed kills. Projects need to be completed yesterday and hesitation and slower-than-necessary practices can not only cost accounts but also an organization’s livelihood. That’s one of the greatest benefits of PowerApps: how little time it takes to create a functional, customized app. PowerApps eliminates many elements from the traditional app development process and it can prototype the app right in the interface. Speed is a virtue when it comes to customized business app development.

Agility and ease of use

Coding can be a much-involved, intimidating process for a non-programmer. PowerApps replaces that difficult coding with a process that is largely drag and drop-based. Whether it’s a mobile or in-house desktop app, PowerApps enables all the usual work associated with creating the app fit the organization’s environment. It deals with the issues of frameworks, dependencies, and libraries for you behind the scenes, so that you can concentrate on the who, what, where, and why; they’ll handle the how.

Integration

You’re probably asking the question, Is it too good to be true? It’s a great platform and all, but will it work for our organization to meet our purposes and goals with our infrastructure and systems? The fact that it’s a Microsoft product should put your mind to ease. They’re compatible with just about everything, right? Because of PowerApps integrates with Office 365, Microsoft Flow, and Microsoft BI, it’s easy to get data into and out of Sharepoint, Excel, or any of the other apps on which your business depends.

Mobility

And since so many people are using their phones as their go-to communication centers these days and some apps just don’t look or operate the same from a desktop to a mobile environment, it’s important that PowerApps is mobile friendly. PowerApps allows you to develop a phone form factor right in the same interface so you’ll always know that those accessing it on either a desktop or mobile will enjoy the same experience.

Empathetic Expectations

One of the greatest challenges to digital transformation success is the human factor of change. Few people like it. Information meetings and constant reminders that the change is not a threat but a necessary step toward improved performance is essential. How are you preparing your staff for change?

Cost

Last but certainly not least, and in some cases, the most attractive characteristic of PowerApps is the cost. Individual users can run applications for a specific business scenario with full PowerApps capabilities for around $10 per month or individuals can run an unlimited number of apps without any feature restrictions for $40 per month. PowerApps for Office 365 licenses are even included in many of the business-level Office 365 subscriptions—which means it’s free for basic apps using basic connectors. Chances are you may even have access to it now.

There are no more excuses anymore for developing that perfect app for your workgroup. You no longer need to hire or wait for the expertise and availability of a seasoned developer. With Microsoft PowerApps, the ability to create customized apps quicker is now possible through an easier process and interfaces, the cost is minimal if not nonexistent, and the up-side of having your own customized app for efficiency and improved productivity—and profitability—is just too great to pass by.

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