We hope everyone had a chance to “attend” Microsoft Ignite the week of September 21, 2020. There were certainly some excellent sessions covering the Power Platform creating a step-change in organizational agility, learning how Dynamics 365 provides an extensible foundation for accelerating and enhancing business value, and building agile business processes with Power Apps. And of course, the upcoming Teams features (telephony and otherwise) will continue streamlining access to information across all 365 workloads. If you missed these and other sessions, you can re-watch them here.
After watching the sessions, I wanted to take a deeper dive into Power Apps. As one of the main components of the Power Platform, Power Apps is a leader in the Enterprise Low-Code Application Platform space that customers are likely not taking advantage of even though it may be included in their monthly Microsoft 365 licensing (E3 or E5). Instead, we find they are spending additional – at times considerable – expense on other 3rd party products or building custom applications.
Innovating with Power Apps
Whether you are an SMB or larger, Power Apps is changing application development through these innovation areas:
Low code is the future – No matter who you are, Power Apps is disrupting business software development. Millions of new citizen developers (which we will discuss later) are learning to create apps, and development professionals are doing more while focusing on the code that matters.
Modern intranet: Power Platform + Teams + SharePoint – Power Apps is built into the productivity experiences of Microsoft 365 as a deeply integrated feature of services, like SharePoint and Teams. If you have an E3 or E5 license, you can start learning how to create apps right now.
Uncommon power in the Common Data Service – The Common Data Service is a platform that sits under the most sophisticated Microsoft business applications, including Dynamics 365.
Bring your best cloud with “no limits” extensibility – Beyond Teams, SharePoint, and the Common Data Service, hundreds of data sources and online services are connected to Power Apps in a few clicks. Anything that isn’t already built-in can be connected by building custom connectors.
Power Apps for all – Power Apps used to be for internal apps to be shared with coworkers, but now it has expanded so you can share information and access data via portals, and guests can have access as well.
AI, RPA, and Virtual Agents – Power Apps, as part of the Power Platform, can leverage Microsoft’s AI Builder, Robotic Process Automation, and Virtual Agents to bring new levels of productivity to the organization.
A global community at your fingertips – The real power of the platform is not in technology at all – it is the worldwide community that has embraced the new paradigm for application development.
Low-code application platforms are mainstream now and being used to increase productivity and drive down expenses related to development and maintenance while empowering the citizen developer. Power Apps (and the Power Platform) is for all users, whether citizen developers, IT administrators, or professional developers.
A citizen developer is a user who is not a professional developer but still creates professional-grade applications. Anyone can become a citizen developer, and often they are “power users” or subject matter experts closer to the business problem that needs to be solved. By 2023, citizen developers will be at least 4Xs the number of professional developers in enterprises (Gartner). This trend will affect SMBs as well, as more SMBs are looking for more efficient ways to develop custom apps. More importantly, organizations are potentially already paying for Power Apps but not even using it.
Power Apps empowers everyone, no matter their skill set, to add business value by quickly and securely developing innovative apps that reduce inefficiencies and solve business challenges. Pre-built templates and drag-and-drop simplicity accelerate app development and allow developers to focus on innovating and turning their ideas into rapidly deployed solutions for the business.
The capabilities continue to evolve monthly, but here are a few of the areas already out for consumption:
Ride the Wave
Remember the SharePoint “wave”? Power Platform is the next “wave” – time to ride the wave. Engage with Abel Solutions and let us help you maximize your investment in the cloud and leverage Power Apps in your organization.
This month’s Insight was written by Abel Solutions’ Vice President, Scott Burba.