Can you picture your boss building an app? Just as anyone who wields PowerPoint can create a logo, now anyone can build a business app, thanks to Microsoft's new PowerApps, a new enterprise service to help workers create apps.
Introduced last week at its annual Convergence MEA, Microsoft's Software as a Service (SaaS) PowerApps can also connect to business systems in a secure way and let employees share their apps with coworkers. The service was hinted at in April of this year, thanks to a leaked job posting seeking developers to create mobile-first, cloud-based apps.
The company's foray into business apps appears to be a response to what it cites as a lag in business apps at the expense of personal apps, compounded by a lack of skilled developers, a confusion of business data stored in a range of systems and difficulties getting apps onto employee phones.
Microsoft designed its app creator to be easy to use, and the apps should work on any device using a Microsoft Office-like experience.
Making Enterprise App-Creation Easy
Microsoft provides a highly pictorial drag and drop interface including templates for building basic apps with a few clicks. The PowerApps can be connected to cloud services like Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, Dropbox and OneDrive as well as on-premises systems like SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle databases, SAP and more.
The apps are made available through the central PowerApps app on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, as well as on the web. Sharing them with co-workers is just a matter of sending a link to the app.
PowerApps complements the infrastructure of Azure, since it enables in-house developers to build data connections and APIs to existing business systems. Developers can manage existing corporate APIs using Azure Active Directory.
Microsoft's interest in business apps is nothing unique, with companies like Salesforce and Pipedrive already invested in the market. But its brand recognition and good reputation holds it in good stead.
Image courtesy of Microsoft