PowerApps – Why invest in the technology

I’m often asked if the investment in the Power Platform is good value for money, especially with so many unknowns about the licencing future of the products and Microsoft’s own agenda for it not being entirely clear.

The difficulty here is understanding what that investment actually is; with the October update the Power Platform now sits among many, many other services that offer mobile applications, workflow or process automation. This licence update alone has converted the Power Platform into a premium service itself.

For a couple of years now, while the platform has developed the offerings that have been a no brainier – as part of the Office 365 suite PowerApps and Flow offered such great functionality at no extra cost, that there were few questions about realising the benefits.

Communities have developed around the products and the whole commercial arena has backed and supported the development of them. We’ve often been seen celebrating the release of features that many platforms would not dare to go live without (copy and paste for one).

With the astronomic popularity of Microsoft Teams, again offered in-part as a free service and with integration with the Power Platform so simple, this has led to more and more business users learning and following the development of the tools.

Microsoft has now invested heavily in these products; they have developed them beyond the simple tools they were and they have recognised that more development is needed to keep and grow that value.

So, while there is much trepidation around the new pricing model and it’s not entirely clear how it will all wash out longer term, right now is it still worth the commercial investment? ….I genuinely believe it is…

If you’ve ever seen me speak, you’ll know that the whole Office 365 offering is the value that I get excited about – and I do enthuse a great deal about it! But do really consider this when thinking about platform choice, the tooling is all connected in a way that you cannot get elsewhere. The inter-connectivity of the tooling within it makes the Office 365 platform the most powerful business platform to date. Where else do you have baked in Identity, messaging, security, document control, knowledge management, automation and reporting – all linked to the most popular business content creation tools on the market.

I’m not a Microsoft “cool aid drinker” – I would seriously not be using the tools without the belief that they were the best business tools available.

So, why would you invest – the answer is simple – you have a tool that is easy to develop, easy to adopt and easy to deploy…if you had been asked a year ago for “holy grail” of business automation and user engagement I strongly suspect you would have written the user story that fully describes the PowerApps platform.

It should be noted that PowerApps is massively empowered by its partner power platform application “Microsoft Flow” and it’s best friend for data insight: Power BI.

One thing I would say about making this investment now – early adopters have had the luxury of being able to have a reference project live in the business to demonstrate the value add – now, with more expensive licencing options I see organisations needing to provide a planned suite of apps and a road-map of continual development to prove the value out – it’s clear though that there is a break-even point in every organisation when the value will far out weight the cost.

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