Microsoft PowerApps: The Age of Citizen Developers

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Recently, I was on an 8-hour road trip to a customer with a colleague who is much younger than me. We were talking about events in our lives that trigger flashbulb memories – extremely vivid memories that you can remember what you were doing and where you were at the time. One of my flashbulb memories is when my chemistry teacher was talking about how he could not wait for Windows 95 to come out so he could start using it.

Looking Back: Windows 95, Multi-Colored iMacs, and PDAs 

Looking back on the past, we can see how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time. Think about it. We are fast approaching 24 years since Windows changed the way people do business, with the initial release of Windows 95. Don't get me wrong, Apple has made significant impacts too. For example, launching the multi-colored iMac G3. They were everywhere in the 90s and people loved the multi-colored monitors. We also had the emergence of the Palm Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The PDA was the beginning of the age of creating a digital world that allows individuals to have information at their fingertips. 

Everything we do today has an intersection with technology in some shape or form. Typically, in the form of a mobile device (e.g. phone or tablet). We use these devices because they are easily accessible and provide information to make quick decisions. But have you ever wondered how we got to this point? 

Information Technology: Then vs. Now

Technology has been shifting dramatically to focus on engaging business users, rather than individuals. For example, an Information Technology (IT) department has always been there to develop an app, database, or collaboration system to perform daily operations. And Microsoft has always been there to create Excel Spreadsheets, Access Databases, and leverage SharePoint. 

But Microsoft took it a step further by introducing the general availability of PowerApps. PowerApps once again is changing the way people do business. 

For those who don't know, Microsoft uses the phrase, "Apps that Mean Business: Easily build the business apps you need and extend or customize the apps you already use,” to describe PowerApps. For an individual like myself, one who loves technology, I'm always looking for a better way of doing business. Many of my colleagues around me will hear me say, "I'm the laziest man you will ever meet." The point is, I'm not lazy in the sense that I don't want to do anything. I'm lazy in the sense that I don't want to do the same thing over and over when I can apply my technical knowhow to solve common business problems. And of course, share the wealth with individuals around me. 

Microsoft PowerApps and Citizen Developer

Microsoft PowerApps has enabled me to build "real world" business applications without the need to get the IT Department involved. You may be telling yourself that you can already do that with an Access Database or an Excel Spreadsheet. That may be true but are you able to build an application designed for mobile devices that can connect to pretty much any data source that allows a connection? This can be the entire Microsoft ecosystem or beyond Microsoft. If you need to connect to data that sits in an Oracle database, Salesforce, or a cloud service that has an open API, PowerApps has you covered. PowerApps continues to grow their capabilities with multiple releases every year. 

So why would you want to choose PowerApps as a platform? PowerApps provides a platform where I can build apps and essentially drag and drop objects (e.g., Textbox, Label, Buttons, etc.) that can be leveraged to retrieve data or even interact with data, regardless of the data source. PowerApps is quickly becoming a go-to application for power users or “citizen developers”. It is no longer the age of IT departments having a developer write custom code that allows the application to run on a mobile device. You, the citizen developer, can begin creating applications that empower you and your team to collect and maintain data while executing business process automation.

Empower Your Business to Innovate

Microsoft PowerApps is here to stay. It is the low/no-code development, drag-and-drop interface that is turning the way we do business into something that can be brought to the team in a matter of hours or weeks rather than months or years. It is time to embrace the change and harness the power of citizen developers.

enVista is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and can answer any questions related to Microsoft PowerApps. Additionally, we implement and support the entire Microsoft suite to help you maximize your investment. If you have any questions, we are here to help. Let’s have a conversation.TM

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