Microsoft announced a new enterprise solution called PowerApps aimed at helping workers connect, cretae, and share business apps with their teams on any device.
Employees can create apps that work on any device using what the company refers to as a Microsoft Office-like experience, templates, and a visual designer to automate workflows. PowerApps can be connected to cloud services like Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, Dropbox, and/or OneDrive as well as on-premises systems like SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle databases, SAP, etc.
PowerApps can be shared like documents. Employees can type an email address and co-workers can use accordingly.
For developers and IT personnel, PowerApps include Azure App Service for employee-facing apps. Additional data connections and APIs can be built for existing business systems. Data security and privacy controls are respected by PowerApps.
In discussing why Microsoft developed PowerApps, Bill Staples explains, "The way we do work today is fundamentally different than just a few years ago. Work happens on our phones, tablets and laptops everywhere we go: on manufacturing floors, in airplanes or at customer meetings. The mobile revolution, together with nearly limitless compute and data in the cloud, has transformed our professional experience."
"And yet, the apps we use to do business have been slow to keep pace with employee demand," he adds. "While companies are increasingly turning to SaaS solutions for specific scenarios like CRM, travel and HR, using services like Microsoft Dynamics, Concur or Workday, most business app scenarios still remain locked on premises, dependent on corporate connected PCs. Too often, they’re not optimized for mobile, not easily integrated with other services, and not accessible when and where people need them most – on the device they want to use in that moment. The business app category continues to lag behind consumer app scenarios in terms of richness and ubiquity. "
According to Staples, Microsoft identified three key problems causing the "innovation gap". These are a lack of skilled mobile developers, business data proliferation, and friction when it comes to IT agility and app sharing.
PowerApps is supposed to be the answer to these problems.
Image via Microsoft