With the overall advancement in technology, there has been wide adoption of Low-Code and No-Code platforms. Enterprise Business Functions globally require quick roll-out for their business applications as their needs are time-sensitive. In view of this, the definition by Forrester, who first coined the term low-code, makes for an exciting read. “Low-code platforms enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.”
Low-code Platforms and Their Significance
For a non-technical person, low-code platforms are software development tools that enable the creation of applications with minimal hand-coding. These platforms provide a visual interface and pre-built components, allowing users to drag and drop elements to design, develop, and deploy applications quickly and with reduced effort. Some of the popular platforms for application development include Appian, Salesforce Lightning, Microsoft PowerApps (one of the four components of Microsoft Power Automate), Nintex, Zoho Creator, etc.
Hardly a business can operate today without using the Microsoft suite of applications to manage business operations. For the scope of this article series, we will limit ourselves to Microsoft Suite.
Power Platform – An Integrated Suite of Business Applications
Power Platform is an integrated suite of business application tools developed by Microsoft. It comprises four main components:
- PowerApps: As mentioned earlier, PowerApps is a part of the Power Platform and enables users to build custom applications. With PowerApps, users can connect to various data sources, such as SharePoint, Excel, and Dynamics 365, to create functional and interactive apps. These components can include forms, galleries, charts, and various data sources such as SharePoint lists, Excel files, SQL databases, and more. PowerApps also supports integrations with other non-Microsoft services like Adobe, AWS, DocuSign, Salesforce, SAP, etc.
- Power BI: Power BI is a business intelligence tool that enables users to visualize and analyze data from various sources. It provides interactive dashboards, reports, and data exploration capabilities. The speed of PowerBI has been unprecedented amongst all the other Data Visualization tools, and that is so evident with the growth in the developer community.
- Power Automate: Formerly known as Microsoft Flow, Power Automate is a workflow and automation platform. It allows users to create automated processes that integrate different applications and services. It supports both cloud-based and on-premises solutions.
- Power Virtual Agents: Power Virtual Agents is a chatbot development platform. It enables users to create and deploy intelligent chatbots without extensive coding knowledge. The chatbots can be integrated with various channels, such as websites, Microsoft Teams, and Facebook Messenger.
Powerpacked Microsoft Bundle of Services for Businesses
With Microsoft providing some of the above as a bundle of services, either through the web or desktop version, user adoption has been quick, and going back to the Forrester definition, there is a minimal investment upfront in setup, training, and deployment.
In summary, PowerApps is one of the components of the Power Platform that focuses on creating custom applications, while the Power Platform encompasses a broader suite of tools, including PowerApps, Power BI, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents, that enable users to build, analyze, automate, and communicate within their business applications. In our next article, we will focus only on PowerApps and some of the use cases associated with it.