Microsoft PowerApps Challenge Salesforce Lightning as Low-Code MADP Market Heats Up

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• Microsoft PowerApps, its new mobile app platform for citizen developers, eases the ability to mobilize traditional business apps.

• PowerApps and other low-code development platforms will drive business to vendors’ cloud services.

One of the year’s most significant development trends has been the expansion of application development frameworks to provide the “citizen developer” with low-code tools. Microsoft is the latest to join the fray of application platform and MADP vendors in offering such toolsets.

Enterprise developers are under pressure to quickly create new mobile apps, which make employees more efficient, while creating client-facing apps that help companies transform their businesses. Companies want their savvy mobile developers to focus on business-to-consumer (B2C) application development projects, which has prompted app platforms providers to offer companies scaled-down platforms, so that employees can create business-to-employee (B2E) applications. These toolsets support low-coding requirements – leveraging pre-built templates and drag-and-drop capabilities – to ease the development process.

Numerous vendors have expanded their application development portfolios with frameworks and tools to simplify and speed app development over the past 18 months, most notably Salesforce with the release of its popular Lightning product about a year ago.

Now Microsoft has released PowerApps, which lets businesses mobilize on-premises apps and SaaS. The tools are powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure, which enables backend integration of the apps via Azure App Service and APIs (both Microsoft’s and third-party APIs).

The evolving application development framework market segment helps illustrate the growing need for cloud services, PaaS in particular, to ease backend integration complexities through services such as MBaaS, APIs, and analytics. Azure had an early lead in the PaaS space (and IaaS as well), including MBaaS and mobile app platform technologies as part of its platform services.

Throughout 2016, we’ll continue to see technologies that speed and simplify mobile app development, including API services at the backend and UX-related products at the front end to improve the user experience.

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