Report: Microsoft Power Apps a 'Leader' in Low-Code Movement

Research firm Forrester has identified Microsoft Power Apps to be one of four leaders in the fast-growing low-code/no-code application development market.

The three other leading vendors named in Forrester's "Low-Code Development Platforms for Professional Developers, Q2 2021" report are Mendix, OutSystems and ServiceNow. Power Apps, the low-code development component of Microsoft's larger Power Platform, ranked third on an index measuring the strength of current offerings.

The low-code movement has exploded in recent years due to increased demand for enterprise applications amid a dearth of experienced professional coding talent able to harness the greater power of more advanced tools like Visual Studio and VS Code. The global pandemic served to further that growth, Forrester indicated.

"As the COVID crisis proved, rapid app development and constant iteration in software have become table stakes. Thus, low-code platforms are now a first-class development approach. At the same time, vendors from more specialized segments are maturing their capabilities across a wider range of use cases and developer personas -- leading to a convergence in the digital process automation (DPA) and low-code markets," Forrester said.

Power Apps enables users to create their own applications typically for specific business functions, while also providing professional developers with a simple and quick development route, the latter being the focus of this report. Professional coders are among several different constituencies targeted with the product:

  • App makers/creators: They can create basic canvas, model-driven, and portal apps.
  • App users: They can run apps created by themselves or shared with them by other creators, on mobile devices or browsers.
  • Admins: They create and manage environments, users, roles, and data-loss prevention policies.
  • Developers: They can write code to extend the basic functionality of simple Power Apps.

Last year, Microsoft announced Power Apps enhancements including mixed reality, canvas/model support in a new mobile app, UX improvements and more. These and other moves have resulted in a glowing review from Forrester.

"Ubiquitous in enterprise, Microsoft's Power Apps is fast becoming a standardized low-code platform of choice," the report says. "The software giant's aligned technology strategy -- from Azure to Office, with Power Apps as the low-code lingua franca at the center -- is powerful and unique."

However, the report also mentions weaknesses. "A key weakness is the portfolio approach to adjacent Power Platform capabilities (such as Power BI) and useful Azure services (such as Azure DevOps), which must all be separately licensed and can cause confusion. Also, Power Apps is only available through a traditional PaaS model -- a mismatch for customers that must deploy their apps on-premises or to another cloud provider."

"Microsoft is a logical fit for customers wishing to launch their pro coders and technically minded Office users together into the low-code age," Forrester said in concluding its Power Apps profile.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.