Menu
Microsoft's new service makes app developers out of everyday employees

Microsoft's new service makes app developers out of everyday employees

PowerApps lets anyone build a cross-platform mobile application

Work is growing increasingly mobile thanks to smartphones, but companies can have a hard time coping with demand for apps that let their workers take corporate data on the go. Mobile developers are expensive, and getting new applications tested and then pushed out to users can be a time-consuming process. 

Microsoft just unveiled a new beta service on Monday that's supposed to help ease that tension by allowing anyone to build an app -- no software development experience required. PowerApps combines a cloud application backend with easy-to-use tools that make creating a mobile app a drag-and-drop affair. 

PowerApps applications can pull in information from a variety of data sources including Office 365, Dynamics, Google Drive, Workday and other services. Developers can also build connections for PowerApps in their own services if there isn’t a connector already available. 

Once the data connection is set up, users can then start building an application interface from one of Microsoft’s pre-built templates, or plug key data into PowerApps and let the service suggest the right designs for their purposes. Those people who have a strong idea for what they want their app to look like can create it from scratch. 

Once users have built the apps  they want, they can then use Microsoft's service to share their newly created tools with coworkers who have the PowerApps application installed on their smartphones. 

The system is currently limited to building software that runs inside the PowerApps app on mobile devices, however, so employees won’t be able to push their creations to the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bill Staples said during a press briefing that Microsoft will consider feedback from its customers when determining if the company should make it possible to create standalone applications using PowerApps. 

Right now, PowerApps is available in a limited public beta: anyone can sign up for an invitation, but Microsoft has the final say over who gets to try PowerApps right now. 

Users will be able to get their feet wet with PowerApps for free, and can use the service to create unlimited apps that integrate with up to two cloud data providers. The paid Standard tier allows unlimited cloud data integrations and an Enterprise tier lets users build apps that take advantage of data stored on-premises.

Microsoft hasn’t revealed an exact price for the two tiers, but Staples said that it will be sold on a per-seat basis, and Microsoft wouldn't require companies to pay for the cloud infrastructure running their applications. 

Another interesting thing about PowerApps is that it’s a direct competitor to one of the companies in Microsoft’s venture capital portfolio. SkyGiraffe is a Silicon Valley-based startup that offers very similar tools, and has been backed by Microsoft Ventures. While SkyGiraffe and Microsoft have been connected for several years, this new product doesn't have direct ties to the startup. 

This new service is another part of Microsoft’s push to let rank-and-file employees work together spontaneously without the help (or meddling, depending on your perspective) of IT and management. Earlier this year, the company released Office 2016, a major release of its productivity suite focused on helping employees work together. 


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Featured

Slideshows

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
An Evening With Eugene Kaspersky for Kiwi partners in Auckland

An Evening With Eugene Kaspersky for Kiwi partners in Auckland

​New Zealand partners came together for An Evening With Eugene Kaspersky in Auckland, an invitation only event as part of Kaspersky Lab Partner Engage. Following an evening of insights and executive networking with the founder of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, Kiwi partners got up close and personal with Eugene in an unprecedented​ panel discussion. Facilitated by Reseller News, this panel explored channel relationships, successful business strategies, and the latest ground breaking technologies to impact the security market. Photos by Maria Stefina.

An Evening With Eugene Kaspersky for Kiwi partners in Auckland
Show Comments