If you need on-premise or aren't looking to use Azure, Microsoft PowerApps may not be for you.
“It’s cheap and we already have it!”
The ubiquity of Microsoft platforms in corporations makes the PowerApps app maker seem like a natural choice. PowerApps works with Microsoft applications, offers some simple tools for app development, and pricing starts low. So why is Microsoft PowerApps rarely selected for mobile app development? It quickly becomes clear that PowerApps doesn’t stand up to the needs of organizations that need enterprise-class apps.
One of the biggest surprises companies encounter when they evaluate Microsoft PowerApps is that it isn’t a “free” enterprise product. In most cases, basic enterprise-ready apps require additional modules and licensing. What starts out as a low-cost solution quickly strains budgets as enterprise requirements expand. PowerApps costs increase quickly for advanced apps and connections to non-Microsoft systems.
One of the benefits of upgrading your paper process to mobile apps is the ability to take full advantage of new smartphone features. But PowerApps doesn’t always deliver if you want to use the camera, scan barcodes, record audio, or capture a signature. For example:
If you want to use any level of authentication in PowerApps, you'll need to use Azure as your active directory.
Cloud hosting is fine for many apps but not all. Security and privacy-conscious organizations often need more control of the highly sensitive data that drives their business. They cannot be limited to only using Microsoft’s cloud. PowerApps does not support on-premise hosting.
Does your organization have strict policies that require on-premise hosting? Power Apps isn't for you.
Gartner analyst Kyle Davis wrote: “PowerApps is a public-cloud-only service. Organizations seeking to deploy apps on-premises will need to consider an hpaPaaS, which offers an on-premises platform such as Alpha Software...”
For companies that want customized branded apps, Power Apps also has limitations. To run PowerApps on mobile devices your apps must run within its mobile app, which doesn't allow you to craft your own branded mobile apps to submit to the app stores.
Robust offline capabilities are critical for enterprise apps or the app isn’t truly a mobile solution. PowerApps doesn’t offer features that are critical to the enterprise such as efficient data synchronization, fast updates, and conflict resolution. Field service employees, emergency workers, and other standing workers must be able to effectively do their job, even without a working network connection. PowerApps lacks robust offline capabilities.
Microsoft encourages companies to stay within its ecosystem and PowerApps is no exception. While Integration with Microsoft’s solutions is easy, this is not enough for most organizations who operate platforms from multiple vendors. Integration with Non-Microsoft systems is difficult to do and increases cost.
For simple data collection needs, such as polling, Microsoft PowerApps is a good solution; but most enterprise use cases go beyond the product’s capabilities. Typical smartphone, integration and security requirements will quickly tax the product, users and corporate budgets. Most organizations select NonMicrosoft solutions for App development to ensure an ability to grow as business requirements change.
Alpha Software helps thousands of citizen developers build the apps they need for their organizations. With built-in security, offline capability, rich mobile data collection, and affordable pricing, Alpha Software is a great alternative to Microsoft Power Apps.