Gartner once again recognises Microsoft as a Magic Quadrant Leader in enterprise low-code application platforms.
Microsoft is a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (Sep – 2020). Its LCAP1 consists of Microsoft Power Apps, which includes entitlements for Power Automate and the Common Data Service. Together, these form part of the Power Platform (which adds Power BI for business analytics and Power Virtual Agents for low-code chatbots). Microsoft’s operations are in locations worldwide. Its customers are in a variety of industries and of varying sizes. Power Apps operates in canvas and model-driven modes, and Power Automate provides business logic and integrations. Innovations on Microsoft’s roadmap include support for Power Apps in Microsoft Teams to deploy solutions and templates, enabling remote workers, and expanding AI and RPA accessibility.
- Product strategy: Microsoft enables fusion teams with no-code and advanced pro developer capabilities. Microsoft offers one of the simpler design-time tools in Power Apps, one that is used for designing canvas apps and that employs a drag-and-drop approach with an expression language that feels like Microsoft Excel. This makes it well-suited to citizen developers and business unit developers.
- API and integration services: Power Apps and Common Data Service (CDS) have a rich set of APIs and OData endpoints available to perform full create, read, update and delete (CRUD) operations on data to support integration with third-party iPaaS. There are more than 300 data connectors available including cloud-service database connectors that cover Azure SQL, Azure Cosmos DB, Amazon Redshift and cloud-hosted versions of the on-premises systems.
- Innovation: Ready-to-consume AI models allow developers to consume rich AI capabilities in their apps and flows without configuring and training a model. Prebuilt models are available to extract text from images, extract specific elements from text, categorize text, identify languages, and to perform key phrase extraction and sentiment analysis. AI Builder provides no-code support for data and visual AI models, available as an extension to Power Apps.
- Market responsiveness: In 2019, Microsoft saw wide adoption of Power Apps, in part due to availability within the vendor’s popular Office and Dynamics offerings. In October 2019, Microsoft changed these entitlement conditions, a change that disrupted many clients and appeared to confuse business partners. Microsoft grandfathering of prior license rights for deployed customers has helped in some situations.
- Sales execution and pricing: Power Apps’ pricing model and entitlement rules, especially across entitlements for features in Office 365 and Dynamics 365 plans, are complex enough to require a 17-page licensing guide. Customers also pay extra for features such as AI Builder and the B2C portal. Customers should consider how their licensing and costs may change as their platform usage grows, and be aware of the potential for further license changes.
- Process and business logic: Power Apps supports workflows, but the interface for business process flows is separate and only available in model-driven apps. More complex process orchestration may require the use of separate products such as Microsoft Azure Logic Apps. Additionally, the BPMN notation standard in Power Automate is only supported through tight integration with Microsoft Visio.
- LCAP – An LCAP is characterized by its use of model-driven or visual development paradigms supported by expression languages and possibly scripting to address use cases such as citizen development, business unit IT, enterprise business processes, composable applications and even SaaS applications.