Microsoft PowerApps Review

Data integrates easily on all Microsoft apps but the solution is limited

What is our primary use case?

I'm a developer and we use the product for in-house development and finding in-house solutions. We have a developer relationship with Microsoft. I'm currently working on a smart parking app for a college here in Kuwait. It would be a big time saver and enable drivers to know where there are available parking spots when it's a busy time and would maximize free space usage. It would make things easier for everyone.

What is most valuable?

The common data point would be the most valuable feature. PowerApps is also usable for data mining, it can be used with Power BI or SQL. All the data integrates easily on all Microsoft apps. And it comes with most of the subscriptions and extras.

What needs improvement?

The product could be improved by making it a production application and enabling the export of apps. If you want to set up a site for home rentals, for example, just a basic outline as a starting point, this can be done. The issue is that it cannot be exported. It can be applied in-house, for demonstration purposes for your employees, for example, but you can't really make use of it otherwise. It's a problem.

On the whole, it's a very workable solution because it's an automated way of making applications. You have a template, you have the application know-how, etc. If it could be exported into different languages and could enable different ways of outputting the information, that would be great. For now, it's limited and that's a bit of an issue. Enabling all the applications on internet-based devices to transfer data in and out would make it an excellent product. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the product for six months and we're using the latest version.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It works as intended, it's not going to be a magical solution, but it just does what it's meant to do. That's the beauty of it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe the product is very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer service has been pretty good. Actually I tried contacting them today and they've put up this bot that can get a response for you, but it takes more than a day, I think. I could do with some support. I can't access Azure Maps here, and I need Azure Maps to set up the smart parking system. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously used BlinkID but nothing else really has the same power as PowerApps. Google has its Cloud Suite but they've been a bit slack, and Amazon is iffy. They're not really workable here. I live in Kuwait, and there are a lot of contracts with Microsoft - they have the App Center here, but they haven't enabled much of it other than for government contracts, I think.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. I tend to think the documentation and the community forms are more than enough to help improve your setup experience. It's very, very, straightforward. I don't think it took more than five minutes to set up and that's amazing. Previously, it might have taken a week to complete setup - all the code, database, linking. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I have no idea about licensing costs. I tried contacting Microsoft about this because the information isn't easily available and it was unclear where I could search for this. My guess is that the cost is dependent on the company and product needs. I tried to make a calculation and it looks like it's going to be much cheaper to purchase the product than if I were to hire an engineer, get him to develop an app, and have it maintained. This is a much more scalable and less expensive solution.

What other advice do I have?

Previously, we had a whole department using the product. When I lived in Australia, it was used for assembling websites and to upload photos, videos and the like. It worked well because it was for internally-based users. 

My suggestion to anyone searching for a product would be to invest in a solution if you know that it works. Don't go for anything high-risk. This product works as it's intended. It's missing a few key features to make it really stand out but I believe it has the potential to be the best app for access to the database.

The product can be easily integrated - with Microsoft Graph, with common data links, and Power BI especially. You can have a dashboard ready, all the information you want, displayed in whatever form you want. It can present your data in whatever way, shape, and form you want it to.

I would rate this product a seven out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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