PowerApps Vs Custom App Development: Which Is Right for Your Business?
In the past, custom app development would have been the no-brainer choice for any business owner serious in his or her journey into the mobile industry. It would have been unthinkable to rely on any kind of mobile app development, and many app developers would have said the same. And many still do, considering the undeniable, distinctive custom app development advantages that can propel most businesses to success.
But when Microsoft’s PowerApps entered the picture, it did more than wrest the spotlight away from custom app development. It won’t be farfetched to say that it set itself up (at least, as proven by the benefits it imparts) as the future of mobile app development. However, considering some glaring disadvantages, it didn’t get to entirely push custom app development out of the frame.
This fact is precisely why, in the end, businesses come down to these two types of app development in regards to main options. Both aren’t perfect, but they are certainly still the best options at present. The key is to find out which one suits your business better.
Why Custom App Development Remains an Appealing Choice?
It’s clear that custom app development has plenty of challenges. For one, it definitely occupies the top spot when it comes to expenses. In fact, PowerApps specifically address this downside, so if budget is one of your primary concerns, then you should lean more towards PowerApps.
But if you really want to have more control over the depth of the customization, nothing rivals custom development. For many large industries like healthcare and manufacturing, there will always be a need to have specific customizations in their applications to fulfill certain needs. Custom development done due to regular changes in laws and regulations is equally prevalent because it’s highly adaptable.
That being said, the unique qualities of custom app development extend beyond just versatility as far as customization is concerned. The following other exclusive features of this type of app development should give you an idea of why developers and business owners aren’t too keen on deviating from it yet:
- Plenty of control over UI/UX design and page design.
- No other development option rivals the security of custom app development simply because your data is solely in your hands.
- Scalability is just as outstanding in custom-developed apps. Custom apps have the best leeway to evolve and improve in the future.
- Highly flexible frameworks.
- Organizations already have established teams of professional developers that have extensive experience and knowledge about mobile app development, thereby assuring the quality of the work done.
- You also get to receive long-term support from developers you worked with, especially when maintaining your app.
- Proven to be more cost-effective in the long run because of the absence of licensing costs and any other additional fees (which is the case for PowerApps).
- Custom app development also sets up better chances to improve your relationship with your customers simply because of the unrivaled freedom in personalization it affords. You also get to have ready access to what your clients need and even promptly gain feedback about the products or services you are offering.
The most apparent drawback of custom app development is, of course, the need for specialized development skills. Add to this following other downsides, and you’ll see why there’s a solid case for worthy alternatives like PowerApps:
- Expenses are often twice or thrice those of other forms of app development.
- Almost always, native versions need to be developed.
- Integration requires a third-party solution, which needs further time and effort.
- Most custom apps can’t be readily integrated into workflow engines due to the lack of out-of-the-box support.
- The reporting aspect of custom app development also falls behind due to its relative complexity.
PowerApps: Achieving the Heights of Convenience in App Development
Notwithstanding its natural status as a low-code development platform, Microsoft’s PowerApps can serve as an answer to a few of the notable disadvantages of custom app development. Without a doubt, being able to develop an app without the need for extensive, complex coding can turn any developer’s head, even more so for those who want to test the waters of the mobile industry but lack the coding skills to do so.
However, it’s also far from perfect. PowerApps’s benefits and drawbacks are just as varying as custom app development. Is this enough to even the playing field? Definitely. But for the non-programmer business owner or programmer who wants to experience what excellent low-code app development is all about, PowerApps presents itself as a ready, convenient option.
Just consider these features, and you’ll probably agree as well:
- Highly responsive design that offers native support for not only Windows but Android, iOS, and a plethora of internet browsers, too.
- Takes advantage of drag-and-drop technology to minimize coding and design, resulting in easier app creation overall.
- It allows you to create rich business apps without taking too much time and effort writing lengthy code.
- The complexity associated with automation, particularly the decision-making process, can be lessened with the help of the platform’s data collection capabilities, the ability to automate approvals, and steady notifications.
- UI customization may not be as granular as in custom apps but with the steady addition of new controls, PowerApps manages to mitigate this downside.
- It can also support the development of more complex business apps, highlighting its adaptability. Business logic can be captured as custom REST APIs, for example.
- Construct detailed reports via the dashboard alone. You can even utilize tools like Power-Bi to gain valuable insights and use ready data visualizations as references.
- Development is just as streamlined as most custom app development projects with excellent coordination by team leaders and members. In the PowerApps platform, most of the usual obstacles in streamlining app development (like getting manager approval, testing security, planning design, etc.) are directly addressed.
- Shines just as well in development-on-the-go because PowerApps’s entire visual interface is mobile-based, -friendly, and -ready. This trumps the fact that custom app development often confines developers to laptops and computers. Without a doubt, this is a boon to productivity, too.
- You can also create apps from various data sources. Now, PowerApps has the ability to let users create apps from scratch or choose a single data source for creation.
- Costs are reduced by PowerApps’s overall efficiency.
What is holding PowerApps back?
- Your business apps can’t be published on Google Play, Apps Store, and Win Store.
- It currently does not offer support for offline access.
- Loading times are relatively slower compared to traditional Android or iOS native apps.
- It is tied to Office 365, meaning you have to sign up with an account on that platform every time you are working on your app. There’s zero access from the public or anonymous entities, which, while great for security, can be limiting for developers.
- While we did say that costs are kept low, the fact that you need to pay for monthly licenses for every app (or an unlimited number of apps) you make do add up to expenses over time.
- Apps developed via the PowerApps platform still also require constant maintenance.
- PowerApps, while not requiring specialized coding knowledge, still requires expertise. You may have to frequently rely on external PowerApps experts to get the project done in the given timeframe. Of course, this is assuming you don’t have a PowerApps specialist in your team.
App developers normally correlate traditional app development to custom app development precisely because of the reasons stated above. However, contenders will repeatedly challenge its status as the benchmark of app development. Considering the noteworthy perks of PowerApps, it more than deserves to be recognized as a worthy option for businesses.
That said, whether PowerApps development wins over custom app development depends on the former’s ability to fulfill the business’s app goals. By weighing the pros and cons of each, you should not have much trouble arriving at a decision. Discover and learn more about the prospective app development option you’re considering. More importantly, always aim for quality and remain true to your vision for your app.
Venkatesh is a serial entrepreneur with a distinct passion for taking nascent businesses to great heights. An early entrant in the mobile application technology, Venkatesh grew his flagship company, Dot Com Infoway(DCI) to be recognized as one of the world’s leading digital marketing, web, and mobile app development & marketing company. He is one of the select 200 members of the Indian Angel Network who frequently invests in select startups. A dedicated Rotarian, he is a mobile game addict and loves to travel and meet new people.