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david wyatt
david wyatt

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The LowCode War

Things are definitely heating up with LowCode providers, with each having its own strategy to grab market share. But I think the most interesting is Microsoft's.

Microsoft has a chequered history when it comes to its ambition for world domination (IE and Edge and Teams strategy to name only 2 show how ruthless they can be).

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So what's Microsoft's strategy for Power Platform?

Well to start with we can definitely see it's one of their current main focuses. The hive of activity with updates, launch of Power Pages and the new Power Platform Conference show intent.

But what I think is interesting, and different is their underlying strategy.

As a comparison I would look at Blue Prism in the RPA space (another program I like to use). Its key focus has always been Enterprise, it has/had the best controls, Governance, administration and scalability of any RPA platform. That meant a lot of hurdles to entry, but for any enterprise IT and security departments, that's the way they like it.

Now let's look at the Power Platform, and its approach is polar opposite, but I can see why they are taking that approach.

5-10 years ago if you asked anyone in business that built apps/rpa/databases, that weren't in IT (the original Citizen developer, aka Shadow IT), what they used, they would say Excel (or maybe Access). Excel with vba was (and in some places still is) the way for non IT people to spin up creative solutions. Reports, automation, applications, all were built with Excel. The reasons for this were quite evident:

  • Everyone had it
  • It was easy to learn
  • Great community for help and support
  • Was powerful
  • Central IT had poor visibility or controls to shut it down

So now let's take a look at the Power Platform

Everyone has it

Free with E3 and F3 license, Power Automate Desktop now free with Windows 11

It was easy to learn

Its LowCode, so of course its easy to learn, but on top of that it seamlessly integrates across Microsoft products (no security or additional license /admin levels) and Microsoft's Documentation is industry leading

Great community for help and support


Technology Posts
Power BI 927827
Power Apps 441629
Power Automate 86766
PVA 4072

As of Sept 22

There are already of a combined million posts on Microsoft's official community sites, and there are thousands more across other sites.

Technology Posts
Power BI 25,822
Power Apps 2674
Power Automate 1755
PVA 38

As of Sept 22

Compared to other LowCode platforms, Power Platform is so much easier to find existing answers to problems, or reach out for help. Blue Prism, Service Now and others do have good communities, but where as I would over 90% time I can get Power Platform answer, with those it would be sub 50%.


It's even in the name, but with how well each of the Power Platform technologies work together, and the scope of integration to most people's daily tech stack (in other words MS Office), then it can be very Powerful.

Poor Central Visibility

This one is controversial, and quite the same. Excel and VBA was accidentally hazy for system admins. The Power Platform does have good administration tools, but it feels very much not like a priority. There are minimum platform level reports or controls, to the point where Microsoft have had to use the Power Platform to build administration tools (PowerPlatform CoE Starter Kit). As said compared to Blue Prism, this approach seems like a big error. I don't believe Microsoft makes that many big errors, more like the weighed up the pros and cons, and the pros helped their strategy.

If you think about it, it's a genius strategy. Blue Prism, Service Now and other LowCode platforms are working hard to sell their product to business IT and procurement departments. Jumping through hoops, slow and structured rollouts. Meanwhile Microsoft is giving it free to all of those business employees, and making it less then easy for IT or security to see and stop.

Fast forward and you will have:

  • A passionate and skilled workforce using Power Platform
  • Business departments pushing it through to support existing automations/apps
  • The senior leadership seeing real life benefits and savings so will also push it
  • IT departments seeing the critical mass of users, knowing how much easier and sustainable recruitment is compared to other LowCode platforms

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You can see why I suspect Microsoft will be one of the survivors after the LowCode war is over, and maybe the winner.

Top comments (5)

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Huge companies like Microsoft have difficulties innovating. When Google went to market, there was already 17 huge search engines on the market. Today we barely remember any of these. It's about the "last man standing", not about "who gets to the battle field first". It might be Microsoft is one of them, but I doubt it'll be with the power apps. If they want to succeed in this space, they'll probably be forced to obtain somebody else for the tech parts. Some of the other contestants are simply way too far ahead technically ...

As to your header? ROFLMAO. Check out my profile to understand why ... ^_^

Psst, we're a LowCode provider, so you probably shouldn't listen to me for the record ...

Najs writeup though ^_^

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen • Edited

I'm sure there is some research on the topic and I'm going to find it

Go for it, start with Shoji Shiba would be my suggestion ...

Psst, I just published an article illustrating the problem with "kill your babies".

HTTP based OOP

I suspect a thing like the above would never make it our of Redmond or Silicon Valley ... ;)

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen • Edited

References? Not really, it's "common knowledge" really. However, the larger your ship is, the more difficult it is to change its direction. This is basic Sun Tze wisdom. Innovation requires the ability to "change". Change is more difficult the larger you are, because you've got existing value you don't want to cannibalise. Shoji Shiba even went so far as to say ...

Kill your babies ...

Because it's a requirement for innovation. The more "value" your existing baby has, the more difficult it is to kill it. The larger your company is, the more value it has in its existing babies. It's almost like pure logic, and hence I'm not sure if it even needs a reference - If you think about it for a while, which I have for the record - As in, having thought about it for more than a decade ... ;)

FYI, "Kill your babies" is obviously an analogy for your existing value proposition, so please don't start killing your actual babies ...

polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen • Edited

Why would they have difficulties innovating?

It's a very well documented fact. There exists "fixes" for it, such as isolating innovation teams into smaller groups, like sub-portions of the companies, to avoid the corporate culture to "infect" the team trying to innovate, etc - However, it's a well documented fact that the larger you become the harder it becomes to innovate. This is the reason why large companies buy smaller startups, because it's primarily in smaller startups it's possible to innovate ...

wyattdave profile image
david wyatt • Edited

Very true, just look at Apple, they never innovate anymore. It's always down to the smaller nimble companies to be exciting and listen to customers needs. But unfortunately big companies not are only able to give away a lot for free, their walled gardens give them huge advantages (I know Microsoft's wall isn't like Apples, but the ability for LowCode developers to work across its suite is very enticing). Just like Google have targeted schools with Chromebooks to win the next generation, I think Microsoft is playing a similar, and unhanded game to.
Power Apps is interesting one as I agree it's behind the curve, but for internal business apps (a profitable space) I think it will do well. Though Microsoft has history of buying to play catch-up so are probably right there too 😃

Im a Power Platform developer (and love the platform) so people probably shouldn't listen to me too 😉