- A set of updates to Microsoft Teams will give users access to low-code app-building capabilities from the Power Platform directly in the collaboration platform, the company announced Tuesday during its annual Microsoft Ignite conference. Microsoft will roll out the updates through the end of the year.
- Project Oakdale, a built-in low-code data platform designed for Teams, lets users build applications within the collaboration platform that can connect to enterprise data sets. The capability is now in public review and will roll out later this year.
- Embedded app and bot creation studios will let users build apps or bots without leaving the Teams workspace. Users can make Power Platform solutions available on the Teams app store for off-the-shelf or customized deployment.
Usability is how vendors can convey return on investment at a time when CIOs are laser-focused on technology that can deliver value. There is also a push to create technology platforms, hubs that serve multiple purposes in a workflow.
The update to Teams is in keeping with market trends, according Art Schoeller, VP and principal analyst, Forrester.
"It's not ground-breaking," said Schoeller. "It's equivalent, because Slack rolled out a development capability about six months ago."
Plugging Power Platform capabilities into Teams will open up the door for professional and citizen developers to spin up applications easily, said Richard Riley, senior director of Power Platform at Microsoft.
"They can do it all right in the Teams canvas, which just makes it very streamlined and easy for app creation, bot creation, workflow creation, but also for management and deploying of those applications," said Nicole Herskowitz, GM of Microsoft Teams.
The risk in low-code capabilities lies in maintenance. Critical apps could "get stranded when that citizen developer leaves the company or just goes on to another job," said Schoeller.
Another risk comes from application sprawl: giving employees the ability to create in-house applications could lead to redundancy and tech bloat. But letting users create solutions to ground-level issues can help increase efficiency, said Doug Myers, EVP and CIO at national construction company Suffolk.
"I don't want to dictate to all of my users exactly how they're using a tool," said Myers.
"I trust our people in the field are going to be able to come up with use cases that a centralized group would never have come up with, because they're living the challenge every day."
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect product names as Microsoft Teams and the Power Platform. A clarification has also been added to show Suffolk operates nationally.