When deciding which low-code app development platform to use, people often find themselves making a decision between two powerful tools: Quickbase vs. Power Apps. Both are strong contenders for solving critical business problems, automating processes and improving productivity and collaboration. However, each has its own strengths.
Microsoft Power Apps is touted as “a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment.” The goal of the tool is to provide a space for app development that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of technical expertise. The platform has several key strengths, particularly for enterprise organizations already using (and paying for) the Microsoft suite of tools.
In a comparison of Quickbase vs. Power Apps, however, Quickbase comes out on top as a more flexible, versatile and easy to use platform.
Power Apps Works Well for Microsoft Office 365 Subscribers
To give Power Apps its due, the tool is a good option for organizations already working within the Office 365 and Dynamics 365 plans. Apps built using Excel and Outlook data are free to use, so working in the Power Apps environment can be a low cost option for these kinds of basic development projects.
Since Power Apps was built by Microsoft with MS tools in mind, the platform is consequently well-suited to building connections between MS products. As such, if your organization’s data and operations are already embedded in the MS suite of tools, then building an application with Power Apps could be a perfectly viable, low-cost option. Power Apps does offer connectors for many third party systems – though it’s important to note that this may come with additional fees.
Power Apps Takes a Mobile-First Approach
Another key strength of Power Apps is the way it handles mobile apps. From a development perspective, Power Apps takes a mobile-first approach, meaning that apps built in this environment are designed with mobile as the target platform. So, if you’re looking to build a mobile app rather than a desktop application, Power Apps definitely has an advantage in terms of usability. It does a good job of leveraging phone and tablet layouts, and the platform also supports offline use.
Keep in mind, however, that taking a mobile-first approach to development isn’t typically ideal for desktop applications. If you’re looking to build an app that will improve your scheduling or project management operations, for example, those aren’t likely to be tools you’d want to design for mobile. Mobile layouts tend to be smaller and have overly simplified functionality when shifting to desktop use.
Quickbase is the Truly Low-Code Option
Comparing Quickbase vs. Power Apps, Quickbase is hands-down a more accessible option for building apps without needing major technical expertise. While Power Apps claims to be accessible to those without professional development experience, the complex building experience and difficult user interface will prove challenging to untrained users. This is partly due to the segmented nature of the Power Apps structure: users have to make decisions every step of the way about which tools to connect.
Quickbase, in contrast, offers a wide range of tools already built into the system. You don’t have to connect a separate database or, importantly, to pay for a separate database. Quickbase has built-in options for form building, reporting, dashboards, workflow automation and a wide array of functions that you’d likely want your app to use. With Power Apps, you have to make decisions about (and likely pay extra for) each of these functions and which tool to use to perform the task.
Quickbase Integrates with Any Other Software or Application
Another huge advantage of Quickbase vs. Power Apps is that Quickbase is designed to integrate with basically any other tool that your organization might already use. Power Apps is built with the MS suite of applications in mind, and although connectors are available, they also add to the cost and complexity of setting up an app. In Power Apps, data, licensing, administration and app functionality are closely tied to the MS suite, making it difficult and potentially costly to leverage multiple vendor ecosystems.
In contrast, Quickbase is designed to leverage a huge range of additional tools and external platforms. Want to use Quickbooks for accounting and Netsuite for inventory management? Not a problem. Quickbase can easily integrate your preferred tools into a single dashboard and operations hub. This allows you a tremendous amount of versatility and flexibility in how you set up your application. Quickbase integrations mean you can craft custom solutions that truly fit your organization’s needs – only working with and paying for the tools that serve your best interests.
Quickbase Allows for Users Outside Your Organization
When building an application, it’s always vital to develop with the end user in mind. Are you building a tool that will only ever be used internally? Or, are you building something that you might want to have external users interact with as well? Quickbase is a great option for either scenario, but it’s the best option if you want to grant access to external users.
As of this writing, Power Apps remains limited to users within your organization. Creating a user account for your Power Apps application “registers the user with Microsoft Online Services environment. [Additionally…] the user account must be assigned a license in order for the user to have access to the service.” In other words, you have to pay for a license for every user.
If you want to set up a vendor portal or work with independent contractors or aren’t already using Microsoft Office 365, then developing your app with Quickbase is the way to go. You can have subcontractors enter project updates or fill out timesheets without having to add them to your organization and pay for expensive additional licenses.
It's Easier and Faster to Build Quickbase Apps
Perhaps most importantly in a Quickbase vs. Power Apps comparison, Quickbase is significantly easier to customize. Because it doesn't require as much technical expertise and the interface is more user-friendly, Quickbase allows you to build apps more quickly and more easily than Power Apps. Quickbase lets you build tools that can scale with your organization without being limited to set users or tools. It gives you a huge range of options for external integrations while also providing internal tools that can meet many of your functionality needs without overwhelming a novice app developer.
Unlike Power Apps, Quickbase really does allow for in-house development that doesn’t require IT expertise. However, working with VeilSun’s Quickbase experts to plan and develop an application will ensure that you maximize your investment of both time and money. With more than fifteen years of Quickbase Service Provider (QSP) experience, we are dedicated to partnering with our clients to create apps and solutions that truly meet your organization’s needs. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation!