The art of possible: Create Apps using ‘Natural Language’

Consider the endless possibilities for you, your career and your business…

Last week Microsoft announced that natural language is being added to the Power Platform – “yawn just another product update”… or is it? Is this just another promise of the next big thing? Will we, again, be disappointed? Will it fail and quietly disappear into the graveyard of a solution looking for a problem to solve?

The ‘so what’ test

When our Power Platform Practice Lead, Matt Noble, cloud walked – I knew something was different! Whilst Matt is one of the most positive and enthusiastic people I know – this announcement took his excitement to the next level. So, I did what I have done numerous times before with highly energised technologists, all loved up on the latest product announcement, buy them a coffee, make them comfortable and asked the dreaded question – “So what? How does this help save money or make money in the real world?”.

The Art of the Possible

Over the next hour Matt walked me through the ins and outs of natural language and it wasn’t long before the dots started joining. To summarise and simplify our conversation, natural language allows non-developers to write in basic terms what they want the software to do, and the Power Platform will create the code to support the requirement.

Sounds interesting and helpful, but when you put this under the lens of reducing costs, true agility and increasing capacity, that is when I realised this could be a fundamental shift that creates an entirely new lever to add value in your business.

This move, by Microsoft, opens the door to untapped opportunities and possibilities to add value to your organisation and gain competitive advantage.

With the Power Platform and natural language update, you have the potential to:

  • Change the rules and create capacity, where there just wasn’t any before (your own blue ocean strategy)
  • Radically reduce time taken from “problem to value”
  • Free up capacity in tech for higher order items (play to your strengths)
  • Unlock the potential of business users
  • Open up possibilities with the technical talent gap
  • Solve problems in minutes or days rather than weeks or months
  • Address the whitespace across your legacy apps, whilst you wait for funding to upgrade
  • Reduce cost of development
  • Promote innovation across the business for little relative investment
  • Increase the velocity of high value solutions for your people and customers
  • Unshackle your business unit from all the complexity and dependencies of complex IT
  • Operate within the appropriate governance and rules of the road
  • Become the hero in your business by delivering rapid value

This move is one that could be so significant that we could look back on this announcement in a few years’ time as “how did we digitise operations without natural language before”?

Enter the naysayers…

As with any significant change one can expect detractors, and I don’t anticipate this one to be any different. A few of the usual suspects may include:

Dev Ops Teams

There is a possibility the Dev Ops teams may feel threatened, as they are currently responsible for developing internal micro services. They may feel they no longer have job security and may react with emotion. However, my belief is this mindset is flawed, as there will continually be a need for higher order development skills and this creates the opportunity to work on value add business projects, rather than getting caught up in the weeds.

Tech Debt Evangelists

There is usually one of these, playing on the Accountants’ fears of technical debt. The world has changed, cloud and governance is a different way of being. Organisations need to stop using last years’ playbook, focus on digitising operations and be a part of the solution.


It needs my approval! Why? You have already invested in the platform, your business is already using elements of it and it reduces integration costs, and more importantly is easy to use – which means less dependency on high cost development that could be used elsewhere.

Citizen Developer won’t happen (flat earthers)

These team members, roam your business saying ‘Citizen Developers is just a fad’. I challenge them to have a look at what is happening in market now! Competitors are reducing their operating costs and gaining the edge, have a read of industry predictions by Gartner, Forrester etc. I can only suspect they will still be banging the same drum, regardless of lead and lag indicators.

Tech leadership with a fixed mindset

The most dangerous of all, are the leaders in IT who are comfortable with the current status quo and don’t want change. The business needs to evolve to remain competitive, yet these naysayers will find reasons to not. Due to their influence, they are able to stifle innovation by hiding behind technology and alliances.

Reality check

Whilst I truly think this has all the opportunity to change the business world I am also mindful that the first release of anything may be challenging and should be left to the early adopters. That being said I would encourage everyone reading this to take a little time to educate yourself on this space. Who knows it could be the platform to skyrocket your career.

To stay ahead in this competitive digital landscape be sure to remain close to the innovators.

Read more about PowerApps Natural Language Update here.

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