What is Low - Code no- Code and why is it transforming businesses?
A low-code/no-code development platform is a visual software development environment that allows business users- sometimes called Citizen Developers- to develop applications, using drag and drop application components, connect them together and create a mobile or web application. This puts the power into the hands of the business and allows for rapid development of applications, automation of processes and the facilitation of business intelligence for the actionable, relevant data insights that organisations today are craving.
It is therefore critical that IT gets ahead of this curve and offers this as a curated service to the business to prevent Shadow IT. IT can be a real accelerator and enabler of this change.
Gartner believes that over 65% of application development will be delivered on Low Code/No -Code platforms by 2023.
So if you're not getting into this area you will fall behind your competitors who are taking advantage of the benefits.
•Developer capacity- The demand for mobile apps will outstrip developer capacity by 5 to 1 –Gartner
•IT agility- Over 80% of IT Dev budgets are to support legacy apps- IDC
•Flexibility and Distributed working- with COVID over 80% of the workforce is now mobile and working remotely.
Traditional applications generally do not work well on web and mobile platforms.
The way in which software is developed, integrated and deployed is changing.
The primary drivers of this change are:
•A growing need to modernise legacy implementations; ERP, CRM, Web apps etc.
•Little appetite amongst business and IT leaders for large scale replacement programs due to; COVID, cost and project risk.
•Outdated and manual processes- the need for speed and agility to support new business models and respond to changing market conditions
•IT cant meet the demand for an integrated mobile and web experience to support a mobile and remote workforce
•Siloed Data- the need quickly to consolidate, analyse and act on data from disparate sources
•The emergence of platforms offering out of the box capability to rapidly develop and deploy applications at scale
The Microsoft Power Platform and Common Data Service
The Microsoft Power Platform is a market leading Low-Code/No-Code platform that includes 5 solutions; PowerApps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agent and PowerApps Portals.
Power BI is a business intelligence (BI) application used to connect and display data through real-time dashboards. This application can collect data from on-premises or cloud data sources; these data sources can be from Microsoft-based or third-party applications. There are currently over 300 supported data sources.
PowerApps is an application that allows users to create low-code applications for desktop and mobile platforms that run off data. PowerApps allows users to connect easily to Power BI and Automate, as well as connect to other applications such as Dynamics and Office 365. PowerApps also comes with Common Data Service (CDS) -- which allows users to securely store and control data used in business applications.
Power Automate is a process automation application which allows users to create automated workflows between Microsoft applications and other services. The application is designed to be used by non-technical users and to automate business processes as well as workflows.
Organisations can use Automate to create their own automations or use templates for any common automations. Users can also set triggers, alerts, emails and push notifications with Automate as well. The workflow automation is made with insights that can be gained by Power BI. The workflows can be run from the cloud and managed by Microsoft.
Power BI, PowerApps and Power Automate all work together to achieve Microsoft's goal: to create a platform that can gain insights from data and use that data to drive and automate business processes.
Power Virtual Agents Power Virtual Agents empowers teams to easily create powerful bots using a guided, no-code graphical interface without the need for data scientists or developers. Power Virtual Agents addresses many of the major issues with bot building in the industry today. It eliminates the gap between the subject matter experts and the development teams building the bots, and the long latency between teams recognising an issue and updating the bot to address it. It removes the complexity of exposing teams to the nuances of conversational AI and the need to write complex code. And, it minimises the IT effort required to deploy and maintain a custom conversational solution.
Power Apps Portals allow organisations to engage with external customers and partners by quickly creating low code/no code portals that give internal and external users secure access to your data either anonymously or through commercial authentication providers like LinkedIn, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, or enterprise providers such as Azure AD B2C and Okta. The beauty of the service is that you can integrate all your data and bring data from the apps you use—including Power BI and Power Automate—together with the Common Data Service and enable your users to interact with it anytime, anywhere . You can enrich portals with model-driven forms, views, lists, charts, and dashboards to offer more value with each interaction.
Common Data Service- Microsoft Power Platform works with the Common Data Service, which is a cloud tool on Azure that acts as an underlying data platform. The CDS also provides a data schema that an application can operate with. The Power Platform also works using what Microsoft calls a "triple-A loop." This term refers to the loop data takes in the platform: gaining insights from data, using that data to drive business processes and the process that data can automate.
The Cloud Solutions Group philosophy is to meet our clients where ever they are at in their journey with the Power Platform and to help them progress simply and efficiently and get the maximum value from the platform.
We have a team that includes both Business Process experts and experienced Developers that can assist you to:
1. Initiate- Organisations who want to get started with the platform; pick a key business process you want to automate, an application you need developed, or a business intelligence requirement. We will work with you in an Agile manner and quickly deliver an outcome while enabling your team.
2. Accelerate- For organisations that have begun their journey with the Power platform but have a backlog of apps and flows they need developed, our team can seamlessly integrate with yours and deliver these outcomes for you quickly and efficiently.
3. Pay-As-You-Go consulting or Staff Augmentation- in addition to project work, Cloud Solutions Group can help you start small and scale as needed without a long term commitment, while giving you access to the expertise needed to get things done.
4. Microsoft PowerApps Support- If you have many little tasks or requirements and needs that are continually changing, our team can provide pro-active or re-active support as needed.
To help you get started here are some common use cases and areas we can assist you on your PowerApps journey:
1. Migration of Legacy Applications to PowerApps - One of the key challenges faced by businesses today is evolving away from manual and legacy processes. PowerApps addresses this challenge by empowering the business users to easily build the business apps they need and extend or customise the apps they already use.
Whether you are looking to replace your current manual processes or extend the functionality of your key legacy applications the Cloud Solutions GroupPowerApps team have the expertise and experience to build enterprise level power apps to meet your business needs. We have proven methodology for converting manual and legacy processes to modern cloud apps using PowerApps, Automate and CDS.
Contact us today for a free consultation of your current processes and legacy applications.
2. From Excel To PowerApps- Excel has been one of the flagship products of the Microsoft Office portfolio. It has been used widely for decades to solve various business problems. But with the changing landscape of technology and growth in data, Excel has become a challenge for many businesses. PowerApps offer a great alternative for Excel users. It provides an interactive UI on web or mobile to view, collect and manipulate data. PowerApps with Automate, CDS and PowerBI offers a complete end to end solution which is flexible, scalable and mobile.
The Cloud Solutions Group PowerApps team can help you convert and consolidate your Excel based processes to the PowerApps landscape. This can be transformation for finance for closing end of month and moving away from the proliferation of legacy spreadsheets and manual formulas.
Contact us today for a free consultation of your Excel spreadsheets and manual processes.
3. Automation and Robotic Process Automation ( RPA)- Power Automate provides a single solution for end-to-end automation that spans on-premises systems and the cloud. This approach addresses three primary areas: Intelligent understanding of data, Connecting to over 300 modern apps and services and RPA connects to enterprise applications without REST APIs. The ability to use AI, API connectors, and RPA make Power Automate the most comprehensive automation platform available in the cloud today. The Cloud Solutions Group team will assist you to unlock analog data with AI, automate UI with RPA, and automate cloud applications and databases with built-in connectors and be the trusted partner to your automation journey. Contact us today for a free assessment and a Microsoft Power Automate consultation plan.
A very common Automation use case is Invoice processing, that is typically very manual and time consuming. This can all be integrated and automated with PowerApps and Power Automate.
4. Infopath Forms to PowerApps- InfoPath forms has been the go to option for business users to automate forms and streamline the data collection process. It’s tight integration with SharePoint made it number one option to customise SharePoint. Like all other technology of 2000’s InfoPath also has its limitations compared to modern platforms. PowerApps, the successor to InfoPath, provides a low code way to create custom solutions for SharePoint Online that unlock new capabilities for your business users and improves business productivity.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your current InfoPath forms and a migration plan.
5. Nintex to PowerApps- Nintex forms and workflows has been a preferred choice for SharePoint since its inception. But with the launch of PowerApps & power Automate in 2016 it offers a much more economical, scalable, collaborative option with all the features of office 365 platform. PowerApps delivers a web and mobile UI for users, Power Automate provides a strong workflow engine with over 300 plus connectors.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your current Nintex deployments and a migration plan.
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