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Microsoft enables Low Code for businesses

Microsoft’s Power Platform enables decision makers to write their own code to get insights faster, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

Do you wish you could just write an app to solve a problem? Last week, Microsoft demoed its latest solution called Power Platform, which is a low-code platform that spans existing Microsoft apps like Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365. The goal of this platform is to get users thinking about the data they’re collecting, and representing live data as easy as it is to create a chart in Microsoft Excel. 

Microsoft calls these users “citizen developers”. As the name implies, almost anyone with computer literacy and critical thinking skills should be able to create answers to their questions using the data that’s collected within the existing systems. This also enables another key element: collaboration. It’s unproductive for one person to think about their one way of representing data, so enabling more people to ask questions enables more answers that businesses haven’t considered in the past.

Power Apps are the star of the show for citizen developers. Users can create front-ends with a drag-and-drop user interface, which can be deployed on iOS, Android, Windows, and in web apps. The goal of this is to make data visualisation as easy as it is to create a website with a drag-and-drop website builder.

Developers aren’t left behind, though. These tools allow backend developers to gain full-stack skills, as the front-end becomes far easier to produce. Developers that are already using the Power BI platform can also embed their work within Power Apps, which enables deeper integration. For example, one can embed a dashboard inside teams, create bots to deal with common process flows, and integrate more into existing mobile apps.

Of course, a business needs to have some sort of developer behind the scenes to make sure this data is accessible. This is the difference between “every developer” (ones that use low code) and “pro developers” (ones that use code first). The latter still plays a vital part in making sure low code is possible, by maintaining services like API and database management.

Low-code is a team sport, with three main stakeholders: business, developers, and IT. In Microsoft’s vision, these three work harmoniously to create an environment that provides insights just as effortless as the systems feed data in.

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