Low Code isn’t Going Away: How to Get Started with Governance in Mind

FEATURED On-Demand Webinar

EDMC: Data Governance for Low Code Solutions

If your organization uses Power Platform and is concerned about potential security and data implications, this webinar is for you.

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We are all familiar with low code by now, and if not, it’s time to get comfortable with the concepts. Low-code adoption will be so widespread by 2024, that 75 percent of the software solutions built around the world will be built with the help of such tools, according to Gartner. While these tools won’t entirely replace traditional software development, they deliver an exciting approach to building apps.

Hitachi Solutions’ Power Platform experts and Microsoft MVPs Em D’Arcy and Will McLendon recently joined forces with Mike Meriton from the EDM Council for a virtual learning primer on all things low code. If you missed the session, make sure to watch it here.

Note: Many platforms offer low-code tools. Hitachi Solutions is 100 percent focused on Microsoft tools and technologies and thus, the learning session focused on Microsoft’s low-code Power Platform.

Why go low code?

It’s an enabler, rather than a blocker

The low-code approach to application development massively reduces dependence on coding. Prior to low code, organizations used traditional tools for application development, and only professional developers engaged in these activities. Thus, there was a huge backlog of IT projects, and many business ideas were never translated into system improvements.

The need for digital resilience has never been greater

The new reality of work (shift to remote, expectations for digital experiences from the millennial population, and desire to be mobile) have validated the low-code value proposition. Low-code capabilities that support a remote work function, such as digital forms and workflow automation, will only become increasingly popular in a post-pandemic world.

Native integration with existing business data

An essential benefit of using low-code platforms is that they can be natively integrated with existing business data, for example, CRM or ERP systems and other business process applications. “It’s about connecting productivity experiences with business processes and data—the ability to use one system and combine data from multiple sources easily,” D’Arcy said.

Do more with less

Finally, with tightened budgets, companies are looking for ways to optimize their processes across business units. The people closest to customers and business issues often have the best insights into how to improve processes and are great candidates to become low-code makers or partner with IT to co-create fresh solutions.

What is low code?

Microsoft’s Power Platform is a low-code application development platform for building rich web and mobile applications with minimal coding. More specifically, it replaces the need to create custom code with a collection of ready-to-go UI components, integrations, workflow automation tools (Power Automate), and much more. To create modern UIs, workflows, and data models, makers can drag-and-drop components to a workspace to help visualize and build the application.

For data consolidation, ready-made connectors enable seamless bi-directional integration with third-party applications. Microsoft currently has over 800 built-in connectors to retrieve data, trigger workflows, and connect apps, data, and devices in the cloud. Examples of popular connectors include Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox, and more. You can check out all the supported Power Platform connectors here.

Protecting data in a low-code world

As more people start to build applications, it’s critical to implement a governance strategy that ensures the security and integrity of the data used and that all the platform components are used responsibly. Organizations need to establish data loss prevention (DLP) policies that prevent inadvertent data exposure. These policies can be defined at both the environment and tenant-level, allowing for greater flexibility when establishing different policies for different uses.

“It’s a number one point of contention,” D’Arcy said. “Essentially, you’re giving access to folks to make their own solutions. They need safe spaces (to work) with guardrails in place.” Safe places in this context are environments – specifically three environments regulated by different data security policies and access controls:

Playground for testingNew learners

For those wanting to ‘play’ with power apps. Strict data policies apply and production data isn’t used.  

Non-critical app creationExperienced makers

For those creating applications for wide-spread use that aren’t mission critical, such as personal productivity apps. Think of it as an environment for app creation where an error wouldn’t lead to a work stoppage. Production data may be accessed, but significant policies are in place for safety.  

Mission-critical app creationIT/super user makers

For those creating mission-critical ERP process applications. Apps built in this environment are maintained by IT and governed by secure ALM processes, and data is highly protected.

What processes are ripe for low code?

A common frustration among employees is not having the tools they need to do their best. This includes everything from having to use ad-hoc paper-based processes for administrative functions to not having the right information at their fingertips. Solving these types of day-to-day problems are prime candidates for low-code solutions.

“Any process using Excel as a data source, or anything on paper, is easy low-hanging fruit,” McLendon said. “If you can help employees get back more time to support customers, or shave time off administrative processes and tasks, then you’re moving in the right direction.” There are multiple different scenarios in many different industries where you might choose to use low code and later realize additional uses and business opportunities for the application, he added.

Where do you start?

You can start nurturing your low-code community by giving them a place to go for help. It’s critical that any maker – again, whether they’re technical or not – have the resources they need to keep up to date on the evolution of the Power Platform’s various products and components. Low code isn’t going anywhere, so it’s time to get familiar.

It’s also essential to have a set of guidelines for each new low-code user who needs to learn about work methodologies, best practices, and the different processes they need to follow. The Microsoft Center of Excellence for Power Platform is a great place to start. It provides a kit of components and tools to help companies develop a strategy for adopting and supporting low-code users.

And lastly, reach out to us! Hitachi Solutions has an arsenal of Power Platform experts and MVPs and a long list of innovative Power Platform solutions we can share with your organization and adopt to your specific use case. You’d be surprised what low code can accomplish to accelerate your digital transformation, one app at a time.

Our work with the EDM Council

As a member of the EDM Council, Hitachi Solutions is trained and certified to leverage their industry-standard CDMC™ and DCAM™ frameworks to help evaluate, support, and strengthen the management of your cloud-based data and analytics. This partnership strengthens our expertise and capabilities to help you:   

  • Establish best-practice data management strategies, structure, and control  
  • Secure and future-proof data and analytics in the cloud  
  • Optimize business transformation, AI, ML, data ethics, and other advanced analytics  

Ready to learn how you can achieve even more value from your data and the cloud? Check out all our data management advisory services  or read about our partnership with the EDM Council.