Low code has changed the game for software development. Programming processes that used to be reserved for expert web developers and computer scientists have been streamlined into what is effectively drag-and-drop functionality. This level of accessibility is allowing companies of all types and sizes to gain more control over their back-end web development, and therefore gain more control over how quickly they can bring new custom features and applications online.
For Microsoft users, low code development is made possible by Power Apps portals. Power Apps has become immensely popular, with more than 86% of Fortune 500 companies using this program to build apps in low code. Furthermore, the number of monthly active Power Apps users grew more than 250% from 2018-2019, and those users are accessing nearly 4 times as many applications in production.
So why Power Apps? The easy-to-use functionality of low code and seamless integration with Dynamics 365 are appealing in and of themselves, but the advanced capabilities set this program apart. To help end users get the most out of low code development, here is a list of 12 ways to leverage Power Apps.
12 Ways to Leverage Power Apps
Develop Custom Components
In traditional app development, many companies felt forced to sacrifice customization for speed and ease of use. With low code development via Power Apps portals, users get the best of both worlds. Power Apps "democratizes" the custom business app building experience by enabling users to quickly build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code.
The advanced capabilities of Power Apps also allows users to connect to and utilize all of their pertinent data no matter where it’s stored – on underlying data platforms or in online and on-premises sources. This feature ensures that your various business applications can all work together effectively and seamlessly because they are able to access all of your business data across disparate systems.
Improve Lifecycle Management
New Power Apps functionality will save users lots and time and headaches when it comes to moving and updating multiple applications and application data simultaneously. To improve the development lifecycle of a low code application, Power Apps allows you to package all necessary components into one file, even if they come from different applications. In developer speak, this means that all related apps, logic, schema, and other components are grouped for seamless migration across environments. In simpler terms, this means ensuring data continuity across application builds and as you continue to scale up your app production.
Streamline Quality Control
Power Apps recently got an upgrade when it comes to quality control and assurance. Solution Checker is a powerful analysis tool that identifies potential performance and stability risks across all the assets in a solution, directing users to specific guidance on how to improve. As a result, low code users will be able to improve performance across a variety of metrics while also learning how to identify and remedy issues earlier. A second feature, Power Apps Monitor, lets users see behind every click in the app – and pinpoint the places where connectors are failing or dragging down performance so they can quickly optimize experiences.
Deploy a Modern Intranet:
One of the most appealing features of Power Apps portals is that they works seamlessly with all Dynamics 365 entities. In terms of a company-wide intranet, this makes working across the SharePoint and Teams programs easier than ever before. Custom, low code apps developed with Power Apps can work in both of these programs, supplementing archaic on-premises intranet systems with an online and easily accessibly alternative. And with more people working from home and collaborating virtually, this functionality is crucial for a low code development platform.
Utilize the Common Data Service
Microsoft users probably already know what the Common Data Service is – it’s the entire platform that sits under all Microsoft business applications, powering products like Dynamics 365, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing and more. For Power Apps users, it is the vital resource that lets them build data-powered applications for nearly any business function. The Common Data Service platform has:
- Multiple forms of data storage that is automatically abstracted in a single interface.
- A rich data model that’s ready to go out of the box, with dozens of pre-defined entities like Account and Contact and the ability to infinitely customize your own using fast, modern tools.
- Powerful business logic for defaulting, validation, and more that can be defined quickly with low-code tooling, or professionally extended with server-side code plugins for advanced operations.
- Deep hierarchical access control that enables organizations to build rich role-based security models for who can view, update, delete, or create data across entities.
Diversify Your Development Capabilities
The driving force behind low code development progression is that it allows more employees to take control over app development within their department or role, even if they aren’t a developer. Power Apps drag-and-drop functionality is straightforward, easy to use and equips a more diverse group of employees with the tools and skills they need to be effective and productive makers.
Increase Security and Control
Power Apps portals have multiple security measures, but two primary features ensure that a business is completely protected. First, the Admin Center gives organizational leadership and the development team control over app security, data, access, control and permissions. While this does protect against security breaches, this functionality also ensures that untrained employees cannot access areas or programs that they could break.
Secondly, all apps created in Power Apps are automatically linked to the Microsoft active directory domain service. This program enforces all-encompassing security policies and authenticates end users, providing another layer of protection for low code apps.
Streamline Approval Processes
Low code development is designed to improve the speed around custom portal and application builds. One common bottleneck for any project is the approval process. With Power Apps, there are multiple features that help streamline approvals and get apps up and running faster.
First, during the build, predefined roles within the Power Apps environment limits privileges to users based on their role. This helps minimize the number of hands trying to make edits and changes and streamlines development responsibilities. Secondly, Microsoft Flow works seamlessly with Power Apps portal development, allowing organizations to implement automated approval processes, which greatly increases speed across the entire Microsoft ecosystem.
Build a Scalable App Framework
Power Apps is designed to work for organizations of all sizes, meaning it’s built to grow with a company over time. Many businesses start out utilizing low code to launch an internal employee portal, only to realize that many of these same features would be beneficial to their customers or suppliers. With Power Apps and the unified Dynamics 365 applications, it is easy to scale up app development and integrate additional functionality across all programs and portals.
Better Utilize Developer’s Skillsets
As mentioned before, the idea behind low code is that it puts more employees in the driver’s seat when it comes to app development. With Power Apps and the entire suite of Dynamics 365 solutions working together, it’s easier than ever for non-developers to build powerful and effective apps. In doing this, companies can free up developers to do more complicated, skillful work and focus their time on large-scale builds and complex coding.
Make Better Use of Company Resources
Beyond the developer’s valuable time, low code apps don’t usually require additional assistance from the IT team. Just like UX/UI developers, a company’s IT resources are probably better utilized in larger work, security issues, and network projects. Furthermore, IT and development professionals can be expensive, so by delegating simpler low code work to more employees, organizations can save on costs.
Increase Application Development Agility
Power Apps makes it possible to build custom applications in days, not months – the usual timetable associated with traditional app development. With Power Apps portals, gone are the days of manual processes around coding and testing. And by being more agile, companies can respond to customer needs more quickly and effectively.
Ready to give low code and Power Apps portals a try? Our team at Hitachi Solutions can help, and has the expertise to help your business transform its operations and fast-track digital transformation using Power Apps and the Power Platform. Find out how Power Apps can enhance your business today — contact us to get started.