Presented by Microsoft

Imagine giving your business users the ability to develop apps that add real value in a matter of days.

Demand for apps has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with users downloading more than 230 billion apps in 2021 alone. But for many companies, it can be challenging to find development resources to build all the apps they need. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development is one of the four most in-demand professions today — and there will be a shortage of nearly 200,000 developers each year this decade.

Low-code development empowers businesses to bridge the app gap. With low code, citizen developers (users with no coding experience) can quickly create custom software to solve business problems across your company — for example, by automating data entry to Excel spreadsheets — freeing IT to focus on more strategic projects. At the same time, low code makes it simple for professional developers to automate IT operations, driving new levels of speed and efficiency.

Consider the following ways you can use low-code tools to drive your business:

1. Empower citizen developers to develop modern apps that meet their unique needs

Nobody understands the challenges and opportunities faced by lines of business in your company better than the people working in those lines of business. With the ability to develop new solutions themselves, citizen developers can automate the processes and develop the precise solutions their team needs — typically far faster than would be the case if IT had to be involved.

For example, using Power Apps, citizen developers at Toyota have developed hundreds of apps, from scanning QR codes to analyzing dealership sales performance. One citizen developer even included oversized buttons in a new app for use on a manufacturing floor where workers commonly wear bulky gloves, making the app far easier to use than if it were developed by someone without on-the-ground knowledge — the kind of detail that can make all the difference to app ROI.

2. Empower IT to better manage all your organization’s technology — and drive greater business value

Shadow IT and app proliferation are among the biggest headaches faced by IT departments, threatening data and system security and opening the door to compliance issues. With the right low-code platform, instead of turning to third-party apps that aren’t authorized by IT, citizen developers can create custom apps with data security and compliance built in — and IT can monitor and manage all the apps in use across the organization, simplifying governance.

For example, Microsoft Power Platform comes with an admin center designed to give IT full visibility of all apps, as well as the ability to switch apps on and off and control the connection of apps with other systems and data. At the same time, low-code solutions like Microsoft Power Automate enable IT to implement robotic process automation (RPA) to automate repetitive tasks like data entry or invoice management, freeing your IT team to focus more on larger, longer-term projects. The results can include better relationships with the rest of the business and a more central and strategic role for IT.

3. Accelerate value creation by connecting all your systems and data

Companies can connect all the technology across their organization, with low-code apps acting as the glue holding it all together. They can connect systems, extend third-party applications, and custom-build brand-new apps. For example, Microsoft Dataverse provides a single structured platform for bringing together all core business-process data in a scalable, secure environment. Dataverse users can use more than 600 pre-built connectors (for apps from Microsoft Forms to Adobe Creative Cloud to Zendesk) to build workflows and automate processes across applications and services.

4. Slash development costs, prevent technology lock-in, and increase operational agility

How many of your company’s applications are adding insufficient business value today? With expensive legacy technology, there can be a lot of pressure to make do with features and functionality that are ineffective or outdated. But because low-code apps cost so little to build, it’s a simple decision to stop using them when they’re no longer useful. Organizations can even justify developing apps expected to have only limited lifespans — for example, to manage one-off events, or to ensure accounting compliance under temporary tax situations — enabling them to benefit from digital technology in ways they might not have been able to afford to before low code.

Whether you’re struggling to bridge the app gap or looking to digitize and modernize operations — or both — the value of low-code development has never been clearer. That’s why low code is booming across industry. According to Gartner, “70% of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code and no-code technology by 2025, up from 25% in 2020.”

It’s also why the number of users benefiting from Microsoft Power Platform, our low-code development platform, has doubled in less than two years, to over 20 million. Companies of all sizes are discovering that, with the right low-code platform, they can empower IT and business users alike to create new value and build a faster, more agile business.

Listen to learn more about how low code can benefit your organization, too.

Charles Lamanna is Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Applications & Platform.

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