Sometimes the key to achieving greater momentum lies in removing obstacles. Empowering your team by eliminating the barriers that slow them down, and freeing them up to use more of their talents for higher and better purposes. Reduced friction for your team translates into more traction for your business.
That may be why one of the most important trends for enterprises right now is the adoption of low-code/no-code platforms and applications — and taking advantage of the tremendous benefits they unlock for users and businesses.
If you need confirmation of that, look no further than the explosive growth of the Microsoft Power Platform over the last year. As of 2022, it's now a $2 billion annual business, and Microsoft confirmed earlier this year that revenue was up 72% over the previous year.
Here are a few more key numbers for context:
- The number of monthly active Power Apps users has grown more than 250% since last year — and those users are accessing nearly 4 times as many applications in production.
- Power BI now has more than 200,000 customers. Microsoft has previously noted that the Business Applications group overall has more than 500,000 customers.
- More than 5 million platform developers are now actively building apps, analyzing data, and automating workflows in low code.
- 86% of the Fortune 500 are now using Microsoft Power Apps along with thousands of organizations of every size, sector and geography.
In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2023, more than 50% of medium-to-large companies will adopt a low-code application platform.
So, what are the benefits of low-code/no-code apps and platforms, and why are they so transformative? Let's explore.
The Power of Low-Code Software
Put simply, low-code/no-code is an approach to software development that puts the emphasis on visual interfaces and allows work to proceed with little or no hand coding. The combination of drag-and-drop functionality and graphical user interfaces helps bypass the need for advanced coding knowledge.
That effectively democratizes the workspace, enabling users without deep coding skills to accomplish tasks that might previously have been limited to highly skilled programmers. Less technically skilled team members are empowered to make new kinds of contributions, boosting their productivity and taking their capabilities to new levels.
The low-code approach also helps streamline workflows and takes advantage of the need for automated and remote processes that have become especially important since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Power Payoff: Building Skills and Boosting Confidence
One of the greatest payoffs of the low-code/no-code approach is what it does for your team members' morale. By freeing them up to accomplish more every day, it puts them in a positive frame of mind that lets them fulfill more of your company's goals.
According to a study by Microsoft, low-code/no-code environments substantially increase employee satisfaction. Some specifics:
- 82% of low-code/no-code software users say that it helps provide an opportunity to improve their development knowledge and technical skills.
- Use of low-code/no-code software has been shown to have an 83% positive impact on work satisfaction, and an 80% positive impact on morale among users.
- 80% of users and potential users of low-code/no-code software say they'd be more willing to work for a company that invests in upskilling their technical abilities.
That in turn can lead to both easier recruitment and improved employee retention, since 71% of potential users say they're more doubtful of their future with a company that doesn't invest in upskilling their technical abilities.
Given the well-documented challenges of attracting and retaining the best employees in the post-pandemic job market, that's a benefit that can make low-code/no-code platforms worth the investment all by itself.
How Power Platform Delivers
Microsoft Power Platform stands out among other low-code/no-code solutions by offering some particularly powerful benefits:
- It brings you an array of connected tools that work easily together — as well as with Microsoft cloud services, hundreds of business applications and other data sources using a library of connectors.
- All Microsoft Power Platform tools are built on Azure. That means that each one of them inherits the same enterprise-grade security, certifications and administrative controls that many businesses are already familiar with and trust.
- Power Platform gives you built-in connectivity to services like GitHub and AI Builder, so professional developers can easily switch between tools while building applications that span complex requirements to meet growing needs.
An Overview of Power Platform Tools
Let's look at the four major components that comprise Power Platform and what they can do for you.
- Power BI is possibly the best-known tool of Power Platform, with hundreds of thousands of business customers.
- Power BI allows you to analyze data from across your organization and displays it in a dashboard format that adds valuable insights and context to the data itself.
- Capturing real-time data from your ERP, CRM and other business applications, as well as Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate gives your team the understanding they need to take smarter, more informed actions.
√ Success Story: Toyota Motors North America has team members who travel around the globe to visit Toyota business locations, dealers and suppliers. So Toyota used Power BI to build a dashboard that gave its executive team awareness of the location and status of all traveling employees — leading to faster approvals and safer travel.
2. Power Apps make it possible to quickly build professional-grade apps, create automated workflows, connect to diverse data sources and embed dashboards into your apps.
- This empowers all team members to build solutions with low-code tools that are accessible to everyone — while streamlining cross-team collaboration.
- Solving business problems gets easier with Power Apps applications plus workflow automation, AI, secure data access and seamless data analysis and visualization capabilities.
√ Success Story: T-Mobile uses Power Apps and Microsoft Power Platform to manage complex, companywide initiatives — resulting in a single source of truth where all data is centralized. The company also gained the ability to scale easily along with flexible low-code systems that are easy to change.
3. Power Automate helps you accelerate productivity by making it easier to automate tasks, using robotic process automation (RPA) and digital process automation (DPA) across all your Power Platform projects.
- You can trade manual tasks for automated workflows. From individual tasks to entire workflows, this lets you save time and effort so your teams can focus their energy strategically.
- Stay agile with a no-code solution that gives everyone—from function owners to software engineers—the tools they need to bring RPA and DPA to everything you build with Microsoft Power Platform.
- Give the legacy applications and manual workflows your organization relies on a modern revamp through RPA, allowing for rapid building and iterating at scale.
√ Success Story: G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers put Power Automate to work to help them cut costs and build more rapidly. After scratching the surface of Microsoft Power Platform, they expanded to Power Automate to transform outdated processes into intelligent workflows.
4. Power Virtual Agents helps you increase productivity by easily building intelligent chatbots that engage conversationally with your customers and employees. No coding or AI expertise necessary!
- You can create bots that complete actions using Power Automate while integrating with data sources via hundreds of pre-built Microsoft Power Platform connectors.
- Help increase customer engagement with intelligent chatbots that use advanced, natural language processing to provide personalized attention to customer and employee needs.
√ Success Story: San Diego Workforce Partnership used Microsoft Teams and Power Virtual Agents to increase remote employee collaboration during COVID-19 so they could engage with more people in need of support throughout the community.
Ready to tap into the power of low-code platforms to empower your teams and take productivity to a new level? Columbus can help. Get in touch with us today.