Can or Should Low Code Apps run the Enterprise?
Coders and Makers – Which Role Rules?
With the new Low Code revolution clearly under way and getting a major boost from the latest innovations around AI in the form of the commonly named “Co-pilot” applications, the role that many have come to know as the one primarily tasked and responsible for creating the programs that run at the enterprise level, solving big and critical problems for the organization is becoming not as easily identified. The premise here is that even a simple application and process can have top level ramifications for its use or absence of use for some business goal or objective and that the technology and capability behind SaaS such as what’s in Microsoft’s Power Platform or its co-top-right quadrant competitors is now within the realm of the so called citizen developer or what the traditional developers called “the user.”
So let’s go with that premise … the premise that a citizen developer now has the power, perhaps with their co-pilot AI assistant, to build an app with Low Code tools that could run the business or impact its bottom line in a clear and unambiguous way. What would such an app be doing? What would it look like? What sort of security is it employing if anything? Does it comply to standards or regulations or even company policies? Is it touching sensitive information or data such as financial information that can affect business outcomes for good or ill? Or perhaps it is just making the day easier for the citizen who happens to be also one of the C Level folks who’s over all work does affect the company in a manner significant enough with their improved productivity?
Let’s take a use case of one of our enterprise customers which has been talked about at a few recent conferences … the case of the changed company logo … and making sure all the user mail signatures or Active Directory objects containing the old logo just to name a few systems, have to be changed over. In the past, the semi manual effort to deal with that meant almost months of work albeit through simple but disparate scripts and processes. A Citizen Developer or Maker from that organization at the high enough level to have access to all that was needed to change went ahead and used a low code automation program to make the change. A bit of testing against a target set, a quick review with IT and it was off to the races literally completing the conversion and old logo purge in a matter of days (yes, there was a lot) which may actually feel slow but when compared to direct experience of the last time it happen, there was a clear value to be seen.
Not all low code applications will fall in that super hero category to be sure but I want to point out, if you have not already noticed, the one thing that happened with the home grown, non-developer-developed solution … yes, they REVIEWED WITH IT. This is actually the idea behind what Microsoft calls the Fusion Development model where various aspects of the business in conjunction with the technical specialists and owners (Business and IT in this case) are in PARTNERSHIP to see things through. Keeping in mind that the citizen developer still has a day job (in the case above the person who came up with that solutions is not going to lead their development group any time soon) the path to success here is that the organization is aligned with each other in solving problems and allowing for the appropriate tools to be used at the appropriate time but the appropriate subject matter experts or stakeholders. Everyone can be a maker but the makers don’t stand alone when they are solving for X outside their own personal needs. We have similar methodologies behind this but for now, let me direct you to Microsoft’s take on this which, for those looking to master their Low Code offering in Power Platform, is important context to understand why it is built and being built in the way it is along with the rationale behind all the tools and accelerators that make it a strong dot in Gartner’s Upper Right Quadrant.
About Ralph Rivas
I am a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. I am currently with Sogeti in the corporate Applications and Cloud Technologies group as a National Solutions Architect focused on the Power Platform and M365 ecosystem where I am actively promoting and growing the technologies and features to help customers make the most of their digital modernization journey.
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