Technology Record - Issue 22: Autumn 2021

192 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om V I EWPO I NT The low-down on low code DE R R I C K V I L L ENE UV E : DAV YN By building a solution with limited custom code, organisations can achieve better outcomes with a fraction of the effort T hroughout my career, I have encountered many organisations who choose to take the path of custom software. In some cases, the solution they were looking for was simply not available; in others, they thought they could do it better or cheaper. Unfortunately, the out- come often fails to deliver on expectations and ends up costing time. More expansive solutions that an organisation depends on for its opera- tions can become hobbled by poor support and lack of upgradeability. Twenty years ago, the go-to idea was to imple- ment a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that would offer one integrated solution to all an organisation’s operational woes. However, the reality is that while these core solutions can address most requirements of most organisations, they can still leave gaps. And if the ongoing pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that businesses can’t afford to be reactive in bridging those inconsistencies. So, what do you do when you have issues you know you can solve with software, but you can’t find an off-the-shelf solution? You build it. Today, businesses can explore a low code development platform such as Microsoft Power Apps to help fill those gaps. Such a platform allows you to build a solu- tion with little or even no custom code. Using advanced tools and interfaces, a proficient individual with some initiative can build apps that can streamline various organisational pro- cesses. These apps are easier to manage, and if the platform is widely supported you will be able to maintain it even if the person leaves your organisation. It’s important to note that ‘low code’ is not ‘no code’ but imagine the difference between writ- ing a solution from scratch versus spending a fraction of the effort for an outcome that is often better. That is the benefit of a low code develop- ment platform. For instance, Davyn adapted the Dynamics Great Plain’s (GP) Extended Pricing module to work in tandem with an Extended Pricing solution on Dynamics 365 for our client, Malabar Farms. This gave Power App users the ability to manage their price lists by customer and date range out of the box. There are likely several areas of your business where you can address a gap with a low code development platform. They are cost effective and, in the case of Microsoft Power Apps, availa- ble for free if you are already using Microsoft 365. However, although creating apps is simpler, it doesn’t remove the requirement for good govern- ance, planning, development principles and pro- cesses. Apps can become part of an organisation’s critical business processes and grow in complex- ity, so problems can have a severe impact. “There are likely several areas of your business where you can address a gap with a low code development platform”