As it seems, my previous article raised a couple of questions. Quite a few approached me asking how low-code can become a stronger part in app and process modernization, especially around driving Cloud Transformation. You know, I already mentioned three major benefits of thinking low-code in your app and process modernization strategy. Unrivaled time to market being one of them which, taking into account modernization, means effort and less effort means time and costs saved. During the course of the last two years and dealing with inflation or even hyperinflation today, being more important than ever. So why not doing both? Save some time while modernizing in an effective way?

Some of yours have asked to provide more details on the „How to?“ and this time I am not talking about building the business case. This time it is around the low code toolset itself. So what benefits does Power Platform add to your modernization strategy?

Visual: How does low-code help in app and process modernization

Let me start by bringing up this visual that helps me all the time explaining it. It highlights the top 7 always or repetitively provided topics by customers already using Power Platform for app and process modernization. As there´s a lot of feedback incoming, I´ve simplified the results categorizing them. Some of them can be called out as being quantifiable or measureable, some of them being unquantifiable and therefore hard to measure. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I kept them.

So it starts with an obvious / non-obvious one: Speed or Agility

Some will say, well using code-first I am agile and rapid in development already, so what should low-code provide me to help with this? Let´s say it like this: Low code significantly supports you by offering a composable toolset that behind the scenes is pre-coded for you. A people picker for example that collects all the information from your Azure Active Directory based on pre-configured filters, security and governance. You may answer – as code-first developer I do have the same components. And while this is partially true, a lot more things is pre-configured for you, that you don´t need to take care of. You simply drag ’n‘ drop the control to a canvas or into your model-driven app or even on a webpage you design. Using AI inside your apps or processes it is ensured that AI follows the principles of being responsible. The benefits listed here are kind of „stackable“ and sometimes related to each others.

I am not mentioning all of them, as you can walk through the visual on your own. But one thing I want to highlight is about the security. Last time, I was talking about „flatten the curve“ and I was talking about the fact that code-first I tend to repetitively need to walk through my code to ensure it being ready for actual security and protected against vulnerability. A thing that you pass over to Microsoft as a vendor or Service provider of the platform. Sure, if you build you own PCF control you would need to take care of this on your own. But that´s not the point here. The point is about the fact of being able to secure and maintain security around data a lot easier with build-in mechanism in a low-code platform like Power Platform.

But before I am talking about an even more important topic such as the cost-savings, let me go back to the basics as there was another question upcoming around building the strategy.

Wouldn´t be a lift & shift already sufficient as a modernization approach?

Visual: Five flavors of app and process modernization

Let´s step into this together and first align in general on the top 5 flavors of app and process modernization. Indeed, it starts with a lift & shift approach that many companies have been following before taking any of the other steps into account. It sounds feasible and easy of why this step has been so popular. Setting up a couple of VMs, some Containers, some SQL elastic pools, et voilá ready your app and process modernization. Well the downside of this was no major improvements have been added beside switching the architecture and maybe the integration layer. The truth tells us, KPIs of customer (employee) experience couldn´t be fulfilled by that strategy.

Things like

  • Average Resolution Time
  • First Response Time
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV or LTV)
  • Customer Health Score
  • Customer Churn Rate

have continued to be an issue with either apps or processes that followed this strategy.

So a Fusion Team, you may have considered the next level, which introduced some opportunistic fixes and changes, but again your employees shortly came back with feedback this not meeting their current requirements.

I could continue „climb up the ladder“ together with you, but read through the rest of the flavors and you would see that the last three are mainly introducing improvements and this is because of them taking into account the third layer – Experience modernization. Wait three? What are the other two? Did you missed something?

Visual showing the three main areas of app and process modernization

Here we go. Above visual expresses the three main layers entail the app and process modernization. It starts at the ground level or the engine room where it´s about architecture, cloud-native design and scalability. It continues with the first floor or the gearbox which helps to get the right horse power whenever needed. This is around the integration modernization and is about business logic, custom integration or API management. Wait, all of it already makes a great car, right?
Well the truth is, the car sells by design as well. So the third layer is around the experience modernization. Taking into account the UI, the personalized experience or even UI-less the end-to-end process or -automation. Here is where the car is getting attractive. Some may say, just recently car design is no longer important, as almost every electric car today looks like following the same design principles. While this may be true due to following economic principles, you can´t say experience is not important at all.

Visual on Low-code platform metrics that count for good app and process modernization

Let me wrap-up by showing you the last visual for today. This one being about the „how to find the right low-code toolset that works for me and my company?“. Like an onion to unpeel, I think it all starts by having a good Fusion Teams support these days. Because it is not about low-code vs. code-first? Citizen developers or Business technologists as I prefer vs. Professional developers. It´s about enabling everyone to become part of the digital transformation journey, allowing for flexibility when needed and create an inclusive environment for everyone to feel onboarded to.

Let me finish by coming back to the first visual and the parts of cost savings and future proof. Those, following me on LinkedIn have seen me posting about two Forrester TEI studies:

  • One around 228% ROI when modernizing applications on Azure PaaS
  • Another one around 140% ROI which is by adopting Microsoft Power Platform premium capabilities.

And since we´re talking about app and process modernization, I should add a 3rd one this time:

  • A 199% ROI talking about companies using Power Automate and reduced development costs + increased overall efficiency

You can´t simply sum-up all those ROI numbers when talking about adding low code to your app and process modernization strategy. Though all those numbers reflect on low code matured the last two years and companies quickly generated business value and benefits and you can too.

Let me know your thoughts or raise questions. Until then, …