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Strong appetite for low and no-code app development

After talking to attendees at our free App in a Day sessions held around the country in recent weeks, one thing is clear – the concept of quickly creating apps to solve specific problems with no or little coding required, has huge appeal.

Strong appetite for low and no-code app development

We had invited a wide range of organisations to spend time with the Intergen team exploring how Microsoft tools like PowerApps, Power BI and Flow could be used to create new functionality and automate time-consuming tasks.

Our guests were keen to learn and to roll up their sleeves and get developing. I was blown away at the energy in the lab-style sessions, the creativity of the participants and some of the clever app ideas they came into the room with. Consider the following three examples, which took shape over the course of App in a Day sessions:    

Traceability – an app for hospitality and kitchen staff to track and audit the source of raw ingredients for food safety, authenticity and sustainability purposes. Use of PowerApps was explored to add an extra layer of rich content, including GPS coordinates, images of produce and details about when it entered the supply chain.

Usability – a simple team rostering and management tool for a small organisation that performs field work and needs a visual way to roster crews without having to pay for a comprehensive field service solution. They found that the job could be done by linking the app back to payroll and project automation applications.

Optimisation – A app allowing an education administration team to better manage the distribution of vouchers for tertiary students. The app works by scanning a QR code and tracking and reporting the allocation of vouchers, something that typically requires its own management suite. The team explored integrating the app with student registries and benefit enrolment systems.

They were three very different use cases, three different problems that needed solving. But the individuals working on them were able to get some way down the road on coming up with solutions after getting hands-on time with the tools and receiving guidance from our Intergen experts.

One-day lab sessions

App in a Day was a great success and it also pointed the way forward for this type of development and Intergen’s role in facilitating it.

It was clear that once participants got their head around the potential of apps to streamline work and add functionality to their software systems, they wanted to go deeper, to explore the technology to a greater extent.

It also became clear that while many were enthusiastic about enabling apps to be more easily developed and rolled out in their organisation, there was nervousness about how to control and monitor the process to make sure management and the IT department were onboard and enthusiastic.

With those needs in mind, Intergen will soon be offering one-day lab-style sessions offering a deep dive into app development and advice on governance and administration of in-house app development.

Organisation size and sector played a role in how people took to this type of app development. It was great to see people from government departments and agencies taking an interest. It may well be that they saw the potential to extend the capability of their existing systems, such as Dynamics 365 and Office 365, without having to go through additional tendering or procurement processes, allowing them to save time and money.

Unlocking the potential

Naturally, the smaller organisations were more eager to forge ahead and start producing useful new apps, while the larger ones needed to take their time to get buy-in and test the concept with colleagues and customers.

We also found that there is a need to bridge the gap between the capability people are looking for in apps and what can immediately be provided using these Microsoft tools at an enterprise scale. A lot of this can be managed with further guidance, including advising app makers on the ins and outs of using the 160 or more Microsoft and third-party connectors that allow data to be securely transferred from a wide range of software systems into these apps.

The success of App in a Day showed us that there is a role for Intergen in enabling the app development potential that clearly exists among New Zealand organisations.

Posted by: Phil Hu, Solution Specialist | 07 November 2019

Tags: Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft PowerApps, Microsoft Power Automate

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