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The Enduring Appeal of Low Code Software Development

  As we bid farewell to 2020, we can look back on the tech trends that shaped the world response to the COVID crisis.  The shock of COVID and resulting lockdowns accelerated existing trends such as digital transformation, remote work, and even software development methodologies and tools.  For decades, organizations could only choose between off-the-shelf products and custom software development.  Over the last 30 years another option -- low code software development -- has risen.  This trend began with fourth generation programming languages (4GL) and computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools in the 1980s.  Desktop database products like DataEase, Paradox, Clipper and Microsoft Access were early examples of the low code approach.  Today, there are  many types of low code software platforms.  Some are business platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. Another group are  business process management (BPM) products such as Appian and Pega, the heirs of CAS

My Debt to SharePoint

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper announced last week that SharePoint is now reaching 200 million cloud users worldwide. This is an impressive milestone by any standard, even the high adoption normal for Microsoft.  This announcement made me realize that I owe a professional debt to SharePoint.  Back in 1999, my company InfoStrat was one of the first Microsoft Gold Partners to embrace SharePoint development when the product was code-named "Tahoe."  Along with two of my InfoStrat colleagues, I wrote a book on SharePoint and related Microsoft server products called Building Portals, Intranets, and Corporate Web Sites Using Microsoft Servers - a title only a search engine would love.  SharePoint was many things rolled into one, from document management to a Lotus Notes groupware competitor to a platform for departmental apps (although the term "app" had not been coined).  We helped companies and government agencies roll out SharePoint, and built SharePoint

6 Reasons to Choose Microsoft for your Low Code Application Platform

  Low code software development has been in the news in 2020.  The COVID crisis has disrupted many businesses, and they have been forced to transform themselves rapidly.  We have never seen so much digital transformation since that term was coined in 2012.  Low code development platforms have been chosen for many of these efforts because they can bring software solutions to fruition more quickly than traditional development methods. Businesses and other organizations are choosing which low code platform they need, and these products are maturing quickly.  This post highlights six reasons why organizations choose Microsoft for low code application development. Microsoft has the most complete platform . No software vendor comes close to offering as a wide a set of capabilities as Microsoft.  These include database (Dataverse), business intelligence (Power BI), reporting tools, integrated document management (SharePoint), email (Outlook), spreadsheet (Excel) and even artificial intelligen

Governing the Dataverse: Peaceful Living with Microsoft Power Apps

Microsoft has created a business software platform which not only includes complete commercial products such as accounting and CRM, but also development tools which may be used by professional software developers and power users.  Microsoft is enpowering power users, sometimes called citizen developers, with tools that require less coding and more configuration through templates and wizards. All these apps are connected through a shared data model called Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service).  Some apps such as Dynamics 365 Sales store their data in Dataverse.  Security is managed via Office 365 hosted in the Microsoft cloud.  With Power Apps, you can build standalone apps that tap the power of Dataverse.   Dataverse and Power Apps are not the first tools to target citizen developers.  Microsoft Access, for instance, was a product that allowed end users to create database applications and connect to SQL Server which was often the enterprise data repository for an organization.  Sha

Understanding Microsoft Unified Support

Microsoft has recently added a new support option for its enterprise customers: Microsoft Unified Support .  This offering is in addition to the Microsoft Premier service offering which may be familiar to large organizations that rely on Microsoft software. Microsoft Unified Support is designed to reduce downtime through on demand risk assessments, improve productivity through enhanced user training, and streamline access to technical support through a customer organization.  According to a commissioned study by Forrester Research , Unified Support can produce a return on investment of 130 percent, and reduce downtime by 65 percent. Unified Support is priced based on the Microsoft software owned and Microsoft cloud services consumed by a customer.  Contact your Microsoft sales rep to learn more or get a quotation for Unified Support.  

Microsoft Power Apps for Nonprofits and the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator

Microsoft Power Apps and Dynamics 365 provide prebuilt apps and a framework for building custom apps for a wide range of the software needs of nonprofits. Dynamics 365 is a family of products  which include accounting, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software. Power Apps was derived from Dynamics 365 and offers a framework for building standalone web apps (canvas apps) or integrated apps built on a shared common data model .  Building on the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 avoids many of the common pitfalls of custom application development.  It gives users a starting point for functional requirements, contains a rich data model, handles many common low-level programming tasks, and provides advanced functionality such as mobile apps and is hosted in the Microsoft cloud.   Microsoft Dynamics 365 is integrated with other elements of the Microsoft platform such as Office 365, Power BI and SharePoint and readily integrated to other products from other