Demystifying Enterprise Innovation

Microsoft has been slowly building its moat in the low-code no-code application development space. Products like Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI are now being leveraged within the Power Platform to give customers a complete end-to-end platform for their automation needs for recurring tasks. We spoke to Jukka Niiranen from Finland, a Power Platform Sr. Consultant and the co-founder of Forward Forever, a boutique consulting firm that helps clients build, measure, and manage digital business processes running on top of Microsoft's Power Platform. Jukka talks about how his earlier stint as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant helped him become an early adopter and later an advisor for Power Platform. He offers his insights regarding the platform’s future direction, and how to find Citizen Developer heroes within your organization to scale the use of Low Code No Code platforms.

Show Notes

Key Takeaways

[0:00] Microsoft Power Platform’s governance is all about putting the guardrails around the low code platform so that the citizens can keep on developing apps to solve their own problems, deliver a good user experience, and allow them to innovate without locking their activities with IT policies.

[7:40] Low-code products like Power Platform aim to fuel a bottom-up innovation.
[8:06] There’s a lot of hype around low-code no-code platforms but a lot of companies don’t understand how they can use these platforms in their environment. 

[11:50] Jukka and his team of consultants often find individuals or teams using Microsoft Power Platform to build solutions, especially those who were not able to get them built through their IT departments. These are not necessarily the most beautiful apps from a UI or architecture perspective, but very effective from the business results perspective.

[13:20] You need to find those heroes within the organization who already understand that there’s a business need for low-code platforms. These are the folks who are frustrated by the lack of official systems or how long it takes to build them.

[14:40] Power Platform is better than just using the Power Apps because through the platform you can enforce policies and processes to govern several types of solutions and apps.

[16:15] What people generally misunderstand about Power Platform is its commercial plan and positioning of it because Microsoft has bundled Power Apps, Power Automate, and Flow into Office 365 from day one.

[19:27] The big question is whether Power Platform will also be for vendors to build their own products on top of it. Until now what Microsoft has mostly celebrated is Citizen Developers. Jukka and his team have also built their own product on top of the Power Platform, and they call it the ‘Sustainability Action Pack’. 

[27:25] Microsoft Power Platform charges users based on license-per-user so you have to assess which use cases it is most suitable for. It might be fit for some use cases but not the right toolkit for consumer-facing apps and scenarios.

[28:20] Power Platform’s future direction can be assessed by seeing how it evolved during the past four years. In the first two years, the focus was still on catering to app makers’ needs, integrating capabilities of Dynamics CRM and Dataverse.  During the past two years, the focus was still a lot on admin tools and governance capabilities of the platform.

[32:00] The way we frame Power Platform governance to our customers is that you need policies, controls, and processes for people who are not pro-developers, do not do it for a living, and who don’t have a formal education background in software development. Allow them to use pieces from the cloud in a sensible way.

[34:00] Internal evangelism is important to make LCNC initiatives successful.

[45:00] CRM consultants have done a lot of good work in evangelizing CRMs in organizations, so that type of effort is needed to make Low Code No Code more acceptable.


“The way we frame Power Platform’s governance to our customers is that it's all about putting the guardrails all-around low code platforms”.

“We are really more focused on helping the organizations themselves take ownership of their tools and build new applications for scenarios that previously haven't had any apps or automation in place”.

“From an IT perspective, the power platform is unique in the sense that many organizations already have it, even though they haven't acquired it. And that's the result of the Microsoft strategy to bundle it with their Office and Dynamics tools”.

“Users of Low Code tools are people who have usually been frustrated by the lack of official systems or how long it takes to get something budgeted and implemented”. 

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What is Demystifying Enterprise Innovation?

This podcast by AgilePoint brings you fresh ideas from the trenches every week. It's not a step-by-step guide but a sneak peek into the minds of experts with field-tested ideas, templates, and frameworks they have used to implement digital transformation programs, for other enterprises. If you want to be sure you get practical and focused advice about enterprise digital transformation in under an hour, don't miss an episode.