“The idea is for people with a background in the business, rather than in development, to be able to produce solutions that connect to enterprise data in a way that’s both safe and efficient. They apply their business knowledge to the data that the organisation has, without needing a whole lot of developer knowledge,”
“It allows the people who are closest to the problem to actually answer the problem themselves, rather than having to try and explain the problem to someone who’s not an expert in their domain.”
When sharing customer success stories, Andrew explained that in one large Australian bank, the Microsoft Power Platform has empowered employees to create “fascinating solutions” that the IT department wouldn’t necessarily have built.
“The proliferation of useful small apps that people have built and the automation processes that people have developed has been remarkable to see.”
Of course, enabling non-traditional developers to build apps and giving them the power to easily create connectors to multiple systems does create new security and governance challenges.
To address this, the platform has a set of security models that can be applied to the various integration points, in order to control access and keep data secure.
“That means, for example, that you can’t write a Power App that that scrapes the CEO’s email and posts it for everyone to see.”
The platform also allows organisations to make apps, software robots and chatbots that are infused with various forms of artificial intelligence. These range from intelligent optical character recognition to sentiment analysis. Using the latter, for example, you can analyse whether a customer is happy or frustrated and route your virtual agent or automated workflow in a particular direction based on that information. These AI components make automation solutions even more useful and capable of solving more complex challenges.
Is this approach ideal for every business?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Andrew believes companies should select platforms based on how they align with current enterprise technology frameworks, data requirements, in-house expertise and the broader organisational culture.
Flexibility and extensibility are also critical.
“Choosing technologies that integrate well with each other is key, because needs are always going to evolve. Situations such as acquisitions and advances in technology will create a need to integrate. As long as the tech platform you’re using has got that integration capability as part of its core, you’ll be going down the right track,
If not now, when?
In the era of enterprise technology democratisation, it no longer makes sense to adopt a watch and wait attitude towards intelligent automation.
“How long are you going to put it off? It’s only costing you time if you don’t do it now,”
“Every day or minute that you’re not automating, you’re actually falling behind, because there are other companies that are digitally born. They’ve been built on the type of technology that allows them to do things better and faster. Really soon, it’s not only going to be a competitive advantage.”