Have you deployed Microsoft’s Power Platform and asked yourself – “Do I have the correct policies and processes in place to successfully support my organisation?”
Microsoft’s Power Platform supports citizen developers with a low-code approach to building professional-grade applications. This offers the ability for employees across all departments to rapidly build low-code apps that modernise processes, solve business challenges and automate repetitive tasks.
However, using the Power Platform comes with the need for an organisation to recognise and manage this new approach, whilst adopting and acknowledging that employees will be empowered to build applications.
What is a Centre of Excellence?
Creating a Power Platform Centre of Excellence is the first step in supporting an organisation to empower organisational departments, including the citizen developers within, to digitise and automate their business processes, while maintaining the necessary level of central oversight and governance.
The Centre of Excellence acts as a support function that helps evangelise and promote the product, educates and trains citizen developers and nurtures the apps and flows that are created.
Managing and governing the Power Platform is essential to ensuring a successful deployment – hence the importance of a Centre of Excellence!
Centre of Excellence Starter Kit
When asked, most Power Platform administrators will refer to a Power Platform Centre of Excellence as Microsoft’s ‘Centre of Excellence Starter Kit’.
Whilst the starter kit provides a quick and simple means of setting up useful components, tools and dashboards that are designed to help an organisation get started with their Power Platform adoption journey, the Starter Kit is just one part to setting up and enabling a successful Centre of Excellence.
Creating a Centre of Excellence
To create a Centre of Excellence, supporting: security, governance, citizen developers, and the general adoption of the Power Platform, it is highly recommended that a set of tools and processes specific to your organisation are defined.
Key topics to cover include:
Environment and Licencing Strategy
Environments are containers that administrators can use to manage data, apps, flows, licences, and other assets, along with permissions to allow organisation members to use these resources. Check out my Microsoft Docs post on more detail surrounding the management of environments.
Critical to being able to secure apps, flows and data correctly, an appropriate environment strategy is required for any organisation.
- How do you manage the creation of new apps?
- How do you manage the creation of new flows?
- How do you manage the user account that a flow runs as?
- How do you manage premium licences within your environment?
- How do you manage application lifecycle management?
Security and Data Loss Prevention
Power Platform Data Loss Prevention policies (DLP) are often forgotten but act as guardrails to help prevent users from unintentionally exposing organisational data. Check out my post here on more detail around defining these.
Power Platform DLP policies are different to Microsoft 365 DLP policies!
DLP policies enforce rules for app and flow makers who are connecting to other line of business systems. By default, there are no DLP policies applied to a Microsoft Power Platform environment, therefore the use of any connector is available to all app and flow makers.
- Do you know there are 400+ connectors to 3rd party applications, which can be used by your citizen developers in either an app or flow?
- Are you comfortable with your citizen developers being able to integrate corporate information with 3rd party applications programmatically?
Administer and Monitor
Administration and monitoring are key areas with the Centre of Excellence, allowing you to gain insights into your Microsoft Power Platform environment.
Citizen developers creating apps and flows, creating service accounts for applications to run under, licencing and database capacity strategy are all important factors.
Acting a support function within your organisation; it’s imperative the service you are providing is reliable and stable.
This is where the Microsoft Centre of Excellence start kit comes into play; providing near-instant visibility into your environment via some very nice (and functional) Power BI dashboards.
The final part to any successful Power Platform Centre of Excellence is ‘Nurture’.
This is the day to day continue build and development of new Power Platform resources. Training and adoption plays a key part here. Whilst the previous sections are very technical/configuration elements, the Nurture is very much all about the end users and training.
Train your users / citizen developers / pro developers correctly, and the value of the Power Platform will soon be realised. If you’re a Premium Licence subscriber to the Power Platform, this is even more important – as you’ll have some great functionality available which will require more advanced training over the basic.
Microsoft have some great content available for anyone to use, although it might be worth speaking with a Microsoft partner to help provide the day 1 training needs. The magical 3 for me are:
- App in a Day
- Power Automate in a Day
- Dashboard in a Day