Demystifying the Power Platform Center of Excellence

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Have you ever wondered how to up your organization’s Power Platform game? Most organizations start working with Power Platform and let it grow organically as they explore the many fabulous products and services. At some point, however, it’s time to knuckle down and consider some structure.

At the most basic level, a Center of Excellence (CoE) is built around the fundamentals of improving any system by adding structure and oversight. When we bring different sectors of a system into organized sync while nurturing the individuals within, we see growth and improvement skyrocket.

Consider a natural ecosystem for reference.

A natural ecosystem works on checks and balances, life cycles, and millions of individual components working together. As random as it often seems, there is order in the chaos—there is balance. Within this balance, all the individual organisms thrive. A natural ecosystem finds that rhythm over the course of eons. However, who has that kind of time?

In our Power Platform ecosystems, we need order and improvement to move along a bit more efficiently. Fortunately, we have more scientific and data-driven approaches to bringing our ecosystems into alignment.

A Power Platform Center of Excellence is a collection of apps, flows, processes, and reports that aid in managing the entire tenant and everyone in it. Components of a successful CoE promote best practices, drive improvement, and enable oversight.

In order to better understand this concept better, let’s dive into the features and components provided in the Power Platform CoE Starter Kit, which is an effective model for baseline CoE operations in the Power Platform ecosystem.

The CoE Starter Kit offers premade Nurture and Governance components an organization can use to kickstart its CoE journey.

Nurture Components

What even are nurture components?

Digging into the jargon a little, the idea of nurturing in a Power Platform ecosystem revolves around providing makers with everything they need to thrive.

The “makers,” as Microsoft calls them, are the developers—people working within the Power Platform services and products to create solutions. As easy as it is to focus on oversight and governance, nurturing is one of the most important elements of a good Center of Excellence.

A Power Platform CoE will typically help makers by providing communication avenues, learning opportunities, access to resources, and more. For example, the CoE Starter Kit includes:

  • Flows for welcome and newsletter emails
  • A template catalog
  • End-to-end training management
  • Feedback requests
  • An app with a catalog of CoE components.

We see a lot of tangible benefits from these components.

By using automation to ensure makers receive introductory information and ongoing updates about policies and best practices, we enable them to proceed with confidence in their work and avoid unnecessary confusion or mistakes. By encouraging and engaging with their feedback, we are able to make relevant, data-driven improvements and tap into the collective intelligence of the group.

The premade nurture components in the CoE Starter Kit are just the introduction. The idea is to adopt initial best practices—such as communication, feedback, and learning opportunities—then develop a custom Center of Excellence driven by the real needs of the makers themselves. Creating an empowering environment is mutually beneficial and leads to better results.

As with any endeavor, commitment is a major factor in realizing success. Organizations that are committed to implementing a comprehensive CoE and providing the best possible support for their makers will see the greatest success.

Governance Components

As the Power Platform team grows in an organization, managing all the different parts becomes increasingly difficult. Keeping track of multiple teams working in multiple environments on unrelated projects with every kind of deadline and parameter imaginable is a lot of work. The Center of Excellence should centralize and streamline that work.

The premade governance components in the Power Platform CoE Starter Kit have a lot to offer here.

Managing members of the organization are best served by being able to see and govern all facets of their Power Platform environments with ease. They should be able to quickly administer appropriate permissions, review resources and capacities, and provide the necessary support and opportunities for makers to thrive. Managers should have easy access to everything within their periphery.

The Command Center App

The Command Center app provided in the Starter Kit can be used to launch other apps and bookmarks, check failed sync flows, update environment variables, raise support tickets, read Power Platform blog articles, send emails, and more.

The idea of a “command center” is self-explanatory here—it’s a central location with many of the features and access points leaders need to stay on top of the Power Platform ecosystem.

Additionally, there are apps in the CoE Starter Kit dedicated to Data Loss Prevention (DLP), permissions administration, and reporting/monitoring. Premade reports in Power BI help to centralize visibility into activities and statuses across all Power Platform environments. It pays to keep an eye on the Power Platform ecosystem.

The Value

As an anecdote, I was recently reviewing analytics using our Center of Excellence, and I noticed that a single flow had run and failed nearly 9,000 times in a week. The return reason for failure was “unauthorized,” but the flow had already been deleted, so there was no more information available.

An unauthorized action attempting to run every minute for almost a week sounds pretty concerning, right? Fortunately, with a bit of investigation, I discovered that one of the makers had been testing an automation concept for practice and exploration, and they simply forgot to turn it off when it didn’t work.

It’s a wonderful thing when makers explore the potential available to them, because this often results in unexpected innovation, but imagine if it had been something more sinister! As environments and projects add up, being able to review and manage them all in one place is essential. Implementing good governance in a Power Platform CoE is well worth the time and effort.

Get the Most Value From Power Platform

In short, a Power Platform CoE leverages features to help you more effectively manage and get the most value from Power Platform.

Flows automate and keep processes moving, apps provide access to controls and features, and reports provide insights into the goings on for all environments within the tenant. These features help to diagnose problems, drive improvement, and open opportunities for makers and administrators alike.

Want to get a CoE up and running but don’t know where to start? Contact our team to discuss your specific needs. With more than 30 years in the industry, we’ll address your goals, and discuss our time-tested implementation plan for standing up a CoE, so you can get the most value from your Power Platform investment, and do more with less.

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