Demand for Power Platform is ever-increasing! Digital Transformation has long been top–of–mind for business and IT leaders, but the COVID crisis and its need to quickly adapt to new ways of working has pushed the issue front and center for many businesses seeking to survive – and thrive – in today’s conditions. Last year’s retirement of SharePoint 2010 workflows in SharePoint Online forced organizations to suddenly manage up to hundreds of Power Apps/Power Automate solutions, and the demand for quick, efficient business process solutions is not slowing down. Charles Lamanna, CVP of the Microsoft Power Platform, addressed this during his Microsoft Ignite 2020 session: The Low Code Revolution, saying there’s an app gap challenge.
“500 million new apps will be built in the next five years – more than all apps built in the last 40 years, with a 5x faster demand for mobile apps than IT departments can deliver.”
IT is being challenged, not only to build but to provide governance and support for the applications in production.
How do you close this gap to deliver and govern the process automation solutions your organization relies on? Enter citizen developers (defined by Gartner as “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and environments sanctioned by corporate IT”) and the Power Platform Center of Excellence. As outlined by Microsoft, a Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE) in an organization drives innovation and improvement and brings together like-minded people with similar business goals to share knowledge and success, while at the same time providing standards, consistency, and governance. In other words, it’s a joint effort by IT professionals and the business to enable faster application delivery from IT and others, including partners and citizen developers, while ensuring compliance, security, and operational standards are being met.
Could your organizations benefit from a Power Platform Center of Excellence?
You may want to consider putting one in place if you:
The Business Applications team at Compass365 has been delivering Microsoft-based forms and workflow solutions for more than 15 years. We created the Compass365 Power Platform Center of Excellence offering to help our clients address the rapid growth, continued demand and need for governance for Power Platform solutions. We leverage Microsoft’s guidelines, tools and best practices to help our clients take full advantage of the Power Platform.
Assessment and Planning
Center of Excellence efforts start with an assessment and planning phase. Using a series of workshops with our Solutions Architects and key stakeholders, we clarify and document our client’s purpose, goals, objectives and expected outcomes in a Strategy and Roadmap Planning document. We provide guidance on Microsoft’s best practices for Power Platform, potential licensing implications, document security and compliance requirements as well as plans for configuration, communication, intake and delivery processes. Implementation estimates are provided along with formal documentation to carry out implementation of the Center of Excellence.
In this phase, the CoE roadmap is implemented. This includes O365 tenant and Power Platform configurations to reflect the governance policies and decisions in the roadmap, along with design documentation, test scripts and user guides. We believe strongly that formal, yet easy to understand and follow documentation is a key deliverable to every project, and critical to the long-term viability of the Center of Excellence. During this phase the Communication plan is finalized with a defined strategy, templates, and other assets to not only inform the organization, but engage and build anticipation with the business for process improvements and opportunities to come.
Training and Roll-Out
While each organization’s strategy is unique, the goal is consistent. We enable and empower citizen developers with a series of tools, resources and events. These can range from roadshow events with business units who’ve expressed interest to training videos, lunch and learns, online training/certification, reference guides to individual consultation sessions and more. We rely on our clients’ understanding of their organization’s culture, technical aptitude and maturity level to help shape the enablement program that will work best for them. While it may take time, ultimately champions will emerge. Providing a platform and opportunity for these folks to share their knowledge and successes helps the effort grow exponentially.
Sustainment and Growth
Managing, sustaining and growing the Power Platform Center of Excellence program is an ongoing effort. Some of our clients have the in-house resources to sustain this effort, while others rely on our team to help with the care and feeding of the program. Power Platform is a great tool for citizen developers to create their own low to medium complexity solutions. Some processes, however, due to either complexity or time constraints, warrant escalation to developer resources to help guide, review architecture and build out the solutions. In many cases, the Compass365 team is engaged long-term as part of the program to deliver solutions, conduct workshops, build out proof-of-concept apps, help with discovery and estimation of effort, etc. With the organization’s IT leaders, we help establish audit and reporting processes that feed into the cycle of continual process improvement.
If you are ready to empower your citizen developers in a safe, secure, operationally efficient way, the Power Platform Center of Excellence program is for you. If you would like to learn more about services to get your Power Platform Center of Excellence up and running, please reach out to Cathy Ashbaugh, email@example.com to arrange a complimentary consultation.
Compass365, a Microsoft Gold Partner, delivers SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Power Platform solutions that help IT and business leaders improve how their organizations operate and their employees work.