Once an organization decides to deploy the Power Platform, they have one immediate task: determining how to govern it. Luckily, Microsoft has created the Power Platform Center of Excellence to lend a hand.
As more organizations begin to deploy resources from Microsoft’s Power Platform for citizen development and other programs, governance becomes a key aspect administrators need to address before the platform becomes unmanageable.
What does “unmanageable” look like? Imagine hundreds of PowerApps and Flows running across multiple environments with no clue who created them, what they are for, and how they affect your licensing capacity. You’ll get an idea quickly.
What Is the Power Platform Center of Excellence Starter Kit?
Essentially, the Microsoft’s Power Platform Center of Excellence (COE) is a collection of tools and reports you install on the tenant to assist with the operational governance of your Power Platform deployment, allowing you to manage security, provide insights and drive adoption of the Power Platform with no additional licensing cost.
You may be wondering why Microsoft does not provide tools to manage the Power Platform by default. They actually do! But these admin tools aren’t very robust. While you gain some insight at the environment level, you won’t get a high-level understanding of all of the resources across the tenant.
One bonus of using these tools is the fact they are all built using the Power Platform. So, you can customize the Apps and Flows included in the Center of Excellence to fit the needs of your organization, just as you would do if you were modifying a built-in PowerApps or Power Automate template.
Microsoft has categorized the components of the COE kit into three modules, so let’s take a look at each:
Admin (Core) Tools
Admin, or core, tools are the first components installed when setting up the COE and they include the tools to provide plenty of information about the PowerApps and Power Automate flows you want to deploy.
This PowerApps solution provides Power Automate flows that synchronize the salient data about your PowerApps and flows to Dataverse (formerly CDS). The PowerApp allows you to manage security across these objects, and PowerBI Reporting gives insights into how you are using these across the organization. These leverage the new PowerApps and Flow Admin Connectors, which you can use outside of this solution in your own custom PowerApps and flows.
With the core tools, you gain visibility into your Power Platform deployment. The governance tools let you leverage these to help manage your apps and flows long-term.
Out of the box, this provides the ability to request business justification for creating a Dataverse for Teams environments, implements an audit and compliance process around development, and archives unused Apps and Flows. These tools also offer a sample framework on how to implement your own governance processes by customizing or creating new business process flows to govern your environment.
After deploying Power Platform, this COE component helps launch these tools to your citizen developers the right way. The nurture tools contain assets to set up and deploy training opportunities and local best practices to your users. It also includes a template and app catalog to help the administrator promote approved PowerApps and provide templates for users to get started on their Power Platform journey.
I know I said there were three key areas, but Microsoft has also included some additional tools as a bonus to truly enhance your Power Platform initiative.
- A theming app to deploy different color schemes to a template that users can use to start creating Canvas apps.
- An innovation backlog app that can guide users through submitting their ideas for apps on the Power Platform and allow admins to make guided decisions on complexity and ROI when choosing what to develop.
- An application lifecycle management (ALM) accelerator app that integrates with Github. It can walk your solutions through a full ALM cycle while also using Github as a source code repository for all of your solution assets.
As Microsoft says, “This is a starter kit, not a finisher kit.” Even when expertly configured, there is much more to successful Power Platform governance than this kit could possibly provide. But Microsoft’s Power Platform Center of Excellence Starter Kit still provides an impressive accelerator for organizations looking for insights and extracting value from their Power Platform deployment.