Hello dear readers,
I Hope you are safe and doing well. Here is an article about innovation, and more specifically how to partner with Microsoft to leverage your workplace, and the Power Platform tools to manage efficiently innovation and employee well-being.
This article will be a little bit different than usual as I will not focus on a particular feature. I would rather introduce you quickly with the Platform and explain what to expect from it.
The Power Platform
So, Microsoft is positioned on the low code market. Mainly proposing its Office 365 and Dynamics 365 customers to build solutions for their activities through easy to use tools such as Power Apps, Automate, BI or even Virtual Agent. Here is a picture of those tools in the Microsoft Ecosystem :
At this point check your region in the Power Apps admin centre.
Those tools are actually targeting it pro and developers but also citizen developers – which is very good regarding to effort smoothing – this needs to be taken in consideration.
So basically, with Office/Microsoft 365 or Dynamics 365 licences, some people in your organization might already have tried to build solutions using Power Automate, Power Apps or Power BI. This is a pretty common situation, let’s call it the experimentation phase. During this phase, people starts to test personal productivity hacks or team solutions with low volumetry. This phase is a never ending process, if available, there will always be someone who tries to improve his working experience with such tools.
Recommended actions : Follow an “App in a day” free training / Microsoft Learn
At some point, you might realize the opportunity to invest in ways to optimize what and how you are doing as an organization. Well, driving innovation is a wide topic, to make it short I would emphasis on the procedural work required for measuring it. What you need first is a comprehensive monitoring system of what is used in the service and what to achieve. You can build some using Graph calls from Power BI to build custom reporting on the Power Platform usage. Or choose to rely on a community solution : CoE starter kit.
Those tools will help you to get a clear vision on what is going on in your organization, and maybe put some names in your citizen developers list… You will get a vision per tools, environments and an overview of the data connections used in solutions :
Recommended action : See customers testimonials to enhance envisioning
That being said, you will need to set global objectives on what you want to achieve. Those objectives should be SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). Something like :
“I want our company to process every customer request in less than 2 days from May to September.”
“I would like every purchasing flows to be approved by the CFO for the next two coming months.”
This is very important as you will bear those objectives in mind while designing the solutions. You will actually make use of Power BI to analyse usage of your solutions, measure return on investment ratios and identify things to automate in your solution.
This step is where your IT gets involved and start to build the foundations of your organization solution standards. As you start to get internal expertise on the Power Platform tools, you will take time to configure your environment, setting policies, rules and access rights related to your activity constraints and the market best practices.
At this point you might have a some self service solutions and a couple of significant solutions where your IT got involved :
Building a centre of excellence is pretty straight forward. What you do is describe common scenarios and path to make them happen in the real word. For each solution project, depending on your organizational culture, you need :
- Roles (Business Sponsor & Technical Referent)
👉 Through a SharePoint training site, you can promote self service solutions, certification process and so on… (Any other viable technology that works for you as well)
👉 Ask for assistance using your IT ticketing solution, custom Forms, Apps or the module proposed with the CoE Starter Kit
👉 You can make use of a enterprise social network such as Yammer to build and nurture transversal communities and knowledge
👉 Improve productivity and Compliance as well with PCF Gallery & Reusable components. (Don’t forget to communicate on their description and how to use it)
👉 Certify your solution request to ensure compliance and transfer maintenance to IT support
Here is an illustrative path in term of monetary investment for Power Apps :
Princing may vary with time
From that, your organization culture will do the rest.
Here are some extra materials regarding the CoE Starter Kit :
CoE Starter Kit Modules
CoE Starter Kit – Innovation Backlog Module
I hope to catch your interest for driving innovation in your organization with this article, see you in the blog section 🧐