In the modern digital world, organizations are increasing their focus on democratizing technology. The low-code development has opened new avenues for organizations and the rise in citizen developers is prominent. Microsoft Power Platform had been the driving force in the low-code development realm. According to Forrester’s report about the low-code development platforms, Microsoft is among the leaders. This shift has accelerated the growth of citizen developers across organizations. With such rapid changes, organizations face challenges in setting up Microsoft Power Platform Governance plan. Is this related to the app explosion or the growth of citizen developers?
Both are intertwined. The app explosion is a result of digitization efforts, and the citizen developer growth is a result of the above. Organizations might face data breaches, application swamps, and security challenges without proper controls for app development by citizen developers. Let us read more details about it.
How does Power Platform enable simplicity?
As all of us know, Power Platform has 4 components – Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents. And now Power Apps has been added to the portfolio. What is so unique about the platform? Users can leverage Dataverse to unify organizational data use with other services in the Microsoft ecosystem. Also, they can access around 750+ connectors and connect to custom-built connectors too.
Moreover, with the AI Builder, users can leverage pre-built AI models and extend apps with support from Azure API connectors. Though Power Platform democratizes software development, it may provide access to sensitive data to users. Hence organizations must implement better governance for Microsoft Power Platform to ensure vital controls and data security.
Challenges with Citizen Developers
Organizations leveraging low-code development may find themselves in a scenario where:
- Citizen developers create multiple environments (new) without due diligence
- Most users get confused between business and non-business data and sharing between personal and business data sources.
- Unauthorized apps and violation of security policies when apps are created
- Sharing apps widely with everyone in the organization
- Admins make changes in DLP policies without any knowledge about the impact on the apps and their owners
- The app support desk is unsure about the issues when highlighted by business users
These challenges are not limited to a single low-code development platform but are common for all. Hence it is vital to set up an effective governance framework to address these issues.
Governance for Microsoft Power Platform – Need
With Citizen developers growing exponentially, organizations are overwhelmed with app controls, access, and data usage by citizen developers. Hence it is critical to focus on improving the visibility of users and data flow across applications. The governance for Microsoft Power Platform should enable organizations to prevent data breaches. Most importantly, businesses can avoid costly administration and user access bottlenecks with effective data governance solutions. Let us see the reasons behind having effective governance for Microsoft Power Platform.
User access to build apps or automate workflows
The most common challenge to deal with while allowing citizen developers to build applications. With access to Office 365, licensed users will get access to Power Apps and Power Automate. This allows anyone in the organization to build any app or automate workflows, regardless of knowledge and skills. Without proper governance for Microsoft Power Platform, it may lead to complicated administration trials and auditing flows.
Sprawl as many say is when the apps and services multiply, where growth cannot be under the control of platform administrators. To overcome this challenge organizations, have to de-clutter the apps for better productivity and to remain agile. How can this be a challenge with Power Platform? With Citizen developers, the issue gets compounded as the number of apps grows exponentially in no time. Effective governance for Microsoft Power Platform sets up controls for the workflows and apps so that all the process is tracked for better control.
Ownership of apps and workflows
The main challenge lies in assigning ownership for business apps under development. If a citizen developer leaves the organization, the app is left without an owner. The app users may be left clueless as sharing and editing gets disabled. Without governance, this challenge becomes more evident with the attrition patterns. A pre-emptive governance plan with Power Apps monitoring and authentication can reduce the challenge manifold.
Guidelines for citizen developers
Power Platform offers businesses the opportunity to leverage citizen developers to develop apps rapidly and to meet evolving needs. How do we provide access to business and non-business data? Organizations that can establish an efficient data governance strategy can limit access to user groups according to their roles and responsibilities. Apart from this, the guidance to citizen developers should be more detailed beyond the governance model.
Erroneous business flows
Organizations that execute their processes with flows will have a strong impact on productivity if there are runtime errors in the flows. And you must compromise on process automation with erroneous flows. The execution of the flow may stop unless the runtime error is fixed. As a result, it impacts the performance levels of a business. A well-planned governance strategy may mitigate the risk of such errors and help in automation as intended.
Governance for Microsoft Power Platform – CoE
To simplify operations for Power Platform, Microsoft offers a CoE starter kit to establish governance. The CoE starter kit focuses on crafting a governance strategy for Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. The recent announcements at the Power Platform Conference also unveil their focus on governance aspects. What do you get in the CoE starter kit?
The CoE starter kit has some automation and insights to ease the monitoring of business applications. Additionally, you can leverage Power BI analytics to gain insights into user behavior and progress in apps. The easy-to-use dashboard provides details about the app usage, owner details, licenses, and the number of apps and flows. The starter kit also flags apps with too many users or flows and without permissions. It also prompts administrators for the right decisions by monitoring high-risk apps and flows.
Does the Microsoft CoE starter kit suit every business?
Microsoft’s CoE provides visibility through the apps and flows, and it works in conjunction with different governance platforms. But it may not meet the long-term governance needs for organizations. Also, managing a CoE requires guidelines for processes, resources, and administrators. Hence, it proves costly to set up a Microsoft CoE. Moreover, it is also time-consuming to set up and a complex installation for IT teams.
And another important point is that the CoE kit fits Power Platform only. Organizations in the Microsoft ecosystem must set up a robust governance framework beyond that.
How can we help you?
As discussed above, setting up a governance framework can be daunting. Support from a specialized partner always eases the workload and improves time to value. We, at Saxon, have exclusive expertise in crafting an efficient data governance strategy for different tech platforms. As a first step, we offer a 2–3-week Power Platform governance workshop to help you understand the gaps and pave an efficient roadmap. Initiate a quick chat now!