The Microsoft Power Platform provides a tremendous opportunity for organizations to empower business users and automate processes. But simply rolling out the tools is not enough to realize the full benefits. A strategic, governed approach is required to drive widespread adoption and manage risks.
In this post, I'll share 10 key steps I would take if I was a new manager of a Power Platform team tasked with enabling the business to take advantage of these incredible low-code capabilities. My recommended approach combines establishing strong governance with driving training, engagement, and continuous improvement.
Let's dive in!
Step 1 - Training
Provide extensive training and education for the team on all aspects of Power Platform. Cover the main capabilities of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents.
Depending on the teams appetite and the way the organisation operates it may be worth having the core Power Platform team get certified alongside studying and digging deeper into Microsoft's governance and administration best practices guide lines for the Power Platform
It is worth understanding that depending on your team and organisational structure the learning for the core Power Platform team may need to be at a different level and different time to that of the Power Users that will utilise some or all of the tools available.
Step 2 - Assess
Survey business units on their pain points, challenges, and processes that could be improved with automation. Analyse workflows and solutions that could be streamlined. Identify low-code opportunities.
Document findings in an assessment report, including details of suggested business needs and processes to target, what benefit the Power Platform can bring to these areas and how that can help the business goals overall.
It is worth revisiting this report and tracking against it as time moves on and progress is made, to help demonstrate success and also identify any areas where the Power Platform does not help.
Step 3 - Set Strategy
Armed with the information from the assessment report above, define a Power Platform strategy aligned to business goals and outcomes.
Outline the vision, use cases, and a suggested phased rollout plan. Ensure at this stage if not before you get executive buy in and sponsorship.
Once a strategy is agreed upon then Create a Power Platform Centre of Excellence and agree on a mission statement to be at its core.
Step 4 - Establish Governance
Build a comprehensive governance model covering security, compliance, policies, lifecycle management, support model, training, and standards. Leverage Microsoft Governance and Administration guides.
Depending on the scale of your organisations then appoint roles like architects and administrators. It may also be worth having Power Platform Champions to be the main contacts throughout the business.
It pays to get this up and running as quickly as possible as lack of governance can quickly lead to issues and confusion down the line. This Governance process also needs to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Step 5 - Start Small
To get started it is worth identify a few quick-win projects like automating manual workflows. This can also be an effective way to get more stakeholder buy in if it is lacking initially.
Develop small solutions that solve real pain points. Ensure you record the before and after state in terms that people understand e.g. Hours Saved, Money Saved, what having more of those things has enabled. Once you have that information you can effectively use those success stories to showcase possibilities and build confidence in the platform.
The more complex use cases may risk early failure and therefore undermine confidence in the platform, so possibly worth keeping these back to later tranches of work.
Step 6 - Communicate
Raise awareness through presentations to leadership and end users.
Alongside the Community create FAQs, newsletters, training tutorials. Promote via townhalls and internal social campaigns. The aim is to try and get users excited about capabilities of the Power Platform.
As with all communication ensure that it is not all one way, give as many ways as possible for individuals and teams to raise concerns and ask questions and also ensure they get answered.
Step 7 - Build Community
Alongside the centre of excellence, establish a Power Platform User Group for sharing tips, tricks, and best practices. The Power Platform Champions, if you have any, should hopefully be the driving force of this community.
Encourage connections between pro developers and the business teams who have the solution needs. Try to use the community to create opportunities for users to learn from each other's experiences and insight.
A community works best if it has a number of ways for its members to interact, online forums, regular meetings or events, Ask Me Anything Sessions with experts etc etc
If done well the Community can be a big part of ensuring you execute Step 6 effectively.
Step 8 - Review and Improve
If you have been communicating effectively and are starting to get an active Power Platform community in your organisation you should be able to continuously gather user feedback.
This should mean you can:
- Monitor for issues.
- Monitor for key successes.
- Assess adoption levels and ROI.
- Compare progress to KPIs and the Defined Strategy.
All of this can then be put back in to refine the processes, the governance model and communications moving forward.
Step 9 - Show Value
As mentioned in step 2 above the initial assessment report should be used as the initial artifact to document and demonstrate the value of rolling out the Power Platform.
Ensure you track performance metrics like time and costs savings so that you can Calculate Return On Investment. Promote these via dashboards and case studies and where possible try to relate benefits back to main business goals.
Step 10 - Expand Possibilities
Once the foundations are in place and success is being demonstrated effectively you can then move on to Identifying more complex use cases. Look at ways you might be able to leverage the full power of Microsoft Power Platform services and where it might be able help at an enterprise level.
The Microsoft Power Platform offers immense opportunities but realizing the full benefits requires planning and commitment. By taking a strategic approach focused on education, governance, delivering quick wins, and continuous improvement, organizations can transform digitally in a secure, sustainable manner.
As a new manager overseeing a fledgling Power Platform team, resist the urge to boil the ocean too soon. Follow the steps outlined here to lay the right foundations. Earn trust and credibility by starting small but thinking big. Enable your team to become experts and coaches. Foster a culture of citizen development and continuous learning.
With the correct foundations your organization's Power Platform future is bright!