Center of Excellence: 3 good reasons to use it

Are you grappling with multiple PowerApps? Are they vital to your core business? Read on to discover how a Center of Excellence might just be the answer to your governance and security challenges!

The no-code/low-code app solutions are, by definition, a fast, easy and accessible way to transform your business. But keep in mind that other issues may come into play as your apps become more business-critical.

Have you ever encountered one of the following situations?

  • You lack visibility into the number of apps being created and their owners;
  • Employees have changed roles or left the company, leaving behind orphaned apps;
  • Users have inadvertently been assigned an admin security role, putting sensitive information at risk;
  • Automated processes run in production when they shouldn’t…

All situations that can turn the Power Platform dream into a management nightmare! Microsoft created the Center of Excellence in order to avoid such inconveniences. Designed for the Power Platform, this ready‑to‑use, easy‑to‑install starter kit will cater to your specific needs. In fact, the integrated modules are fully configurable and can therefore be easily customized. By using the Center of Excellence, you can proactively identify the source of your security issues and save valuable time. Thus, it will make it easier to manage your environments and dramatically reduce your app maintenance costs.

1. The Center of Excellence: One app to rule them all!

First off, the Center of Excellence is a tool through which you can identify all your Power Platform components and their users. This will enable you to view the list of all environments in your instance and what they include:

  • Flows (Cloud and Desktop);
  • Apps (Canvas and Model Driven);
  • Connectors;
  • And much more…

The CoE Starter Kit comes with two apps for inspecting this information: a Model Driven App (Power Platform Admin View) and the CoE Power BI Dashboard. Power BI has an easy-to-use interface (charts) and allows advanced cross‑referencing of data.

Model Driven App for Center of Excellence
Power Platform Admin View – Model Driven App for the Center of Excellence (Charts illustrating the number of apps and flows per user (1 and 3) as well as the number of flows and apps per environment (2))

You’ll also get answers to the following questions:

  • Are your apps in a production and/or development environment?
  • Who’s the app owner and what’s the license?
  • How often are the apps being used?

These data are retrieved by flows provided with the CoE starter kit, which also allows you to choose the refresh frequency.

Center of Excellence Power BI Dashboard
Center of Excellence Power BI Dashboard

This screenshot of the Center of Excellence Power BI Dashboard shows:

  • an overview of all your environments (1);
  • the number of apps created by type (Developer, Sandbox, Trial, Production) on a timeline (2);
  • the number of Flows and Apps per environment (3);
  • their creator (4); and
  • the fields by which to filter the entire display by creation date, maker, and type of environment (5).

2. The Center of Excellence: At last, a real tool to manage your flows (Cloud and Desktop)

Second off, the Center of Excellence allows you to visualize the list of flows per environment and the number of connections and unique actions comprising it. For example, a filter can sort flows by status and date of last run to identify those that are rarely or no longer used. In addition, you can query the list of all connectors used within the flows in your tenant to know their classification (Standard, Premium, Extended), which is particularly useful when updating the Microsoft terms of use and licensing. This is also true for the connectors used in your apps. Incidentally, there is a section dedicated to SharePoint connections and their dependencies.

Center of Excellence Power BI Dashboard – Flows Section, screenshot
Center of Excellence Power BI Dashboard – Flows Section

3. Identify obsolete or at-risk resources

Third and lastly, the Center of Excellence highlights flows and apps that merit further inspection by admins. It sorts these resources according to a score it calculates using a criteria-based scale to assess their obsolescence (Flow/App Archive) and level of risk (Risk Assessment).These criteria can include elements such as:

  • The app/flow has not been modified since it was created;
  • Its title contains a non-production-ready word like demo or test;
  • The app/flow was created too long ago (outdated);
  • The app/flow was created from a template, etc.

Filters, for example, can also be used to retrieve data on orphaned components, in cases where the owner has left the organization. Or they can identify apps that have been shared with too many users or, even worse, with the entire organization. As a security measure, it is important to restrict access to authorized users only and to identify their role. These tools allow administrators to be notified so they can make the right decisions.

Details of the Archive Score that calculates the obsolescence of an app or flow.
Details of the Archive Score that calculates the obsolescence of an app or flow.

In a nutshell, the Center of Excellence is a key feature of successful projects and, as such, a major asset to any organization—regardless of size.

If you want to dig deeper...

This article was authored by our expert Alexandre Joussier.

To find out more...Want a more comprehensive analysis of your current system? Reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Contact one of our experts today!

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