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Power Platform environments - tips & tricks: monitor environments (3)

With the growing popularity and usage of the Power Platform in many organizations, we have seen that many of them are struggling to build an effective strategy that helps them manage their environments. In this three-piece blogpost we will help you with managing your environments and with writing a clear environment strategy. If you need any assistance in building a customized governance for your company, you can always contact us.

In part 1, we discussed how environment are actually built in the Power Platform and in part 2, we took you through the steps in building an environment strategy.

In this last part, we dive deeper in how to monitor your environments with a hands-on example and checklist.

How to monitor?

Analysis information about the platform is scattered around different places and is also depending on the permission levels you have:

  • Editors only
    • PowerApps Analytics 
    • Power Automate Analytics
  • Admins Only (no more P licenses required)
    • Power Platform Admin Center
    • Power Apps Admin Center
    • Power Automate Admin center
  • Auditlog readers only
    • AuditLogs: limited retention (E3:90 days, E5: 1 year)

If you want an effective strategy to be implemented, it is important knowing what is “living” in your environment. Because of this, the default set-up of Microsoft does not really invite you to do a deep-dive monitoring but rather makes want to say: “Let’s build our own monitoring solution.”. You can do so by getting data, using:

  • PowerShell cmdlets
  • Power Automate (Power Platform, PowerApps, Power Automate Connectors).

Once you get this done – beware of hard work and lots of headaches – you will get a solution which is able to do the following:

  • Trend data over longer period
  • One place for admins to have insights

Lucky for us, we do not need to start from scratch. We can use the Center of Excellence Starter kit (CoE) which is not created by the Power Platform team, but by a small group of engineers who created a list of templates, designed to help develop a strategy for adopting, maintaining, and supporting the Power Platform with a focus on Power Apps and Power Automate.

You should see this Starter kit as a template from which you inherit your individual solution, or it can serve as an inspiration for implementing your own apps and flows.

Center of Excellence (CoE) overview

In which data you should be interested

What kind of data do you want to visualize? The following questions can help you figure out in what data you are interested:

  1. Somebody builds his/her first PowerApp/Power Automate?
  2. PowerApp/Power Automate owner leaves the company?
  3. Somebody builds a lot of PowerApps/Power Automate?
  4. PowerApp/Power Automate is not used at all?
  5. PowerApp/Power Automate is used heavily?
  6. PowerApp/Power Automate uses connectors with access to sensitive data?

With the CoE, you get an answer on the previous questions and even adopt them into your strategy accordingly.

React

Based on the environment structure you have set up; you might be interested in different kind of information per environment.

For example:

  • Personal productivity
    • Are the solutions shared?
    • Which solutions are heavily used or not used at all?
    • Do we have orphan solutions?
    • Who are the active makers?
  • Enterprise/shared environment
    • How is the performance?
    • What are the errors?

The questions you ask yourself are depending on the environment you are managing. For personal productivity, it is best to keep your environment clean and try to identify interesting solutions. These are solutions which are often used and business critical. To this end, you might decide to migrate those solutions to production and let them be managed by your IT department.

For enterprise environments, you must take other things into account. Only a small group of users have the role with the most rights, but it is not relevant to see which users are the most active ones. The main goal is to have a smoothly running production with applications which are used.

Tip: Asking those questions is the biggest part of building a strategy and creating your environments.

Highlighted use-cases with the CoE

With the CoE we have an overview of highlighted use-cases which might be relevant for building a strategy:

  • App & Template Catalog: provide visibility to approved apps & templates
  • App Compliance: require additional information about apps before approval by admin, disable non-compliant apps
  • App Archival: remove unused apps
  • DLP Strategy: provide a view of the impact of DLP policies on PowerApps, disable non-compliant apps
  • Welcome mail for App makers, training app: provide guidance & training
  • Catalog tenant resources: provide a persistent, global view of Power Platform data & activity

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