Now in preview: CoE Starter Kit backed by data from self-serve analytics data export
In 2019, we launched the Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit – a set of templates that are designed to help you get started with developing a strategy for adopting, maintaining and supporting Microsoft Power Platform, with a focus on Power Apps and Power Automate. In the past three years we’ve continued to evolve and innovate as we learn from our customers. Today we’re excited to announce that the CoE Starter Kit can now use data provided by self-serve analytics as a foundation for inventory and telemetry, enabling rich insights built for scale.
The heart of the CoE Starter Kit is its ability to gather information about your organization’s Power Platform usage and then help you use it to manage, govern, and nurture Power Platform adoption – such as identifying your top makers, highly shared and used applications, or environments that consume a lot of capacity. Up until today, the mechanism to gather information was based on cloud flows that use Power Platform admin connectors to crawl your tenant and store inventory and usage data in Dataverse tables. (When we initially launched the kit, this process was the only way to gather the information it needed.) The recent enhancement to export your tenant’s inventory and usage from the Power Platform Admin Center provides us with a more optimized option to implement these processes. So, we’re evolving the CoE Starter Kit’s architecture to take advantage of these product enhancements.
Today, we’re therefore excited to launch the experimental preview of the CoE Starter Kit using data provided by the Data Export feature as a foundation for inventory and telemetry. You can export Power Platform inventory and usage data directly into Azure Data Lake Storage using the Data Export feature in the Power Platform Admin Center. Because the data is provided by the admin center, this mechanism is very efficient. Once you’ve set up the Data Export feature, you can configure the CoE Starter Kit to use the data provided by this feature to power the kit’s dashboards, apps, and flows.
Why should I try this out?
The cloud flows that sync inventory to Dataverse consume a high number of API calls and can hit throttling limits if you have a large number of Power Platform resources (environments, apps, flows) in your tenant. The Data Export feature uses Power BI and Power Platform dataflows, which are powerful at transforming and handling large amounts of data. Using Data Export with the CoE Starter Kit is intended to increase performance. In addition to the performance improvements, the Data Export feature also provides much-sought-after data such as flow usage details and model-driven app usage that were not available in the CoE kit until now.
How does the CoE Starter Kit consume data from the Data Export feature?
The CoE Starter Kit uses two mechanisms to consume data from the Data Export feature:
- Power BI dataflows transform the data for Power BI. These dataflows prepare all the data provided by the Data Export feature, ready for reporting. The Power BI dashboard shows data prepared by the Power BI dataflows.
- Power Platform dataflows transform the data and write a small amount of data back to existing Dataverse tables used by the CoE Starter Kit apps and flows. These dataflows merge and summarize data, so only data needed by the admin and governance processes of the CoE Starter Kit is written back to Dataverse. For example, instead of storing the entire usage data in Dataverse, only the last launched date of an app is stored in Dataverse.
Will there be two versions of the CoE kit or will the version using cloud flows go away?
There will only be one version of the CoE Starter Kit that supports both mechanisms to gather inventory and telemetry. Using the setup wizard, you decide which mechanism to use and the wizard will then guide you through the configuration steps required based on your choice. You can also upgrade and move from using cloud flows to using Data Export by simply changing the inventory data source in the setup wizard.
Can I migrate from using cloud flows to retrieve inventory to using Data Export?
Yes, migrating from cloud flows to Data Export will be a seamless process. Use the Setup Wizard to change your data source for the CoE Starter Kit to Data Export and continue configuring the inventory components using the Setup Wizard. However, we suggest you don’t upgrade just yet and instead try this feature out in a test environment first.
How can I learn more and try this out?
The CoE Starter Kit using data provided by Data Export for inventory is currently in experimental preview; we recommend you don’t depend on it just yet and test it in a dedicated test environment first. Trying out this feature will help us validate that the feature is what you need and that we’re not introducing unintended side effects.
First, enable the Data Export feature in your tenant. The initial data export can take up to five days. Proceed with the CoE Starter Kit configuration only when you see files in your storage account.
Next, check out the documentation of this feature, including frequently asked questions: What data source should I use for my Power Platform inventory?
Now download the version of the CoE Starter Kit that integrates with Data Export and use the setup wizard to configure the feature in your tenant. Your feedback is critical to this process. Post your feedback by raising an issue on GitHub.
What else is new with the CoE kit?
We often heard: “The CoE kit is great – but setting it up is challenging.” We have added a Setup and Upgrade wizard experience to the CoE Starter Kit. Instead of manually filling out environment variables and turning on flows, the setup wizard provides a guided step by step experience to configure the CoE Starter Kit. You’ll be prompted to provide information in context at the time the setup process needs it, and where possible configuration steps, such as fetching your tenant ID or turning on flows, are performed automatically.
Setup wizard experiences are available for all components of the CoE Starter Kit.
We also heard: “The CoE kit apps are useful – but not intuitive to use.” We’ve now updated most of our apps to use Fluent UI principles and Creator Kit components. The new consistent look and feel will increase usability, familiarity, and recognizability of the apps.
About the CoE Starter Kit
A Microsoft Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE) means investing in and nurturing organic growth while maintaining governance and control. A CoE is designed to drive innovation and improvement, and as a central function it can break down geographic and organizational silos. A CoE can be a powerful way for an organization to align around business goals rather than individual department metrics. A key principle is to clarify why you’re setting up a CoE, what you aim to accomplish, and the key business outcomes you hope to achieve.
The CoE Starter Kit provides some automation and tooling to help teams build monitoring and automation necessary to support a CoE. It represents what we’ve learned from some of the largest organizations implementing Microsoft Power Platform. This tool, built with Microsoft Power Platform, is intended to be just that: a starter kit for technology to enable your processes. It can help with the how, once you’ve established the what and why.
Although the underlying features and components used to build the Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit (such as Dataverse and connectors) are fully supported, the kit itself represents sample implementations of these features. Our customers and community can use and customize these features to implement admin and governance capabilities in their organizations.
If you face issues with:
- Using the kit: Report your issue here: aka.ms/coe-starter-kit-issues (Microsoft Support won’t help you with issues related to this kit, but they will help with related, underlying platform and feature issues.)
- The core features in Power Platform: Use your standard channel to contact Support.