How do you enable Citizen Developers with the flexibility and efficiency provided by Microsoft Power Platform, while easily keeping your IT environment safe and stable? For Kiwa, an international company that focuses on inspection, certification, testing and training, InSpark solved this problem by deploying their own Power Platform solution: Power Platform Monitoring. An integrated service that provides peace of mind and business continuity.
Challenges in digital transformation
Kiwa operates in various sectors like energy, construction, water, food, and transportation. To stay relevant, Kiwa must adapt to rapidly changing technologies and customer needs in each of these sectors. They made great strides in digitizing their services and adopting cutting-edge technology such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things. As part of their Microsoft-unless strategy, the Power Platform (including all Dynamics 365 applications) is vital to Kiwa for quickly and effectively meeting customer demands.
Alongside tremendous operational benefits, new challenges arose. The IT organization had no means to efficiently monitor and manage the entire scope of activities on the Power Platform. This resulted in a sprawl of environments, apps and flows that lacked proper policies and security guidelines. A situation other customers encountered as well. Even if dashboards are available (such as the Center of Excellence toolkit), organizations struggle to interpret the insights properly and define adequate follow-up actions.
Solution: Power Platform Monitoring by InSpark
To tackle these challenges, InSpark, a KPN subsidiary and recipient of several accreditations such as Microsoft Azure Expert MSP and Microsoft Solutions Partner designations, developed Power Platform Monitoring (PPM), a full suite of governance services for Power Platform.
With PPM, we helped Kiwa regain control step by step. We analyzed the current setup using our automated scan tool, discussed the desired setup with their Architecture and IT board, and deployed our Power Platform governance baseline via infra-as-code, making sure new apps and flows by Citizen Developers are developed in compliance to predetermined standards by default. We documented processes for an optimal distribution of responsibilities between Kiwa IT and InSpark cloud engineers, put baseline monitoring in-place and gave Kiwa’s IT staff training on-the-job.
Our Power Platform Monitoring dashboard immediately reported 185 active issues and conflicts with the governance baseline that needed to be resolved. InSpark and Kiwa were able to resolve all issues within one month. During biweekly meetings, we keep improving and adjusting the environment based on usage metrics and user feedback.
Power Platform Monitoring (PPM) offers several unique features and benefits that have helped InSpark beat the competition from both a technical and business perspective. PPM provides unique end-to-end monitoring. This enables our customers to quickly identify and troubleshoot issues, reducing downtime and improving overall performance. The solution generates alerts based on generic needs, such as performance thresholds, error rates, and user activity, alerting customers to potential issues before they become critical problems. PPM seamlessly integrates with all Microsoft Power Platform services including the CoE Toolkit and Power Platform Managed Environments, making it easy to set up and use. This also ensures that users have a unified view of their applications and workflows.
From the business side, PPM is a more cost-effective solution compared to other monitoring tools. PPM comes in three service tiers with different price levels, which means that it scales with the needs of the business. And by providing real-time insights into application performance and usage, PPM helps management identify and resolve issues quickly. This reduces downtime and increases productivity, which can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
Leveraging the Microsoft Cloud
PPM is built on top of the Microsoft Cloud. It leverages the security, scalability, and reliability of the Azure platform and takes full advantage of Azure’s powerful monitoring and analytics capabilities, including Azure Monitor and Azure Log Analytics. PPM covers both Power Platform and Dynamics 365 environments. Leveraging Power Platform Managed Environments, organizations can control and regulate access to their data, apps, and workflows specifically within a single environment, while Power Platform Monitoring monitors all environments.
PPM is part of InSpark’s Connect 365 Suite which is built on top of Microsoft 365, Viva and Power Platform. It leverages familiar tools such as SharePoint and Teams, but also Microsoft Purview, and extends and enhances them with additional features and capabilities.
How effectively we enable Citizen Developers to use Microsoft Power Platform while keeping your IT environment safe and stable is measured structurally. We meet biweekly with stakeholders to define clear goals for PPM and discuss expectations with the customer. This ensures the customer understands the value of the solution and how it aligns with their business objectives.
To enhance employee experience and drive growth in apps and flows usage, we track usage to identify areas where customers may be struggling or where there is potential for growth. We offer training and support to employees to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to use the Power Platform effectively. We use Prosci’s ADKAR change management framework for understanding and managing the human aspects of change. And we use customer satisfaction surveys to track customer satisfaction with the Power Platform Monitoring solution. The data it provides is used to identify areas for improvement.
At InSpark multiple product teams work on the same solution, forcing every expert to be on the top of their game in contributing to every solution. Sales executives, business developers, product owners, and support engineers — they all add value to the solutions and services we provide.
For PPM, quality is assured by having multiple Business Applications consultants working on development. These same consultants work for Power Platform customers in Business Application projects as well. These projects focus on innovations for Power Platform and the rest of the Microsoft Cloud. The synergy of these two activities results in solutions that add value to the business, services that tie into market needs, and positive customer experiences.
Empowering digital transformation
From a technical viewpoint, PPM is a comprehensive tool to monitor the health of a Power Platform environment in real-time, identify issues, and proactively address them before they become business critical. But the truly ground-breaking impact it has on organizations like Kiwa is the full liberation of the Citizen Developer to experiment and build in an environment that ensures safety, compliance, and security.
In this respect, Power Platform Monitoring accelerates Kiwa’s digital transformation journey by leveraging the full potential of the Microsoft Power Platform to create apps, automate workflows, and integrate data across multiple sources, subsequently leading to unlocking new operating models. It enhances their agility and responsiveness to changing business needs by empowering Citizen Developers to build and deploy apps quickly and easily, without relying on IT. And it helps deliver personalized, context-aware, and responsive apps, portals, and workflows, making Kiwa’s a digital frontrunner.