For quite some time now, Microsoft has been working on enabling the next generation of Power Apps & Power Automate administration reporting. You can read the announcement of these new governance capabilities in this MS blog post from March. Yesterday a preview feature of the tenant-level analytics was finally made available in the Power Platform Admin Center (PPAC). You can enable this in your tenant by following these steps in Microsoft’s documentation.
How does this new default admin reporting compare with what the Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit offers? Should you now skip deploying CoE into your environment? What about if you’re already running CoE, does this new feature add any value? Let’s explore things in more detail.
Power Apps reporting only – for now
This very first version of the reports only covers Power Apps canvas apps and model-driven apps, with more Power Platform elements expected in the future. One you have done the tenant-level reporting enablement, go to PPAC and choose Analytics – Power Apps. The report will still always default to the old environment level analytics, so you need to change this to tenant level from the top right dropdown:
You may not see data for a while after enabling the feature. If you read through the terms of service dialog, you’ll notice that the tenant-level reporting feature will aggregate data from different environments into the geo of your tenant’s default environment. So, presumably Microsoft will not initiate the telemetry data publishing into their managed Data Lake until the customer has given consent for this to take place.
24 hours after enabling the feature, the first page of the report, Usage, still remains blank in all our tenants. The Maker Activity and App Inventory pages are populated, however, so we can start exploring the contents of these reports.
Immediately I noticed that the total app count in these two reports is different. Looks like the Maker Activity report isn’t showing many of the tenant’s model-driven apps yet, so keep in mind that the preview reports may not be fully accurate yet. Also, unlucky for us Europeans, umlauts don’t seem to be handled yet and show up as “?” characters. Oh well, minor glitches.
Compared to the earlier environment specific reports, these new reports are definitely much more useful in analyzing the overview of what apps are being built & used within your organization. It’s considerably easier to start from the big list, then use the filters to narrow it down by environment type, for example. Another very useful filter option is the connector tier (standard vs. premium), as well as the ability to drill down into specific connectors right from the Power Apps analytics report in PPAC.
Keep in mind that while the reports offer you a tenant wide perspective, the access to this telemetry data is still governed based on the tenant and environment level security settings of the current user. As an example, if an app maker logs into PPAC and views the report, he or she will not see data from all environments. In this case, the report only shows a single Power Platform Developer Environment created by that user:
More insights with Center of Excellence Starter Kit
This out-of-the-box report gives us a better starting point for viewing the tenant’s current status of Power Apps that have been created. However, it’s not yet very close to the breadth of the reporting included in Microsoft’s CoE Starter Kit. Looking at just the Power Apps specific report screens, we can dive a lot deeper into the monitoring, governing and nurturing aspects of low-code app development with the CoE Power BI report:
The CoE Starter Kit is actively maintained by Microsoft and has now a public backlog of upcoming features to be developed. One can expect that the CoE’s monthly releases will keep this open source solution ahead of the in-product version’s capabilities, due to the agile, community driven approach.
These days you can deploy the Power Platform CoE Starter Kit into a Dataverse for Teams environment. What this means is that you don’t get any premium license requirements from using it – apart from a single Power Automate Per User license needed for data sync flows. Personally I would recommend all new CoE deployments to go with this approach, to enable broad usage across the organization. Yes, you lose all the goodies of Model-driven Power Apps for your governance processes, but there’s a lot that can be built within the CoE Microsoft Teams environment, too.
The new admin reports in PPAC are based on the Export to Data Lake feature that will also allow customers to “bring your own lake”. The CoE tools are based on a Dataverse environment into which the details of various Power Platform components are automatically recorded. While the Data Lake is likely a more scalable technology for analysis purposes, the more actionable data should, in my opinion, be managed inside Dataverse. After all, you’re not going to trigger any governance processes from the Data Lake, rather you’ll want to build your flows and approvals on top of something more transactional in nature.
Ultimately it’s not a question of either/or but rather a both/and scenario. As explained by Manuela Pichler from Microsoft: “Customers will continue to have questions about their data and orgs usage that won’t be covered in the admin center, which is where the CoE comes in.”