22 Aug Five tips for getting your whole organisation on board with the Power Platform
Co-authored with Danielle Azar, Principal Consultant – Project Delivery at Eighty20 Solutions
As specialists in digital transformation for workplaces, we’re huge fans of the Power Platform. It’s easy for us to see the opportunities it creates for organisations and employees to lose the tedious, unproductive parts of working life and focus instead on solving bigger problems, fast.
But sometimes it’s hard to get people on board with the idea of creating a cohort of citizen developers to enable rapid app development that’s still safe and secure. Or maybe it’s hard to see what the problems are that Power Apps could solve. According to a survey and report from Microsoft, 71% of business decision makers (BDMs) say that lack of awareness of use cases is a significant barrier to adoption of the Power Platform and other low-code app platforms (LCAPs).
Whatever your challenge is in tackling Power Platform adoption, we’re pretty sure we’ve come across it in our projects. So, we’ve put together our top five recommendations for getting your organisation prepped for a Power Apps revolution that’s exciting and empowering for everyone involved.
1. Partner on a pilot
One of the best and fastest ways to show and tell the ease and benefits of a Power App execution is to co-build a pilot app with a Microsoft vendor partner – like Eighty20. Working in partnership with your stakeholders and teams we can find the poster child use case for PowerApps that can demonstrate maximum value to your organisation with minimum effort.
It also helps if you select something that can easily be scaled up, or applied elsewhere in the organisation in a similar way to simplify or automate a task or process. This can help your stakeholders get to grips with how small app sprints can be rolled out more broadly for a swift organisation-wide digital transformation. And all this can happen in the few weeks it takes to develop a spec, build and deploy a pilot. It’s really simple and very convincing when you choose the right project as your proof of concept.
2. Introduce design thinking
Another way to sow the seeds of great Power App ideas is to get at least one team trained in design-thinking principles and practice. Outside of the tech play pen, design thinking is something that can be unfamiliar. Engage a core group of people, put them through a design-thinking course and let them loose on developing use cases and you’ll soon have a host of innovative cost and time-saving ideas to take to decision makers. It’s also a great way to get your people in the habit of thinking like a customer, anticipating their problems and pain points so they can develop more user-friendly features and solutions.
Design-thinking doesn’t have to be restricted to just one group of ‘creative leaders’. It could be something worth doing across your whole organisation. But as with the pilot idea, it’s best to start small and prove the value of your investment in training. Plus a more widespread and sustainable transition to design-thinking also requires culture change and in our experience that rarely happens overnight.
3. Start celebrating ‘failures’
Building psychological safety into your workplace is a big part of that transition to a more innovative culture. All the design-thinking courses in the world aren’t going to help your people deliver their best ideas – or any ideas at all – if they don’t feel comfortable to fail. If there is a risk of being rejected for putting an idea forward, they’ll soon learn not to.
This isn’t to say that every idea will have enough merit to be taken to the next stage of development. It’s more about creating an environment where there is no such thing as a stupid idea and that the best ideas can come from anyone. Having an innovation hub that vets ideas according to a clearly defined, objective process can show your workforce that everyone gets a fair hearing. You can read our recent article on the democratic effect of the Power Platform to find out more about this whole idea of an innovation hub.
4. Run a competition
A jump start to your Power Platform adoption journey could also come from running a ‘Hackathon’ style competition. While this might sound like a cyber-criminal convention, it’s a great model for getting bright minds in your organisation together to work on amazing ideas and solutions together. There can be prizes for the idea that ends up making the biggest impact on cost savings, productivity or some other measure of success.
But it’s worth remembering that a competition isn’t necessarily the best forum for drawing out ideas from everyone you have in your ranks. Some will be better performers when the pressure is off, giving them the time and space they need to find their inspiration. So, while a ‘hackathon’ can be a rewarding way to generate ideas together, don’t make it the be all and end all of your innovation and design-thinking activities.
5. Add some visual appeal
Once you’ve reached the exciting execution stage for all these Power App ideas, your people could feel a bit daunted about making their idea look as good as the apps they use daily on their laptop, desktop or smart phone. And while we don’t value form over function here at Eighty20, we know people can take pride in something they’ve made when it’s got visual appeal. Plus, a Power App is going to be a whole lot easier to interact with when it follows UX best-practice.
Our PowerApps virtuoso Jolene e Sousa has created video tutorials for our clients to turn their employees into fully fledged Power Apps designers. For a sneak peak of the kind of things you can learn from Jo, check out her article on our blog.