Digital workplace

How Pendo powers governance and change management for the Microsoft Power Platform

Published Jun 30, 2021

Enterprise technology stacks have always been (and will continue to be) complex. That’s a given. But there’s also been a recent movement from both enterprise technology providers and CIOs at large enterprises to simplify, democratize, and rationalize these stacks. A great example of this is Microsoft’s strategy around its Power Platform, which enables teams to run their business using a set of integrated, easy to use, and accessible applications. 

Even with large strides forward in simplifying these stacks, there are still inherent challenges in both governance of how employees use software and optimizing change management of software users. To overcome these challenges, businesses that use the Power Platform need to be able to understand how employees are leveraging its capabilities. Just as Pendo helps companies ensure users adopt their software successfully, organizations using Power Platform can leverage Pendo to analyze and optimize employees’ behavior. Before we dig into that, let’s understand the Power Platform a little better. 

What is the Power Platform?

The Power Platform has a lot under its umbrella, including: Power Apps (a low-code app development platform), Power BI (an analytics, business intelligence, and visualization platform), Power Automate (a process automation platform), and it sits adjacent to the Dynamics365 suite. As a result, the Power Platform can connect to a wide range of information and data sources, which makes it both robust and flexible. 

As you can imagine, the power of the Power Platform (see what I did there?) is compounded when it works intra-ecosystem and is connected to tools like Dynamics365, Office365, and Azure. Two key outcomes of using the Power Platform are the abilities to make other MSFT investments extensible and offer more impactful customizations–but they are also what pose challenges related to governance and change management.

Governance: Why low-code is a double-edged sword

The prospect of spending less on engineering and development resources–yet accelerating application development–is an attractive one for the CIO suite. That’s why we’ve seen a proliferation of low-code platforms come to market, Power Apps being one of them. One byproduct of low-code platforms is that employees can solve their own problems (rather than relying on IT) by creating applications, despite not having any knowledge of coding. That’s the positive side of the sword, and it should be. 

The speed and capability that low-code solutions offer is mighty, and comes with quantifiable advantages. As Brian Hodel, principal Power Apps developer at T-Mobile, put it:

The platform gives front line workers the ability to solve their own problems by building tools to help address those pain points. However, as these solutions grow and are more broadly used, they need analytics, governance, and training to be built in as part of the solution. The clear advantage of Pendo is that it optimizes time-to-value of new tools and features. Additionally, the fact that Pendo does not require a developer also fits well into the fusion team model of having pro-developers and citizen-developers working together to solve problems.”

The scary side of the sword is when governance comes into play. Nearly overnight, a large enterprise can have hordes of “citizen developers” creating applications, which poses a lot of questions: What are they creating? How are their fellow employees using those applications? Are there internal policy or third party and regulatory compliance standards that need to be met? All of this is serious, yet addressable with a solution like Pendo that offers a full audit trail representing the who, what, why, when, and how of app usage.

Scott Goering, vice president at Battery Ventures, explained: “CIOs’ organizations are working overtime to enable employee-driven innovation. Digital platforms such as low-code/no-code solutions unleash the power of the employee, but can have unintended consequences. Understanding what the new class of applications are doing and where the data is flowing is a real challenge to traditional command/control enterprise processes.” 

Employees’ interaction with apps creates new data pools–more specifically, usage data pools and behavioral data pools. This data then needs to be analyzed and refined, so it can be used to improve internal enterprise processes. Because of the granular analysis of app usage data it offers, a tool like Pendo is a valuable partner to the CIO suite. Pendo also enables teams to engage users to ensure usage is optimized, appropriate, and, most importantly, that no controls are being breached.

Change management: Utilize the right communication 

“The only constant is change” is a concept made famous by Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and it is as true in life as it is in business. Enterprises are constantly undergoing change. Whether it is onboarding a cohort of new hires, migrating from one large enterprise software system to another, or integrating both people and systems from a newly acquired company, these scenarios pose potentially disruptive challenges for an organization, but also the opportunity to optimize business processes.

Communication is critical in any change management exercise, whether the change relates to systems, people structure, or a combination of both. A key concept that needs to be harnessed is, in the case of a systems change, the use of the app (read: system) itself as the communication channel. Why? Real-time, contextual engagement and training in an application allows an enterprise to execute hands-on and role-based training. This increases odds that their teams will conquer the forgetting curve as best they can.

Let’s put a change management lens on a people-driven event. In July 2020, Franklin Templeton finalized its acquisition of Legg Mason. A few months later, Franklin Templeton had to onboard hundreds of former Legg Mason employees into the Franklin Templeton systems, including the MSFT Dynamics365 CRM. 

Onboarding, role-based adoption, reducing human training hours, and mitigating internal support tickets were all drivers of the change management exercise. The team needed a way to make sure this transition was successful, and they turned to Pendo to make it happen. A spokesperson from Franklin Templeton noted, “Pendo has saved our team hundreds of hours of training resources. Additionally, we were able to accomplish so much, so fast with Pendo, other projects are being pulled forward on the calendar. Pendo is driving a calendar efficiency where Franklin Templeton is ahead of schedule.”

If you want to learn more about how Pendo helps address governance, adoption, and change management challenges across an enterprise’s tech stack, you can learn more here. For more specifics around how Pendo enables business outcomes across the Microsoft ecosystem, see our Appsource listing here.