This is a series on the Microsoft Power Platform Center of Excellence starter Kit, and the various Apps, Dashboards, and Features that are included in it. The topic of this post is to discuss the Command Center.
Included in the Power Platform CoE starter kit, is a fairly recent (2022) addition to the starter kit, and that is the Command Center. The Command Center is comprised of 2 Power App canvas apps: the Admin Command Center and the Maker command Center.
Admin – Command Center
The ‘Admin – Command Center’ canvas app is designed to give Administrators a centralized location to help mange and govern certain aspects of the CoE starter kit, and the Power Platform as a whole. Prior to Microsoft releasing the Command Center, there wasn’t a really great way to view and mange the various apps and environment variables that comprise the CoE, without going directly into the solutions and editing them there. The Command Center is designed to provide a single pane of glass to help you manage these aspects that were previously cumbersome to change. Let’s Dive in to the various areas the Command Center provides:
Apps are the first area that you will see when you startup the Command Center. This provides bookmarks to all of the various apps that installed in the CoE by default. You can then launch whichever app you click on into a new browser to utilize that app, and you can also edit the Apps that are displayed on this screen by clicking on “Edit Bookmarks”. In the bottom right hand corner of each app, is also a link to Microsoft’s documentation for each app, so you have a quick reference to be able to understand what each app is capable of.
The Service Health area is configured to show any issues or errors that are a part of the CoE starter kit. These flows facilitates the gathering of information, as well as handling the communication to admins and users of configured activities across the starter kit. It’s an area that is imperative to monitor as it controls the health of the overall kit. (My starter kit is healthy, so I couldn’t show any errors in the image below 😂)
The CoE Flows area allows you to manage the CoE starter kit flows. From here you can start and stop specific flows, get notified if a certain flow still needs to be run (the Red Flag), and provides a link to the actual flow in the Power Automate platform screen (The gear button).
The Message Center section, pulls in messages from the Microsoft 365 message center, with a specific focus on the Power Platform. During setup, you may have been required to setup an App registration for the Command Center, and that’s what that functionality is designed for. These messages just provide notification on upcoming retirements, new features, or current Power Platform outages/issues.
Power Platform News
The Power Platform News section is pulling directly from the various Power Platform blogs into a centralized location. This allows you to keep up with future feature releases, news around the Power Platform family of products, and provides an easy way to see all of that information aggregated in a single pane of glass.
Release Wave Notes
The Release Wave Notes provides specific articles around the latest Power Platform Release Wave. Microsoft does a big bang Release about twice a year around Power Apps and specifically Dynamics 365, and this area can help admins narrow down information specifically around these release waves.
Before the Command Center, Admins were forced to update Environment variables for the CoE toolkit directly in the Default Solution inside of the Power Platform. This was a bit cumbersome, as you had to find and open each one to see the default values, and if you needed to modify multiples, it was a bit opaque to be able to do so. With the Command Center, you can now add and modify those environment variables in one location
This section provides links to the latest Microsoft Learning training material from the Microsoft Learn site. This area provides a nice aggregated view of the training materials new Administrator would need to get up to speed on how to administer the platform, as well as links on obtaining certifications around the Power Platform.
The Power Platform CoE starter kit also is designed to send plenty of notification to either Admins or Makers. To help grant more control around these communications, Microsoft has provided an area for Admins to be able to modify the Subject, Body, and recipients of these notification emails. There is also the ability to Preview changes you have made to emails (a test email is sent to the user initiating the preview), as well as the ability to create localized versions of each notification email.
Maker – Command Center
The Command Center for Makers is very similar to Command Center for Admins, but it’s a much more stripped down version of the Command Center. This Command Center is designed to be used strictly by users who will be creating Power Platform Assets, and who may need tools and guidance on their development journey.
Just as we saw in the Admin command Center, the Maker Command Center also has an area for Apps. But in this case, the Apps there are able to launch from their pane, are ones specifically shared by the CoE admins.
Admins can add the bookmarks that will show up in the Maker Command Center by editing bookmarks through the Admin – Command Center App and setting them to Show up in the Maker Command Center as shown below:
While the Maker Command Center also has a Power Platform News section, I’m going to skip over that one, as it is identical to the Admin Command Center’s. The Maker Command Center also includes a Learn section, but the training assets are all targeted specifically at a Maker audience versus an Admin audience. Th training located here is designed to give your makers tutorials and guidance on how to build Power Platform assets
As we’ll continue to discuss over the course of reviewing these Apps, they are all built on the Power Platform, therefore they are ALL customizable to meet the needs of your organization. While you should always be careful of the edits you make, this is one of the great features of this CoE starter kit. Don’t be afraid to tailor the governance and development of the platform to conform to your organization and culture. and if you get into a bind, feel free to reach out me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find out how I can assist you with your Power Platform journey!