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Power CAT Adoption Maturity Model: Repeatable patterns for successful Power Platform adoption

Microsoft Power Platform’s low code approach to solution delivery has enabled thousands of organizations around the world to use technology to transform their business. It does this by enabling more people than ever before to create applications, and to leverage mobile platforms and artificial technology to transform organisations with new ways of working.

This transformation is more critical now than ever.  Technology is disrupting every industry but is also the key to those that are thriving.  The events of the past year have shown that traditional IT risk planning approaches are no match for the benefits of the agility provided by digital transformation.  Hence, it’s important to start the digital transformation journey incrementally but with urgency. Of course, adopting a new technology with such broad applicability as Microsoft Power Platform is a transition for any organization.

The Power CAT team (Customer Advisory Team) is a team of solution architects within Microsoft Power Platform engineering focused on helping customers accelerate their Microsoft Power Platform adoption. In collaboration with some of our most successful customers, we have identified consistent themes, patterns, practices and behaviours that underpin the progress of successful organizations as they implement comprehensive digital transformation with Power Platform. The result of this work is the Power CAT Adoption Maturity Model.

This model has broken this process down in five stages, based on the Capability Maturity Model. An example of this model being applied to other technologies is the  Maturity Model for Microsoft 365.

Level 100
Level 200
Level 300
Level 400
Level 500
  • Pockets of success and experimentation with Power Platform.
  • No strategy or governance approach.
  • Apps are team-based and supported by the makers.
  • Organisation sees the potential of a strategic investment, but there is no clear path forward.
  • Initial Power Platform controls implemented by a central team.
  • Start to identify applications that are becoming broadly used in the organization.
  • These organizations sometimes believe that the use of the Power Platform is running “out of control”.
  • Standardizing repeatable practices.
  • Achieving measurable success to digitally transform their organization.
  • Defined Power Platform Center of Excellence team.
  • Transformation may still reflect the organic growth.
  • Standard processes for managing and monitoring Power Platform.
  • Power Platform capabilities are being used to transform the business broadly and used for enterprise-critical apps and integrations.
  • Platform Champions have established channels.
  • Organization has proven the capabilities of Power Platform to transform mission critical capabilities.
  • Established community of experts.
  • Fusion teams enable legacy capabilities and modern cloud architecture to be used easily.

Each stage describes the states of individual disciplines such as Strategy & Vision, Administration, Governance, etc. The purpose of the model is to help organizations understand their capabilities along multiple dimensions on a clearly defined scale, decide which level they would like to achieve for each dimension and in what time frame, and improve their capabilities in tangible ways by progressing to the next level. These stages are not a checklist, nor do these stages need to progress at the same pace along all disciplines, but can be used to sense-check the organisation’s progress and help to inform where it needs to focus in order to advance further.


Goals and Opportunities:

The goal of the Power CAT Adoption Maturity Model is to help organizations and their partners to think through how they can improve their capabilities and decide which capabilities matter most to them. These decisions should be based not just on the technology capabilities but the digital transformation strategy of the organization.

Let’s now look at the stages and opportunities in each stage in detail:

Level 100 – Initial

(organic, chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics): This phase describes the starting point for use of a new or undocumented process. In the Initial phase the organization has pockets of success or experimentation with Power Platform, but without any visibility into organization-wide adoption and use.  There is no overall strategy or governance approach, apps are largely in the Default environment and no DLP policies have been put in place.  Apps are mostly used by a single team and supported by the makers. Apps primarily use Excel and SharePoint as their data sources. The organisation sees the potential of a strategic investment in the Power Platform, but there is no clear path forward for organisation-wide execution.

Organize training events, hackathons and lunch & learn sessions: Find and nurture champions, recognize early success Get key sponsors and teams on board as you review the roles and responsibilities needed to execute your Power Platform adoption.

Level 200 – Repeatable

This phase describes a process that is at least documented sufficiently such that repeating the same steps may be attempted. In the context of the Power Platform, organizations in the repeatable stage are taking what they’ve learned in the Initial stage to put structure around the deployment of Power Platform, often through controls implemented by a central IT team or other team focused on Power Platform.  The CoE Starter Kit is deployed to provide tenant-wide visibility into the use of Power Platform and begin to identify, if not control, applications that are beginning to become broadly used in the organization. Environments are used as needed, but in an ad hoc manner – for example, various Production environments and different DLP policies might be created without a consistent strategy. These organizations sometimes believe that the use of the Power Platform is running “out of control” until they shape their use of the administrative and governance controls available for Power Platform, transitioning to the Defined Stage.

Gain tenant wide oversight of resources being created in your tenant Establish DLP Policies in the default environment and mitigate the risk of apps and flows breaking by performing a DLP Impact Analysis first Embrace new makers with a Welcome email, informing them of internal training resources and policies

Level 300 – Defined

This phase describes a process that is defined/confirmed as a standard business process. The Defined organization is standardizing the repeatable practices that evolved in the Repeatable phase – for example, Environment and DLP requests are automated, solutions are used to move apps and flows between environments, and makers are starting to share common components. The organization is achieving measurable success with Power Platform to digitally transform and has a defined Power Platform Center of Excellence team.  Much of this transformation may still reflect the organic growth that got the organization to this point, but the Center of Excellence team is working to automate those processes and define standard approaches that will move the organization to the Capable stage.

Develop an environment strategy and configure layers of security in a way that supports productive development in your organization, while securing and organizing resources. Define tiers of application support – taking into account the level of complexity, how critical the app is, and users impacted by the application Celebrate your makers and champions by sharing their success stories, and focus on the business value and impact they have on the organization.

Level 400 – Capable

This phrase describes a process that is quantitatively managed in accordance with agreed-upon metrics. The Capable organization has standard processes for managing and monitoring Power Platform.  These processes, described during the Defined stage, are now largely automated and are well understood by makers.  Power Platform capabilities are being used to transform the business broadly and used for enterprise-critical apps and integrations. Platform Champions have established channels for sharing best practices, training new makers and conducting regular hackathons.  Standard, branded app templates and components are available to all makers. Business Value assessments are carried out to measure and understand the impact of the Power Platform.

Create an app catalog to make apps more discoverable and avoid duplication.
Create shared component libraries with common design patterns, such as headers and navigation to ensure consistency across apps.
Automate the communication between CoE, IT and Admins through approvals and Microsoft Teams messages. Define key responsibilities for your CoE, Admins and Makers and ensure they are understood and agreed to by everyone.

Level 500 – Efficient

This phrase describes a process that is quantitatively managed in accordance with agreed-upon metrics.  In the context of the Power Platform, in the Efficient stage the organization has proven the capabilities of Power Platform to rapidly transform mission critical capabilities.  Standardized, automated processes and an established community of experts allow new digitization opportunities to be implemented rapidly, allowing the organization to recognize value quickly and begin to integrate more advanced capabilities, such as artificial intelligence (AI). Fusion Teams enable legacy capabilities and modern cloud architecture to be used easily within Power Platform unlocking broad use of existing data and automation. In Organizations at the Leading Stage, the Power Platform is key part of the digital transformation strategy and Enterprise Architecture in the organization. Organizations at this stage have exec sponsorship for the Power Platform. Organizations at the Leading stage influence best practices in the community and drive new uses of Power Platform.

Enable everyone to submit ideas, describe pain points and pick the most valuable ideas for development. Build a portfolio for your career development opportunities. Provide “big picture” dashboards emphasizing the impact of the platform. Simplify Application Lifecycle Management. Make it easier for makers to manage their solutions and deployment. Tell your story. Influence our best practices and inspire other leaders to go on the same journey.


Detailed capabilities

For reference, please find below detailed characteristics and capabilities of an organization in each stage:

Level 100
Level 200
Level 300
Level 400
Level 500
Strategy and Vision
  • Innovation driven by Business Areas (bottom up)
  • Low-complexity scenarios
  • Limited re-use
  • Undefined strategy
  • Common vision between IT and Business
  • Demand-management process
  • Dedicated Power Platform product owner
  • Bottom up and top down innovation
  • Defined understanding of Power Platform’s role in your organization’s IT portfolio
  • Established Center of Excellence team
  • Increased delivery efficiency supports rapidly changing business needs
  • Business plans shared across departments
  • Decentralized teams drive digital transformation and co-develop solutions for their business unit
  • Power Platform is key part of the digital transformation strategy
  • Vision and strategy understood by all
  • Organization wide initiatives deliver larger scale apps
  • Enterprise Architecture decisions include Power Platform capabilities
Business Value
  • No formal Business Value Assessment
  • Undefined targets
  • No formal Business Value Assessment
  • Business cases understood but lacking review
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) understood, operationalised, reported on and reviewed against goals
  • Ideas with the highest business value are chosen for development
  • Business pain points are quantified before project start and compared after finish
  • Precise quantitative and qualitative measures used to effectively control, predict and improve business efficiency
  • CoE Starter Kit – Innovation Backlog or equivalent tooling for measuring business value adopted
  • “Big Picture” analytics visualize business value of Power Platform solutions all-up and per business area
  • Advanced dashboard and reporting provide decision-making capabilities and measure business value
  • Executive visibility of business value and impact of Power Platform solutions
Admin and Governance
  • Environments are creatable by all
  • No Data Loss Prevention policies (DLP)
  • Overshared, unused and orphaned resources are identified and appropriate actions are taken
  • Reactive governance to automatically gather business and compliance information
  • CoE Starter Kit – Governance Module adopted to gain compliance insights and archive resources
  • Telemetry helps identify business-critical apps
  • Power Platform Operations team looks after tenant hygiene
  • Maker responsibilities are clearly defined and understood and automatically communicated
  • Further automation takes place through chatbots embedded in Teams – through clear risk profiles, tasks are auto-approved or routed through multi-step approval processes (e.g. line manager, information security department, environment or tenant admin)
  • Practices that worked in their organization are shared externally at Microsoft or  community events
  • Makers support their own apps
  • No or limited rules on how processes should be supported by IT and Business stakeholders
  • Community support
  • Some degree of commitment and governance measures to manage solution lifecycle stages
  • Support strategy involves Helpdesk
  • Defined risk profile dictates the level of support a solution will receive (e.g. IT supported, IT blessed, Maker supported)
  • Dedicated Support team
  • Continuous improvement plans in line with business strategy
  • Clearly understood roles and responsibilities
  • Automation of support activities (e.g. change ownership, bot for FAQ)
  • Responsibilities and ownership to build and operate solutions are fully understood
Nurture and Citizen Makers
  • Some staff may have attended App in a Day events (Partner or Microsoft delivered)
  • Team-based initiatives for nurturing makers
  • On-boarding strategy for new makers
  • Some staff have participated in a hackathon
  • Makers become ambassadors across their departments and evangelize the capabilities
  • Regular events for Champions
  • Regular hackathons
  • Maker assessments and certificates
  • Sharing and celebrating success stories
  • Show & Tell sessions
  • Adoption campaign
  • Large internal community with proven value
  • Career path for makers
  • Community of mentors
  • Common development strategy and goals for Citizen and Pro developers
  • Processes are largely manual and one-off
  • Processes are standardized, but implemented manually
  • Environment and DLP connector policy requests are automated
  • Apps are deployed manually, but using solutions
  • Communication about processes and compliance between Admin and Makers is automated
  • ALM processes are defined and implemented centrally
  • Admin tasks to identify overshared, unused and orphaned resources are largely automated
  • Governance tasks to gather compliance and support information are automated
Fusion Teams
  • Teams work independently
  • No pro dev use of Power Platform
  • Teams review and ratify each other’s work
  • Pro Devs pilot high-value use cases
  • Cross-functional teams plan and execute work jointly, including makers, testers and operational teams.
  • Collaborative planning for infrastructure and change enablement
  • Use of Common Data Models to aid data reuse
  • Teams form seamlessly to accommodate cross functional skills
  • Common development strategy and goals for Citizen and Pro developers needed for new projects