PowerApps, PowerBI and Flow. These are awesome self service IT tools from Microsoft, meaning that creating reports, mobile Apps small workflows or business logic can be created without real coding knowledge just by clicking the applications together by power users. However this direction of self service application development raises serious questions regarding governance. The situation might be similar that happend with Excel and at the early stages of SharePoint as well, where a huge number of unregulated island solution have borne, without the possibility to integrate or scale them up.
Such self service solutions clearly have the advantage that a simple power user without developer or coder exercise is able to deliver a solution. Another advantage is that these solutions can usually be developed at a rocket speed, meaning both the first delivery of the application and the possibility to modify as well. What is missing however is the general governance concept:
- Well defined thumb of rules for authorization: like roles, peoples, groups, the possibility for general authorization guidelines.
- Rights and visibility in the information flow of data: as an example at a simple report of containing average salary of several employees it makes sense to define access rights on the data side defining who is allowed to see the individual salaries and the total sum.
- Scaling the application: most rapid application development environments have architecture limits, manifesting in point in the application delivery where further uses-cases can not be delivered with the same methodology. It is a question that point is reached if there is some integrated solution to implement the further use-cases, like extending exchanging self-service development style with classic programming.
- Migrating between applications: The primary idea of self service IT is to give the possibility for the power-users to "click together" applications. Supposing that we already have some legacy application that we want to more or less automatically migrate to the new platform is usually not supported.
As a consequence, self-service frameworks provide a solution for certain business requirements but several new challenges regarding governance are raised up as well.