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Microsoft in Business Blogs

Woman wearing a mask, sitting at a desk and using a keyboard to type.You may have recently noticed a number of high-profile articles around governance and risk issues with banks. In talking to my large global enterprise customers in financial services, I am hearing more and more about regulators and internal risk teams requiring mitigation of risks related to data quality, data integrity, and lack of robust controls with end-user computing solutions that have proliferated across the firms.

Microsoft appreciates how business users leverage our Office tools such as Excel and Access to solve very challenging problems that occur where there may be gaps in traditional IT systems. These solutions are called by a number of names: shadow IT, user development, and end-user computing (EUC). Regulators, who ironically have also been responsible for the creation of a large number of EUCs themselves (“We need a very specific report with this data in four weeks,” for example), are now looking at the risk of continuing to create and use EUCs going forward.

The downside of EUCs

EUCs are prone to both risk and operational costs. From a risk perspective, there are dependencies on the users who create and/or maintain the EUC as well as potential version, data, and security control issues. From a cost perspective, there are often many inefficiencies with the manual effort required to extract, transform, and even enter data. These EUCs are also not designed to be resilient and highly available, which is a concern as many mission-critical processes and reports depend on EUCs.

Data on its own is also a serious concern. Financial institutions are used to data silos—where lines of business or systems of record contain specific silos of data that need to be integrated. When you look at the data estate created by EUCs, you move from a number of well-identified and managed silos to thousands of microsilos sitting on network shares, desktops, and devices without standard controls in place for access or availability.

Power Platform delivers the advantages of EUCs without the drawbacks

Microsoft is currently working with our largest global banking customers on strategies to not only control EUCs but to truly transform them and the operational business processes to increase efficiencies and minimize risk. We continue to empower business users to “fill the IT gap” and empower IT to rapidly build business solutions using Microsoft Power Platform.

These Power Platform applications are completely governed, have an application lifecycle, and have a fully secure and robust database. All of this functionality is available without writing code, simply using configuration. Applications can contain rich workflows and even robotic process automation (RPA) for complex integrations or automation of data entry tasks. Those microsilos of data scattered across the enterprise now become part of the larger data estate with full IT controls and management.

This process does take some up-front work—replacing a well-worn and intuitive platform such as Excel with Power Platform needs some initial care and consideration. Governance and enablement need to go hand-in-hand with the rollout of Power Platform. Microsoft has starter kits and a rich network of partners to assist with both. Enablement is key and provides an opportunity for IT teams to collaborate with business teams, perhaps create new teams that accelerate business solutions built on Power Platform. I often see an MVP released in a single sprint—some design thinking, remapping the business processes for efficiencies, and then a quick model and build with rapid releases to test and production.

Getting a handle on EUCs will be critical over the next couple of years, but if done correctly, implementing Power Platform can not only solve for the current EUC remediation backlog but also set up the business for agile transformation, especially given the new reality we are all now working in.

If you want more information on Power Platform, you can find customer stories, examples, and info on how to get started at powerplatform.microsoft.com. You can also reach out to your Microsoft account team, who would be happy to engage.

EUC solutions are just a small part of what the platform can address. For example, Microsoft has released a comprehensive Return to the Workplace solution based on Power Platform that helps organizations safely bring employees back into the workplace.