The August Q3 Tech Insider Update hosted by JourneyTEAM provided a preview of the latest Microsoft updates to the end-to-end business solution Power Platform including Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agent.
These updates include enhancements to the user experience and added capabilities that continue to help reduce administrative burden and developer time and cost, and automate business processes.
Recent updates to Power BI, another connected application of the Power Platform, are highlighted here.
· Simple and Low-Code
· Facilitated Controls
· Power BI Embedded in Portal Designer
· Canvas and Power-driven Apps
Power Apps enable organizations to build and share professional-grade apps with the use of user-friendly, low-code tools. Through its simplicity, anyone at the organization can learn to build apps, which can reduce dependency on professional developers. To support the shallow learning curve, Power Apps features pre-built templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and pre-built AI components. Recent updates to Power Apps – including facilitated controls, Power BI embedded in-portal designer, and Canvas and Power-driven apps – make it even easier and more user friendly than ever before.
Updates to facilitated controls include the ability to view security roles inside Power Apps, instead of opening a separate window. The save function is also now available on all pages, which is another way of keeping the tools users need within reach. Power Apps also now has modifiable dashboards that are more dynamic and include the option to hide or show charts as needed.
Another update to Power Apps includes the embedding of Power BI, which makes it accessible in the portal designer via drag-and-drop. Now saved as a component, the Power BI object previously was liquid and had to be grabbed by its ID.
Last of the exciting updates to Power Apps, Canvas, and mobile-driven apps now run on a single mobile application.
Watch the Power Apps update video here.
Power Automate (Formerly “Microsoft Flow”)
· Universal Search
· AI-infused Workflows (Premium)
· Simplified Text Expressions
Time-saving workflows built in Power Automate allow organizations to streamline processes, from the most repetitive and mundane of tasks to large-scale systems. Like the other complementing parts of Power Platform, there is a huge emphasis on being user-friendly with low-code/no-code tools so anyone can build secure workflows. Updates like Universal Search, AI-infused workflows, and simplified text expressions expand on the advanced yet practical capabilities of Power Automate.
With Universal Search, users can now instantly find all the helpful resources they need to build workflows such as connectors, templates, documentation, community and blog posts, guided tutorials, and more. The Universal Search feature is right at the user’s fingertips at the top of the page, providing a dropdown of all relevant search results.
New AI-infused workflows allow users to add artificial intelligence directly to any step. Previously, the AI builder was a separate function of Power Automate, but now it is one of the options available when creating an action. Note that this feature is only available to premium users.
Text expressions that are used in flow actions for basic operations (e.g., getting current time, adding numbers together, replacing part of a string of text) have been updated with options to parse and view the texts in a different way. This is now facilitated with different explanations and five different expressions.
Power Virtual Agent
· Create/Manage Chatbots in Power Apps Portal
· Global Variables
· Multiple User Collaboration
· Additional Language Support
Released in December 2019, Power Virtual Agent has already successfully provided organizations with yet another way to automate processes, this time using chatbots. No coding or AI expertise is required, so anyone at the organization can easily learn to create intelligent chat bots that can quickly resolve common support issues and answer questions that come from customers or employees. Organizations can do a lot with the tools already available, including look up records, personalize conversations with natural language and understanding, hand off to live agents when appropriate and call APIs.
Recent features rolled out include the ability to create and manage chatbots directly from the Power Apps portal, which is another example of keeping the most helpful tools within reach. Within the Power Apps portal, users can also create global variables to add context. For example, if a customer asks a chat bot about a specific product, that can be saved and used in a different chat or situation as relevant. Multiple users can also collaborate and edit different conversation topics within the same bot.
Especially important for those organizations with global reach, Power Virtual Agent now offers additional language support. Currently in preview, the new supported languages include French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese. Each bot is allowed one language, but these languages will be supported and open to the general public in a few months.
For bots that can be helpful in multiple areas or scenarios, users now have the option to import and export the bots to different environments using Solutions.
Watch the Power Virtual Agent update video here.
Get Started with JourneyTEAM
As an award-winning Microsoft partner, JourneyTEAM has a proven track record with successful Microsoft technology implementations. Our experts are here to answer your questions about the latest Power Platform updates and can help you fully adopt these user-friendly tools for the most optimal results and success. Contact JourneyTEAM today.