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Executive Summary of Microsoft Power Platform 2024 wave 1 release plans

Microsoft has a plan to continue to evolve the Power Platform in 2024 and has provided a 219-page PDF that is way too long to read in 5-10 minutes. But don’t worry, we have the highlights right here!

This summary includes key features and enhancements planned for release from April 2024 to September 2024. Microsoft tells us that these features are subject to change and may not be available in all regions or environments (hence “plan”). Microsoft will update the document currently stored on their dedicated web page. If you’re unfamiliar with the Power Platform, each section below includes a summary of what each particular part is about. Then we’ll summarize some of the key features and enhancements. That’s enough intro, let’s get into it!

Power Apps

Power Apps is the part of Power Platform that enables users to create custom applications for web and mobile devices, using a low-code approach and a rich set of controls and components. Power Apps also includes Microsoft Dataverse, a robust and secure data platform that stores and manages data for Power Apps and other Power Platform components.

Some of the key features and enhancements planned for Power Apps in 2024 wave 1 are:

  • Copilot for Power Apps makers and users: Copilot is a new feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language to aid users in building and using Power Apps. We gained a little experience with Copilot in 2023, but we’ll now see higher integration within the editor. Makers will be able use Copilot to create and modify apps, work with data, and enhance overall functionality. There will be more of the natural language prompting to explore data and navigate apps.

  • Building modern apps: Power Apps is rolling out a range of updates that will modernize app creation and make it easier to produce apps with features that app users expect. The updates for developers include more (and refined) modern controls, responsive templates, and offline apps. Makers can expect a refreshed and modernized interface, simpler sharing options, and better collaboration tools (where more than one person can work on an app at a time).

  • Enable enterprise scale: Microsoft promises enhanced features for makers and administrators, helping the implementation of solutions at an enterprise (company or organization-wide) level. Power Apps Studio will see upgrades to the monitoring and code management tools, to better assist makers working on larger and complex apps. The goal is to provide makers and administrators with improved visibility and control of their solutions and environment routing (or moving solutions between environments).

Power Automate

Power Automate is the part of Power Platform that enables users to create automated workflows that connect various apps and services, without writing code. Power Automate also includes Power Automate Desktop, a tool that allows users to automate tasks on their Windows desktops, and Copilot for Process Mining, a feature that analyzes business processes to supply insights and recommendations.

Some of the key features and enhancements planned for Power Automate in 2024 wave 1 are:

  • Get quick insights and recommendations in Copilot for Process Mining: As we mentioned in the intro above, Copilot for Process Mining is a feature that analyzes business processes and provides insights and recommendations to improve them. Using natural language a user can ask Copilot questions, such as how to perfect a process, find bottlenecks, or even find performance enhancements. Copilot will generate reports and dashboards to help visualize processes and share findings with others.

  • Use generative AI testing for canvas apps: Testing canvas apps, especially when deploying large-scale production applications, has been challenging in the past. We never truly know when an application is deployed for broader consumption that the application will work at scale. This new feature will automate the creation of automated tests for canvas apps. Copilot will be able to help users as they’re building their canvas apps to build appropriate test cases and scripts that will go into app testing. Users will be able to create and automate their tests, starting with canvas applications and eventually expanding to include copilot, Test Studio, and Test Engine.

Power BI

Power BI is the part of the Power Platform that enables users to create and share interactive reports and dashboards that supply insights from data. Power BI also includes Power BI Desktop, a tool that allows users to connect to various data sources, transform and model data, and create visualizations.

Some of the key features and enhancements planned for Power BI in 2024 wave 1 are:

  • Power BI Premium Gen3: Power BI Premium Gen3 is the next generation of Power BI Premium, which offers improved performance, scalability, and flexibility for enterprise-scale deployments. Power BI Premium Gen3 introduces new capabilities such as “autoscale”, which automatically adjusts the capacity based on the workload demand, and user-based pricing, which allows users to buy Premium licenses per user instead of per capacity. So, your organization will be able to tailor a package that fits you best.

  • Power BI Copilot: Power BI Copilot is a new feature that uses AI and natural language to help in creating and exploring Power BI reports and dashboards. Users can ask questions such as how to create a chart, filter data, or calculate a measure. Copilot will also provide suggestions and insights to help users discover new patterns and trends in their data.

Other significant changes

In addition to the features and enhancements mentioned above, there are a few other significant changes planned for Power Platform 2024 wave 1 that we’ll mention. Power Virtual Agents and Power Pages are both elements of the Microsoft Power Platform. So here is a quick summary of updates for them:

  • Power Virtual Agents: Power Virtual Agents is the part of Power Platform that enables users to create chatbots that can interact with customers and employees, without writing code. Power Virtual Agents is introducing new features such as adaptive cards, which allow users to create interactive cards that can be displayed in chat windows, and copilot, which allows users to use natural language to create and modify chatbots.

  • Power Pages: Power Pages is the newest part of the Power Platform. It helps users to create web pages that can be embedded into Power Apps or other websites, using a low-code approach and pre-made components. Power Pages can be used to create landing pages, blogs, wikis, and other types of customer-facing web content, and it can use data. A few of the enhancements for Power Pages include enhanced administrative and governance capabilities and an enhanced design studio, as well as the ability to use advanced customizations and configurations (pro-dev capabilities through Power Platform CLI (command line interface)).

Hopefully this post gives you a taste for what’s coming up from April 2024 to September 2024 for the Microsoft Power Platform. Microsoft is doubling down on Copilot to aid makers and administrators both. We’ll be following along closely and trying out the new features to let you know how to best take advantage of the new tools. So, stay tuned to!

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