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Microsoft Build 2024 Power Platform Recap

Oh, how times have changed. Microsoft Build for most of my career was this crazy, intense developers conference where they talked about the nerdiest of the nerdy stuff. Business users and even IT administrators wanted nothing to do with it and the conference wanted nothing to do with them. Just something we ignored every year. But not today!


Since the rise of our dear Power Platform, low-code and no-code has snuck in more and more to the point it has become a must-watch event each year. And if you look at the announcements coming out of Build, so many of them were either Copilot or Power Platform, not .NET. 😎


So, in case you missed the event, let’s talk about some of the core Power Platform takeaways. Keep in mind most of this stuff is coming, not out today.


Power Apps

More Copilot features – Comments to code lets you type in a comment and have the Power FX written for you. Explain it uses AI to explain formulas to you. Enable Bing search lets the side panel Copilot get the latest documentation. Ideas evolved to use AI to give you better, more specific suggestions. And Copilot Answers is a new Control to add to your app to get AI results. Video of 4 new Copilot features for Power Apps.


New Data Pane – Now you can visualize relationships and create multiple tables when working with your Dataverse tables via Copilot. The new interface is sleek and user-friendly, allowing you to describe your data in plain language and watch it generate complex relationships between tables.

Power Apps new Data Pane for Copilot and Dataverse

Enhanced UI and Features – The updated interface for creating tables is not only visually appealing but also incredibly functional. You can now drag and drop to create relationships and even import Excel spreadsheets directly into your tables. This makes data management within Power Apps a breeze.


Coauthoring and Code view – To give some dev focus, they are rolling out the ability for up to 10 people at once to modify the same app. And there is a new code view where you can see and edit the YAML directly. This makes collaboration on large projects much smoother and more efficient. There was also some Dev Ops stuff, but I nodded off during it. 😹


Power Automate

AI flows – Tell the AI what your inputs are, and what outcome you want, and it will build a flow to do the work. You stop sweating all the actions and just worry about the end product. This new feature leverages AI to understand the tools and connections available, making flow creation more intuitive and less time-consuming.


Multi-modal Desktop flows – When building desktop flows, you will be able to show and tell the recorder what you are doing and how to do it. Then it will create the flow to do the steps. The cool thing is, with context, it can become self-healing because it understood your intent, not just to click at 58, 257 coordinates. Very exciting. Imagine an AI that not only records your actions but understands them well enough to adapt when things change.

Screen grab from the video showing the start of recording your flow

Automation Center – The new Automation Center provides a comprehensive view of all your automations, giving you insights into performance and helping you manage everything in one place. This is a game-changer for those managing large-scale automations.

Screenshot of the new Power Automate automation center

AI-Driven Troubleshooting – With the new Co-pilot integration in Cloud flows, you can use AI to help understand and fix issues within your flows. This is perfect for beginners who might need help with specific issues but still want the flexibility to customize their automations further.


If you want to see a more hands on view of the Power Apps and Power Automate updates, then I do have a video of Power Apps and Power Automate announcements from Build 2024.


Power Pages

Copilot Everything – The latest update brings Copilot to every corner of Power Pages. Whether you're building multi-step forms, integrating pro-code features, or embedding Copilot into your site, the AI assistance is there to make your life easier. Copilot even helps with search functionality, providing a smoother user experience.


More Security – With the addition of the Security Workspace and a Firewall for Power Pages, your sites are now more secure than ever. This new standard in security ensures your data is protected, giving you peace of mind.


Virtual Table Support – Power Pages now supports virtual tables for Salesforce, Oracle, Business Central, and Microsoft Fabric. This allows you to expose and interact with more data sources directly within your site, making your data management more versatile and powerful.


Building updates - You will be able to use Power FX directly in Power Pages. Also, new components including Card Gallery, Breadcrumb, and Flex Containers enable you to build better looking and more dynamic sites easily.

Screenshot of the flex container

With these enhancements, Power Pages is setting a new standard in secure, AI-powered capabilities, making it an indispensable tool for modern web development.


If learning Power Pages is on your To-Do list, then check out our new Live Power Pages Jumpstart class. July 2024 with two of our Experts Haley and Anthony. It includes everything you need to get started and goes from nothing to a working site, they even explore the pro-code side.


Copilot Studio and Dataverse

Building Copilots with Agent Capabilities – At Microsoft Build 2024, Copilot Studio introduced powerful new features for creating custom copilots. These copilots can now act as independent agents, triggered by events and automating complex, long-running business processes with minimal human intervention. For example, a copilot can manage IT help desk tasks, handle employee onboarding, and serve as a personal concierge for sales and service, all while maintaining memory and context to personalize interactions. Enhanced security measures and asynchronous orchestration ensure these agents operate smoothly and securely.


Copilot Connectors – Introducing Microsoft Copilot connectors, which seamlessly integrate your productivity, analytical, and operational data. This allows users to activate existing business processes effortlessly. These connectors provide semantic search, data syncing, and extensive third-party service integration, supporting complex data types and catering to both low-code and pro-code developers.


Enterprise Knowledge Integration – With Copilot Studio, you can now add specific, contextually relevant knowledge sources to your copilots, enhancing the accuracy of their responses. This feature supports a wide range of data types, including those from public websites and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Screenshot of new Knowledge Sources

Security Hub – The new Security Hub in Microsoft Power Platform provides administrators with tools to assess and improve their security posture, offering actionable recommendations and centralized security management. Features include vNet for Dataverse plugins, privileged identity management, tenant isolation, and more.


These updates aim to boost productivity and security, making the integration of AI and data more efficient and effective.


Conclusion

Yes, I am just scratching the surface of what came out at Build, but this is already too long. Needless to say, spending a few minutes watching a Build recap or watching a video would be good. Lots of fun stuff coming our way. Build isn’t just for developers anymore, so make sure you plan accordingly. In our AI and low-code worlds, it is about results, not how you build it.


If you need help with anything Power Platform, we are here for you. Just scroll down the page and fill out the contact us form. Planning, Break/Fix, Training, all the way to full scale Projects, if it involves Power Platform or Copilot, we have you covered.

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