What’s New With Microsoft’s Power Platform in October 2022

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After a whirlwind of news from the first annual Microsoft Power Platform Conference in September, we now have all the news from Microsoft Ignite 2022! We’ve got previews for creating Power Automate flows with natural language, creating complex Power Automate expressions by feeding it examples, the general availability of 2022 Release Wave 2 for Dynamics 365, as well as a lot of exciting updates with Power BI report and dataset interactions and management. 

Power Automate expressions by example  

While creating cloud flows in Power Automate, we can now get some help transforming our data by using simple examples directly without having to write any expressions ourselves. Expressions by Example is another example of Microsoft using AI to improve the efficiency of creating complex automation solutions and lowering the barrier to entry for citizen developers who may be turned off by the manual way of writing expressions. This feature is currently in preview. 

Power Automate expressions by example leverage AI to improve the efficiency of creating complex automation solutions
Power Automate expressions by example leverage AI to improve the efficiency of creating complex automation solutions

Managed Environments for Power Platform 

The Power Platform has attracted a wave of citizen developers to create applications and automation solutions for their business operations. With that comes some work for traditional IT management and governance.

With Managed Environments, your IT department can rest easy with weekly rundowns of highly used and unused apps and automations, sharing limitations to make sure applications don’t get in the wrong hands (or too many hands), and environment-scoped Data Loss Protection (DLP). This feature can be turned on in just a few clicks. 

Managed Environments for Power Platform
Managed Environments for Power Platform

Power BI Integration with Microsoft 365 

Power BI will now be included in the installer along with other Office desktop apps. This will reduce the deployment time for IT and increase the speed-to-use for users.

Users will also be able to edit and view Power BI reports directly in OneDrive and SharePoint, bringing the Power BI cloud functionality directly where users need it. 

Power BI B2B dataset and reporting discoverability 

The business-to-business dataset discoverability feature in Power BI will now show users all the datasets and reports that are shared with them from external users. With this feature, users can find the data shared with them and create reports shared with them in one place inside the security of their own tenant. 

Power BI reports and datasets solution support 

Power BI has always lived somewhat outside of the rest of the Power Platform. Now, with solution support, you can add reports and datasets to a Power Platform solution.

Solutions can be exported and imported into other Power Platform environments. Solutions can also be managed with application lifecycle management (ALM) tools for automated deployments. 

Unstructured documents in AI Builder 

AI Builder allows users to gather data from a variety of file types such as PDFs or scanned documents. In the past, these documents needed to be structured, meaning the documents and data were all in the same format or area of a document.

Now, AI Builder can recognize data from unstructured documents such as contracts, invoices, receipts, etc. Instead of training the model to recognize characters in a specific spot of a document, it will now read the document and look for the data you need.

You can train a model to find the desired data points in a variety of document layouts. Announced earlier this year, this feature is now generally available. 

AI Builder is now generally available
AI Builder is now generally available

General availability of 2022 Release Wave 2 for Dynamics 365

Back in July, the 2022 Release Wave 2 plan for Dynamics 365 was announced. Starting on October 1st, these preview features began to roll out into general availability.

Power BI improvements are focused on improvements to licensing models and big data sources, such as Azure Synapse. Power Apps had a focus on collaboration and data integration as well as the release of Power Pages.

Power Automate is focusing on reaching into the entire M365 stack to automate all aspects of the M365 experience. Power Virtual Agents got improvements to authoring as well as adaptive card support.

For a full breakdown of these features, you can visit Microsoft’s documentation

Recap of MPPC announcements at Ignite 

In case you missed the 2022 Microsoft Power Platform Conference news, the announcements were touched on again at Microsoft Ignite. The highlights are Power Apps co-authoring, virtual agents integration with Power Apps, and Cards in Power Apps. You can read about those announcements in detail in last month’s updates, What’s New for Microsoft’s Power Platform – September 2022