See our team’s top news from Microsoft Ignite
The dust has finally settled after a packed schedule for Microsoft’s Ignite, the annual conference for IT leaders and professionals. Read our team’s recap of this year’s biggest announcements for Power Platform!
Power BI Premium is now available per user
Starting on April 2, Power BI Premium Per User will become generally available. Power BI Premium enables business analysts to build end-to-end data platforms through drag-and-drop experiences. Additional features include automated machine learning, cognitive services, and deployment pipelines.
For customers who already have a Power BI Pro, the additional price for Power BI Premium is $10 per user per month.
Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit adds Fundraising capabilities
Microsoft has spent several years working with the nonprofit sector to create a common data model for the industry as well as solutions that can be implemented more easily. As part of this initiative, Microsoft announced Fundraising and Engagement. Part of the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit program, Fundraising and Engagement will support common fundraising needs with new capabilities coming in April. The innovation within Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit will continue to expand throughout Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Dynamics 365, Azure and LinkedIn. Microsoft has identified the following areas of focus: staff collaboration, volunteer engagement and management, and program design and delivery.
Power Fx debuts
Microsoft is continuing with the democratization of the Power Platform with the introduction of Power Fx, a low-code, open-source language based on Excel. Power Fx can be used across Microsoft technologies including Dataverse, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate and Power Apps. Citizen developers can partner with professional developers to solve an organization’s challenges. Anyone with familiarity of Excel expressions will be able to use this low-code solution. Most importantly, Power Fx is open to anyone through Microsoft’s GitHub community, and the capabilities available through the new language will continue to expand.
Enhanced AI features in Power Virtual Agents
Better, more personalized experiences come to Power Virtual Agents this year by way of enhanced AI features. Azure AD and Microsoft graph information gathered by bots through interactions further personalize conversations as users interact with bots. Bots are now smart enough to capture identifying information like email addresses and names and use them in later conversations. Improvements to the Graph API will allow data stored in Dataverse to be accessed seamlessly for context.
For developers and IT pros, the new topic suggestion and overlap features help streamline development. Topic overlap detection enables you to find and fine-tune topics so that the bots work more efficiently and ask fewer clarifying questions. Topic suggestion analyzes transcripts from past chats to recommend subjects for bot owners to add.
Power Automate Desktop is FREE
A couple of years ago Microsoft bought a robotic process automation (RPA) tool called WinAutomation and incorporated it into their Power Automate platform. This extended normal integration and automation from beyond calling APIs and web services to allowing users to record actual clicks and keystrokes to interact with any application on their desktop – even really old ones.
Well, this year Microsoft decided to open the floodgates on RPA and announced that this solution, now branded Power Automate Desktop, is available for free for any Windows 10 users. Now anyone with Windows 10 can use RPA capabilities to script repetitive tasks on their machines at no charge. Use cases are limitless, but the idea is that if you are performing the same tasks over and over again (such as moving files or entering the same data into multiple applications), you can record those steps with Power Automate Desktop and then play them back whenever you want to save time and limit data entry errors. Since it’s free, you can download the application and try out scenarios that might work for you.
Note, however, that if you want to incorporate other Power Automate capabilities (or have cloud flows interact with Power Automate Desktop as part of their processes), you do still need a paid Power Automate licensing.