Tagged: Power Platform

What’s Microsoft Power Virtual Agents?

In this post I describe what Microsoft Power Virtual Agents are and what’s the benefit of using Power Virtual Agents.

What are Power Virtual Agents?

At Ignite 2019 I heard the first time of Power Virtual Agents.
It’s a service and it’s part of Microsoft’s Power Platform (Power Automate, Power BI, PowerApps). Currently, Power Virtual Agents are in preview.

Power Virtual Agents enables you to build bots to serve your business. It can be done with no-code, within little time and deploy it where ever you need it. For example, you can deploy the Power Virtual Agents in Teams, Skype, Facebook, any website, PowerApps etc. Just awesome!

To give you some quick overview how it looks like, some screenshots:

Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview)
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Bot conversation flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Built/train/teach the bot/flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Deploy (overview)

Advantages and benefits of Power Virtual Agents

  • Part of Microsoft’s Power Platform
  • No need to be a app developer
  • No-coding skills required to begin with
  • Easy to setup and start with
  • Fast “configuration”
  • Fast deployment and publishing into Teams, websites etc.
  • Easy to modify
  • Easy to extend (teach/train contents to give the bot more “knowledge”)

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Power Virtual Agents can deliver great benefit for your business, internally as well as externally.
You could, for example, build a bot for your web shop,
you could create a FAQ bot (if you have not already one),
you could set up a troubleshooting bot for (end user) support or any other scenario. All this might help to reduce repetitiv and boring tasks for your employees getting these questions asked and allow them to focus on what’s more important for your business success.

It’s really straightforward and it work’s like charm. I’m really excited what I’ve seen and could test in the preview of this service.

Additional resources

Automate tasks in Microsoft Teams code free

In this post I like to cross reference a video from the Microsoft Mechanics which shows how to start to automate tasks code free in Microsoft Teams in conjunction with Microsoft’s PowerPlatform services Flow and PowerApps.

Source: Microsoft Teams: Code free ways to optimize your experience

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Microsoft Teams as a hub for teamwork let’s you integrate many other apps and services of the Office 365 stack like Flow and PowerApps. This enables you to automate certain (recurring) tasks and focus on more relevant tasks. The most impressiv aspect is that you do not need to be a developer, you can start to automate processes and tasks code free within little time.

For instance, if you get certain data delivered by your project team mates and you might collect and insert it in a Excel sheet or else. You might change this either starting small with sharing the Excel sheet to allow your team mates to added there data directly or you might want to build a PowerApp for the data input, insert it in the Team as tab, ad flow to get notified of new data inputs and maybe visualize the data via PowerBI…

There are infinite use cases and options which you could automate code free to focus on more relevant things at work. By adding Flows and PowerApps to your Teams you don’t even need to switch to another app.

Additional resources

How to add guests to business process apps with canvas PowerApps?

In this post I describe what Microsoft provides with canvas apps in PowerApps (in preview, August 2018) to add guests (people not within your company) so that guests can collaborate and work with you on a business process (app) within your Office 365 tenant.

Basically you’ll be able to share canvas PowerApps for guests. What do I have to do?

  1. Create a canvas app in PowerApps
  2. Add guests to your Azure Active Directory
  3. Assign licenses to your newly added guests
  4. Share the (canvas) PowerApps (https://make.powerapps.com)
    Guests will receive a mail notification that they are invited.
  5. Guests can access the shared app via (Browser, iOS, Android)
  6. Collaborate with guests on your business processes apps based on PowerApps
  7. Provide feedback to Microsoft to improve services (see link at the bottom)
Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/feedback-confirming-businessmen-2990424/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The Microsoft PowerPlatform evolves steadily and new capabilities are added to ease collaboration within the Microsoft Cloud as well as with stakeholders external to your cloud tenant. This is a really impressiv journey for all of us.

  • It adds more possibilities to your business, your clients and partners.
  • It enables you, your clients and partners to get things done together within your business processes/es.
  • There are almost infinit opportunities to design your business processes and interactions for business processes by utilizing the PowerPlatform.
  • You can allow collaboration internal as well as external to for your company’s business processes built on (canvas apps) in PowerApps based on the PowerPlatform.
  • You can start with codeless or low-code apps to get things started and also done in little time.

Additional resources

How to enable external users to access PowerApps?

In this post I describe what Microsoft provides with PowerApps Portals (in Preview, August 2018) to enable external users (not within your company) to access your PowerApps-based business apps.

What’s PowerApps at all?

Microsoft PowerApps is basically an app toolbox which you can use to quickly build business apps without being a developer because you can build a business app by clicking it together. It’s part of Office 365 and allows to use what you’ve already got there (Office 365, Dynamics 365 …) or (partially) elsewhere.

What’s PowerApps Portals?

Before the introduction of PowerApps Portals all users need to be within your Office 365 tenant to access your PowerApps-based business apps. PowerApps Portal is a game changer it let’s external users access your business apps via WWW on a public accessible website. You can also control access to the portal, e.g. anonymously, LinkedIn, Microsoft ID, Azure AD account, SAML2, OpenId Connect or else.

Source: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-powerapps-portals-powerful-low-code-websites-for-external-users/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

PowerApps Portals is very handy for you if you need to build a business app which is not only accessible for your employees or users which are member of your Office 365 tenant. To enable a wider accessibility to PowerApps can enable more interaction with external users to your company.

Additional resources

AI Builder & Microsoft Power Platform

In this post I like to share exciting news on a low-code AI service for your starting to enable AI for your company using Microsofts Power Platform.

In June 2019 Microsoft launched the AI Builder preview. This AI builder enables your users to build easy Power Platform-based business solutions enriched with artificial intelligence (AI).

What is the Microsoft Power Platform?

The Microsoft Power Platform offers capabilities to build solutions to solve business problems without coding or with little coding skills. It includes mainly the following services:

  • Microsoft Flow –> to automate processes
  • Microsoft Power BI –> to visualize data
  • Microsoft Power Apps –> app platform to build apps for input and output
Source: https://powerplatform.microsoft.com/en-us/

I’ll not dig deeper into a detailed explanation, therefore I add some links at the bottom of this post for your self-study and to get started.

What’s AI builder?

As the name already tells, AI builder offers to a service to build an AI-enriched solution in conjunction with the Power Platform. So? Well, what can I do now? As of now you can use the following AI capabilities:

  • Object detection –> e.g. identify and track your products
  • Prediction –> e.g. predict / forecast business outcomes based on as-is and historical business data
  • Text classification –> e.g. map text input of a customer feedback to a value
  • Form processing –> e.g. extract form-based inputs within a flow an process it
https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-builder/
AI Builder (preview) in Flow –> Prediction
Source: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-builder/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion AI builder is a great option to get started with building AI enriched business processes to increase your business process efficiency. The most meaningful advantages of AI builder are:

  • Easy to use (no or low code, “click it together”)
  • For every skill level
  • Extensible (integrate/use with Microsoft Power Platform & Dynamics 365)

Additional Resources