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Microsoft announces rebrand of Flow to Power Automate at Ignite 2019

Microsoft has recently announced at its annual Ignite conference that it will be releasing a whole host of new and improved updates for its Power Platform. As part of Microsoft’s future direction, Microsoft will be changing the name of Flow to Power Automate along with adding game changing robotic process automation (RPA) features for Power Automate in addition to the release of Power Virtual Agents. These aren’t the only things that Microsoft revealed, they also announced that they will be improving the security of Power BI, bringing the Power Platform and Teams closer together & demonstrated the new prebuilt models for AI builder.

To put this into context, Microsoft’s Power Platform combines the robust power of PowerApps, PowerBI, and Microsoft Flow into one powerful business application platform – providing quick and easy app building and data insights. Microsoft revealed that will be adding more Al features, analytics and data visualisation with the capability to make it possible for anyone in your company to be a developer.

Before we get stuck into all the new features that Microsoft will be introducing, it is important to note that with regards to the rebranding, Microsoft has to rebrand one product per quarter or it’s not allowed to call itself Microsoft.

So what other features did Microsoft announce at Ignite?

Power Automate goes RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

One of the features revealed by Microsoft is the new RPA capability in Power Automate which is to be referred to as UI flows. UI flows for Power Automate is now available in public preview. Despite the fact that creating a UI flow Is largely a point and click experience, you will still need to have some understanding of how coding works.

The RPA feature removes the manual processes involved through automated workflows that record and playback human-drive interaction in conjunction with software systems that aren’t able to support API automation. It is important to note that Power Automate already has prebuilt connectors for more than 275 apps that are able to support API automation but claims that it now has an end-to-end automation platform that can reinvent business processes for workloads across a variety of different industries/sectors.

Power Virtual Agents and AI Builder

If the need for some relevant coding experience for UI flows concerns you, you will be relieved to find out that Power Virtual Agents are now available in public preview. Essentially, Power Virtual Agents allow the different functions in your company to create bots with a guided, no-code graphical interface. Think of it as an easier way to create something without the need for any other resources or expertise to help you do it. Given that Power Virtual Agents form part of the Power Platform, you are able to easily use prebuilt connectors to allow your bot to communicate with other systems or to even call an API.

As well as the above, you will be pleased to know that Microsoft has revealed more no-code options in the form of the AI Builder on the Power Platform which is now available. In addition to this, the Power Platform will also have the following prebuilt AI models which can now be viewed in public preview:

  • Key phrase extraction
  • Language detection
  • Text recognition
  • Sentiment analysis

AI Builder allows businesses to tailor AI scenarios for their specific business.

Further security improvements and greater Teams integration

As mentioned above, Microsoft is taking steps to improve the security of Power BI with the following new capabilities now available in public preview:

Being able to monitor and secure user activity on sensitive data in real time with alerts, session monitoring and risk remediation through Microsoft Cloud App security.

Allowing security admins who are using data protection reports and security investigation capabilities to make use of Microsoft Cloud App Security to improve organisational oversight.

On another note, Microsoft will be trying to bring its workplace collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams more in line with its Power Platform. You will see that Power Platform dashboards, apps & automations are available within Teams – adaptive cards and bots can be accessed through conversations. Furthermore, those that are lucky enough to be Power Apps creators are also able to publish their apps directly into their company’s app library within Teams. Furthermore, new Power Automate triggers and actions are now available within Teams for common team and personal tasks.

If you are looking to transform your business through the use of Microsoft’s Power Platform (Power BI, PowerApps and Flow) then please get in touch with our team of Power Platform experts to discuss your specific business needs.

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