Announcing Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 updates at Microsoft Ignite

This morning, Alysa Taylor and I are welcoming the global community of technology professionals to Microsoft Ignite in two key segments streaming live and rebroadcast throughout the event.

This community will play a leading role in realizing the vision and priorities we’re discussing at Microsoft Ignite—solutions to help build resiliency into every layer of business and that help you weather today’s challenges so you can proactively get ahead of tomorrow’s opportunities—to reimagine tomorrow. Today, we are announcing new capabilities across Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 to help deliver this vision, including:

  • Low code updates for professional developers with an integrated Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, and Microsoft Azure API Management experience to scale solutions through Power Apps with low-code and distribute through Microsoft Teams.
  • Power Platform SDLC (software development lifecycle) workflows and templates with GitHub Actions.
  • Power Virtual Agents and Microsoft Azure Bot Framework integration to build bots with no code, plus a simpler, one-click publishing experience on Teams.
  • Deeper Power Apps and Teams integration, including Power Apps authoring app within Teams, Dataverse for a free low code data platform, and Teams visual style support.
  • The preview of the Microsoft Power BI app for Teams which provides a central, personalized home for data in Teams will help customers scale insights across the organization by ensuring that insights are just a click away from where conversations are happening and where decisions are made.
  • Power BI is now natively integrated with Excel and is easier than ever to discover and work with trusted Power BI datasets that are refreshed, governed, and secured directly in Excel.
  • Two new Power BI offerings: Power BI Premium Per User as an entry point to Premium and a new on-demand capacity scale option for Premium customers.
  • The preview of Microsoft Power Automate Desktop, bringing robotic process automation (RPA) to every desktop.
  • A new first-party voice channel for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service, built on Microsoft Azure Communication Services.
  • New add-ins for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: Cloud and Edge Scale Unit and Inventory Visibility.
  • The October general availability of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ​Project Operations.

Accelerate your app development

To accelerate the growing trend of low-code and code-first “fusion” projects, we have made significant improvements and investments over the past 18 months in making Power Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Visual Studio work seamlessly together.

We are advancing our vision for Power Platform to shape and scale the future of work with low-code apps and new capabilities to help professional developers rapidly transform the business from the ground up using the tools and languages they are already familiar with.

Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and Azure API Management will now work seamlessly together to allow developers to scale solutions through Power Apps with low-code and distribute through Microsoft Teams. Developers can create custom connectors to unlock access to any Microsoft cloud hosted data source, as well as seamlessly push custom connectors to dedicated Power Platform environments for easy discovery in Power Apps.​ In addition, you can leverage Microsoft Azure Functions and Azure API Management to enable citizen developers to distribute Power Apps in Teams.​ Read more about this solution in our blog “Achieve your app development goals with Power Platform and Azure,” including how professional developers at T-Mobile are using Power Apps and Azure to develop a series of apps that helped them adjust quickly to operating in the pandemic at T-Mobile.

To help streamline development, we are thrilled to announce that we are bringing Power Platform to the platform where developer teams collaborate on projects—GitHub. Available in preview, pro developers can create their own SDLC (software development lifecycle) workflows using GitHub Actions for Power Platform on the marketplace, as well as use pre-configured SDLC workflow templates.

In addition, Power Virtual Agents and Azure Bot Framework will now work seamlessly to allow developers to build bots with no code—the capability will be generally available in October. We’ve also enhanced Power Virtual Agents to make it even easier for developers and users to publish on Teams with just one click—which will also be generally available in October.

Infuse teamwork with data insights to help everyone make better decisions

Teams is a platform for work, school, and everyday life. Data is a part of all those things too, and now Power BI in Teams is evolving to help everyone find and collaborate around insights.

We recently introduced a new Power BI app for Teams, which provides a more streamlined experience for accessing Power BI reports in Teams, making it easier to collaborate with data and to connect insight into action with sample reports, automation, and easy sharing experiences.

At Ignite, we are announcing the preview of the new Power BI app for Teams. The app will enable users to quickly discover, search, and discuss data without ever leaving Teams. This central, personalized home for data in Teams will ensure that insights are always just a click away from where conversations are happening and where decisions are made. For example, PayPal moved to Teams and added a tab for Power BI visualizations to Teams meetings, providing an easy way to easily share a project’s current status and goals as people join.

In addition to these Power BI updates, we are also providing customers with broader analytics choices and scalability with two new Power BI offerings, Power BI Premium Per User as an entry point to Premium, and a new on-demand capacity scale option for Premium customers to enable them to elastically scale Premium nodes—both in preview.

Learn more about these updates to Power BI and more details about how Power Platform integrates with Microsoft Teams.

Automation for everyone

We continue to invest in robotic process automation (RPA). Our acquisition of Softomotive opened doors to pare Power Automate with WinAutomation, enabling anyone to automate manual business processes across both legacy and modern applications.

Today, we’re introducing the preview of Power Automate Desktop—enabling you to automate on-premises processes and tasks, from simple data transfers between systems or searching for images to more complex business processes and workflows—all from your desktop. ​

Read more about the capabilities of Power Automate Desktop.

Driving faster results at Toyota

These updates demonstrate what’s possible when everyone, from pro developers to non-technical users across the organization have access to no-code or low-code tools. In my key segment, I demonstrate three ways that Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) is empowering everyone across the organization to solve business problems with the Power Platform. More than 400 applications are in progress, along with more than 800 Power Automate flows, to help them improve business processes and boost customer service and satisfaction.

For example, the team is using Power BI, Teams, and Microsoft Azure Synapse to monitor their network and analyze the immense amounts of data that is created as part of that process, including surveys performed by their field travelers that are responsible for different regions. Toyota harnessed the full suite of Power Platform features plus Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services to rapidly build and deploy a Vehicle Delivery Quality app that improved accuracy and efficiency for field travelers collecting information. Plus, it gave them 100 percent coverage across their dealers enabling Toyota to better understand what dealers are doing right and improve the quality and safety of vehicles delivered to their customers.

Dynamics 365 updates to help you build a resilient organization

Every organization needs to prioritize delivering on customer expectations even during change and uncertainty to stay resilient and relevant—as well as secure the business from the economic impact of COVID-19. We are introducing new additions and updates to Dynamics 365 focused on the most critical centers for customer satisfaction, especially in today’s business climate: service and supply chain. These enhanced solutions are business-ready yet rapidly scalable and customizable to build unique digital capabilities.

The first single vendor omnichannel solution including native voice

Customer service is not only a frontline for loyalty and retention, it’s an essential way to understand how to better serve the people who depend on your products and services. Your customer service team needs to offer multiple lines of always-on communications.

As organizations evaluate customer service software solutions, they are increasingly demanding single-vendor solutions to ease the burden of managing multiple vendor contracts and integrations. Dynamics 365 delivers the optimal customer service solutions for everyone in the business—from frontline agents and customer service management to solution implementers and administrators.

At Ignite, we are announcing the addition of a new first-party voice channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, built on Azure Communication Services, available in preview. By integrating voice into existing omnichannel capabilities, we are providing a seamless, end-to-end customer service experience within a single solution built on the Microsoft cloud that empowers teams to deliver consistent, connected support across all channels. AI-powered features help resolve issues faster, including real-time agent suggestions and sentiment analysis that starts working right out of the box, and thanks to our Common Data Model, voice channel data natively integrates into pre-existing datasets—no data manipulation or reformatting necessary.

Learn more about the new voice channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Azure Communication Services.

Manage supply chain risk and maintain continuity

This year, companies have had to deal with rapidly changing customer demand and major disruptions to their supply chains. Most have found it hard to quickly shift to meet these new demands and are looking to build more agility and resiliency into the way they operate by digitizing the entire supply chain.

A Ignite, we are announcing two new add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management to enhance visibility and enable customers to quickly respond to changing demand and supply: Cloud and Edge Scale Unit and Inventory Visibility.

Companies often struggle with latency and connectivity when running operations in remote facilities. High volume and resource-intensive processes running in parallel can lead to network latency and reduced productivity.  The new Cloud and Edge Scale Unit add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management available in preview in October, bring the power of the intelligent cloud to the edge. The add-ins allow organizations to run critical warehousing and manufacturing workloads on the Edge using Azure stack devices to improve resilience and ensure around-the-clock operations even when temporarily disconnected from the cloud.

The new Inventory Visibility add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables large volume retailers and manufacturers to easily handle millions of transactions every minute and determine cross-channel inventory accurately in real time. Organizations can easily scale to fulfill orders from multiple channels on time, and mitigate stock-outs and overstocking. The new capability, available in preview in October, is hyper-scalable and can also work with third-party systems.

Read more about the latest updates to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Transform project-based services

The solutions we’re discussing at Microsoft Ignite share a common theme: enabling organizations with the speed and agility to adjust to change, build resiliency across every line of business, and exceed customer expectations. If your business is structured as a project-based organization, it’s especially critical to be adaptable to the types of changes we’ve seen over the past few months.

Dynamics 365 ​Project Operations, generally available in October, connects and empowers your sales, resourcing, project management, and accounting teams with the visibility needed to deliver exceptional services to your customers on-time and on-budget. Dynamics 365 Project Operations integrates with your current enterprise systems helping you to drive business growth across your sales and delivery processes, without the need to rip and replace your existing systems. You can also easily scale Dynamics 365 Project Operations using the Power Platform and other applications from Dynamics 365, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service. Siemens Mobility is one customer utilizing Dynamics 365 Project Operations to help streamline their service teams.

Read more about the latest updates to Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

Catch the next wave of Business Applications updates

All of these solutions join hundreds new capabilities that will be released between October 2020 and March 2021. Read the 2020 release wave 2 plans for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform for details.

You’ll learn about many of these updates over the next few days, as well as during the first week of October when we host the Business Applications Launch Event for the 2020 release wave 2.

Be sure to check out the full line-up of Business Applications sessions and connect with your global community in the Connection Zone. Enjoy the show!