Power Platform

What you can expect from Microsoft Power Platform in the near future

27 November 2020


Technology is always in motion. New functions are added to tools almost every day to help you create more added value. As we approach the end of the year, let’s look at the innovations Microsoft has in store for Power Platform. Our experts are already excited!

Meet our Power Platform experts

Joris is a solution architect who has worked with the Microsoft stack for over 20 years now. For the last five years, his main work has been for large Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service clients. He’s a former SharePoint MVP and a board member of the Belux Dynamics CRM User Group. Read all about it on his own blog.

Senior Data Insights Consultant and Data Platform MVP, those are the ‘official’ terms for describing Benni’s activities. On a daily basis, he converts copious amounts of coffee into insights on customer data.

Jeroen is a consultant in the Digital Workplace team that specialises in building digital environments to support all business users in their daily activities. His main focus lies with Office 365 and related technologies.

From your perspective, what are the most interesting upcoming improvements in Microsoft’s roadmap for the next 3 months?

We're on the brink of seeing game changing releases for Power BI, and that's a term I do not use lightly”, says Benni. “Composite Models v2 or Direct Query over Power BI datasets and Analysis Services will allow for combining multiple data models, and new assets into a single logical model. This drastically improves modular and reusable development. We’ll also get more freedom in terms of licensing. Premium Per User licensing will arrive shortly, meaning we can decide on a user level who gets to use Premium features, for a very competitive price point.  Aside from that, we're already seeing the first steps for improved integration with Microsoft Teams, which only increases its position as a collaboration hub during these challenging home office times.”

Jeroen is looking forward to new integration possibilities. My colleagues are working on a project that leverages Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with UI Flows, which became a much more complete offering with the acquisition of Softomotive's WinAutomation by Microsoft. A lot of the integration work between the WinAutomation product and Power Automate is now generally available, so can be used in RPA projects to automate legacy apps or manual processes. Early next year, a lot of improvements regarding monitoring, set-up and lifecycle management are coming to UI Flows to make the admin experience a little easier, and integration within a Power Platform Center of Excellence a little better, so we're looking forward to that. Project Oakdale (a common data service instance in Teams) that allows you to build and share Power Apps applications and Power Automate workflows within the context of a team in Teams is another great feature that really brings citizen development as close to the user as possible. While currently in preview, we've been told that the generally available version won't be that different so it's definitely worth a try today.” 

All Dataverse (the new name for Common Data Service) and Dynamics 365 online environments hosted in the EMEA region recently received over 200 new updates and features as part of the wave 2 2020 release. From a Power Platform perspective, there are a lot of enhancements in data integration and analytics capabilities for Dataverse, e.g., the ability to use Power BI to connect to Microsoft Dataverse with DirectQuery and imin the Dataverse export to Data Lake functionality ”, explains Joris.

Looking a little bit further in the future, what are you anticipating for 2021? 

I briefly touched on Premium Per User already, but we're eagerly waiting for even bigger changes coming to Power BI Premium in 2021. Ignite announced the birth Power BI Premium Gen 2, which will drastically change the underlying architectures. We'll see improved performance, options for autoscaling at peak times, and reduced restrictions on memory usage. I realize Power BI Premium isn't the standard for every organization, but trust me, this is a big deal!”, says Benni.

The Power Apps component framework allows us to create our own custom user interface components which can then be integrated into Canvas Apps. This is a really powerful addition as you can create it once and use it in many different apps, greatly extending the features of the humble Canvas App. While it's been in public preview since last February, general availability is anticipated for March 2021. At around the same time, it will also be available for Power Apps Portals, so the same component can be used in different experiences”, says Jeroen. Speaking of the Power Apps Portals, I believe that they remain a bit underused and underpowered at the moment. So we're looking forward to a few extra features that will be released for Portals in 2021; support for Power Virtual Agents and the Portals web API. That last one in particular promises to make the integration between Portals and other Power Platform components a lot more friction-free, which might drive the adoption of Portals for various scenarios.

Power Platform apps are built on the foundations of Microsoft Azure and therefore it is quite easy to use Azure components in your Power Apps. One of the most exciting new Azure services which is currently in preview is Azure Communication Services. Azure Communication Services provides voice and video calling, chat and SMS functionality as a hosted services in the Microsoft cloud.  Being able to leverage voice, chat and SMS in Power Apps will take process automation to the next level”, adds Joris.

Heading for the future together

We work for a very broad group of customers in different sectors and in different departments. This enables us to share best practices and ideas. We also work closely with the Microsoft experts and acquire first-hand experience.

We established our virtual Power Lab team by combining the accumulated knowledge of our Office 365, Dynamics CRM and Data Insights teams. This enables us to merge expertise on various platforms and bring to life the Microsoft “Better Together” philosophy.

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The perfect marriage between business and IT with Microsoft Power Platform as the master of ceremonies.

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