The Dynamics 365 & Power Platform 2023 Release Wave 2 is here and it comes with a host of great new features and improvements. In particular, I want to highlight what's new with Power Automate.
Microsoft Power Automate, formerly labeled Microsoft Flow, is a cloud service enabling workflow automation and application and service integration, in a low-code environment. Automated processes - or flows - can be built to respond to triggers from external events.
What's new with Power Automate?
Cloud Flows new features:
New teams support
Admins can now create flows from the teams channel menu using pre-built templates or start from scratch. This will allow automation of tasks and notifications tailored for your team.
Viewing performance of flow activities
A consolidated view has been created that allows admins to gain better insights into the top trends such as success and failure based on a time period, as well as the top errors and the associated flows. Currently this appears to only show the past 30 days. However, another feature that is coming will allow you to store flow execution history in the Dataverse so you can build longer-term reports.
Saving changes for solution cloud flows when there is an error
This feature may seem strange to have, but when you've worked on a flow for hours and there is 1 specific error that cannot be addressed right away, this feature will be useful. It will allow power users and admins to save their changes and then come back to the flow to address the specific error when time permits.
Versioning for solution cloud flows is coming!
Previously, versioning was not allowed for cloud flows, so it was difficult to review what changes have been made over time as well as the inability to revert to a previous version. With the new release, this will now be possible! This information will be stored in the Dataverse. Microsoft states that this is part of their platform-wise approach to versioning, so we can expect more of this in the future with other solution components.
Connecting to other environments from the Dataverse connector
Managing cloud flows in bulk
This feature will allow admins to bulk assign cloud flows or bulk disable flows
Execution data can be pushed to Application Insights
This feature will allow admins advanced monitoring capabilities and alerting for cloud flows
New integrations with other Microsoft apps including Power Apps, data alerts triggered in Power BI and actionable items in Power Virtual Agents.
Specifically in Power Virtual Agents, bots now have pre built plugins and connectors that can be chained together in power automate flows to respond to user requests via the power virtual agent
Intelligent Document Processing
This feature will incorporate AI with Power Automate to allow makers to review data predicted by AI. A new validation station will allow key users to review and adjust data as needed. This will then be sent back to the owner of the model to improve the prediction analysis
A Copilot-assisted experience will be available to help power users with less technical experience create automations across the suite of Microsoft applications. The latest AI-based Copilot will assist with not only creating flows, but also making changes and improvements to flows via AI-driven conversations. Keep in mind that Copilot is still in the early stages and may be best suited for basic flows or to simply use as a guide for finding the correct action(s) to use. I tested a few scenarios and my results are the following:
- I asked for help to "create an action to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject: Hello and Body: How are you?" This worked perfectly!
- I asked it to "add an action to send an email to the Account owner when the flow fails". This added the correct action to send an email, but ignored my logic for "when the flow fails" and could not recognize what was meant by "Account Owner"
- I asked it to "add an action to create an Account and set the Parent Account to the Account which the flow triggered from" This added the correct action and body, but failed because it was unable to translate "Account" into the entity set name that the Dataverse expects, which is "accounts". Changing the action to use the correct "accounts" name forced me to enter the data. With more testing, I may have been able to find the correct verbiage to use Copilot further to update the action as I needed to.
Based on these initial test results, my conclusion is that Copilot will work well for someone who is not already familiar with power automate flow and has a basic automation to create. Therefore, Copilot can be beneficial for training new power users. In general, it works best if you are very specific with the data that is needed for each action. It appears to be unable to recognize most dynamic variables at this time, such as "Account Owner" and the name of a table, such as "Account". You may have mixed results, depending on what connector the action is using. However, as with most AI tools, my prediction is that this will certainly improve over time!
Note that not all of these features have been released by Microsoft and they are subject to change, so stay tuned!
Interested in learning more about the features of Microsoft Power Platform? Take a look at our Microsoft Power Platform services page.
We love to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform solutions here at Beringer. We’ve been working with Microsoft Dynamics since its inception, and we’re always finding innovative ways to implement the latest tools and help automate business processes.
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training, Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.