Today, Microsoft announced a number of advances across the Power Platform, its family of no code/low-code solutions.
“Microsoft completed a Low Code Trend Index that surveyed nearly 1,000 business decision makers, users, and potential users about the impact of low code,” the software giant told us ahead of Build. “The research showed that low code/no code is an untapped superpower, with many business decision makers acknowledging that it solves many of their top challenges. For both decision makers and users, use of low code/no code platforms have driven efficiency, accessibility, and innovation for both customer and employee app experiences.”
On that note, the Power Platform is gaining the following new capabilities.
Power Pages, now available in preview and previously a Power Apps feature called Power Apps portals, is a low-cost development and hosting platform for business websites. It helps citizen and professional developers to design, configure, and publish desktop and mobile websites using a visual interface called Design Studio. There’s also a Templates hub, a Learn hub, pro developer tools for integrating with Visual Studio, GitHub, and Azure DevOps, security and governance tools, and the Microsoft Dataverse, which is generally available, a low code data platform for securely collecting and sharing business information with site visitors.
Power Apps may have lost Power Pages, but it’s picking up new capabilities, too. A new express design capability uses Azure Cognitive Services object detection models to convert a PDF, PowerPoint deck, paper form, screenshot, or photo of a hand drawn app into a working Power Apps app with a UI and data schema, and it does so within seconds. Yikes.
Power Automate is gaining cloud-scale automation capabilities thanks to new unattended robotic process automation (RPA) and Azure-powered virtual machines (VMs). Available now in preview, this feature will auto-scale VM capacity to support executing RPA flows based on need.
In addition, a new integration with process advisor, the process and task mining capability in Power Automate, allows users to leverage process analytics from within their cloud flows, the digital process automation capability in Power Automate. This update is in preview.
Power Virtual Agent will soon get a new intelligent bot authoring experience that unifies the pro-code capabilities in Azure Bot Framework Composer with the simpler Power Virtual Agent low-code platform, making it easier for professional developers and subject matter experts to build collaboratively in the Microsoft bot building studio.
Finally, Power BI is gaining a preview version of a new self-service feature called Datamart that will help users uncover actionable insights in their own independent and dependent data sets. This new Power BI capability will bring turnkey data warehousing to millions of Power BI users, Microsoft says, alleviating demands on IT and accelerating time to insights from months to minutes.