Microsoft Teams, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Platform, Power Virtual Agents, Project Oakdale

Highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2020

Last week me and my community friend MVP Amanda Sterner gave some PRE Ignite 2020 tips. The week is now coming to an end and it is time for me to write a POST Ignite article in which I will summarize how I experienced this week. Since I am particularly interested in all things Power Platform, most of the Ignite sessions that caught my attention had some kind of Power Platform part in it. However, no surprises there, just as expected Microsoft Teams was a huge part of Microsoft Ignite, also in the Power Platform related sessions. By now you probably have heard of Microsoft Teams ❤ Power Platform.  

My thoughts after Ignite 2020

Overall, there was a lot of focus on the fact that the integration between Microsoft Teams and Power Platform is tightening. Parts of the Power Platform will be available from within Microsoft Teams – build Power Apps apps, set up Power Automate automation, create PVA chat bots and use the “lite” version (“Project Oakdale”) of the Common Data Service in the background. All of this will empower citizen developers even more, not having to leave Microsoft Teams to set it all up.

Picture from the session focusing on Project Oakdale

There was also a strong message throughout several sessions how the Power Platform is empowering EVERYONE, not just citizen developers. The term ‘fusion team’ was mentioned several times – meaning a team which consists of both citizen developers and professional developers.

Julie Strauss talking about fusion teams

There were some pretty cool announcements (see the announcements part of this blog post) and I really enjoyed seeing that much content focusing on Project Oakdale and Microsoft Teams ❤ Power Platform. Also – I absolutely 😍 the new icons!

Announcements at Ignite 2020

First, I want to let you know that there is documentation from Microsoft summarizing the Ignite 2020 announcements. Check it out!

Ignite 2020 Book of news

What were the big announcements around Power Platform? A lot of cool stuff now in Public Preview! E.g. get more out of your Microsoft 365 licenses by starting using Power Platform parts from within Microsoft Teams.

Use parts of the Power Platform from within Microsoft Teams – now in Public Preview

Create apps, set up automation and invent chat bots from within Microsoft Teams and use within your organization. There are also several Power Apps templates available for common use cases.

From the Microsoft Teams blog

Read more on the Microsoft blogs:
Power Apps Now in preview: customize Teams with built-in Power Platform capabilities PVA Announcing Public Preview of Power Virtual Agents within Microsoft Teams Microsoft Teams 5 new ways to boost productivity with enhanced Teams + Power Platform integrations

Project Oakdale – now in Public Preview

More focus on Power Platform in combination with Microsoft Teams. We have Common Data Service in Power Platform (i.e. our database in the cloud, which actually is more than that, it includes security management for our apps, no-code business logic tools, data integration tools, APIs etc.). In comes Project Oakdale – the “CDS lite” which you use from within Microsoft Teams. In the good old CDS we create entity models, in Project Oakdale we work with “tables” setting up our back-end for our apps and PVA chat bots.

Check this out! Go to the Microsoft Teams + Power Platform Virtual Hub to learn more about using Microsoft Teams and Power Platform combined. (Thanks for the tip Jukka!). I hope everyone is following Jukkas blog, I have done that for years! Recently he did a great post about Microsoft Teams ❤ Power Platform. if you missed it – make sure you visit his blog and this post Microsoft Teams as a platform.

GitHub integration for Power Platform – now in Public Preview

GitHub actions for Power Platform can be found in the marketplace. Read about it on the Power Apps blog. GitHub actions for the Power Platform now available in preview. At what point do you move away from Azure DevOps? Not yet, according to MVP Scott Durow who has done a comparison to the Power Platform build tools. Read about it here. Interesting read, let us hope for improvements for GitHub Power Platform actions, I am sure improvements will come, as always we just need to be a bit patient.

Julie Strauss talking about GitHub actions

Azure API Management Connectors for Power Platform – now in Public Preview

Before we needed a manual step to create a custom connector after building an API, now we are provided with the possibility to “export API” to Power Apps/Power Automate and the connector is ready to be used in e.g. a Power Apps Canvas App. Actually, there was a lot of focus on this announcement. Demoed by Julie Strauss in the Power Platform focused key segment as well as in two of Charles Lamannas other sessions AND in Julie Strauss Power Platform Pro Dev session, where she went a bit deeper than during the key session. This feature is also applicable in the case where we work with Power Apps in Microsoft Teams, to no additional cost. Read more about it on the Power Apps blog Azure API Management connector on the Power Platform.

Export API to Power Apps/Power Automate – get a connector ready to be used!

Power Virtual Agents and Azure Bot Framework – Public Preview in fall 2020

“Bot makers will be able to use Azure development tools like Bot Framework Composer to code up custom dialogues and directly add them to Power Virtual Agents bots.“

From one of the Microsoft blog posts about Ignite

Microsoft Power Automate Desktop

This is a desktop-based RPA solution to be used while you are waiting for changing your old systems to new solutions and your old systems lacks APIs. Read more about it on the Power Automate blog Jumpstart your business with Power Automate’s new desktop RPA solution. Also read about the background and the announcement that Microsoft acquired Softomotive. Microsoft acquires Softomotive to expand low-code robotic process automation capabilities in Microsoft Power Automate.

New icons, yay!

Perhaps not included among the announcements, however too important not to mention. 😉 We got new logos for our four main services in Power Platform!

New icons!

These SVG logos can be found as follows:

Power Apps: Power Apps logo
Power Automate: Power Automate logo
Power BI: Power BI logo
Power Virtual Agents: Power Virtual Agents logo

Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents now fits perfectly in with the rest of the Microsoft product family, e.g. with Microsoft Teams – how suitable!

Also read the announcements summary by James Phillips as well as the summary by Charles Lamanna.

Sessions I recommend watching on-demand

Friends do not let friends miss the main key session! That is why I need to say this – do not miss watching the key session Building digital resilience by Satya Nadella. Even though I have not worked with the mixed reality parts, I found it interesting (being a bit of a deep space nerd) to hear about the real world scenario where Nasa’s Orion spacecraft is being put together helped by mixed reality. You can read more about it here.

Then followed several different key sessions and I do recommend the Power Platform key session Microsoft Power Platform: Fill the App Gap and Supercharge Organizational Agility. There are also key sessions focusing on other parts e.g. Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 if you are extra interested in those areas.

Watch Charles Lamanna presenting Microsoft Teams ❤ Power Apps in Building custom apps to drive productivity in the remote work world with Power Apps and Teams and Build Agile Business Processes with Power Apps and Build Power Apps within Microsoft Teams and get to the next level with Azure APIs and the Power Platform

There was a one session which was focusing on Project Oakdale, watch it on-demand if you want to know more about Project Oakdale Build custom apps to drive productivity in the remote work world with Power Apps and Teams. For all pro devs out there, Julie Strauss had a session for you Amplify you pro developer skills with Power Platform. I also listened in on a session about governance and CoE – if you are interested in that, check this out! How to responsibly scale Power Apps in your organization with a Low Code Center of Excellence with Ryan Cunningham.

The challenge with virtual events

I know that many people find it hard to focus at these virtual events, but in general I have no problems concentrating as long as if I find the topic interesting enough. Of course it is a loss not being able to meet with like-minded people which you can do at in-person events though.

The main challenge for me with virtual events is to find some alone time for attending, as a mom of two girls most evenings are quite busy. Luckily, most of the content can be seen on-demand and it is not critical to be there on time. At the same time – when announcements are expected you really want to be there on time.

I got a super tip on Twitter from the Microsoft Ignite Twitter account that busy moms might like the Kid’s Activity Pack from their digital swag package. That really was a great tip, I printed those lovely characters (WIT included and all) and my kids really enjoyed filling those out. Highly recommended for all parents, it might at least help you find a few minutes of alone time during the next virtual event you are attending!

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