Microsoft Ignite, Power Platform

Key Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite November 2021

It is the week of Microsoft Ignite. More than 90 new services and updates are being introduced! In this article, I will summarize the news that I picked up from the past two days, focusing on the news that caught my attention the most. In the Microsoft Ignite Book of News you get a summary of the announcements. Have a look at your areas of interest and you will get an overview of what’s available right after Ignite as well as what is coming.

Thinking about what has been presented, it was a lot about collaboration and teamwork. New interesting ways to meet in Microsoft Teams with Mesh for Teams, new ways to collaborate around ideas and be creative together with Loop, collaborate more across the borders Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 through Context IQ, collaborate while creating Power Apps apps using comments, collaborate with Microsoft and help shape the open source low-code formula language Power Fx. Never before have I felt as excited about Microsoft 365 news as during this Ignite and also since the boundaries are being blurred, I will include some Microsoft 365 news in my key takeaways even though I usually have my focus around Power Platform.

Key Takeaways

Here is a summary of my key takeaways.

  • Power Apps mobile apps for IOS and Android – Apps for real, now in preview
  • Power Apps Pay-as-you-go – New licensing option Per App/Per Usage/Per Month
  • Open-source Power Fx – Not just the docs, now the codebase too!
  • Context IQ – Microsoft 365 💙 Dynamics 365
  • Co-presence on rows – E.g. see what other users are working on the same Account
  • Collaborate while building apps – E.g. use comments while creating your Power Apps apps
  • Microsoft Mesh for Microsoft Teams – Everyone can become avatars and meet in Metaverse!
  • Microsoft Loop – New way to collaborate around thoughts and ideas, organize your creativity!
  • (ALM what’s coming – Please hurry up Msft with fine-tuning Connection References etc.)

Power Apps mobile apps for IOS and Android

Imagine your apps being available on Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This is big news and probably something organizations have been waiting for. No need to manage everything from one app, the Power Apps app, on your mobile device anymore. One step in the direction to making Power Apps apps feel more like “real” apps. Soon reality! Available in Preview preview on December 1, 2021.

More info
Power Apps blog: Create mobile apps with Power Apps (preview)

Power Apps Pay-as-you-go

A new Power Apps licensing option is available in preview. Link an Azure subscription to an environment. The users then use Power Apps and/or other “meters” (Dataverse database capacity or Power Platform requests). Bills can be views, costs can be analyzed in Azure Portal. You pay for monthly active users and an active user is a user who opened an app or a portal at least once a certain month. 1 GB database and 1 GB file capacity is included. Scale beyond and pay for what you use ($48 extra per GB, make sure to design your apps wisely!). The plans available are now Per App Plan (pay per user/app/month), Per User Plan (pay per user/month) and NEW! Pay-as-you-go Plan (pay per ACTIVE user/app/month). My initial thoughts are that it’s good with one more licensing alternative, but we need to have the storage in mind before we choose this plan.

More info
aka.ms/powerplatformPAYG
Preview: Pay-as-you-go meters
Demo in this session with Julie Strauss
Power Apps blog: Low-code with low risk: Announcing pay-as-you-go for Power Apps (Public Preview)
If you’re on Twitter, use hashtag #PowerPayAsYouGo for related questions (source, answer to a tweet from the licensing guru Jukka Niiranen).

Open-source Power Fx

Major updates have been made to the repository and developers can now download the Power Fx packages from GitHub and use in their own applications. https://github.com/microsoft/power-fx

At Spring Ignite 2021, Power Fx was introduced. The formulas we had been writing for Canvas Apps got a name and a roadmap was presented for how Power Fx would be expanded to more parts of the Power Platform. Then we got Power Fx in model-driven commanding and Dataverse Formula Columns (DV4T), both in preview. Since spring Ignite, we have had the possibility to follow the process of making Power Fx open-source. There has only been documentation in there all this time though. This is how it looked on the 1st of November, a folder containing documentation.

Power Fx on GitHub 1st of November 2011

Now this was how it looked the day after, on the first Microsoft Ignite day.

Look at that! A new folder src!

Take a look at the closed pull requests, initial population of Power Fx codebase. Here, we will be able to follow the progress of this open source Power Fx and you can contribute too!

The list of closed Pull Requests

More info
Power Apps blog: Power Fx: Open source now available

Context IQ

Context IQ brings Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 closer together, from either context. Share information from Dynamics 365 in Microsoft Teams, @ mention rows when writing e-mails, use Teams chats from within Dynamics 365, surface results from you business information across Microsoft search. Huge improvements for Dynamics 365 users! I am also thinking that we need to guide the users even more when it comes to how they should work. Usually there are more than 10 ways of doing the same thing and it might be confusing for users not to have one way of doing things. Some users will manage fine and really like these new possibilities, some users will need some more guidance.   

With Context IQ we are breaking down barriers between collaboration and business applications

Charles Lamanna
From Dynamics 365 Sales to Microsoft Teams with drill-down possibilities
Microsoft Teams chats from within Dynamics 365

More info
Official D365 blog: Meet Context IQ—A new way to collaborate in a hyperconnected business
Ignite session: Accelerate cross-organization collaboration with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365
Ignite session: Build a hyperconnected business

Co-presence on rows

The users will be able to see who else is actively working with a certain row in Dynamics 365, such as who is working with a certain Account, Opportunity, Service case or order. Also possibilities to chat and collaborate with others. It is presented as being available in Dynamics 365, time will tell if it will be available in the platform also for apps not being built upon a Dynamics 365 app (correct me if I have missed some info such as if it was mentioned it will be made available).

Collaborate while building apps

Makers will be able to collaborate more easily while building apps, use Comments and Mentions in the Modern App Designer. Just like the similarity that apps can be shared with a colleague in the same way as e.g. a Word document can be shared with your colleagues, makers will now be able to add comments to an app in similar way as when you collaborate when writing a Word document. My initial thought is that it seams handy for productivity apps with which you might collaborate with one other colleague when you create it and another use can I see is if someone is to do a review of a certain app and wants to give some feedback.

Comments in Power Apps from this session with Julie Strauss

More info
Power Apps blog: Experimental Co-authoring for Power Apps Studio

Welcome to Metaverse (Microsoft Mesh for Microsoft Teams)

Less than half an hour into the keynote Mesh for Microsoft Teams was introduced. Use Avatars in Teams meetings, collaborate around whiteboards or have a coffee together in metaverse. I think it is really great for our planet that people who work on a distance from each other do not need to travel as much as before and that new ways for us to collaborate are being invented. My spontaneous thought was that it looked a bit strange when you saw a Teams meeting with one real person and one avatar and I thought that I prefer to see my colleagues as real persons on video instead of avatars. At the same time I do like the playfulness of Mesh for Microsoft Teams and I can imagine how it will make remote work more alive. Mesh for Microsoft Teams (and Metaverse), explained by Microsoft in this article:

It’s a gateway to the metaverse – a persistent digital world that is inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things

Avatars in Metaverse

More info
Microsoft News: Microsoft Cloud at Ignite 2021: Metaverse, AI and hyperconnectivity in a hybrid world

Microsoft Loop

Microsoft Loop was introduced. At first it looked like Microsoft Teams to me, then my thought was that it looks like the way I think, always many thoughts at the same time and Microsoft Loop looks like a place where my thought could get some structure and be shared with others and we can collaborate around our creative ideas. Will be interesting to see the use cases at work!

Introducing Microsoft Loop

We’re completely re-imagining office to go beyond the traditional confines of documents, spreadsheets or presentations spilling over to entirely new mediums. Microsoft Loop is the next big break-through in Microsoft 365.

Jared Spataro

Think, plan and create together. Built up by Workspaces, Pages and Components. Shared spaces, documents, notebooks, whiteboards. Add live business records from Dynamics 365. Take loop components and bring to Teams or Outlook etc. This is what it might look like. Presented during this session with different shades of pink and purple.

Collaborate around ideas with Microsoft Loop

More info
aka.ms/loop

ALM – what’s coming?

I watched the on-demand session Empower your organization to build apps faster fusion teams and one thing I liked was to see a slide of the ALM roadmap. GA for Connection References, of course we know that’s coming and that is something we really need to work well. Import and export without manual reconfiguration, yes, please! Simplifying publishing to AppSource, sounds good. Automate with pipelines, 1st party support for connection references and environment variables, looking forward to that! Not so much which is new information, rather a reminder that we need this now!

The ALM roadmap contains a lot of thing we need… tomorrow (or preferably yesterday ;)) .

Sessions

Here is a summary of interesting sessions from a Power Platform point of view.

Ignite Opening with Satya Nadella
Keynote with Charles Lamanna and Alysa Taylor
Session Power Platform and Fusion Teams with Julie Strauss
Session What’s new for Power Apps
Session Power Platform + Teams with Ryan Cunningham and Dave Javorski
Session Microsoft 365 + Dynamics 365
Session Into focus: Business applications with the BizApps team
Session Build secure solution in Power Platform
Session CoE Starterkit and adoption
Session Fusion Teams and a bit ALM

Microsoft Ignite – Let’s include all

During Microsoft Ignite there was a Create Zone, where you could record a few seconds of having fun preparing for Ignite. It was a fun addition to the event if you ask me and it was fun seeing myself at Ignite too.

I saw myself at Ignite! 😀

Here’s the full video.

Cover photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “Key Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite November 2021”

  1. Great content!
    Just FYI the link in “ALM – what’s coming?” references another the key note rather than the ALM session.

    Liked by 1 person

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