Ignite 2021: Microsoft extends Power Platform with Power Fx, more

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At Ignite 2021, Microsoft is announcing some updates for Power Platform. The updates cover the entire range of products, with new features coming to help IT admins, as well as businesses.

We’ll be starting first with the introduction of Microsoft Power Fx. This is the first low-code programming language, according to Microsoft, with origins coming from Excel. It’s set to be available on GitHub, too, with the plans of Microsoft using it as the consistent language across the Power Platform. Here’s how Microsoft describes it

Power Fx leverages the knowledge of Excel users to reduce barriers for
citizen developers getting started with low-code development. Professional
developers can accelerate their app development with the simplicity of
formulas and code using their favorite professional developer tools.

Next up, there are some new AI capabilities for Power Virtual Agents. It’s now in preview, with the goal of building smart chatbots. Two features include Topic overlap detection, which can help find overlaps between topics to avoid clarifying questions, as well as topic suggestions from chat transcripts. The second feature is able to analyze chat transcripts from previous conversations to suggest new topics. Here’s a deeper explanation.

These new AI-infused features enable chatbots to engage more naturally
and more accurately and are designed to help organizations and citizen
developers feel more confident about addressing customer and employee
needs with chatbots at scale.

Third on the list is an important update for Power BI premium. Microsoft says there are lots of new under the hood improvements for performance, stability, and security. Known as “Premium Gen 2” the updates are catered for flexibility to license per user or per capacity, a 16x performance boost with Microsoft managed architecture, the ability to autoscale to automatically add capacity when needed, and Consistent and reliable cost management with utilization metrics. Here’s Microsoft’s description.

For enterprises and IT admins, the new Power BI Premium offers major improvements in governance and scale with features like Microsoft-owned resource management, utilization
metrics, autoscale and integrated security

The final updates for Power Platform cover Power Automate Desktop as well as e a new Power Platform admin center and capabilities. With Power Automate Desktop, you’ll be able to use it on Windows 10 for no additional cost. As for the admin center and capabilities, Microsoft says these are centered around data loss prevention and new controls for reporting and security standards.