New Power Platform Features in Teams: Streamlining Our Digital Workplace

Power Platform

Written by Jackie Bilodeau

I am the Communications Director for CGNET, having worked for CGNET off-and-on since the early 1990's. I enjoy hiking, music, dance, photography, writing and travel. Read more about my work at CGNET here.

August 6, 2020

Power Platform

Written by Jackie Bilodeau

I am the Communications Director for CGNET, having worked for CGNET off-and-on since the early 1990's. I enjoy hiking, music, dance, photography, writing and travel. Read more about my work at CGNET here.

August 6, 2020

Working remotely and having to rely on digital interaction and whatever tools are available to us to do our job is our new way of life.  Microsoft’s Power Platform is designed to give us a helping hand in that endeavor.  It enables the accessibility and easy manipulation of data by the typical non-technical user.  No longer do we need to call upon our IT or Software Development team to get the job done; with Power Platform we can now do much of what’s needed on our own.

Those who have already been taking advantage of Power Platform know that it allows users to easily control, automate and analyze data.  For those who haven’t been using it, here’s what it is and why you should consider taking advantage of all it has to offer.

What is Power Platform?

Power Platform comprises three products that work with Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), as well as third-party apps like Google Analytics and Twitter:

  • Power BI, a business analytics tool that allows you to easily query and manipulate data to create visuals (charts, dashboards, maps and so on).
  • PowerApps, a simplified, low-code point-and-click approach to creating your own custom apps.
  • Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow), a user-friendly application that provides you the ability to easily create automatic workflows.  With Power Automate, you can streamline a number of repetitive processes, saving you lots of time and reducing the chance of human error.

In a nutshell, the platform provides you with a great deal of extra functionality and improves the way you work with your organization’s data.

Integration with Microsoft Teams

And now there is exciting news for Power Platform users:   This month, Microsoft is rolling out new features to make it easier for users to create, deploy and manage key business apps and chatbots directly from within Teams.  Select Microsoft 365 subscriptions that include Power Apps and Power Automate are expanding with the introduction of Microsoft Dataflex – a built-in, low-code data platform with a one-click experience for deploying solutions directly from within Teams.

Here’s what you will be able to do in Teams with the new Dataflex-based features you’ll find in the Power Platform :

Customize apps

The Power Apps feature will now be embedded in Teams, and will provide an integrated app studio that lets users build and implement apps without ever having to switch applications.   Even those with little to no software development experience will be able to design apps inside of Teams and create custom app templates they can share with their colleagues.

Create chatbots

With the introduction of Power Virtual Agents, users can soon quickly and easily create and maintain intelligent chatbots.  This is accomplished using a simple no-code interface menu found within the Power Apps feature, once again, all inside of Teams.

Automate your workflow

One notable new skill will be the ability to trigger flows directly from Teams messages.  Power Automate gives users logic-based building blocks to create workflow automations for yourself or your entire team.   A simple trigger within a Teams message can set one or more actions in motion, with the message as the starting point of the new workflow.   For instance, from within a Teams message you will soon be able to do things like initiate an update to your CRM system, generate a Team meeting complete with invitations, or even generate an entirely new Team for a project being discussed.

 

Best of all, Power Platform (with all of its new features for Teams) is included at no additional cost with your existing Microsoft 365 license.  So if you haven’t been taking advantage of all that Power Platform has to offer, now is the time to start.  This integration with Teams should make work – and life, the two of which are now more intermingled than ever before – easier and more productive.

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