European Power Platform Conference 2023
The European Power Platform conference was organized for the second time. This time the venue was Dublin and the participants were 1,250. If you plan to attend a Power Platform event next year, I recommend this one.
The event is for a fee and a large part of the sessions can be seen at various free community events around the world. But here you can see a comprehensive set of excellent performances in one go.
Below are short comments about the sessions I was listening to. These are not notes or reviews of sessions. Rather, light lifts, which hopefully open up what kind of sessions you can attend at this kind of event.
Keynote: Power Platform in the Age of AI – Copilot and More
Hardly anyone will be surprised by the focus of the event’s opening speech on Power Platform’s current and future AI capabilities. Especially the new flow editor with co-pilot looked promising.
However, the most interesting was the demo of a new way to build Power Virtual Agents. With OpenAI, this changes completely. Most of the work phases just disappear.
In the future, you can provide Power Virtual Agent with links and documents, after which it can answer questions based on the information it finds. Without defining any topic or discussion path.
In addition, you can make plugins for the bot. Plugins are flows, which retrieve information from other systems using APIs. The bot can use plugins completely independently. When the user requests a reservation for restaurant x for day y, the bot can ask at what time and for how many people the reservation will be made. This information is needed when making a reservation using the API.
Buh-bye ugly Power Apps: Jumpstart your design process with a professional component library
Robin Rosengrun, Luise Freese
Robin and Luise presented two component libraries they made, the latter one in particular was really interesting. It contained Google’s Material Design style controls, which you can freely use in your own applications.
This is useful in many respects. First of all, the controls are modern looking. Secondly, it is much faster to modify them to suit the organization’s style.
If you want, for example, more elegant text fields or buttons with ease, try it. The controls are highly customizable and come with a lot of handy features.
Introduction to the Power Apps cards
My presentation dealt with Power Apps cards. A general presentation with a few demos. The goal was to open up what these cards really are, what they can be used for, and how they are built.
Real-life experiences: Power Platform Governance & Adoption for 100,000 users across 10 Tenants
The premise of the show was juicy. 100,000 users in ten different tenants. All users have Power Apps per User/Power Automate per User licenses.
Can all tenants use the same operating models and processes? Do 10 tenants employ how much more than one?
The main message was that technically this is not difficult. The challenges are elsewhere. In training the authors, informing, creating a community, organizing support, etc., etc.
Their Power Platform team does not provide a development service but directs elsewhere if necessary. They also do not automatically support the applications made, but the responsibility lies with their owners.
Exploring the Future of Analytics with Microsoft Fabric
John P. White, Jason Himmelstein
Fabric is a really hot topic right now and this was the first session that was full.
A good overview of the topic. Nothing new for me, I managed to get the same brief from my colleagues already.
Secure and Harden Power Automate flows in the enterprise
Despite its title, the main focus of the presentation was on the presentation of the use of environmental variables. Excellent content if you are not already familiar with them.
Another key topic was connections and ownership of Flow. When should a normal user, service ID, or service principal be used in these?
Architecting Your Next Power Platform Project
The main focus of the presentation was on reviewing and comparing different data warehouse options (SharePoint, files/Excel, Dataverse, and SQL).
Quite a good set for the listener who is only familiar with one of these data warehouses often used with Power Apps. And always uses it coldly.
Power Platform in Airports
The best of the day. An inspiring presentation of how employees at a few airports in England make apps for themselves.
There are already 130+ applications. IT does not participate in their creation. There are also no external partners involved. Everything is done by the citizen developers themselves.
Citizen development was by no means started or attempted. Born completely by itself.
“We just let them do whatever they want to do.”
On the training side, 36k paper prints and 5 workweeks of manual work are saved per year with the help of one Power Apps.
Joe made Power Apps for the maintenance of the runways in two days, for which he had previously received an offer of 160k from the supplier.
Users love apps because they do only what they are supposed to do. Not a single useless button or feature anywhere.
We wanted to keep the management model really light.
How to Create LA DOLCE VITA in a Work Environment of Change and Uncertainty
Thursday’s opening was an entertaining show about humanity, life and work communities.
- Nothing great happens without work and a certain amount of hard work and suffering
- People need physical encounters. Nothing removes that need.
Power Virtual Agents vs Real chatbots
Rick Van Rousselt
Inspired by yesterday’s keynote, I decided to choose more Power Virtual Agents sessions today.
This was a demo-oriented presentation comparing the creation of the bot with 1) Power Virtual Agents and 2) “real” i.e. visual studio.
The presentation excellently illustrated the productivity advantage of the low-code solution, while at the same time highlighting its limitations compared to traditional manufacturing.
Without forgetting the costs.
Excellent for a participant who is new to bots.
Unleash AI-driven conversational intelligence in Power Virtual Agents
Jonathan Ball, Diksha Singh
Let’s continue with chatbots. The presentation went through the new AI features of Power Virtual Agent. In practice, automatic bot creation is based on content and plugins.
Of course, this does not solve anything if the information given to the bot is old or contradictory.
Increase your productivity with these TOP 10 XrmToolBox Tools!
Brian Stokes, Sara Lagerquist
A must see for those who haven’t heard of XrmToolBox. Useful also for us who use it.
Sara and Brian’s favorites are below. It’s worth checking out if you’re not familiar.
- FetchXML Builder
- User Security Manager
- Documentation (Flow to Visio and ERD to Visio)
- SQL 4 CDS
- Easy Translator (also suitable for mass editing of table and field description fields)
- Solution Layer Explorer
- Bulk Data Updater
- View Layout Replicator
This is what they look like in practice. Don’t let the rugged interface distract you.