Digital Transformation Today

How to Use Power Automate Part 3: Release Wave 2 Power Automate Flows Plus a Spotlight on Upcoming Copilot Features

In my last two blogs in this series on how to use Power Automate, I discussed best practices on how to get started and then the planned updates for release wave 1 scheduled for mid-2023. Now it’s 2024, and with a new year will come a slew of new and exciting Power Automate release wave 2 features that can help your organization improve productivity. Let’s take a high-level walkthrough of a few of these Power Automate flows, upcoming Microsoft Copilot features and discuss some of the upcoming technology slated for early 2024.

Microsoft has called out its main areas of investment during this release wave: streamlining workforce management, ensuring scalability and privacy and the democratization of process mining. Microsoft plans to invest in these areas by releasing new features for both Power Automate Cloud and Desktop Flows, Copilot for Power Automate and new process mining capabilities.

First, let’s discuss the upcoming public preview releases for Power Automate Cloud flows. The features that will be entering public preview in January 2024* are the ability to monitor performance for cloud and desktop flow activity, storing cloud flow execution metadata and managing abandoned cloud flows. These updates will allow for improved flow troubleshooting, visibility and application lifecycle management. For example, in the past, if an employee left your organization, an admin would manually reassign the ownership of each flow to a new owner. With the new update, admins can bulk reassign and add additional information, such as the number of days since the flow last ran.

Additionally, there are several different updates for cloud flows hitting general availability in January 2024* that will also improve flow visibility and troubleshooting. These updates will enhance troubleshooting cloud flows using Copilot and the execution data as well as the ability to push the execution data of flows into Application Insights for advanced monitoring. This will allow makers to become notified of scenarios faster and can fix them more efficiently.

Next, let’s talk about the updates coming to Copilot for Power Automate. As we know, Copilot became generally available and integrated with Power Automate Cloud in October 2023, but this upcoming March 2024*, Microsoft plans to add Copilot to Power Automate Desktop Flows to public preview. This will leverage natural language to simplify the creation and modification process, saving your organization time and resources. There will also be some quality-of-life updates, including Copilot now understanding the French language (February 2024*) and improvements to Copilot’s understanding prompts to remove grammatical errors or spelling mistakes to provide more accurate results. One last major Copilot update becoming generally available this wave is its ability to surface insights and have it recommend solutions. This update first entered public preview in July 2023.

Finally, let’s talk about a couple more updates coming for Power Automate Desktop starting with one of the most exciting features: Microsoft 365 connectors for Power Automate Desktop! This release (scheduled for January 2024*) will allow for Microsoft 365 app actions to be leveraged directly inside the workflows with new actions gradually being released, including for Word. There are also several exciting updates to improve flow visibility, such as the new dynamic display of messages in the Power Automate Desktop home screen keeping you informed and up to date with valuable information briefly. Last and certainly not least is the unification of Power Automate activity. Coming in 2024 will be a centralized location for all of your cloud, desktop AI Builder and process advisor activity. This reduces a maker’s efforts in having to track activity in several different locations and simplifies the monitoring and troubleshooting experience.

My latest installment of the how to use Power Automate series is just scratching the surface of what we can expect from Microsoft this year to help you and your organization get the most out of Power Automate flows and Copilot features. Happy making!

*Please note: Delivery timelines may change, and projected functionality may not be released as scheduled or at all.

For a full list of the releases scheduled for this upcoming wave, click here.

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