What’s New in Power Platform: 2022 Wave 1 Release

In the following blog post, Erin Dominguez highlights new features coming to Power Platform in the 2022 Wave 1 Release. 

Erin Dominguez

An Overview of Power Platform’s 2022 Wave 1 Release

In 2022 the Power Platform brings us new and exciting updates to enhance Maker and end-user experiences. The Power Platform features Power BI, Power Apps, Power Apps portals, Power Automate, and the two complementary tools, Power Virtual Agents and AI Builder.  The 2022 Wave 1 release features better experiences with third-party applications, data versatility improvements, and strong enhancements to governance and security. The Power Platform was built to empower individuals, teams, and organizations for full scalability- meaning the platform could be leveraged for an independent Maker’s day-to- day processes or for an organizational-wide process improvement.

The following updates will be enabled for general availability on April 1st, 2022, but will begin in North America on Friday, April 22nd. You can view Microsoft’s regional deployments schedule here.

Ultimate Guide to Microsoft's Power Platform

Interested in learning more about Power Platform? This blog post covers all of the essentials of the platform's benefits and features.

What's New in Power BI

Microsoft continues to make it easier and more accessible for companies to become data-driven organizations through data reporting improvements, accessibility, and enhancements. Power BI features two enhanced licensing options, the first one being Power BI Pro and the other being Power BI Premium. Power BI Pro licenses a single Maker to create advanced custom reports, whereas Power BI Premium licenses a specific piece of reporting end-users can view without additional spending. The typical update themes among the wave one release for 2022 are within data sources and connection, data protection, and usability of Power BI. We see many updates across both licensing models that enhance data versatility and accessibility.

Data Sources & Connection

Power Query is a tool that allows you to grab data from sources and prepare it for transformation elsewhere. This tool was created to process large amounts of data to compliment digital data transformation within businesses. In the 2022 Wave One Release, you can expect to see greater accessibility with the addition of Query M formula language, better experiences in paginated reports, and the ability to access even more paginated reports through the extension of data sources. Paginated reports are report versions that Makers and Authors have designated as ready to print or share across end-users.

New connections between VertiPaw and Power BI allow users to optimize performance through the additional features of automatic aggregations and hybrid tables. Aggregate tables are data summary tables that allow for faster data performance among datasets. The automated collections allow authors to create and manage aggregate tables in premium datasets when building out their Power BI reports. The Hybrid tables can access massive datasets through billions of rows and real-time analysis. Fast, accurate, secure data has never been more readily available for your report writers.

Data Protection

Data performance and sources are continuously being enhanced and improved within Power BI. The service now allows for Centralized Power BI data loss prevention (DLP) policies. Administrators and governance teams can now define DLP policies to block the upload of sensitive data, auto-classify sensitive data, and create conditional policies around how that data is being uploaded. With better insights and control over sensitive data these additions will allow Power BI admins to better govern their centralized data systems.
In addition to DLP policy updates, we’re also seeing a wave of updates for administration and governance in Power BI. Admins can now leverage APIs and reports to identify orphaned Power BI assets and use APIs to reassign permissions for those Power BI assets to improve DLP management continuously. Power BI admin center also sees a refresh in the reporting usage, performance metrics, and analytics over the audit log. The audit logs will now provide raw data that focuses on dataflows, datasets, and the improved search experience in the audit log without visiting external admin centers to continue to streamline the admin experience to one platform.

Usability of the Power BI Service

The Power BI service has always prided itself on digesting data and converting it into a source of truth for users. This has become even easier with these four additions for report users:

With Teams being Microsoft’s collaboration machine and hub for centralized business, it was due for an update and integration enhancements with the Power BI service. Previously users had limited interaction when integrating reports within Teams, whether through view-only reports or limited experiences through a Web Link tab within Teams channels. This new update allows for a complete Power BI web experience within Teams. You can edit, read, write, and access reports through Teams for full-scale Power BI collaboration on one platform.
Power BI Teams Experience
The Power BI service sees full-scale integration with all major 365 hubs and applications. Power BI meets Outlook, OneDrive and SharePoint applications for a seamless experience. Within Outlook, OneDrive, and SharePoint, you see an enhanced viewing experience instead of being re-directed out of the platform. Users can now view, preview, create and edit Power BI adaptive cards from emails in Outlook. While in SharePoint and OneDrive you now see an enhanced preview experience to consume the report better without leaving SharePoint and OneDrive. This cuts down on meaningless navigation between multiple platforms.
Improve Power BI Office and Outlook
What better way to compliment data visualizations than with Microsoft’s visualization platform PowerPoint itself? Users and presenters can create Power BI scorecards within PowerPoint decks to track data success with real-time, connected data through the Power BI add-in. Your data will always be live, real-time, dynamic reports no matter when you’re presenting.
Report author enhancements are evident within this wave of releases to the Power Platform. We see three significant features for authors in natural language, the datasets hub, and the ability to quickly create a dataset or report from Excel. The natural language enhancement enables users to use DAX measurements with natural language statements. The natural language statements can mathematical operations, time calculations, and so much more. This allows a broader range of authors to create more Power BI reports that are relevant to their users with limited coding required. We see an additional enhancement within Excel that also contributes to the expansion of Power BI authors of all levels and coding experience. Authors can quickly transform and develop data from excel and turn it into a dataset or report from Excel. Users will be required to save that workbook in either SharePoint or OneDrive, but this enhancement continues to close the gap between raw data and data visualizations. The interoperability between platforms and Power BI continues to break barriers in this release.
Power BI Report Updates
Last but certainly not least, Power BI Datasets is getting a hub refresh. Authors and users will now have a centralized location to explore and discover relevant data based on user insights. The new hub allows authors to create, analyze, and find data in one place. Power BI sees many enhancements within the wave one release. These updates will compliment many other Power Platform tools to push the platform into the top of the market this year.

Ultimate Guide to Microsoft's Power Platform

Interested in learning more about Power Platform? This blog post covers all of the essentials of the platform's benefits and features.

What's New in Power Apps

Modern business apps have never been easier to create, test, and deploy within Power Platform. Across the board we see huge strides in Maker Improvements, Pro Developers, Application Accessibility, Collaboration, and Governance. Power Apps sees huge moves within the Maker experience and overall accessibility to Power Apps. We see a huge focus on this as Microsoft continues to be a top competitor in the no code/low code application space. We especially see enhancements in security within this wave of releases and just overall ability to use the platform as a Maker.

Power App Maker Improvements

At the heart of Power Apps, we see the core components of enabling developers to extend app capabilities quickly and efficiently. To do that, we are seeing many releases that feature improvements in favor of Makers. Within model-driven apps, three key features that stand out to us are grid control support for editable scenarios, new activity dropdowns for relevant activities, and appointment description support.
Grid control for editable scenarios features three changes in model-driven apps for increased Maker productivity. These include read-only grid control, infinite scrolling, and inline editing within views and sub-grids. Endless scrolling and inline editing stand out as two strides that will increase Maker productivity by improving accessibility to editing and writing functions. All without navigating outside of the Power App you are creating. Another small, but strong addition is the new activity drop-down list. The drop-down list will now only display actions relevant to the model-driven app. This cuts down on clutter within the app and enhances the app users experience.
Power Apps New Activity Dropdown
Model-Driven apps allows for rich text appointments and to be created and joined from inside your Power App through Microsoft Teams. These features will increase the usability of model-driven apps and the experience to promote collaboration across Power Apps and Teams. Within the rich text fields, you can now add files, links, and images to enhance the appointments within your Power App and join them straight from your Power App. This one-click experience will allow users to access Microsoft’s collaboration solution, Microsoft Teams, easily and boost interoperability between its internal applications and model-driven apps.
Power Apps Rich Text Appoitment

Power App Pro Developer Improvements

Pro developers are continuing to see strong enhancements across all platforms. Within Power Apps we see numerous updates with the common theme of making it easier than ever to start developing. Low code/no code meets artificial intelligence, collaboration, and data accessibility among these updates. We created a chart to highlight our most exciting updates coming for our pro developers.

Deploy Applications With Ease

In the 2022 release wave, Microsoft makes it simpler than ever to deploy applications across your company. Deploying mobile PowerApps has never been easier with the ability to create a mobile home screen icon and custom name through Power Apps. You will no longer have to access your mobile Canvas Apps through the Power App application on your mobile device. Makers can publish them within the native app store of your choice. This makes deployment of mobile canvas apps much simpler and efficient. Gone are the days of deleting home screen shortcuts and republishing when apps are updated or modified. Users now have a true mobile app experience through Canvas Apps.

Updated Power Apps Experience

Microsoft is releasing capabilities to run model-driven and canvas apps natively on your device with support for offline use on desktop devices. This can integrate with Azure AD Support, Intune Management, and Microsoft’s System Center Confirmation Manager for app distribution. With the added layer of security integrations, your app users now have access and can use model-driven and canvas apps online and offline. This added layer of security integration comes with added advanced and search capabilities on Windows devices. Now that Power Apps can be easily accessed online and offline, Makers can also connect apps to device functions like cameras, microphones, location services, and much more.

Collaboration & Connection

Collaboration and connection are at the core of Microsoft’s business initiatives. They have added features into model-driven apps like in-app notification enablement, record sharing, and copresence. To match the standardization of co-presence and sharing capabilities across Microsoft products, you can now share and view copresence within records in model-driven Power Apps in this wave. These features will continue to enhance Maker and User collaboration while staying connected to your Power App.
We see a few other notable updates: a minor cosmetic change in business process flows to create a stronger, visual color contrast for users and the enablement of structured search filters. Your Power Apps will be easily integrated into the day to day lives and work processes of your end-users.

Security Transformations & Governance

As we mentioned earlier, with the newly announced capabilities of accessing Power Apps offline, there is an added layer of security enhancements through multi-factor authorization, among other security features. Admins can specify requirements and conditions on app access. These specifications can range from being connected to the internet, device compliance, conditional access based on additional security permissions within Power Apps, and conditional access per environment. These added security enhancements will allow Power Apps to handle more complex and sensitive data in any business environment.
Power Apps Security and Transformation

One enhancement that Power Apps admins and Center of Excellence (CoE) owners see is the ability to quarantine non-compliant Power Apps. The CoE starter kit includes various admin flows and compliance checks that allow admins to monitor their citizen developers and pro developers within their environments. The added ability to quarantine apps can now control user access for non-compliant power apps. Makers will bring apps into compliance through Power Apps studio, and admins can modify and view them through the admin center or power shell. As citizen development and pro developers continue to leverage the platform in any business, it becomes more and more critical to put guard rails in place within your tenant.

What's New in Power Apps Portals

Power Apps Portals brings you more robust search integration, compatibility improvements, and more assets for Governance in the wave one release. Microsoft continues to expand its governance initiatives across the Power Platform to give admins and businesses more insight into how their data is transformed. Portals now supports audit logging in the MS 365 compliance center and support for portal actions using admin API’s. You can view a complete list of available portals, create them in environments, delete and restart them all with API’s.
Power Apps Portals Wave 1 Release 2022
To continuously enhance portal integration with other 365 products, we also see the ability to integrate Dataverse search within portals. This enables users and Makers to search for records across many tables and columns within portals without worrying about security permissions. This will be the new default for Power Apps Portals. Additionally, we see better integration for images and files within columns in Dataverse. Makers and users can view files and pictures within portals that derive from Dataverse. Users will be able to download these items from portals or web API’s. Portals makes accessibility to the Dataverse easier than ever.

What's New in Power Automate

Cloud Flows are seeing a wide range of improvements across the platform. The common themes we see are Pro Developer enhancements and Maker enhancements. Immediately we see a string of releases to improve the cloud flow creation experience. We will see refreshed home pages with more data connections, the ability to copy/paste connection references, and more features and learning paths from MS learn. They have made it easier than ever to get started with creating flows through this updated home experience. Android users will also see an updated experience within the Power Automate app on their mobile devices.
Perhaps the most straightforward feature, but most beneficial among them all, is the ability to undo and redo changes within cloud flow creation. We will see an increase in Maker productivity through this enhancement and overall satisfaction with Microsoft’s automation platform with easier use. The ability to troubleshoot flows just got much easier and actionable with updates to error messages. Makers will have improved error messages across flows for more actionable troubleshooting and the ability to resubmit multiple flows at once. Solution list warnings see significant improvements within connection warnings. The connection warnings are now connected to environment variables that might need to be refreshed; this will improve the Maker and Pro Developer experience to understand and troubleshoot issues more efficiently. The final improvement we see for troubleshooting flows is the ability to troubleshoot multiple flows through the identifier column instead of opening each flow run. Finally, admins now have the capabilities to create and run flows from service accounts. This governance and administration enhancement will be an asset to admins across all Microsoft customers for flow abandonment, and DLP. Overall, the error messaging systems and DLP improvements will increase Maker’s productivity to quickly get your flow back online and running through more actionable messaging and troubleshooting capabilities.
Power Automate Undo Redo

Desktop Flows

Although we don’t see many updates within Desktop flows, we still see three key improvements. Desktop flow machines and runs will receive status health, analytics, and error reporting improvements. Power Platform admins will also gain improved insights into the health of Desktop Flow Machines from their admin reports. The new reports give Makers and Admins better insight to make informed choices quickly and have more meaningful action to get your Desktop flows functioning again.

SharePoint users can now connect to Power Automate for Desktop. This update features gives users the ability to embed SharePoint actions into desktop automation. Makers can now run desktop automation that loops over SPO lists and allows them to write into SAP and use other actions from SharePoint itself.

To follow the trend of offline and online capabilities across other Power Platform products, we see added security measures within Azure Key Vault. This is no doubt an addition to enhancing the Power Platform’s security levels. We can expect to see more online and offline capabilities and enhancements through the added security layers in the future.

Power Platform CoE

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What's New in Power Virtual Agents

Artificial Intelligence meets the Power Platform through Power Virtual Agents (PVAs). This tool was created to empower your companies to virtually enhance your customer relations and internal support through AI. In the wave one release we see the same enhancement that we see across other Power Platform tools through sign-on enhancements and added layers of security.

The biggest change we see is through enhancements in co-authoring. Microsoft has added the ability to start bot conversations with proactive triggers. This means that PVAs can now begin conversations based on statements that are typed and not just questions. This will all allow builders to offer more pro-proactive customer service based on keywords. We see an additional enhancement to connectors as well. Authors and Makers will now be able to connect to more custom connectors, but also be able to leverage these connections within PVA instead of having to write flows from Power Automate. This will reduce latency and increase Maker productivity. The final update to the authoring experience comes in the form of Microsoft Teams. Through PVA’s we can now automatically send Teams messages to channels through a Power Automate workflow. This will increase the response time from your customer service teams while also improving collaboration and streamlining communication into a centralized location.

Power Virtual Agents Teams Notification

What's New in Microsoft's Dataverse

In Power Platform’s 2022 Wave 1 Release,Dataverse continues to bridge the gap between existing Data and the transformation and creation of data in the Power Platform. We see new capabilities like the ability to transform data from Dataverse to Azure Synapse Link and APIs. Wave one release features the ability to export Dataverse data leveraging the Azure Synapse Link which exports the data into the Delta Lake format. The Delta Lake format is an open-source that derives from the Parquet data format. The delta lake enables data to be stored for high performance. This wave allows Dataverse data to continuously be transformed, automated, and flexible in any Microsoft environment. The new Dataverse API’s allows Admin to strictly enforce IP restrictions with Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) in line with the majority of the security enhancements we’re seeing. The Power Platform continues to be secure and allow organizations to scale and transform internal applications and resources.
Dataverse Azure Synapse Link

Data accessibility and security are at the forefront of the wave one release changes. Dataverse now had integrations within Microsoft Search to create a cohesive data search experience. Dynamics 365 federations allows businesses to help search users find, learn, and navigate more business data information easily through this connection. Makers also see an additional dual-write improvement within UI. They will find enhance mapping, error detection, and more actionable error and status information for troubleshooting. Lastly, we see stronger capabilities to register, scan, label, auto-classify, and set data protection policies within Dataverse.

What's New in AI Builder

AI Builder is the Power Platforms tool to compliment AI models to transform your business processes. This tool can be utilized within Power Apps and Power Automate to transform and automate data without using data science or advanced coding skills. The two focuses within AI Builder’s wave one updates are document processing and AI model ops.

Microsoft Power Platform AI Builder
Immediately we see enhanced support for unstructured documents. AI Builder can process many types of documents from semi-structured to structured documents like invoices, contracts, and. Business cards. We see the added ability to create a custom document processing model for non-structured documents. This addition will allow businesses to automatically grab information from scanned documentation based on themes and collections that the author defines.

Confidence scores enhance the AI Builder experience to ensure that the Maker is accurately mapping the information and data collection behind the scenes within AI Builder. There are times within AI Builder where the documents are not correctly mapped, or we see low probability scores of data connection. Makers will now be able to access their training wizard to correct information and perform maintenance efficiently and in a timely manner.

Power Platform admins will now be able to generate reports on where the AI Builder models are being used, how frequently, and how well they are performing over time. We continue to see accessibility and collaboration enhanced through stronger reporting and collaborative authoring. AI Builders can now share their models with other users to train documentation and provide enhanced performance to collaborate on AI Builders behind the scenes. Versioning is also enabled to support the collaboration and co-authoring experience within models. AI Builder models will continue to evolve Power Platform data intake and transformation to drive businesses into the next generation of data connectivity.

Closing: Power Platform is Here to Stay

The Power Platform continues to be a focus of Microsoft as they enhance their security models, data accessibility, and transformation tool sets for customers. Overall, we see three components stand out among these updates being security, Maker experience, and data accessibility. As we move into this next wave of online business, we will continue to see process automation and organizational transformation at the core of this next generation of business. The Power Platform will continue to challenge businesses to work smarter and not harder through low code no code solutions. We must think outside of the box to transform existing processes to give employees time back in their day to focus on the work that matters. The Power Platform can digitally transform your business processes from end to end and Avantiico wants to help you do this.

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