Microsoft publishes the roadmap for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform every six months in what are known as release waves. Release Wave 2 2020 is a rollout of new features between October 2020 and March 2021, and there are hundreds of new capabilities to look forward to across Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, Power BI and Dynamics 365.
To save you from having to read through it all, I’ve put together a summary of the new features that I think are the most important and why. Here are my Top 10 highlights from the Wave 2 2020 release.
Power Virtual Agents allows you to get started quickly and easily by creating conversation topics from content you already have. This new feature adds the ability to create topics from your PDF, DOCX and CSV files as well as your FAQ webpage – so if you have your topics created in Excel, Word or as a PDF, you’ll be able to get them straight into your chatbot and get started.
Power Automate Desktop enables citizen developers to use Robotic Process Automation with a user-friendly interface. Robotic Process Automation enables you to automate across systems where you can’t connect with an API, by recording mouse and keyboard actions, or by adding pre-built actions as building blocks. This is one of the fastest growing areas in business applications, and the introduction of Power Automate Desktop opens up more capability to even more users.
The new Power Automate visual for Power BI will allow you to take action (e.g. send a note, create a task, copy the data) directly from your Power BI report. You will be able to add a button to your report to trigger a flow in Power Automate, that will be able to use the report filters that were applied when the button was selected.
The AI Builder Form Processing model allows you to scan or upload images of your forms, and get the data from the form, all with no code. This new feature means that the AI model will now support multiple form layouts, so you can use it to automatically get data from incoming forms in different formats, such as invoices from your customers.
The new Dynamics 365 mobile app is designed specifically for sellers, optimised for their most common on-the-go tasks. The seller will have easy access to the most important information up front, and can add notes, update accounts and opportunities in seconds. Making it easier for sellers to get data entry done quickly and easily saves them valuable time and ensures sales managers and organisations have the field data they need.
Sales Accelerator brings AI into the sales process to help sellers who manage a large volume of customers and tasks in a high velocity sales environment. This feature organises and prioritises lead, opportunities, emails and tasks into a single work list, improving seller productivity and enabling them to qualify leads more quickly.
You can now use Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 together as a fully integrated online events and webinar platform. Dynamics 365 Marketing allows you to do your end to end event management, from planning, receiving and managing registrations, through to communications and follow up tasks. This new feature brings native integration for Teams Meetings and Teams Live Events to Dynamics 365 Marketing, so that participant attendance is automatically recorded against registrations, and can be used for automated communications and follow up.
AI Builder allows you to bring AI into your apps and workflows with no code. Receipt scanning is the newest AI Builder feature, which will allow you to scan and process your receipts, identifying and extracting the key information. That means you can build your own expense apps or workflows from incoming emails, all with low code development.
This new feature will allow you to create a completely custom page for your model driven Power App or Dynamics 365 application, using the canvas designer. This means you will be able to create your own custom components for your web-based applications in a low-code environment, completely opening up the possibilities for creating the look and feel you want for your user experience.
We will soon see a new, intuitive, global search functionality coming to Dynamics 365 and Model Driven Power Apps. This will make a huge difference to the experience for every day users, who want to be able to quickly and easily search for the information they need in their data, using keywords and natural language, rather than building queries that require understanding data models and Boolean logic. Users will be able to type what they’re looking for and just find it!