Over the last four months, COVID-19 has vaulted us all into a new way of working. With the shift to remote and hybrid work, Microsoft Teams has enabled people around the world to continue to create, collaborate, and communicate. With more than 75 million daily active users, Teams is how people are getting work done.
Teams is a hub for productivity for many workers, which makes it critical that key business processes, data, and apps are easily accessible in Teams. Today we are announcing new capabilities that will make it easier for Teams users to create low code applications and customized chatbots to simplify processes for their organizations. We are also making it easier to bring data into the flow of people’s work and conversation through easy sharing of reports and dashboards. These new functionalities will empower business users to rapidly respond to changing business needs and create innovative custom solutions improve how work gets done.
Microsoft Project Oakdale, a built-in, low code data platform for your apps, bots, and automation within Teams
Microsoft Project Oakdale is a new built in low code data platform for Microsoft Teams supporting relational, file, and image data with find filter and sort capabilities. It will let users utilize a wide range of data types for their Power Platform solutions in Teams. Project Oakdale makes the back-end tech logistics of creating and administering business process solutions for Teams easier than ever. Users can now easily create custom data tables, a built-in low code platform, and low code data storage. Project Oakdale provides security and governance features that allow you to control access to apps, bots, and flows, as well as their underlying data.
The new Project Oakdale, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents functionality in Teams are coming soon for select Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users for no additional cost.
Make apps, flows, and chatbots directly within Teams with Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents
App makers will now be able create low code apps with Power Apps directly within Teams, which is all made possible by Project Oakdale. The new integrated app studio will allow app makers to:
- Create and edit custom apps and flows, then quickly publish them for anyone on their team to use
- Easily deploy fully functional solutions to Teams with just one click
- Customize app templates and responsive app layouts native to Teams
- Manage all apps and flows via a secure, relational backend with Project Oakdale
These new features will be rolled out in public preview in August, allowing citizen developers to start building apps and professional developers to accelerate app development and deployment.
Many organizations are looking to automate manual and time consuming processes, and that’s why we are deepening the integration of the Power Platform’s newest component, Power Virtual Agents and Teams. Power Virtual Agents allow users to create chatbots using a built-in natural language processing AI engine and no-code graphical interface, making it easier for everyday business users without coding or data science backgrounds to start building and managing their own bots. Makers can easily add Power Automate’s workflow automation into their bots to complete common business processes conversationally.
Some of what you’ll be able to do in Teams includes:
- Create and edit bots, then publish and make them available for their team or organization to use
- Make content updates and publish real time to keep the bot content up to date to meet the latest need of your team and organization
- Manage your bots and their content via a secure, relational backend with Project Oakdale
By making the bot creation process more approachable and intuitive for users without a software development background, it empowers the people that know the business to create bots and can quickly adapt the conversation to changing policies, information, and business needs.
Power Virtual Agents Teams app will be available at no additional cost for select Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users to create bots for their teams or their entire organization starting with a public preview in August.
Power BI app for Teams – a central place for your analytics
To help shift to rapidly changing conditions, organizations are looking for new ways to leverage their data to drive insights. The new Power BI personal app for Teams gives people a hub for all their data visualizations and a place to find more data from across their organization.
The app provides a more streamlined experience for accessing Power BI reports in Teams and provides sample reports, training information, and streamlined sharing functionality to help users incorporate data-driven decision making in their work.
The new personal app will soon be available in August in the Teams app store to help make data a part of all your teams’ conversations.
Automate remote work with Teams + Power Automate
For many of us, work is busier than ever, so we’ve built a few new features for the Teams and Power Automate integration that will “give some time back” to our increasingly hectic days.
You can now use the “for a selected message” trigger in Power Automate, to allow Teams users to initiate an automated workflow right from a Teams message – whether that’s submitting a trouble ticket for IT, requesting supplies, or creating a sales lead.
Lastly, Teams users can automatically @mention colleagues to draw their attention to important messages, even if they were sent as part of an automated workflow.
Resources for your organization to get started
There are many ways to get started using Teams and Power Platform. For new users looking to get started building low code custom solutions with Power Platform, there are a number of online resources to help you get started. We also have programs that we run in collaboration with many of our partners, such as App in a Day and Dashboard in a Day, that will have you building your first app or dashboard in no time. These trainings are now hosted in virtual formats, so you can learn more about these tools that will help modernize your business processes, even while working remotely.
Also, you can take a look to see how customers like CenturyLink, Telstra, PayPal, and Capitol Records have already started to modernize their business processes with powerful Teams and Power Platform integrations and check out Forrester’s recently published New Technology Total Economic Impact™ study of Microsoft Teams Platform to see how these technologies have already helped our customers.
Please visit these other blogs to learn more about these exciting product announcements
Note: Blog was updated to reflect changes to naming on 8/10/2020