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The Most Important Power Platform And Microsoft Windows Updates: Build 2021

Microsoft unveiled a new natural language model for Power Fx along with other new Power Platform and Windows capabilities during its Build developer conference.

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What’s Next For Power Platform And Windows

A new natural language model for Power Fx, a new Power Platform process mining capability and an updated Windows Terminal are among the major announcements for developers this week at the virtual Microsoft Build 2021 conference.

Microsoft’s Power Platform is a suite of products for people without coding experience. At $20 a user, the premium version of the Power BI business intelligence product in particular has become more accessible for smaller organizations, said Murray Foxcroft, chief technology officer of Atlanta-based ProArch, a Microsoft Gold partner. His customers have enjoyed some of the integrations with the Dynamics 365 platform for people with non-coding backgrounds. Customers have used Microsoft’s Power products to automate some routine tasks and build some simple apps like a customer onboarding form. More complex apps with 50,000 users, however, will still need IT teams for building and designing.

“It‘s a productivity tool to be used on a departmental level,” Foxcroft said. “Departments want to take up their own little bits of the pie. They want to engage with third-party vendors to use Dynamics, or they want to build their own data analytics team because they don’t want to wait for central IT. And the same with Power Platform. We want to build some little apps, maybe a customer onboarding form or something like that.”

The Power Platform is getting significant attention this week at Microsoft’s Build developer conference. The tech giant has announced new capabilities to make the product suite more accessible for non-developers. “Traditional code-first development struggles to scale to support growing demand,” wrote Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and AI Group, in a blog post Tuesday.

That is why many pro developers “are looking for ways to blend code-first tools with low-code tools, like Power Apps, to accelerate their workflow and delivery of business apps as well as help them focus on initiatives that have most impact with code-first approaches,” Guthrie wrote.

In the month after Ignite, when Microsoft announced Power Automate Desktop’s availability for Windows 10 for free, the company saw download increase six-fold. “Just like Office revolutionized productivity gains for knowledge workers, Power Platform will do the same for domain experts,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during the company’s quarterly earnings call in April. The company said at the time that Power Platform is used by 16 million monthly active users, up 97 percent year over year, while Power Platform revenue has increased by 84 percent year over year.

Meanwhile at Build, Microsoft also updated developers on more capabilities for the Windows operating system. What follows are the most important Power Platform and Microsoft Windows updates at Build 2021.

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