Microsoft has published 2021 Release Wave 2 plans that will roll out from October 2021 through March 2022. The cloud updates for the Power Platforms will introduce new features to the Microsoft Power Platform products, including Power BI, Power Apps portals, Power Virtual Agents, Power Apps, and Power Automate. In addition, the updates will enhance Microsoft Power Platform capabilities for administration and governance, data integration, and ISV experiences

Organizations and firms use the Microsoft Power Platform to analyze, act, and automate data for digital business transformation. Below is an overview of the products and their new features and updates planned for release.

Power BI 2021 Release Wave 2 Updates

Microsoft Business Intelligence empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to make data-driven decisions. It aims to build a data culture where everyone can access digital insights for better decision-making.

The current Power BI product provides individuals with data and tools such as the Power BI Desktop tool, mobile applications, and Power BI services. For teams, Microsoft Teams enables integrating BI for improved collaboration experiences. Some Power BI features for large enterprises include industry-leading security capabilities, centralized governance, and administration. It has helped them balance IT and business, accelerating time to value.

The new features include:

1. Power BI Premium:

The new features will include:

  • Power BI dataflows will be accessible to multiple contributors for editing
  • Power BI Premium administrators have access to chargeback reporting
  • Administrators in the Refresh Center will benefit from improved refresh oversight
  • Automatic aggregations
  • Analysts, makers, and admins will have access to near real-time performance and usage and long-term historical analytics

2. Power BI Pro

The new features will:

  • Enable users to use natural language to automatically generate DAX measures through an AI-assisted development
  • Power BI app developers can design multiple app versions within the same workspace, controlling users and security groups accessing content
  • Power BI for administrators will have an improved admin portal interface and the capability to use API to reassign permissions for assets and identify unused reports, apps, and dashboards.
  • Access to improved insights on performance and report usage since the built-in workspace usage metrics can hold more data.

Power Apps Portals Release Wave 2 Updates

Organizations use Power Apps portals to extend business processes and data among external and internal users securely. The key new features and updates include:

  1. A core platform with advanced capabilities of Authorization, Content Management System (CMS), Authentication, and Search: The release will allow users to use relevance search and apply the portals’ security permissions and search configurations.
  2. Portals Web API that will enable developers to use Microsoft Dataverse to customize and perform complex operations: The update will also comprise Web API Support that will allow developers to call Web API for complicated processes. While the current e Power Apps portals allow developers to Create, Update, and Delete actions within the Microsoft Dataverse using Web API, the update supports an additional Read operation enabling data querying.

Power Virtual Agents

With Power Virtual Agents, people can create an AI-powered bot to communicate with users about specific topics. The new changes include:

  1. Bot configuration to meet an organization’s specific needs: While the Microsoft Power Platform solutions empower developers to import and export entire bots, the changes will allow them to create a standard set of topics that can be copied to other bots. These topics can be structured to meet the developer’s specific interests and tasks.
  2. Variables passing and returning to subtopics: this feature aims to increase users’ capability to build and maintain more prominent topics by passing variables from the main topic to the subtopics. The variables assigned to a subtopic will be available in the parent topic, making them more powerful.

Other Power Apps Release Wave 2 Updates

The Microsoft Power Apps refer to a low-code application development platform that supports a standalone custom line for business applications for Microsoft clients and facilitates the extensibility of Dynamics 365 and the customization of Microsoft 365.

The primary goal of the 2021 release wave 2 is to improve the app’s sophistication and usability by providing advanced features and updates. Some new features for this product include:

  1. A modern, unified power apps designer: the new Power Apps app designer enables developers to develop apps using the availed dashboards, views, and forms, thus improving authoring experiences.
  2. Advanced site-map in model-driven apps: Model-driven apps are used to create end-to-end solutions that focus on improving customer satisfaction. The new feature facilitates easy scrolling by allowing users to collapse or expand items such as home, pinned, and recent.
  3. Power Apps studio for intelligent authoring experience: This feature provides AI capabilities to improve the app authoring experience. Instead of using tools such as Microsoft Power Fx to connect app components, makers can use natural language with AI to generate accurate languages.
  4. Model-driven power apps that facilitate the modern search for all users: This feature is supported by Microsoft Dataverse search and aims to enhance users’ global search experience by improving navigation and information accessibility.
  5. The model-driven power apps have advanced lookup capabilities: This feature improves productivity with data-entry tasks and access to underlying data correlations in Microsoft Dataverse.

Power Automate Release Wave 2 Updates

Microsoft Power Automate is the leading cloud automation software that allows users to consume, alter, and publish data from multiple sources to larger destinations. Microsoft provides organizations with tools that increase productivity by automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks through this product. New features include:

  1. Flow Templates for Microsoft Teams: Under cloud flows, Wave 2 will provide a new dedicated workflows section to allow Microsoft Team to access flow templates from the Microsoft Team store directly. The templates can be provided by Microsoft, Microsoft Partners, or an individual within the organization.
  2. Comments button for cloud flows: this feature will allow users to insert interactive comments similar to the ones addable in the Microsoft Word product. The button will be accessible from the command bar and enable makers to comment on specific actions or the entire cloud flows.
  3. Ability to undo edits in cloud flows: the 2021 release wave 2 will allow users to undo changes with a single click. This change can help correct issues such as accidentally deleting an action.
  4. Real-time Visibility: given the increased collaboration in software projects, this feature provides fusion teams with a real-time presence indicating who is editing the flow.

These features provide individual users, teams, and organizations with more tools and technologies to optimize modern data infrastructure and capabilities.

Unlock the Full Potential of the Power Platform With MIBAR

Unlock the full potential of your Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365, and more with the Power Platform. Providing integration, analytics, low-code app development, and improved productivity, the Power Platform delivers across the entire Microsoft ecosystem and beyond.

As a Gold Certified Microsoft Consulting and Implementation Partner, MIBAR has the skills to build and customize not only Dynamics products, but Power Platform products including Power BI, PowerApps, and Power Automate. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more!

Additional Power Platform Resources

How an Open Business Intelligence Platform Enables Better Understanding

Power BI – Enterprise Ready: Why Business Intelligence Needs to Scale

Collaboration in Business Intelligence: A Team Approach to Growth