Rather than stick to our routine focusing on announcements from the message center, we’re highlighting some of the announcements that came out of Microsoft Build last month. Build was, and still is, “developer centric.” However it has also started to become more citizen developer oriented as well. As Andrew Connell (prominent developer and MVP in the Microsoft 365 space) notes, only 96 of the 540 sessions at Build were aimed at professional developers. Those numbers are not surprising based on the past couple of years. Microsoft, increasingly, is shifting the focus to a broader audience. We’re still not sure if that is good or bad, but it is happening regardless.
Important Note: As with any preview functionality, buyer beware, things will change. Licensing, costs, features, and general usage are known to shift as the products are used and feedback is gathered during preview cycles!
If your organization is not using Power BI Premium, please feel free to move along to the next announcement, this one is specific to those folks paying the premium fees. Announcing public preview of Datamart in Power BI
“Datamart in Power BI is a new self-service capability included with Power BI Premium that enables users to uncover actionable insights through their own data without any help from IT teams. For the first time, we are empowering everyone with the right-sized ability to build a relational database for analytics using no code experiences for workloads up to 100GB, without compromising enterprise security and governance demands. This new out-of-the box capability that is fully managed by Power BI, effortlessly extends modern data architectures to millions of business users. What previously took users months waiting in line for their IT project to get approved can now be done in minutes. Best of all, IT does not have to worry about getting all data into centrally governed data sources, thus providing discipline at the core and flexibility at the edge.”
A good demo/overview was posted to the Microsoft Mechanics YouTube channel: Add Data at Scale.
If you are on the most recent version of Office from Microsoft 365, you may notice a new button in your ribbon row “Insert” tab for Power BI sitting next to the Forms button. You can now embed your reports directly into PowerPoint presentations and determine whether you want to surface them as interactive or “freeze” them to focus on the details you want to disseminate. Another benefit of this functionality is that if you apply filters on different slides, those filters are maintained, respected slide by slide to enable the visuals to be targeted on each slide when necessary.
If you’re already taking advantage of Power Apps Portals, this product is likely going to be a huge value add down the road. If you were holding off on Power Apps Portals due to the limitations around customization, this may be the product for which you were waiting. “Power Pages empowers anyone, regardless of their technical background, with an effective platform to create data-powered, modern, and secure websites.” As someone that has extensive experience in SharePoint and web development, I am very curious to see how this was built out and what we can do with it. Fortunately, the Microsoft Power Pages documentation is extensive for it being a preview feature!
This one is borderline a truly developer focused announcement. Microsoft would suggest it’s developer focused, but we feel like Microsoft is targeting citizen developers familiar with Power Apps, Power Automate, and Teams here. Sure, Microsoft references “developer centric” terminology numerous times in the on-demand session like API and PCF controls but, if you are familiar with approvals in the Power Platform and Teams, this 16 minute and some change video is worth checking out: Extend Approvals across your line of business applications in Microsoft Teams
Since we continue to find organizations that are still using IE11, we thought it important to remind you of the impending retirement of IE11 desktop in case you are one of those organizations. With less than 1 month left before retirement, we highly recommend you begin testing your sites in IE mode, followed by disabling the IE11 application completely via policy, to ensure readiness. As always, there are a lot of things happening in Microsoft 365, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new.