An Overview of the Power Platform: 2021 Release Wave 1 Plans.

Similar to the Dynamics 365 Release Wave 1, this update contains new features and capabilities that will roll out across the Power Platform from April 2021 until September 2021.

The full release notes from Microsoft are lengthy documents (find the full Dynamics 365 notes here and the Power Platform notes here), so in this blog post we will provide an overview of the key features.

In this blog we cover the following areas (click on one to skip to that section):

  1. Wave 1 Release Dates
  2. Power BI
  3. Power Apps
  4. Power Automate
  5. Microsoft Dataverse
  6. Full Release Notes

Wave 1 Release Dates

Some of the new capabilities will be available for early access from February 1st 2021, meaning administrators can test the available features in a sandbox instance before they are enabled automatically. General availability deployment for the 2021 Release Wave 1 then begins on April 1st 2021 and will continue until September 2021.

wave 1 2021 release timeline

2021 Release Wave 1 Overview

The new release brings hundreds of new capabilities to the Power Platform applications, bringing new ways for your business to analyse, transform and automate data. The Power Platform today comprises four products: Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. It also has two add-ins: AI Builder and Power Apps portals.

Below we provide an overview of the key capabilities across Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Microsoft Dataverse. For more detail, view the full document here.

FREE 30-Minute Phone Consultation!

Fill out your details below and one of our Dynamics 365 experts will be in touch shortly…

    Key Features

    Microsoft Power BI (Pro)

    • Quick create

    This feature will help new users get started using the Power BI service by providing a guided experience. Many new users do not have access to an analyst or to an experienced Power BI user. As a result, they do not know how to connect to data or create reports, dashboards, or apps, and perhaps their job never requires them to create content.

    This new guided experience will allow users to type or paste some data into Power BI and instantly get an autogenerated report that they can start slicing and dicing. This experience will be enabled in the Power BI service and Microsoft Teams.

    • Sharing links for Power BI reports

    Users will be able to generate a link that gives view access to the report and dataset. This link can then be used by anyone in the business with the necessary permissions.

    Microsoft Power Apps

    • Improved apps discovery and selection in Power Apps mobile

    Power Apps mobile apps list experience is modern and intuitive. The discovery of apps is easier, allowing users to quickly access their apps. On top of this, inline swipe gestures on the apps list make adding to favourites or pinning the apps much easier and faster for future use.

    Feature details:

    • Apps are neatly organised in relevant categories, such as favourites and recents
    • More relevant apps, such as favourites, are presented upfront for quicker selection
    • Newly introduced swipe gestures allow you to quickly pin an app to your home screen or add an app to your favourites without multiple clicks

    *This feature is available for early access in February 2021.

    Model-driven app adds in-app notifications

    Model-driven app in-app notifications are shown to users as a notification card or within the notification centre. Notifications are directed to a specific user and can be sent through external systems, Power Automate, or from within the system. An app maker must opt-in to this feature to make the notifications appear for users within the model-driven app.

    power app model driven app in app notification toast

    *This feature is available for early access in February 2021.

    power app model driven app in app notification centre

    Improved navigation in model-driven apps

    Enable users to be more productive in both single and multi-session model-driven apps with improved navigation.

    Feature details:

    • The page side pane will allow a page to be opened to the far side of the current page and stay open while the current page is open. This will allow an edit experience for the related data
    • App makers are able to override multi-session app navigation to allow click to open to a side pane, multi-session new session, or multi-session new page tab

    *This feature is available for early access in February 2021.

    Microsoft Power Automate

    Trigger flows when a Microsoft Dataverse action is called

    With this feature in Power Automate, you will be able to create flows that trigger when an action is performed in Microsoft Dataverse. This feature improves working with the common events model and even provides better integration with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

    *This feature is available for early access in January 2021.

    Search records in Microsoft Dataverse using relevance search

    With this feature, you can create cloud flows that include a Microsoft Dataverse action to search records using relevance search, which is an AI-based fuzzy search that’s built on Azure Cognitive Search.

    Apart from basic cross-entity search, this action provides support for matches based on Lucene query syntax. This gives users capabilities like Boolean operators, wildcards, fuzzy search, proximity search, term boosting and regex matching.

    *This feature is available for early access in February 2021.

    Microsoft Dataverse

    Microsoft has not released any new features as such around this area in the 2021 Release Wave 1. However, in November they did rebrand the Common Data Service as Dataverse – find out more about that here.

    Within this release plan, they have provided the following information around it:

    • Deliver services with agility: Quickly add business value with an extensible data platform that uses out-of-the-box common tables, extended attributes, semantic meanings, and an open ecosystem enabled by Common Data Model.
    • Increase scale and efficiency: Boost productivity and reduce costs by quickly developing applications, processes, and reusable data schemes. Repeatably build, validate, and deploy your applications using GitHub and Azure DevOps.
    • Make your data work smarter: Get accurate insights by adding low-code AI tools to your process automation. Identify and resolve duplicated and conflicting data with a managed data platform that includes built-in business logic and rules.
    • Rely on the security of a trusted platform: Protect your data with a robust security management infrastructure that provides critical security and compliance capabilities—advanced encryption, rich access control, and deep integration with Azure Active Directory.

    The Full 2021 Release Wave 1 Notes

    Within this article we have given you an overview of some of the new features being rolled out across the Microsoft Power Platform in the 2021 Release Wave 1 however, there are plenty more. You can access the full breakdown here.

    The 2021 Release Wave 1 also brings new features to Dynamics 365. Read more about that here.

    If you have any questions about the release, or would like to learn more about the Power Platform, please contact us. Fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly, or if you’d prefer, email us at [email protected] or call us on 01908 038110.