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New Microsoft Power Automate features to develop and orchestrate automation

At Microsoft Build 2023, we’re sharing new ways you can automate and orchestrate business processes across your organization with Microsoft Power Automate. 

Continue reading to learn more about our latest announcements and how you can get started today.

Accelerate development with AI-powered experiences

At our Future of Work event in March 2023, we showed a sneak peek at what was coming soon with AI across Microsoft Power Platform. Today, we’re excited to announce the preview of Copilot in Power Automate and a refreshed, modern cloud flows designer that helps accelerate development so you can focus on what’s important.

Copilot in Power Automatenow in preview 

Alongside a new cloud flows designer is the preview of Copilot in Power Automate. Building off the foundations of the describe it to design it feature using natural language to accelerate the creation of automation, these two unified experiences enable developers to work smarternot harder. 

Graphic of Cloud Flow designer layout.

As a Continuous Improvement Analyst at 3M, I’m always on the lookout for innovative ways to boost our operational efficiency. My experience with Power Automate started with the ‘Describe it to design it’ feature, which allowed me to effortlessly create custom workflows tailored to my unique needs just by describing them. I’ve since developed more than 20 flows for a range of applications, including managing Microsoft Forms survey responses and orchestrating processes involving SharePoint, Excel, and Planner. I’m excited for the upcoming launch of Copilot in Power Automate, which will further enhance my automation capabilities and help streamline processes at 3M.

—Tommy Tang, Continuous Improvement Analyst, 3M

This functionality is available in preview environments today. Start using the new cloud flows designer and AI capabilities with GPT, and learn more from our official documentation in Microsoft Learn.

Customize functionality with robotic process automation custom actions

Actions SDK for desktop flowsnow in preview 

Power Automate for desktop has a vast number of drag-and-drop actions that help you interact with a desktop’s UI so you can automate legacy apps and systems, powered by robotic process automation (RPA). Now, using the new actions SDK (preview) for desktop flows, developers can create custom actions to speed up development. Power Automate for desktop Microsoft Visual Studio templates are also available through NuGet.org to help kick-start action creation. Makers can then access custom actions developed by their organizations and include them in desktop flows. They can then utilize them in the same fashion as they do all other standard actions. 

Creating a new project for the actions SDK for desktop flows in Visual Studio.

Download the actions SDK from NuGet.org and learn more by reading our documentation. 

Orchestrate smarter with hosted RPA and work queues

Hosted machinesnow generally available 

Earlier this year, we announced the preview of hosted machines and the general availability of hosted machine groups with the hosted RPA add-on for Power Automate. This groundbreaking approach to running RPA bots at scale takes the weight off IT for setting up and managing virtual machines by letting Microsoft do the work for you with hosted infrastructure. This empowers our customers to run RPA quickly and at scale while freeing up resources and reducing costs.

Infographic showing information about hosted machine, attended and unattended RPA and hosted machine group, for unattended RPA in production.

We are excited to announce that hosted machines is now generally available. Hosted machinesgive developers a quick and simple way to build, test, and run desktop flows without providing or setting up any physical machines.  

Key features include: 

  • Work or school account integration: Enables access to resources that are part of the business plan linked to your organization, such as Microsoft 365, SharePoint, and Azure. 
  • Vanilla or custom virtual machine images for your hosted machine: Use a vanilla virtual machine image provided by Microsoft or personalize your hosted machines by providing your own Windows image directly from your Azure Compute Gallery. Providing your own Windows image allows you to have all your applications installed on the provisioned hosted machines. 
  • Connect to your own virtual network: Securely communicate with each other, the internet, and your on-premises networks. 

Creating hosted machines in the Power Automate web portal.

Managing hosted machines in the Power Automate web portal.

If you’re ready for a test drive, sign up for a free Power Automate trial. You can also learn more abouthosted machinesin our documentation or see pricing for the hosted RPA add-on.

Manage your digital workforce with work queuesnow in preview

Next, we’re excited to announce the preview of work queues in Power Automate. Power Automate has previously had run queues built-in for managing all the work your digital workers are doing. The new work queues feature will take this to the next levelproviding full digital workforce management, which involves managing and optimizing the use of digital workers, such as software robots, and distributing prioritized work effectively across automations and available resources.  

Work queues help you prioritize work items, with the highest-priority items being completed first, regardless of whether they’re processed by digital workers, human workers, or through integrations. The work queue orchestrator decides which item to pick next based on factors such as when it was added to the queue and its priority level. By using work queues in combination with other digital workforce management tools—such as hosted machine groups, advanced analytics, and process mining—organizations can gain insights into the performance of their automation processes to improve the efficiency, scalability, and fault tolerance of automation processes, while also reducing costs and improving the quality of services. 

Graphic of work queues layout.

To get started using the preview of work queues, sign in to your Power Automate environment and create your first work queue from the left navigation pane. To learn more, visit our documentation to help get you started. 

Learn more about the new features in Power Automate

These new features in Power Automate can help you do more with less, continuing our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Low code accelerates development so you can spend less time building, and more time innovating. And with new functionality using AI-powered experiences and RPA orchestration, you can help ensure your automation runs smoothly so you can achieve even more. 

To experience all these new things, visit the links below:  

Learn more about other announcements across Microsoft Power Platform: 

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