Microsoft's latest wave of Power Platform product updates indicates that it is not giving up on its cross-cutting, low-code development approach. Instead, it is bringing more Power Platform to Teams and Dynamics 365 and adding collaboration between consumers and developers using those tools. The goal is to make the combination of Teams, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform — where each is a piece of a more extensive business portfolio — better together with collaboration among teams and teams and people, including non-developer business users, as those leveraging essential business intelligence tools.
Microsoft has continued to update and improve the Power Platform product line as well as the Teams platform. At Ignite, the company announced several new features to make it easier for IT pros and developers to build custom apps that integrate with Microsoft's collaboration services. The first thing Microsoft is announcing is some extensions to its new Teams Extensions feature. That allows for some integration between Teams and other products, including third-party products.
These new extensions include:
New Teams Extension templates: These templates provide a starting point for users who want to create extensions for specific scenarios. The first templates available will be templates for creating an app for managing meeting room bookings and an app for managing helpdesk cases.
More built-in connectors allow users to quickly access relevant information from other apps or systems directly in Teams. The company is adding connectors for the Dynamics 365 calendar, SharePoint Online site lists, SQL Server databases, Dynamics 365 customer data, Azure Active Directory tenant information, Azure Active Directory application management, Office 365 Groups, OneDrive & SharePoint Online documents, OneNote notebooks, Project Online tasks/projects/resources, Delve content sources, ServiceNow incidents/requests/tickets, and Yammer groups.
Integrations for a smoother work environment
Microsoft's cloud productivity platform has improved at making it easy to work together on projects. Still, Microsoft is aware that there are other tools people like using for various kinds of tasks. So now, the company is making it easier to use third-party apps like Slack and Jira in Teams and other Microsoft platforms like Office 365 and Dynamics 365.
Today, Microsoft is adding integrations with these other services to Teams, starting with Slack. It means you can create channels inside Teams to connect with specific groups of people and not have to switch back and forth between apps when you want to get work done. You can also share files directly from Slack into Teams.
Integration with Jira Service Desk lets you log bugs or service requests directly into Microsoft's service management offering. It will also allow you to automatically create Jira Service Desk cases when new conversations are started in Teams.
Microsoft is also integrating its Power Platform data analytics service into Teams. It will let organizations get insights into the performance of their business right inside of the chat app. The company is also working on deeper integration with Forms in Office 365 to be used right in Teams.
Combining Low and Pro Code
Some of Microsoft's most significant enterprise products — like SQL Server and Windows Server — will soon be able to run on the lighter-weight and more agile Windows Server Core, which was previously limited to running simple server apps.
To give you a sense of just how powerful this is: SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition can now scale up to 1TB of memory per processor, with 2,000 VMs per cluster. It is a massive increase over the previous limit of 64GB per processor, with 870 VMs per cluster. In addition, previously, SQL clustered instances were limited to four nodes. It has now been increased to eight nodes.
It is all part of Microsoft's Power Platform story, which seeks to bring together its enterprise software on the same core Windows infrastructure. Previously it was split between Windows Servers for heavier workloads and Nano Servers for lightweight server tasks. Now everything can run on the same infrastructure.
It is exciting to see Microsoft making strides to make Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and MS Teams an even better combination. In the future, we will likely hear more about all that Microsoft has in store for the low code developer with all three of these tools working together with a unified vision and direction. Finally, seeing this strategy and roadmap with clarity and transparency is very promising for both existing and inexperienced users looking forward to what is just around the corner.