What are Power Virtual Agents?
Power Virtual Agents was released in December 2019 and now makes up part of the Power Platform. The Power Platform includes other products such as Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI. Power Apps lets users create applications using numerous data connectors, Power Automate uses the same data connectors to automate complex processes and Power BI drives analytics through bespoke reports. With the addition of Power Virtual Agents, users are able to create chat bots without needing developer support.
How it works
Power Virtual Agents connects users to data quickly and easily through custom chat bots. A Power Virtual Agent can be accessed via many platforms and channels, including websites, mobile apps, Microsoft Teams and more. Importantly, this is possible without needing to know a single line of code. Similar to other products in the Power Platform, Power Virtual Agents are designed to enable users to update existing processes to use modern products without the steep learning curve. As such, development teams aren’t required to create or maintain these solutions as they can be managed directly by a team of department.
When creating a chat bot, users must first access the Power Virtual Agents portal. Here an easy to use interface is used to create the chat bot. Creating the chat bot is as easy as dragging a box into a canvas then connecting the dots. These boxes allow the user to ask their audience specific questions guiding them through the conversation. These questions could be used to capture information for future authentication or to lead the conversation to the correct department. Additionally, data captured through this conversation can trigger other events through Power Automate.
The easy to use interface not only ensure solutions are created quickly but also ensures solutions are easy to manage. It’s expected that teams and departments would manage and maintain their own chat bots therefore not requiring IT support. Having such an intuitive interface reduces the barriers to entry therefore empowering users to iterate as and when needed.
In some cases, a chat bot can’t answer every question. Microsoft has thought about this and added the functionality to pass a conversation through to an agent. The agent can reply to the user through the same chat bot. Not only will this agent have direct contact with the user, they’re also able to view previous answers in the conversation to help find an outcome. Additionally, if agents are using Dynamics 365 to manage case load, Microsoft has created Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service to assist. This package contains Power Virtual Agents and Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights.
Why is it game changing?
- Clients can contact your organisation quickly and easily.
- Conversations are recorded preventing unnecessary future repetitions.
- Integrate with your data and automate standard responses.
- Ensure your team is more productive by responding when needed.
For more information about Power Virtual Agents and the packages Microsoft provide, follow the links below: