Automation through conversation with Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents
Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Power Virtual Agents are two powerful capabilities that are addressing a growing trend to automate workflows and conversations through conversational bots. These low-code solutions are part of Microsoft’s Power Platform and are helping to empower developers and non-coders alike to build intelligent conversational bots as powerful front-end experiences supported with Power Automate workflows.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of automation through conversational bots and how you can get started. You can also watch this on-demand webinar to see it in action.
Digital transformation with conversational bots
Organizations across all industries need to automate business processes to innovate, save costs, and serve employee and customer needs. But what if you could take it a step further and add personalization via a conversational experience, improving the availability of your automation?
Power Virtual Agents support a variety of scenarios; from customers who are looking to update contact details to employees enrolling in their healthcare plans, to simple responses from a customer care team—all of these scenarios can be supported through Power Virtual Agents bot topics powered with Power Automate workflows.
We have seen customers adopt this approach for several reasons including:
- Artificial intelligence helps understand the user’s natural language, enabling the bot to route conversations to the correct topic or automation, even if the query contains errors such as spelling mistakes.
- Personalized and human-like experiences for customers and colleagues through gathering user intent and reusing information from the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
- Meet users on channels that work for them. Easily embed conversational bots wherever you engage, from websites, mobile apps, Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and dozens more.
- Improve over time. Identify new conversational topics and opportunity for automation through AI-powered topic suggestions.
Check out the quantifiable return on investment (ROI) associated with automation through conversation completed through these Forrester Consulting studies.
Results are for a composite organization based on interviewed customers. These are the Total Economic Impact™ commissioned studies conducted by Forrester Consulting.
How do they work together?
Seamlessly bring your Power Automate flows into Power Virtual Agents conversations
You can perform an action in Power Virtual Agents by calling a Power Automate flow. Flows can help you automate activities or call backend systems such as searching for the status of a customer order or booking an appointment.
The flow could call out of a plethora of Power Automate tools from digital process automation with the over 450 prebuilt connectors to triggering robotic process automation through Power Automate for desktop.
You can get started by:
1. Navigating to your Power Virtual Agents topics and select “Call an Action” in the node section.
2. Using the Create a flow option opens a starter flow template to begin creating your automated workflow. Now you can create flows that can complete a number of activities within your organization such as updating line of business applications based on the response from the end-user.
Find more information on adding actions to a bot using Power Automate.
Bring Power Virtual Agents into your Power Automate workflows with proactive messaging (preview)
Following Microsoft Ignite’s announcements for Power Virtual Agents, bot builders will be able to send proactive messages with Power Virtual Agents within Microsoft Teams, supported by Power Automate. The proactive message can be sent to a user or group with full context, based on external trigger events.
To get started:
1. You will need to create a Power Automate flow, select “post message in a chat or channel” and select your Power Virtual Agents bot.
2. You can then post as messages, adaptive cards, or adaptive cards with responses unlocking endless use cases within your organizations from HR, IT, to legal departments.
Find the full guidance and technical information on how to send proactive messages and cards from and to bots in Microsoft Teams.
How is Microsoft using automation through conversation?
Sometimes we get asked, how does Microsoft “eat our own dog food?”, well you may have noticed the Power Virtual Agents bot across all pages in Power Automate. Power Virtual Agents has been a great addition to helping enable users who have questions about the Power Automate product. The bot can answer your general questions like, “How do I share a flow or even specific questions” or “Why is my flow running slow”.
You can test out the bot in the bottom left of each of the Power Automate web pages (for example Flow, Process Insights, AI Builder).
Find more information on Power Automate Cloud Flows.
Customers modernizing their processes through automation through conversation
Learn more about ÖBB and City of Ottawa.
The City of Ottawa used Power Virtual Agents to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Power Automate was used to support the system fallback topic which will pull relevant content from QnA Maker, the knowledge base into the bot.
ÖBB also uses Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate to streamline customer service workflows so that as it expands its bot’s capabilities, it can deliver completely optimized ticket, travel, and rebate services through one chat window.
We are excited to see your automation and bots come to life. Don’t forget to watch the demand session on “Automation Through Conversation with Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents” and use the below resources.
Get started with Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate to begin your digital transformation journey.
¹The Total Economic Impact™ Of Power Automate, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft, April 2020
²The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft, October 2021