Microsoft Unveils Enhanced Capabilities for Copilot, Power Platform, at Build 2024

Microsoft announced a significant expansion of its Copilot suite at the Microsoft Build 2024 conference, aimed at boosting productivity and creativity across various business functions. The new features are designed to extend Copilot’s capabilities beyond a personal assistant, offering tools that can drive business results and streamline operations.

The new Team Copilot feature broadens Copilot's role from a personal assistant to a collaborative team member. It facilitates improved teamwork and project management, allowing users to assign tasks and responsibilities to Copilot. Available on platforms like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Loop, and Microsoft Planner, Team Copilot helps manage meeting agendas, take collaborative notes, and track important information and unresolved issues.

With the introduction of custom copilots, users can now create automated agents to handle specific business processes. These agents, which are built using the Microsoft Copilot Studio conversational AI tool that allows users to create custom copilots or extend Microsoft Copilot experiences with their own enterprise data and scenarios, can automate long-running tasks, reason over actions and user inputs, and learn from user feedback. Early access to these capabilities is currently available, with broader availability expected later in 2024.

Microsoft is also rolling out new extensions and connectors to further customize and extend Copilot’s functionalities. Developers can use Copilot Studio or Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio to build these extensions, making it easier to integrate Copilot with various data and business systems.

"Copilot already works alongside you," said Charles Lamanna, VP in Microsoft's Business Applications and Platforms group, in a blog post, "and now your copilot will also be able to work for you, proactively, independently, and asynchronously responding to data and events in the background to automate business processes."

Many of these new features are available through early access programs, allowing Microsoft to gather feedback and make improvements before wider release. The company is optimistic about the potential for these tools to create efficiencies and cost savings across various business functions.

Microsoft's Power Platform suite of low-code/no-code developer tools is getting some major generative AI-based enhancements designed to allow enable users to build copilots that act as agents that run business processes and associated tasks in the background.

Microsoft is defining a new type of workflow called "AI flows," which will be available in an early access program. AI flows shift automation from rules-based to AI-based automation that is adaptive and outcome-based. In Power Automate, the new AI flows leverage generative AI to streamline operations, reducing costs and enhancing workflow automation.

"Now, Power Automate can interpret process objectives, generate automation plans, autonomously select actions, and validate outcomes—all while allowing for easy adjustments," Lamanna said. "Developers can set guardrails to control the boundaries of autonomy for the AI flow, ensuring safe execution. AI Flows make it easier to create more resilient and more capable automations."

Another early access feature in the Power Platform suite announced at the conference, AI Recorder was designed to enable developers to automate processes through voice and video, significantly speeding up UI automation. AI Recorder brings smarter and more intuitive desktop automation through voice and screen sharing, the company says.

Microsoft continues to invest in capabilities for professional developers within Power Apps, introducing native Git integration for better application lifecycle management and code synchronization. Developers can now work with code directly in Power Apps Studio, enhancing efficiency and consistency across projects.

These advancements reflect a shift towards low-code technology and natural language development, promising transformative impacts similar to those of cloud platforms and open-source software.

Microsoft is inviting developers to check out these new tools and innovations at upcoming community conferences: the European Power Platform Conference in Brussels, June 11-13, 2024, and the Power Platform Community Conference in Las Vegas, September 18-20, 2024.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at