The second edition of European Power Platform conference was held in Dublin. At the Convention Center Dublin, where I attended my very first Microsoft Dynamics community event in 2018, called the Summit EMEA at that point. At that point I had just started to look into community and different conferences, and I was amazed by the knowledge of every speaker.
And 5 years later, I still am 😁 It felt great to be back at the venue 5 years later and experience a conference from an attendee perspective once again.
European Power Platform conference is also the only event in 2023, that I solely just will attend. No organizing, volunteering or speaking. That was very strange, but at the same time, I attended more sessions and learned much more than I usually have the time for. And that I really enjoyed.
The conference started on Tuesday, 20.06 with all day workshops on various topics around governance, Power Apps, performance, ALM, Power BI, etc. Definitely something for everyone’s taste. I could also see from the program that most of the workshops were sold out, so the interest was definitely there.
Wednesday, 21.06 was the first day of sessions that lasted until the evening and continued on Thursday 22.06. As I had another conference to get to in Brussels (Dynamics 365 CX summit), I was only able to attend Wednesday and the morning on Thursday. But that was also a lot of content!
The day started with a keynote at 9 and then went on with sessions until 18:15 in the evening. A full day of learning and networking. There was about 6 different sessions at the same time, so it was very difficult to choose which one to attend 😁
I didn’t manage to attend all the sessions I wanted, but luckily, all the session material is available to attendees through the conference app, so I am able to get an idea of the sessions I missed. And the great thing about these events is, that speakers are very approachable, also after the conference.
But here is a little summary of the sessions I did attend:
Keynote: Power Platform in the Age of AI – Copilot and More – Charles Lamanna, April Dunnam, Kendra Springer
A great kick-off to the conference from the president of business applications & platform at Microsoft, Charles Lamanna. Some insights into the platform and where we are going within the world of copilots and the different products. There were also 2 great demos on new features that have to Power Automate by April Dunnam and Power Virtual Agents by Kendra Springer.
April showed us how the new designer in Power Automate will look like and how to use the powers of copilot to both create and also debug / understand the flows already created in the system.
Kendra was more in vacation mode, showing us how one could book a cruise through a chatbot.
The Best Way To Build An AI Copilot Product? Fusion Teams! – Dona Sarkar
I love the energy there is in Donas sessions. Apart, of course the always packed room, but the way she presents and always has her team present in her sessions, is really great.
Dona took us through the different misconceptions about AI and the boom of it all currently. Especially about how AI will take everyone’s jobs. There is a lot of noise in the media currently about AI and how some people see it taking over the world. Some people are more vocal than others, some people make more sense than others.
Dona walked us through different ways of how teams can work together to implement and use AI in different teams. Having teams that consists of people that know AI, developers, makers, IT pros and business people is the best mix. That way you are equipped to create solutions that won’t make people afraid to lose their jobs to AI, but utilize it as a tool to make you more productive.
She also showed us how Microsoft has been adding copilot to its various products and gave a bit of insight into a brand new feature: Azure OpenAI services on your own data. This allows you to use the OpenAI models, such as ChatGPT and GPT-4, with your own data. It is in public preview now. More info here: Introducing Azure OpenAI Service On Your Data in Public Preview – Microsoft Community Hub
And of course we got homework 😉
Crash Course in Power Pages! – Nick Doelman
I have wanted to attend Nicks Power Pages sessions for a while now, but unfortunately, never made it. Until now 😊
Power Pages is also one of the products that I have used a bit, but never got a real introduction to it, so my hopes for the session was to get some of the basics covered. Nick used the session time to build a website for the conference we were attending.
Starting from the background and that it runs on Dataverse, were great focus points. The one thing that I noted down as well was the fact that your Dataverse contacts = Your site users.
I was also positively surprised about the Power Pages Management App. A model-driven app to update all your web pages, forms, lists, etc. And the best part is that if you have worked with Dynamics applications or model-driven apps before, the designers and methods are very familiar to you.
And last but not least, of course there is also a copilot for Power Pages 😁 You can use it to turn natural language into text and to forms.
Power Platform 101 – Real World Stories from the Community and Resources to Reference – Heather Cook, Sara Lagerquist, Foyin Olajide-Bello
A panel session about the different parts / possibilities within the Power Platform that culminated with personal stories from each of the panelist.
With a room full of attendees, it was also great to hear experiences from also the audience. We all have our own journeys and hearing from others is very motivating.
Crafting a successful Power Platform Adoption Strategy – the Missing Link – Nils Gooijer
Adoption is a very important topic and I am really glad I got the chance to see this session by Nils. The session started with an Expectation management slide, bringing out dry throat, nervous jokes and the chance to forget some things he planned to say. I have not seen this in many presentations and I believe it really made the audience immediately connect with the speaker.
The session was really interesting, talking through both adoption, change management and how to differentiate between them, based on his experience. Also about the fact that the two areas don’t cover everything. He has found there to be a missing link – Marketing, that acts as a link to combine the insights from change management and practical learnings from adoption.
In the end Nils also shared a Miro board of resources that he is using on his projects that we all can use as a helping hand. Very good session Nils, thank you!
Secure and harden Power Automate flows in the enterprise – Yannick Reekmans
The more complex the processes and automations, the more governance and security you need to make sure everything is running as it should. My experience with governing enterprise grade Power Automate flows has been poor, most likely due to the lack of knowledge to be able to suggest better and more secure ways.
Yannick’s session gave good inspiration on what to look into. I liked that he also included the basics to be covered, as that would be my first point 😁 But also, the recommendations he had will definitely be useful in the future. What I really liked was the following statement:
Service principals or Application Users
are better than
are better than
User (or named) Accounts
for enterprise & system flows or automations.
It helps to make clear hierarchy on what kind of solution or way to go.
With Yannick’s usual constructive criticism, vast knowledge of the subject and great questions from the audience, made it a really great session to follow.
Architecting Your Next Power Platform Project – Ahmad Najjar
Another talented speaker and colleague, whose session I have not managed to see until now, is Ahmad. As a solution architect, I always find ways to make projects better and find better ways of solving things and this session really was spot on for that.
Ahmad started the session with asking how many in the audience consider themselves an architect. And then he went on to explaining the different types of architects (software, solution, enterprise) there are and what is their area of expertise.
Then talked about different data sources and how Power Platform can be extended with both low code and pro code tools.
Some of the key takeaways from the session are to make sure to keep an open mind to the different possibilities out there, not to get stuck on a specific set of tooling. Then make sure to create solutions that can be reused in the future. Saves everyone time and effort.
For the last session of the day, I chose the AMA (Ask Microsoft Anything) session. It was hosted by Heather Cook and the idea was that everyone that had any Power Platform related questions spoke up and then different product managers tried to answer all the questions as well as they could.
As usual with these kind of sessions, it was a slow start, but as it got going, it was hard to stop. When the time ran out, there were still about 5-6 people waiting in line to ask questions. 😁
Everyone that asked a question got a pair of socks and an answer or at least to see a lot of product managers from Microsoft try to give an answer that doesn’t violate any agreements 😁 All in all, most questions got answered and those that didn’t got recommendations on how to take the matter further. So everyone was happy, well.. besides the 5-6 people that was still in line once the session ended.
Keynote: How to Create LA DOLCE VITA in a Work Environment of Change and Uncertainty – Pellegrino Riccardi
The last day of EPPC started with a keynote about how to create the sweet life in turbulent environments. Honestly, when I first read the topic, I wasn’t too impressed. Nor did I think it had anything to do with technology.
But I was really glad that I attended.
I was right, it really didn’t have much to do with technology, but it covered everything around it. Pellegrino is very good at catching everyone’s attention by combining jokes, facts, research and uncomfortable tasks. Yes, we got tasks, almost like being in one of Dona’s sessions 😁
It started with a statement that: “Life is like espresso coffee.. bitter and sweet”. The idea is that you need both in your life to be able to grow and experience it fully.
And never have I ever seen a slide: Where is the love?, shown at a tech conference. Remember to tell the people you love, that you love them. It is a thing we seem to forget, especially within our families. So much so, that the most common answer to: I love you, is: “What’s wrong?”
There were a lot of parts of the session that gave food for thought. A really good session. So much so, that I think every conference should have a keynote like this.
So that was the European Power Platform Conference 2023 in Dublin. I gained a lot of new knowledge, new contacts and experiences. Thank you to the whole organizing and content team, you put together a really good conference.
See you all next year in Brussels 😉 #EPPC24