PL 900 – Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals

As part of the PL 900 – Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals exam below skills of the candidate are measured. I am trying to put in some summary notes which I believe will help the candidates to revise before taking the exam. Each of the above section has sub-sections which is also covered in the posts.

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Build and Publish a basic chatbot

Create a chatbot

To create a chatbot using Power Virtual Agents, you can follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Power Virtual Agents portal.
  2. Create a new bot and configure its name and default language.
  3. Create a new topic to define the main area of focus for your chatbot.
  4. Within the topic, create message nodes to define what your chatbot will say to users.
  5. Create question nodes to prompt users for input and gather information.
  6. Add conditions to your chatbot to help determine the appropriate responses.
  7. Use trigger phrases to enable your chatbot to respond to specific user input.
  8. Test and refine your chatbot until it provides effective responses to user input.
  9. Publish your chatbot and make it available to users.

When building your chatbot, it’s important to consider the types of questions and scenarios it will be handling, as well as the target audience. You can also integrate your chatbot with other systems and services using Power Automate, Azure Bot Service, or other connectors, to provide users with more advanced functionality.

Create a topic

To create a new topic in Power Virtual Agents, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Power Virtual Agents portal and navigate to the chatbot you want to add a topic to.
  2. Click on the “Topics” tab on the left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Click the “New Topic” button in the upper right corner.
  4. Enter a name for your topic.
  5. Click on “Add a trigger phrase” and enter a phrase that will trigger this topic when typed by a user.
  6. Add one or more actions for the topic. Actions can be used to provide information, ask questions, or perform other tasks within the chatbot.
  7. Save your new topic.

Once you have created a topic, you can add it to your chatbot’s authoring canvas and link it to other topics, entities, and actions as needed to create a complete chatbot experience.

Call an action

In Power Virtual Agents, an action is a reusable unit of logic that can be called from different parts of a bot conversation. To call an action in Power Virtual Agents, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the authoring canvas of your chatbot and navigate to the topic where you want to call the action.
  2. Click on the “Add node” button and select “Action” from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the “Action” window, select the action you want to call from the “Action” dropdown menu. If the action you want to call is not available in the list, you can create a new action by clicking on the “Create new action” button.
  4. Add any required parameters to the action by clicking on the “Add parameter” button and entering the parameter name and value.
  5. Click “Save” to save the action node.

Once you have added the action node to your conversation, it will call the action when the user reaches that point in the conversation. The action will execute its logic and return a result that can be used in the conversation.

Launch a Power Automate flow from a chatbot

To launch a Power Automate flow from a chatbot created in Power Virtual Agents, you can use the “Call an action” feature. Here are the steps:

  1. Open your chatbot in Power Virtual Agents and navigate to the authoring canvas.
  2. Click on the “+” icon to add a new message node.
  3. In the message node, enter the message text that will trigger the flow, and select the “Call an action” option from the “Action” dropdown menu.
  4. In the “Action” configuration pane, select “Power Automate” as the action type.
  5. Choose the Power Automate flow you want to trigger from the dropdown menu. If your flow is not listed, click the “Add a new connection” button to connect to your Power Automate account.
  6. Configure any additional parameters for your flow, if necessary.
  7. Click “Save” to save your changes.

Once your chatbot is published and active, it will trigger the Power Automate flow when the specified message is received from the user.

Capabilities of Power Virtual Agents in Microsoft Teams

Power Virtual Agents is a chatbot development platform that is tightly integrated with Microsoft Teams, allowing users to create and deploy intelligent chatbots within the Teams environment. Some of the capabilities of Power Virtual Agents in Microsoft Teams include:

  • Creation of chatbots using a no-code interface: Power Virtual Agents provides a drag-and-drop interface for building chatbots, making it easy for users to create a bot without any coding knowledge.
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams: Power Virtual Agents chatbots can be directly integrated with Teams, enabling users to interact with the bot directly from within the Teams environment.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities: Power Virtual Agents uses NLP technology to help the chatbot understand user requests and respond appropriately.
  • Pre-built templates: Power Virtual Agents provides a number of pre-built templates that can be used to quickly create a chatbot for common use cases such as IT support, HR support, or customer service.
  • Analytics and reporting: Power Virtual Agents provides analytics and reporting tools that allow users to track the performance of their chatbots and identify areas for improvement.
  • Multilingual support: Power Virtual Agents supports multiple languages, making it possible to create chatbots that can interact with users in their native language.
  • Integration with other Microsoft services: Power Virtual Agents can be integrated with other Microsoft services such as Power Automate and Power BI, enabling users to build end-to-end solutions that incorporate chatbots as part of a larger workflow.

Use cases for Power Virtual Agents within Microsoft Teams

Power Virtual Agents (PVA) is a no-code tool within the Microsoft Power Platform that allows organizations to build and deploy AI-powered chatbots for a variety of business scenarios. When integrated with Microsoft Teams, PVA can provide automated assistance and support to team members and external customers in a conversational and personalized manner.

Some common use cases for Power Virtual Agents within Microsoft Teams include:

  • HR support: PVA can be used to provide answers to common HR-related questions, such as leave policies, benefits, or training programs, saving HR personnel valuable time.
  • IT help desk: PVA can help users troubleshoot and resolve IT issues by providing step-by-step guidance and accessing relevant knowledge bases.
  • Customer service: PVA can handle customer inquiries and complaints in a timely and efficient manner, freeing up support staff to focus on more complex issues.
  • Sales and marketing: PVA can assist with lead generation, customer segmentation, and personalized recommendations based on customer data.
  • Training and onboarding: PVA can provide new employees with guidance and support during the onboarding process, such as answering common questions, providing links to training resources, or setting up meetings with mentors.

Overall, using PVA within Microsoft Teams can help organizations automate routine tasks, improve customer satisfaction, and increase efficiency and productivity across different departments.

Topics, Entities, and Actions

In Power Virtual Agents, topics are used to define the intents, or user goals, that the chatbot can recognize and respond to. For example, a retail chatbot might have topics for checking store hours, finding product information, and placing an order.

Entities are used to recognize and extract specific pieces of information from user input, such as a date or a product name. Entities can be pre-built or custom-created based on the needs of the chatbot.

Actions are used to define the steps that the chatbot should take when a user interacts with a specific topic. For example, if a user wants to check store hours, the chatbot might respond with a list of available store hours and a map to the nearest location. Actions can include sending messages, asking questions, and calling external services.

Message Nodes, Question Nodes, Conditions, Trigger Phrases, and the Authoring Canvas

Power Virtual Agents is a chatbot service from Microsoft that allows businesses to build and deploy virtual agents quickly and easily, without requiring any coding experience.

Some of the key components of Power Virtual Agents include:

  • Message nodes: These are the basic building blocks of a bot’s conversational flow. Each message node represents a single interaction with a user, such as asking a question or providing a response.
  • Question nodes: These are specialized message nodes that ask the user a question and capture their response. They can be used to gather information from the user, validate their input, and perform other tasks.
  • Conditions: These are used to evaluate the user’s response or some other variable, and branch the conversation flow based on the result. For example, a condition might be used to determine whether the user’s response is a valid email address.
  • Trigger phrases: These are the phrases or keywords that the bot will look for in the user’s message to determine how to respond. For example, a bot designed to answer questions about a product might be triggered by phrases like “How does it work?” or “What are the features?”
  • Entities: These are the key terms or concepts that the bot is trained to recognize and extract from the user’s input. Entities can be used to drive the conversation flow, trigger different actions, or perform other tasks.
  • Actions: These are the tasks that the bot performs in response to the user’s input. For example, the bot might look up information in a database, send an email, or initiate a chat with a human agent.
  • Authoring canvas: This is the interface used to build and edit a bot’s conversational flow. It provides a visual representation of the bot’s logic and allows authors to add, remove, and modify nodes, conditions, and other components of the bot’s flow.