Microsoft’s AI Tool Lets Anyone Build Business AppsMicrosoft’s AI Tool Lets Anyone Build Business Apps
Simply describe what you want and Copilot will build it
March 20, 2023
At a Glance
- Microsoft unveils AI copilot for Power Apps, adding generative AI productivity tools to its app development platform.
- Users can describe an app function and the platform will generate it and even populate data.
- Microsoft also adds AI virtual agent capabilities to Power Apps.
Microsoft is integrating generative AI into its app-building platform, Power Apps, to let both developers and non-technical end users build business apps just by describing it.
Microsoft is bringing code-generating tool AI Copilot to Power Apps, enabling users to build business applications via natural language prompts. Users would simply type a description of the app they are trying to build, and the new tool will generate its interpretation of the request.
For example, users could tell Copilot to “build an application to automate the manual process of creating and approving customer invoices” and it would generate the code for the app.
Copilot in Power Apps also can suggest options, recommend improvements and populate sample data.
Power Apps is a suite of apps, connectors and data platforms for developers to build business-focused apps. Launched back in 2016, the platform has since been used by insurance giant Zurich, manufacturer ZF Group and telco brands T-Mobile and Vodafone.
AI Copilot is not the same as GitHub’s Copilot, which is also a generative AI coding tool. Microsoft owns GitHub.
Microsoft also announced that it was integrating AI Virtual Agents into Power Apps. The addition allows users to add bots to their applications to support user queries.
Ryan Cunningham, Microsoft’s vice president of Power Apps, said that the addition of generative AI will “transform how we build and interact with software applications.”
“We’re bringing the power of Copilot in Power Apps to both application makers and their end users. Now you can build an app, including the data behind it, just by describing what you need through multiple steps of conversation,” Cunningham said in a blog.
The new AI additions to Power Apps are only available currently in the U.S. in English.
Microsoft's decision to bring Copilot to Power Apps follows the news that it was bringing generative AI tools to Word, PowerPoint and other 365 products. Microsoft 365 Copilot enables users to generate text in Word or tables in Excel using text inputs.
Copilot is also available via a new platform, Business Chat, which can generate things such as status updates on meetings based on a user’s email, chats, documents and meetings.
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