Nick Cottrell

Nick Cottrell

Consultant

You’ve all probably had some interaction with a chat bot in recent years, whether at work or shopping online. Microsoft have its own tool to help us build chat bots and publish within our organisation. It is part of the Power Platform, but you might not have heard much about Power Virtual Agents. We want to tell you about this great tool and how it could benefit your organisation.

Think about the time your organisation could save if your customers or internal staff could ask a chat bot a question instead of filling up your inbox, or phone lines with common queries. If this interactive experience sounds like something that would benefit your organisation, then you could take a closer look at Power Virtual Agents and the possibilities it can offer.

Microsoft market Power Virtual Agents as a no code tool that simplifies the building of these chat bots. This means you don’t need to be an expert in the area and the bot could be developed in-house.

 

Is it really that simple to build?

If you’ve used any of the other Power Platform apps like Power Automate, it’s a fairly similar experience. It makes building the chat bot fairly simple with time. That being said you do need to put in the time planning and preparing to build your chat bot.

While in the app in Microsoft Teams you can build out the Topics, add Trigger phrases, and test the bot before publishing.

If you want more complex capabilities, this is possible with Microsoft's Cognitive Services and Bot Framework. As Power Virtual Agents is integrated with Microsoft's Power Platform, there are more opportunities to enhance your bot, with automations and more.

MS Teams Power Virtual Agents

What happens after the bot is published?

Once up and running the chat bot is learning every day, and using AI to suggest new topics to build as users interact with it.

Inside the app as an owner you will be able to manage the bot, as well as access analytics on usage for topics triggered, customer satisfaction and more.

If published internally users will see a similar experience as if they were having a Teams Chat with a colleague.

If you are publishing these internally through Microsoft Teams then you may want to look into how you communicate out to the business or team how to access and use the bot. A little adoption support will go a long way to improving the usage of the chat bot once published.

MS Teams Power Virtual Agents 2

What if we don't have the time or resource?

There are some free open source chat bots out there including the Microsoft Teams Adoption bot, where you can download from GitHub. Following the instructions you can add these chat bots to your environment in a short space of time. Before publishing them within the organisation, it’s worth testing them and reviewing whether they need some improvements to better suit your organisation. If you’re interested in the open source adoption bot you can find more details on it and my thoughts on one of my own blogs here.

You can also talk to us here at Perspicuity if you need support or guidance on Power Virtual Agents.

How much does it cost?

You can try Power Virtual Agents for free for a limited time here

More details on cost for Power Virtual Agents can be found here. To purchase you will need to have access to the Microsoft 365 admin centre with either global administrator or billing administrator rolls.

How do we get it?

Power Virtual Agents is available as an app within Microsoft Teams. Once you have added the app from the Microsoft Teams app store you can start to create your chat bots and publish them directly into Microsoft Teams.

Discover how your organisation can get started with Power Virtual Agents and transform the way your colleagues interact with Information. Book in a discovery session to learn more!

Want to know more? Dip into Microsoft's Product Roadmap for Power Virtual Agents or an overview of Power Virtual Agents in Microsoft Teams!

Originally published January 19 2022, Updated January 19, 2022

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