Why Should I even care about power virtual agent for office 365 or power virtual agent for teams? Simple answer? Do you need an AI assistant who will help you run your business in many different ways? If yes, that’s your answer :).

But let’s start from the beginning. What are we talking about? The power virtual agent for office 365 is a part of the power platform (see image below). It is a Low-code/no-code solution that exists in Microsoft 365. You can use it to build almost everything needed for a small company and bigger. You can read more about it in my older post: Microsoft 365 for a small business. And today, I will give you an example of how to use your license to bring AI to your company. If you want to read more about you can check the official Microsoft site.

power virtual agent for office 365

What is power virtual agent for office 365?

It’s a chatbot with artificial intelligence behind the scenes, which is an engine of the solution. So it’s someone you can ask questions or ask him to do something for you. Sky is the limit.

Let me give you simple examples. Imagine that you have a few hundreds of users. Did you count how many times they asked your HR where to find the leave request form? Or how many holidays do they have until the end of the year? Or just in the case of the IT team how to change the password. There are so many common questions or requests in every company, which have to be answered thousand times.

Do you see now the game-changer?

Your savings can be huge! And you agent never sleep. It’s right there, waiting to solve your problem.

And Why power virtual agent for teams?

That’s the trick. You can build your chatbot independently from Microsoft 365, and then you can place it on your company website or Facebook. Lists of current channels you can find here. But it costs you money, a lot of money actually.

Power virtual agents pricing
Power virtual agents pricing

And now Microsoft Teams comes to play. If you create your power virtual agent for office 365 inside of Teams environment, you will get it for free as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription. It has some limitations. For example, you will not get access to premium connectors, but still, you can build amazing things.

So let’s create something.

How to enable your chatbot?

By default, you will not see a power virtual agent in your MS Teams application. We will need to add it first.

  • In MS Teams app go to the apps store and find “Power Virtual Agent”
  • Select it and press “Add for me
  • You are ready to go 🙂
power virtual agent for teams
power virtual agent application for teams

My first AI chatbot

Here’s an initial screen of your power virtual agent for office 365.

My first AI chatbot
My first AI chatbot

  • Press on the “Start now” button
  • Select a team where your bot should be stored
  • Prowide a name and language which your bot will use
  • After a few second you see the screen like this
  • Say hello to your AI friend 🙂 . Enter “Hello” into chat window. Wow your new friend is talking to you!

How it works?

From the left menu, select the topics tab. You will see different topics. Select the “Greeting” topic and then press on the “Go to authoring canvas” button. That’s the starting point of your conversation with AI. You can see a few topics called Lesson. They will give you an idea of how it could work. What’s noteworthy some additional scenarios are not covered by those examples, like integration with Power Automate or Power Apps.

Authoring canvas
Go to Authoring canvas.

Trigger phrases are your possible entries. Chatbot tries to find out what did you mean. So when you enter, for example “Hello” the system finds the match and starts a conversation with you.

Authoring canvas
Authoring canvas

How to create own conversation?

We saw how it works, so now it’s time to create our chat using a power virtual agent for office 365. Let’s create our own topic. For example, we want to help users who have no idea how to change a password in Microsoft 365. Enter the name of the new chat and fill in possible trigger phrases. Then we add a message which will contain the link to a page with user security options. And finally, we will ask him if the problem has been solved or not. If yes, a chatbot will disconnect, and in another case, a problem will be redirected to a human. And that’s it. You can test it now—5 minutes of works – thousands of minutes saved in the future 🙂 .

Why we should care about it?

You already saw how a power virtual agent for office 365 could work for you. But that was just a basic example. I want to bring the solution to you, so you think of possible scenarios which could be helpful in your case. And believe me, there are so many potential needs that can be addressed using this platform.

I have already built solutions that fully automate the process of a new user account provisioning or providing access to company resources.

The key factor here is IT resources are not cheap those days or not easy to find. So instead of using your IT team members to solve fundamental problems day by day, it is much better to create a solution that reduces their overload. A chatbot can solve most of those fundamental problems, and only when necessary will it be escalated to a human. What’s also essential chatbot is always on. There are no delays. So in many cases, a problem can be solved in just a few minutes.

The power virtual agent for teams is already there in your tenant. Design your solution once, use it hundreds of times.

And if it’s a challenge for you, ask me for help.