If your role involves building Power Apps or Power Automate flows, you probably have a method you follow, a pattern for creating great solutions that has stood you in good stead so far.
You've got used to the way things work in the power platform right? Well, things are about to change ...
Unless you've had your head buried in the sand you'll have noticed what's happening right now in the Power Platform. Copilot is here and it's about to change the way we build apps and flows forever - or so Microsoft would have us believe.
If you haven't got your hands on it yet now is the time to experiment with the opportunities opening up. It's not yet in Public preview though across all tenants so how can you do this?
Thankfully, there's a really quick and easy way to get hands on. All you need is a good relationship with your Admin (or if that's you, a few clicks of a mouse)
What You Need
Setting up to try building Power Apps and Power Automate flows using the new Copilot features is thankfully quite easy. This assumes you either have access to the Power Platform admin centre or you know someone who does (who can perform these steps for you).
Head to the Power Platform Admin centre (URL on the left).
Open up the Environments drop down and you will see all the current environments that have been provisioned on your M365 tenant.
Now a word a caution. Environments take up space on your tenant so you need to make sure you have enough or purchase some more space.
Click the New + button to create a new environment. You will now see a drop down set of options.
Choose Preview (United States). It is worth noting if you spotted the toggle to create a Dataverse environment, for the Preview environment this is disabled.
Our assumption is that this is because Microsoft want to give the ability to experiment but not to risk getting tied up with LOTS of experimental data in a Dataverse instance. As soon as you reach the 'Create an App' stage you will most likely be prompted to create the app in a Developer Environment which is separate. There is a workaround we have tried which gives full functionality - we will come to that in a moment.
For basic experiments, select Preview (United States) and fill in some details giving a clear indication that this is a test environment.
We chose to use a Sandbox environment in our case to represent that fact we may all try to collaborate with solutions for our tests here.
Once you have done that step, you have to wait a little time whilst the provisioning process takes place. After around 5 minutes you should see a new environment in your list like the one we have here.
If you want to try out Copilot AND be able to create apps and data which are integrated inside the same environment, choose a United States environment during the setup process and select Create a Dataverse Instance via the toggle. This will consume storage capacity on your tenant which is why - we think - it is turned off by default for the preview style environments (so you can simply go play).
The final step whichever way you decide to go is to assign users to the new Environment.
Without this, no one will be able to use the Preview features other than the person making the environment.
Add users by clicking on the Detail View for the environment you have just set up
You'll then see the screen below. Decide on the people you would like to fulfil the admin and maker roles
Then go ahead and add users from your tenant as per the image below.
Once done, you are ready to begin to access the environment and enjoy experimenting with the new features until they become mainstream on the Public release channel.
Remember, the preview environment lets you test Copilot but does appear to stop when creating apps. You can play with Power Automate however in a relatively natural way.
If you want the 'full fat' experience, create your new environment as a United States environment and you should be good to go creating - subject to having enough capacity for Dataverse space on your tenant.