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Preparing for Copilot in Microsoft Power Platform environments – An administrators guide

Ralph Rivas
Mar 26, 2024

As the administrator for your organization’s Power Platform system, you either already have a game plan and roadmap for your journey into the new reality of AI a.k.a. Copilot. Or, you are likely getting pressure to decide whether you will be waiting on the competitors to move ahead or swiftly setting things up to take advantage of the new, powerful capabilities while still adhering to polices and security requirements. On top of that, the details on how to get things up and running, or even how to lock them down, seem to change on a nearly monthly basis. In this guide, we will help you examine some key elements to make it work, allowing you and your stakeholders to have at least a part of the equation necessary to make those decisions.

Core Information before we start

There are three key concepts you will want to understand in as much detail as you can beyond the environment basics found in the Microsoft Power Platform Guidance documentation.

1. What is Copilot in Power Platform – every system has a different implementation of the term “Copilot” but for Power Platform it is the feature that assists developers and makers in generating code, suggest solutions and answer questions about data in the case of their user facing components.

2. Dataverse – This is the heart of all Power Platform data storage in all cases, whether or not used as part of a solution or as the support for the packaging and administration of Power Platform assets. Its role and importance make it critical for any AI implementation.

3. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policies – There are two major aspects here. One side is about the data policies for the M365 tenant itself, which must be addressed prior to any responsible AI implementation to an organization. The other side is in Power Platform where policies that allow or block types of data connection activities are set to give the Copilot system its “perspective” on what it can or should not do, as set at the environment level or applied to the tenant as a whole.

If your organization spans multiple regions around the world, there is one additional consideration to make: whether you would allow the option for an automated system to move data across those regions. This setting has a major impact on Copilot for the organization unless you decide that you will restrict its use to a single one.

Getting started quickly

Here are the places in the Power Platform Administration Center to visit and update before creating Copilot applications:

  • Enable or Disallow Data movement across regions.
    • In the Environments Menu selection, select the target environment
    • In the Generative AI Features card, click on Edit
    • Choose to enable or disable
  • Get the most current Copilot capabilities
    • In the Environments Menu selection, select the target environment
    • Click on Settings then Behavior
    • Change the Release Channel from Semi-Annual Channel (default) to Monthly Channel
    • As things change often, review all settings that make references to Copilot and make changes to accommodate those features as needed. As of February 2024, you may encounter a setting that is missing a setting. The error will advise on the value that needs to be placed there.
    • Scroll to the end of the page to Save changes
    • Click on Settings in the bread crumb link above to allow you to select Features
    • Under Search, set Dataverse Search to on
    • Again, review other settings for things that aid with Copilot activity such as enable AI suggestions for Canvas Apps
    • Scroll to the end of the page to Save Changes.

The Environment is now ready, albeit you may wish to wait a few minutes to ensure the changes are propagated, especially when working with environments based in other regions.

At this point, there is one major nuance for using the Copilot component in Power apps, which is, as of this writing, in Preview mode, and that is to configure the Dataverse table it will use. The following steps prepare a Dataverse table to be consumed by Copilot:

1. Enable Indexing

1.1. In the Advanced settings for the table, ensure that Track changes and Appear in search results are enabled. Custom tables will not have these enabled by default

1.2. Define Columns for Copilot – part of responsible AI practices include knowing exactly what data is in scope

1.3. Click on Views from the Table Hub Card

1.4. Locate the default Quick Find View (e.g., “Quick Find Active Accounts” for the Accounts Table)

1.5. Add columns to the Find by options. Use Edit find table columns to manage this list

1.6. To set the columns that are to be returned in Copilot responses:

1.6.1. Add the desired columns to the view using (+) View Column

1.6.2. Remove unnecessary columns such as GUID type ID’s.

1.7. Save and Publish your Table

You are now ready to at least have that POC or Demo or begin using Copilot in Power Platform! I encourage you to use the opportunity to learn and experiment as much as possible.

About the author

National Solutions Architect | USA
I am a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. My extensive background makes me an ideal resource for wide-ranging roles in many different projects.

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