Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan

The Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan has just been released!

You can go to the plan in the documentation (here) or download the detailed PDF (here).

I'd like to give you a quick summary of what I think are the most exciting features coming up in this wave. Remember though that this plan focusses on the period from April to September 2021, so features releasing before that will not be taken into account here. For example: Object-level security is a feature planned for Public preview in February 2021. For a complete overview have a look at the 2020 release wave 2 plan.

My primary job focus is with Power BI and Power Platform governance, so as you may understand, the majority of features will be in that direction.

I also display the Public Preview (PP) and General Availability (GA) dates here, just to have a complete overview. Please be aware that this is a post on my blog that is accurate at the time of writing. For the most recent status of features please go to the 2021 Release Wave 1 Plan.

A little disclaimer before we start: Because this post lists features that may not have released yet, delivery timelines may change, and projected functionality may not be released. For more information, go to Microsoft policy.

Power BI

For an overview of all Power BI related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

OLS permissions for dataflow entities (PP - | GA May 2021)
This will allow you to give permissions to specific entities inside a dataflow, so you don't have to share the whole dataflow anymore.

View permissions for dataflows (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This allows owners of a dataflow to give view permissions, so users can browse entities in a dataflow. Combined with the previous feature, you can now share a specific entity with view access.

Workspace level refresh for datasets and dataflows (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This is HUGE! This feature will take care of refreshing all artifacts inside a workspace, also taking care of dependencies and orchestration of those refreshes.

Deployment pipelines - dataflows support (PP May 2021 | GA - )
This feature describes itself, although there are 3 sub features mentioned:

  • A way to visually compare the code between 2 versions of a dataflow
  • Deploy dataflows through the stages
  • (!)Maintain the relationship between dataflows and datasets through the pipeline

Background validation for dataflows (PP - | GA April 2021)
When saving a dataflow, the validation will no longer be blocking for the UI and be performed in the background.

Data lineage, impact, and API enhancements (PP April 2021| GA - )
While there are a few capabilities already available (lineage view in the workspace, dataset impact analysis), the below will also be added:

  • Composite models in lineage view
  • Admin API's to scan artifacts and lineage cross tenant
  • An API that returns the list of workspaces that changed since the last API call
  • Extending Service Principal authentication for Power BI read-only API's

Power Automate

For an overview of all Power Automate related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Improved onboarding experiences for new users (PP March 2021 | GA April 2021)

Improved licensing and usage visibility for Power Automate environments and tenants (PP March 2021 | April 2021)
This visibility will be provided in the Power Platform Admin Center (PPAC) and the flow analytics page.

Admin reports to show API usage for users and flows (PP April 2021 | GA - )
There will be license reports in the PPAC to view the API usage of flows and users, giving admins the capability to determine when flows or users are approaching usage limits.

Governance capabilities to prevent data loss (PP April 2021 | GA - )
There will be more governance capabilities in the PPAC including:

  • Connector restrictions
  • Connector action restrictions
  • Endpoint filtering
  • Restrictions for sharing connections

Governance and administration

For an overview of all governance and administration related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Power Platform tenant isolation support (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Enable/Disable tenant isolation using self-serve capability through the PPAC. Previously, we had to create a support ticket to enable tenant isolation.

User security configuration experiences in PPAC (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Managability of users and security will be better and centralized in PPAC, with a modern and intuitive UI for environments with a Dataverse database. Also AAD-groups will be included in the security role assignments

Tenant scope admin report for Power Apps usage (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Power Platform service admins will be able to understand usage with metrics like Monthly Active Users (MAU), the kind of engagement with new and return users, and also the list of apps in use and not in use at the tenant.

Tenant-level admin reports for flow usage (PP April 2021 | GA - )
Similar to the previous feature, but now for Power Automate. This will also provide useful insights, primarily in the field over number of (successful and failed) runs, number of makers and also total flows, number of flows created in the last 30 days, etc.

Data Integration

For an overview of all data integration related new and planned features, go here. These are my favorites:

Data source management enhancements (PP - | GA September 2021)
This is a LOOOONG awaited feature, at least from my side! :-) While the PPAC now already shows Power BI gateway data sources in read-only mode, centralizing the management will be enhanced further, a.o. by:

  • visibility of the username and service principals of a data source,
  • a new field called Data source description,
  • Installed date, and Last used date for the gateway,
  • and support to use groups instead of users. 

Email Alerts (PP - | GA September 2021)
For me, the best enhancement here is to set up email alerts to notify for updating to a newer version of the gateway.

Reuse and share queries across Power Query clients with Power Query templates (PP September 2021 | GA - )
While not immediately helpful for me (because I don't work that much with PQ), I do see the great potential for this feature!


All-in all a great set of features to be working on. I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Next to all this Power Platform goodness, there's also a lot going on in Dynamics 365, if you're interested have a look here.

Let me know what your favorite feature is or if you think I missed anything important!

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