Microsoft announced AI-focused Power Platform products at its Microsoft Ignite 2021 conference, which kicked off in earnest today. Among the highlights is Power Automate Desktop for Windows 10 users, a robotic process automation service (RPA) that automates tasks within Windows across various apps. New Power Virtual Agents features were also unveiled. RPA -- technology that automates monotonous, repetitive chores traditionally performed by human workers -- is big business. Forrester estimates that RPA and other AI subfields created jobs for 40% of companies in 2019 and that a tenth of startups now employ more digital workers than human ones.
Taking on the challenges head-on that stand in the way of their low-code platforms growing, Microsoft's series of new product announcements this week at Build 2022 gives organizations new options for achieving low-code development goals. Microsoft's series of low-code announcements made this week include Power Pages, the latest Microsoft Power Platform addition for creating integrated, scalable and secure websites. Lured by the promises of democratizing app development with visual, declarative, drag and drop interfaces often bundled with enterprise-wide platforms like Microsoft, Salesforce, ServiceNow and others, enterprises have been quick to jump in and experiment. They're learning that support for a low-code platform can get expensive fast once app development moves from small department coding projects to larger-scale, enterprise-wide apps. Low-code platforms' hidden costs include limited process workflow support that further adds to the challenge of scaling them enterprise-wide.
Usually, when Microsoft puts on one of its big technical conferences, it takes the opportunity to announce and roll out new features for Power BI. This year's Ignite conference, which kicks off as a virtual event today, is no exception. In fact, the list of new capabilities for Power BI being announced today is huge. Microsoft Corporate VP Arun Ulag was kind enough to brief me last week on the array of new capabilities. In this post, I'll cover some of the major announcements in detail, and do my best to at least enumerate the others.
The Microsoft Power Platform has become an industry leading low-code development platform that enables developers of all skill levels to create unique solutions for business challenges. Infusing AI into solutions can improve processes in many ways, including efficiency, accuracy, and ease of use. As an example, we previously did a demonstration on how AI Builder works seamlessly with Power Automate to create a fully automated document processing solution. At Microsoft Ignite, we announced some exciting new capabilities we are releasing for AI Builder. These new features will further enable Power Platform developers to utilize AI for their business solutions.
One of the things I love most about being on the Azure team is the excitement around new innovations and how our customers use them to seize new opportunities. In the last few years, we've all faced unexpected challenges that have changed the way we work and how we think about digital transformation. Now, more than ever, digital technology is at the core of addressing the way our customers do business. That's one reason why I was eager to join the Azure team and why I'm so excited about this year's Microsoft Ignite. As cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, we at Microsoft see tremendous opportunity to help our customers drive innovation across their businesses and improve their own customers' experiences.