Power Virtual Agent Channels

Power Virtual Agent

In last post we have discussed about bot authentication to secure the chatbot from unauthenticated users. Now lets see what are the options where chatbot can be hosted. What do you mean by chatbot hosting? Again going back to the same example that we are browsing a portal and suddenly a bot pops up from right bottom of the screen, so that user can interact with the chatbot. This is the opportunity and we can engage the users wherever they go to find the answers like a customer care portal, internal portal, mobile app etc. These are called channels for PVA. Availability of variety of channels are the opportunities for you to connect with users to solve their problems or interact with your brands.

PVA gives lot of options to host the bot as shown in below snippet

Out of these various channels, mostly used in projects are the Microsoft Teams, Custom websites, Mobile app. Demo Website is generally used for testing, anybody can use this link for testing purpose.

Lets take a deep dive in the Microsoft Teams channel. Here the bot would be available in the Teams and as any other user who is using teams, we can chat with the bot directly from Teams. I think this is most efficient for internal users who use Teams most of the times during the day. Here we can even see the history of our last conversation. Obviously its based on the Teams policies to store the conversations.

In PVA Manage->Go to Channels and select Microsoft Teams as shown in below snippet and then click on Turn on Teams

It will open the popup as shown below. We have to first click on Edit details In case we want to disconnect the Teams, we can click on Disconnect from Teams anytime

In Edit details, we can change the icon, change the colors etc. Provide short and long description and click on Save We can check the checkbox for to allow users to add this bot to a team.

After saving the settings, we can select the setting where we want users to see this bot. if we want to show this ot to everyone in the organization, this needs approval from the Teams Administrator. Lets select this option

Click on the Submit for Approval button

It would confirm if we really want to so and if we click on Yes, this app would be submitted for approval to Teams Administrator

If its in Trial instance and as admin, we can go ahead and approve the app as mentioned in below steps

Search for your app, select and click on Allow.

Click on the App and then click on Publish , it will again confirm and then publish the App

Now our app /our chatbot is available in Teams Apps, we can search and add it to our teams

We can chat with the bot in the Teams 😀.

We have seen the deployment channels of the PVA and went in depth of Teams channel. Hope you find this posts helpful.

Enjoy chatting with the newly created bot in Teams.

Power Virtual Agent Authentication

Power Virtual Agent

When we login to any portal, suddenly the bot pops up in the corner and asks us “May I help you?” or “What are you looking for?” etc. Here the bot is not expecting to know who you are and anybody can type hello to the bot. However when you get into the conversation and go in specific questions, it asks you your name and email/phone number to identify you. In another case sometimes the bot asks to login first to identify you. Internal bots, the bit automatically recognizes and greets you.

When you are asking generic questions to bot, it can provide you generic answers, however when your bot is intended to answer very specific questions like what is my leave balance, what is the location of my parcel or even the status of the issue raised in the customer care. then bot needs to identify you. There are scenarios where the bot is restricted to only specific group of users. In all such scenarios user authentication in the bot implementation comes in picture. Unlike any other application access, to access the bot, we don’t need to assign any license to these users. Anybody who has the link of the bot can access the bot provided the bot is set to be authenticated.

To enable the bot authentication, there are some settings to be in the bot. If we go to Manage – Security, we can see three options:

  • No Authentication – Anybody who has the link of the bot can access the bot
  • Only for Teams- this bot is available for access only through the Microsoft Teams app
  • Manual (For any channel including Teams)-supports AAD or Auth2 identity provider

We can also check the checkbox to “Require users to sign in” which will immediately prompt the users to sign in as soon as they interact with bot.

In case you select only for Teams options , rest of the channels are disabled for the bot and bot can be only accessible via Teams.

Here are the steps

You can refer detailed documentation and steps in Microsoft Documentation link