Every day, all stakeholders in the world of Dynamics are inundated with information from the most diverse business areas. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a fast-changing business landscape, characterized by digitalization and rapid IT innovation.

Microsoft’s Dynamics One Version, platform updates, release waves, discontinued functions, new license model, the changing names of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 product family and much more. How can I stay up to date here? What is relevant for me and my current Dynamics set-up? How can I consider these changes in the context of my day-to-day operations?

Have you asked yourself some of these questions? In our current blog series, we shed light on changes and innovations so you can focus on what truly serves you and your digital transformation goals.

Release notes, platform updates – where to start?

A good starting point for a first overview of ongoing changes is the Microsoft Roadmap for individual Microsoft products. The Roadmap distinguishes between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform, while you can also find information about associated applications, focusing on the most relevant for you.

The basics: What you need to know?

  • Twice a year Microsoft provides new functions for all Dynamics 365 applications via major release waves.
  • The first release wave includes new functionality to be made available between April and September 2020.
  • In the second release wave, new functionality will be made available in the period from October 2020 to March 2021.
  • 2 months before the start of the next wave of releases, customers can access a preview version of the announced functionality via “Early Access” so as to test them extensively before the official start of the release wave.

The latest in Microsoft innovations: Get your head around March's Microsoft Business Application news

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/opt-in-early-access-updates

As a result, key dates for the first wave of publications in 2020 are:

  • January 27, 2020: Version plans are officially available
  • February 3, 2020: Functions provided from April 2020 are available for testing by advance access (list of functionality)
  • April 1, 2020: General availability of the new functionality
  • From 3 April 2020: Start of regional deployments

What is “One Version”?

Contrary to the big release waves for Dynamics 365 applications, the One Version environment provides monthly updates from Microsoft that primarily provide improved reliability of the systems. The goal of the monthly updates is to minimize the impact on operations and to always comply with legal requirements, allowing your organization to better plan updates and reduce upgrade costs.

In One Version, you can decide whether the updates are directly and automatically imported into the test and production environment by Microsoft, or you can choose when and how to implement them. However, you must perform at least two service updates per year and can only pause three consecutive updates. After that, an update to the latest version is automatically performed.

But with continuous improvements and innovations, sometimes old things have to give way. For this reason, functionality that have been replaced or are obsolete are removed or no longer developed.

It is important to keep the following details in mind:

  • Monthly service updates could be installed manually or automatically via a fixed schedule (e.g. every first Monday of the month)
  • You must perform at least 2 service updates per year
  • If the updates were paused 3 times in a row, Microsoft will automatically install the latest update
  • The headlines in Microsoft’s documentation about One Version, “What’s new or changed in Platform update” and the announcements about “Removed or obsolete features“, will give you an overview of relevant changes

If you still can’t see the wood for the trees with all the different data and sources of information floating around at the moment – contact us! At AlfaPeople, we happily help you with advice and guide you through the world of updates and innovations. to develop the best update strategy for you, including automated test scenarios, or inform you regularly about the functionality updates that are relevant for your Dynamics 365 application.

Ann-Kathrin Seidel
Ann-Kathrin Seidel
Business Consultant at AlfaPeople