Microsoft Dynamics 365 follows a continuous release cycle where major updates are automatically rolled out to all Dynamics 365 Online customers. There are two major updates each year (April and October) and organisations need to have a plan in place to review the two major updates ahead of the automatic roll-out – you can read more on this in our “Best practices for the new update approach” article.
Microsoft have recently released details for the wave 1 2020 release (April – September 2020). As part of this, Microsoft post release plans (formerly known as release notes) for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, which outline in detail all the new features coming.
This article outlines the key information that you need to be aware of and any major changes – it is not a summary of the updates, as we would recommend reviewing the release plan and drilling into the detail of the Dynamics 365 applications that are in use at your organisation.
Release plans available – 27th January 2020
Early access preview – 3rd February 2020
General availability – 1st April 2020
Virtual launch – After 1st April, Microsoft also schedule an online launch event, where key Microsoft contacts detail the new features in live videos (later available on-demand). The latest release videos are posted here: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-gb/business-applications/current-release/
Key changes to be aware of
The majority of announcements coming in wave 1 2020 brings additional functionality, improvements and updates. However, there are two major changes to Dynamics 365 that customers need to be aware of: Team Member Licence enforcement and the New Unified Interface.
Team Member License Enforcement
On 1st April 2020, the new Team Member licences will be enforced – these have restricted functionality to previous Team Members and will likely impact many organisations. Restrictions include: reducing custom entities from unlimited to 15 and removing edit, create and delete functionality for Accounts and Knowledge records. From 1st April, any new licence terms will use the new licensing method. For those already use Team Member licences, 1st April was the cut-off date - however, Microsoft have given an additional grace period until 30th June 2020. You can read more on the Team Member licence in our article Team Member Licensing enforcement coming to Dynamics 365.
Organisations need to transition to the new unified interface in Dynamics 365 and move away from the legacy web interface. This will not be enforced in this wave – but will be in the next, so it is worth considering now. This transition is a major undertaking and has a number of ‘behind the scenes’ implications that can impact functionality. All new updates are written for the new UI, and Microsoft have announced that companies will be forced to switch to the new UI in October 2020. If you have not yet transitioned, then it is worth planning now to allow sufficient time for the transition. You can read more on our ‘Overview of the new unified interface’ article.
Organisations are already receiving emails about early transitions – these allow you to move the new UI in advance of the October 2020 cut-off date, however if you are not yet ready then this can be delayed. Read more in our article ‘Emails for early transition service to Dynamics 365 Unified Interface’.
How to approach the update
As this continuous cycle is now the standard approach, it is worth reviewing how updates are managed, tested and rolled out, as this will occur twice every year. We recommend reading our “Best practices for the new Dynamics 365 update approach” article for advice and considerations.
We also offer update support packages; we carry out a health check to review your existing environment against the next release (deprecated functionality, customisation impacts etc.) and outline areas that will be impacted with an estimated remediation plan. We can then carry out the remediation activities, or you can use the report to complete this yourselves ahead of the automatic transition.
Early access preview: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365-release-plan/2020wave1/