Dynamics 365 & Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 1 Overview

John PhillipsProduct Updates

As Microsoft have today unveiled their planned improvements for April 2021, we take a look at the key innovations and changes.

The release plans, as before, have been divided up into Dynamics 365 and The Power Platform, such is the scale of the changes. As some of the changes are available in preview in February, we would recommend familiarising yourself with them ahead of time by enabling the Wave 1 Preview in a sandbox instance. If you are an existing Strategy 365 customer and need assistance with this, please get in touch.

Dynamics 365 Key Changes

Dynamics 365 Sales

  • Scan cards and notes using the mobile app. In a logical extension of the business card scanning functionality, it will be possible to scan cards and notes using the mobile app. Microsoft’s AI Builder technology will then automatically extract pertinent data.
  • Automatic call and meeting transcriptions. Not only will the mobile app provide automatic transcriptions, but it will also automatically assign the transcript to the matching record in Dynamics 365.
  • Personal email templates and signatures. Enhanced personal settings will provide the ability to use the new editor to compose personal email templates and signatures.
  • New Pipeline Manager Workspace. Provides the in-context experiences needed to quickly filter deals, view necessary information, and take direct action, all without navigating away from the main workspace.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service

  • New voice channel. A significant addition to omnichannel Customer Service, the new voice channel provides the ability to make, receive, distribute and record calls. The channel also supports real-time transcription, sentiment analysis and translation, plus the receiving and sending of SMS messages.
  • Run Power Automate flows via macros. Allows customer service agents to trigger automated processes from within the Customer Service app, improving service turnaround times.
  • Scheduling can now interrogate Outlook calendar data. Avoid scheduling conflicts by additionally reviewing Outlook availability before booking appointments.
  • Resolved and Cancelled cases can now be updated. Previously, closed case/incident records were read-only and could only be modified by first reactivating the record, potentially leading to issues with reporting or automation. Now, administrators and customisers will have the ability to update these closed records to correct erroneous data.
  • Enhanced timeline. Rich text and embedded image support for user post records, support for mentions in notes and the ability to filter timeline records by status reason will all be added.
  • Knowledge management analytics. Improve your service delivery by identifying knowledge gaps and analysing popular terms by search volume and engagement.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

  • Cloud printing support. With Business Central supporting cloud printing via Universal Print, documents can be sent to any printers defined in the Universal Print management page.
  • Background reports. When reports are initiated via the web client, the report generation is completed in the background and the user notified when it is ready to download – no more waiting for reports to complete on-screen.
  • Synchronise item availability with Dynamics 365 Sales. Following an initial setup, when item inventory changes in Business Central, the change is automatically reflected in Dynamics 365 Sales.
  • Simplified bank statement import process. Custom maps can be created to ease the process of importing comma or semi-colon separated bank statement data into Business Central.

Customer Voice

  • Cascading question type. Enables the upload of a list of related answers, such as country, city, and county, to create questions that automatically filter answer options based on a previous response. For example, if United Kingdom is selected for country, the next question shows only the list of UK counties.
  • Pause and resume surveys. Respondents can partially fill in a long survey, pause it, and then resume later to complete it, enabling them to complete it at their own pace.
  • Survey header customisation. Configure surveys to match the look and feel of your existing brand to promote familiarity with customers.

Power Platform Key Changes

Power BI

  • Paginated Report Visual. In a Power BI Premium report, it will be possible to embed a Paginated Report and it can be interacted with in the same way as existing report visuals.
  • Quick Create. Aimed at users with little or no Power BI experience, the Quick Create feature will allow a user to type paste data directly into either the Power BI Service or Microsoft Teams and have a report automatically generated for them, with the ability to slice and dice the resulting dataset.

Power Apps

  • In-App notifications for model-driven apps. These simple notifications alert users to record changes, potentially removing the need for distracting and frequent email notifications.Account updated notification
  • Export PDF documents from canvas apps. Provides the option for on-demand PDF report generation, directly from a canvas app.

Power Automate

  • IFrame support for Desktop flows. Capture iFrame elements, unblocking the scenario where your automation needs to work with webpage iFrames.
  • Triggering Flows from Actions. Works with the common events model to allow for the triggering of a Power Automate flow when carrying out a Dataverse action, for example, the closing an opportunity.
    Close Opportunity - Trigger Action

Power Virtual Agents

  • Government Cloud support. Create chatbots that securely handle information for your government organisation.
  • Adaptive Card support. Easily create Microsoft Adaptive Cards directly from within the Power Virtual Agents authoring experience. Adaptive Cards can then be displayed to your customers, tailored to their screen size and device capability, including images and videos.

AI Builder

  • Signature detection in Forms Processing. A Forms Processing Model can be trained to detection signatures in a specific location within a document.


The April 2021 release overview introduces a wide range of enhancements and refinements, but also some interesting new features. We look forward to seeing and testing the new functionality when the preview and general releases are launched. As a reminder, these are the upcoming Wave 1 dates to be aware of:

  1. February 1st, 2021 – Early Access available
  2. April 1st, 2021 – General availability

Existing Strategy 365 customers who would like to discuss any of the above changes or need assistance with enabling the Wave 1 preview, please get in touch.

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