Dynamics 365 & Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Overview

Dynamics 365 & Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Overview

John Phillips Product Updates

As Microsoft have today unveiled their planned improvements for October 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 August, we would recommend familiarising yourself with them ahead of time by enabling the Wave 2 Preview in a sandbox environment. If you are an existing Strategy 365 customer and need assistance with this, please get in touch.

Dynamics 365 Key Changes

Dynamics 365 Sales

  • Microsoft Teams Meetings integration. Create a Teams meeting when scheduling an appointment from Dynamics 365. Join Teams meetings with one click from within Dynamics 365 and, during the meeting, seamlessly access and update sales records. Meeting notes captured during the meeting are then automatically synchronised back to Dynamics.
  • Sales-driven Microsoft Teams notifications. Receive Teams chat notifications when you are mentioned on a Dynamics record when @mentions are used. Follow Sales records to also receive Teams notifications when those records get updated.
  • Deal Manager Workspace. Offers a new experience that is intuitive, modern, and personal. Find the right deals and take action.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service

  • Add external data to the Timeline. A new virtual data model allows you to bring in non-Dynamics data and display it on the timeline, ensuring that no interaction history is missed.
  • Enhanced voice functionality. Calls can now be recorded and automatic transcriptions made, while real-time sentiment analysis can be used to gauge customer happiness. Outgoing calls can be made simply from Cases, Customer profiles, Callback activities, ongoing chat conversations and via a phone dialler.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

  • Enhanced Excel integration. Embedded lists can now be exported to Microsoft Excel. Report data can also be exported to Excel, minus any report formatting.
  • Improved Power BI integration. Previously, only Power BI reports from the default workspace or the Business Central workspace could be embedded into Business Central. Now it is possible to embed Power BI reports from any personal or shared workspaces.
  • Improved web client performance. Various performance optimisations that benefit not only the Business Central web client, but other clients as well. resulting in faster-opening pages, more efficient resource usage on client devices, and more.

Dynamics 365 Marketing

  • SMS Messaging. With Twilio and TeleSign integration, it will be possible to send marketing SMS messages to your mobile contacts.
  • Enhance Customer journeys with Power Automate. Invoke a Power Automate flow from any point in the customer journey and access hundreds of actions and triggers. Also, the reverse will be possible – triggering a new customer journey from a Power Automate flow, for example, when a back-ordered item is back in stock, trigger a marketing campaign for customers who previously attempted to buy the item.

Power Platform Key Changes

Power BI

  • ‘Analyse in Power BI’ for Dataverse. Although Power BI is a perfect tool for analysing Dataverse data, the data model has to be constructed in Power BI Desktop, delaying the opportunity for quick reporting insights. Now there will be a one-click solution that connects data in Microsoft Dataverse with a model in Power BI, producing a new Power BI report on the fly.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint integration. When building presentations, PowerPoint users can embed Power BI report pages or a specific bookmarked report view and filters can be modified directly in PowerPoint.

Power Apps

  • Themes support. A unified infrastructure for themes across model-driven apps and canvas apps. This feature will enable context and host-aware themes for browsers and embedded mode in Microsoft Teams.
  • Simpler offline configuration for model-driven apps. Just one toggle switch to enable an app for offline and automatically generate a default offline profile.

Power Apps Portals

  • Relevance Search. The portal global search experience will provide an option to use relevance search for searching records across multiple tables and columns, while still adhering to search configuration and security permissions. Eventually, this will become the default search experience for Power Apps portals.

Power Automate

  • Resubmit multiple flow runs at once. Sometimes, you may have multiple failed Flow run attempts; the ability to select multiple runs at once in the runs page and submits them in bulk will become available, instead of having to resubmit each one individually.
  • Roll back to previous flow versions. With this new feature, previous versions of cloud flows can be viewed and you can revert the flow back to your chosen version.
  • Access Microsoft Dataverse from desktop flows. There will be a new module in Power Automate Desktop that lets you work directly with data that’s stored in Microsoft Dataverse.

Power Virtual Agents

  • Adaptive Card support. Create rich content without needing to write code by using Microsoft Adaptive Cards directly from within the authoring experience
  • Automatically start a bot conversation with a welcome topic. Configure a bot to automatically display a message at the start of a conversation without needing to write any code.

AI Builder

  • Extract entities from unstructured documents. AI Builder form processing can extract entities from unstructured documents. Extract entities such as amounts, dates, names, and terms and conditions from legal covenants where each document is different.
  • Microsoft Teams integration. Allows users to easily create flows leveraging AI Builder actions directly from Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Dataverse

  • Delete users with disabled status. When users have been disabled or deleted from Azure Active Directory or Microsoft 365 admin, they are set to a status of ‘disabled’ in Microsoft Dataverse. These users not only take up storage space but also inhibit the ability to purge historical records. This feature provides the capability to delete and remove users who have a disabled status while maintaining data integrity.
  • Microsoft Dataverse data archival. Based on a user-defined schedule, unrequired data is automatically copied to new storage and the original data is deleted from Microsoft Dataverse storage, freeing up valuable database space.

Summary

The October 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. August 2nd, 2021 – Early Access available
  2. October 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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