Microsoft Dynamics 365 Release Policy Updates

By 13th March 2019 Product Updates

As we first announced back in July of last year, Microsoft have been making changes to the update process for Dynamics 365. To deliver a more consistent, predictable, and seamless experience for every customer, Microsoft are streamlining the Dynamics 365 update release process. We first announced these changes back in July of last year, but Microsoft have now issued further detail as to how the new process will work.

What was the existing update process? And how is the new process different?

Historically, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 customer base runĀ  a range of versions of the product, partially due to late adoption of changes of new features and functionality and a fear of current functionality being affect by an upgrade. However, in recent months, Microsoft have been making a concerted effort to bring all customers up to the latest version and to keep those versions current by taking control of the update release schedule. Major releases will take place in April and October each year, with minor release being rolled out at regular intervals in between. These updates will be applied automatically, with no user intervention required.

How can I minimise the potential disruption of Dynamics 365 updates?

As major updates can potentially affect current functionality, Microsoft will announce, well in advance, what the upcoming changes there will be, in order to give businesses the opportunity to prepare. For instance, for the upcoming April ’19 release, Microsoft released extensive notes on February 21st. Administrators of Dynamics 365 are always encouraged to read these notes, not just to look for changes that may affect their current business processes, but also to review new functionality to see if it may be of benefit. As these major updates will be backwards-compatible, there should be minimal risk to organisations, particularly for first-party applications such as Power BI or Office 365. Third-party applications may however, require some additional preparation and testing, to ensure minimal disruption.

To prepare for an update, some of the new features in each release can be previewed in advance before their general availability. By opting an Instance in to these previews, ideally in a Sandbox, users can trial new functionality to see if it may be of use in a Production environment.

So once an update has been released, there’s nothing more I need to do?

Not quite. Although the platform itself will be automatically upgraded for you, the apps that run on the platform will need to be manually upgraded. This is a task for an administrator to perform, but if you would like assistance with this upgrade process for any of your Dynamics apps, please get in touch.