Microsoft have announced significant changes to the way updates to Dynamics 365 are deployed, in a bid to ensure its users have access to the latest features, while minimising any potential risks.
What are the changes?
- Two major releases per year – In April and October, two major updates of Dynamics 365 will be released. How this differs from previous releases is that any major new functionality is turned off by default and can be enabled when your business is ready to use it, minimising potential disruption. Minor updates, improving performance and reliability, will continue throughout the year as before.
- Increased visibility of upcoming changes – Ahead of each major Dynamics 365 release, Microsoft will issue extensive release notes, detailing planned changes, ensuring that you are always kept up to date. This began with the April 2018 update and release notes for the upcoming October 2018 update have also just been published.
- Sandbox testing – Starting with the April 2019 release, it will be possible to test new functionality in a Sandbox environment, prior to deployment in your live instance. This will enable you to test your organisation’s customisations in a safe environment and report any identified issues to have them addressed well in advance.
- All customers to be on the latest version – this is perhaps the most significant change. In the past, Microsoft have permitted companies to delay upgrading to the newest available version, but in the coming months, Microsoft will be aiming to ensure everyone has been upgraded to the latest version.
What does this mean for my business?
If you are already on the latest version, 9.0, then you can relax in the knowledge that you’re already up to date and are prepared for future upgrades. If you are unsure as to which version of Dynamics 365 you are using, you can simply check this via the Options menu (the ‘Cog’ icon) in the upper-right and clicking ‘About’ –
Customers who are running anything below 9.0 will need to start planning for their upgrade. By the end of January 2019, everyone will need to be running version 9.0.