Microsoft recently released its latest Dynamics 365 wave of updates, and you’re asking yourself, “What do I do now?” In this blog, we will provide a breakdown of activities to complete for feature release adoption, including preparation, preview testing, implementation, and updates.
A new Microsoft Dynamics Release Wave brings exciting possibilities and opportunities for businesses to enhance their customer relationship management applications. With each release comes enhancements to the system that include new features, deprecations or updates. Navigating these new features and ensuring a smooth transition can be a challenge sometimes.
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to use the new features included in Micrososft Dynamics 365 Wave Releases. From preparation and preview testing to implementation and updates, we will cover all the essential steps to help you make the most of these new features.
Overview of Dynamics Release Roadmap and Frequency
Before diving into the specifics of operationalizing new functionality, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the Dynamics release roadmap and its frequency to stay up to date on upcoming features and plan your adoption strategy accordingly.
Microsoft has two major releases a year called Wave 1 and Wave 2. These waves include release plans that are updated monthly. Microsoft releases Wave 1 features between April and September and Wave 2 features between October and March. Each Wave has an early access (preview period) before it is released for general availability.
Additionally, they provide monthly minor updates, encompassing both application and platform changes that are critical improvements to the service, including regulatory updates.
You can find Microsoft release wave documentation on the Microsoft Learn site as part of application documentation, as well as the release planner, which we will cover in greater detail below.
You can reference the latest release wave documentation here.
Adopting New Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics 365
To ensure a successful adoption of the new functionality, start by conducting a thorough analysis of your business needs. Identify areas of opportunity within your current state that can benefit from the new features. This includes assessing your business processes, customer interactions, and data management requirements.
By aligning the new functionality with your specific business objectives, you can prioritize and tailor your adoption efforts effectively. Ensuring you have the proper change management strategy in place that includes communicating new features, training and support is essential. Check out our blog from the CRM Never Stops series about conducting an assessment and generating a roadmap for your system to serve as your north star throughout your CRM journey to ensure success as you continue to adopt new features and enhancements that resonate with your vision.
Previewing New Features
Microsoft provides a preview option for upcoming features, allowing you to explore and evaluate their potential impact on your Dynamics environment. Take advantage of this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the new functionality, test its compatibility with your existing system, and gather feedback from key stakeholders.
Microsoft typically makes preview features through toggle enablement and simple configuration, making it easier to experiment and gather insights without disrupting your current operations. Preview features are not intended for production. You can expect that upon general availability release, functionality may change or be updated. We advise you to test these features in a non-production environment before rolling them out to the production environment.
Using the Microsoft Release Planner to Plan Operationalizing New Features
The Microsoft Release Planner is a valuable tool that can assist you in planning and managing the operationalization of new features. It provides a visual representation of your organization’s release schedule.
Read more about the release planner in another blog here: Microsoft Release Planner.
What to Be Aware of During a Dynamics 365 Feature Release
During a feature release, it is essential to be aware of certain factors that can impact your system. Auto-updates are one consideration, as they can introduce changes to your Dynamics 365 environment without manual intervention (You can turn some of these off, but not if they are system critical).
Stay informed about these updates and their potential implications for your business processes. Additionally, be mindful of deprecations, which involve the removal or replacement of certain features or functionalities. Keeping track of deprecations ensures that you can proactively address any dependencies and make necessary adjustments.
It is also important to review and test any custom code or configured extensions against the new features to ensure compatibility. Whenever there is customization, some of these features are unable to be applied and unable to leverage new functionality. This is why the best practice is to stay out of the box as much as possible.
Operationalizing new functionality included in Microsoft Dynamics 365 wave releases requires careful planning, evaluation and communication. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can navigate the release process effectively and use the latest features to enhance your Dynamics capabilities.
Stay proactive, involve key stakeholders, and adapt your processes to fully use the benefits of these updates. Embrace the opportunities presented by CRM wave releases and drive success in your organization. By staying informed, preparing effectively, and taking advantage of the available resources, you can make the most of the new functionality and propel your customer relationship management to new heights.