Check out some of our favorite features from the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics 2023 Release Wave 1 in our ultimate guide.
Microsoft took its corporate mission seriously to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” in this year’s Wave 1 release.
2023 Release Wave 1 contains hundreds of new features across Dynamics 365 applications. We are excited about the new capabilities and have already planned to use them with some of our clients.
In addition to the long list of features Microsoft is rolling out, we’ve also been given access to a new release planner for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform, which includes the release dates for each specific feature. This interactive interface enables Dynamics and Power Platform users to view release plans and timeframes across all active waves. Users also can personalize, filter, sort and share these plans.This article will highlight some of the more notable features in the 2023 Microsoft Release Wave 1 for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, which will launch from April 2023 through September 2023. We break down features for the following modules and their subsets:
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement
Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations
Let’s get started.
Top Features in Business Central
Set Up and Sync Master Data Across Companies
Administrators will now be able to move and sync master data between companies in the same environment. The capability will exist to add and remove tables to synchronize with advanced coupling options. This feature will aid in testing and training scenarios when creating configuration packages for moving data between environments is not a viable option.
Ship and Receive Non-inventory Items on Warehouse Documents
Procure-to-pay processors can now post non-inventory costing, such as handling and freight, while posting the inventory receipts. Currently, Dynamics requires you to do this in two transactions, potentially using two different resources. This update will allow for faster and more accurate payment processing.
Shopify Connector Becomes Extensible
Administrators will now be able to extend the Shopify Connector to allow for a custom and more robust connection to Business Central. Customers will be able to further align the online shopping experience with internal business processes.
Modern Tooltips Are Easy to Read and Understand
Many end users find the tooltip notes too general to provide any real value. Moving forward, Microsoft will enhance tooltips with more robust notes and instructions. This enhancement will allow for better and easier onboarding of new customers and end users.
Add existing table fields to optimize your pages: Administrators and customizers will now be able to choose from all table fields when personalizing views. Currently, the available fields are limited and require a developer to expose additional fields to become available to add to a view. This enhancement will allow for a better navigation experience without requiring customization.
Customer Engagement Release Wave 1 Features
This section will cover feature highlights for the following modules: Sales, Customer Service, Customer Insights and Marketing.
Top Features in Sales
Manage Opportunities More Effectively Using Pipeline View and Enhanced Opportunity Form
Organize and update your opportunities in a more personalized way using a bird’s-eye view of your pipeline with key sales metrics shown along the top. Manage Opportunities quickly with editable sub-grids and a personalized side panel, plus add notes and tasks right from the pipeline view. With the enhanced Opportunity form, which Microsoft has redesigned to keep high-value attributes front and center and make the form easier to view and use, sellers can get the information they need quicker than ever.
Sales Engagement Enhancements (formerly Sales Accelerator)
Engage with customers in smarter ways using the new sales engagement capabilities. While there are several enhancements planned, here are a few worth noting:
- Let sellers focus on quality leads only by using bots to handle initial customer interactions
- Communicate with customers using SMS
- Use the suggestions and insights from past customer interactions you received during calls to have smarter, more personalized customer conversations.
Automate the Creation of Follow-up Tasks
Instead of manually creating follow-up tasks throughout the day, focus on higher-priority items and rely on this new AI-based feature to create the tasks for you. This feature automatically captures follow-up tasks from emails, Teams messages and call transcripts and can provide friendly reminders to help you drive them to completion.
Associate Activities With Other Activities
Today, you can associate activity records with business records, such as Leads, Accounts or Contacts, but it is impossible to associate an activity with another activity. Users can associate activity records, like Teams Chats, with Tasks with this new feature.
Engage With Your Customers Using SMS Conversation
Engaging with your customers in the method they prefer is critical. Sellers can engage with customers through SMS through any record of the sales process and maintain a historical log of ongoing conversations. Supporting SMS as another quick and effective communication option will help your business fully deliver a streamlined omnichannel customer experience.
Top Features in Customer Service
Case Management Enhancements
With a variety of new case management capabilities Microsoft is releasing this year, here is what we found most noteworthy.
- Agents can now upload attachments and take notes while creating a new case using the enhanced Case form. Previously, you had to do these steps separately, taking away precious time and productivity from agents.
- Agents can easily view and prioritize cases with the new color-coded icons and statuses. With the enhanced workspace layout, agents can easily multitask by having multiple cases, conversations and knowledge articles open simultaneously.
Email Template Designer
In the new email template editor, Microsoft gives users a handful of new options in a WYSIWYG-like designer screen. Users can easily add images, buttons, dividers, text and more to make their email templates more advanced and visually appealing than ever.
Enable Customers to Keep Queue Spot, Get Callbacks
Companies can provide a better experience to customers using the direct callback capabilities – enabled at the queue level – by letting them wait for the next available agent without remaining on the line. Once the customer reaches the top position in the queue, Dynamics assigns the work item to the next available agent and automatically starts the callback to the customer when the agent accepts the work item.
Integrate Nuance IVR to Boost Agent Productivity
You will be able to use nuance interactive voice response (IVR) to enable self-service help for customers, letting agents have more meaningful help conversations with customers who really need it.
Top Features in Customer Insights
Data Quality Insights
The quality of your reports and insights are only as good as the quality of your data. Following a data import, use the new easy-to-read AI-generated data quality report to quickly see an overall grade of your data import, an overview of data quality issues, suggestions for improving the data and more.
Add Custom Columns to Activity Tables
Most Dynamics administrators are familiar with the limitations of activity tables. After this release, activities are no longer limited to using a fixed schema, and you can customize how you capture interactions to meet your unique business needs. With better tracking of customer interactions comes a more holistic picture of the customer, enabling Dynamics users to get better insights and provide better, more personalized experiences.
Add Customer Insights Directly to Contact, Account and Lead Forms
By enabling you to use customer insights data on the Contact, Account and Lead forms, Dynamics now allows you to use rich customer insights directly on the form itself. Sellers can view insights such as average transaction amount, total sales and customer lifetime value to get a more holistic view of the customer and know how to best engage with them. You can also add customer insights to the unified activity timelines for these tables.
Top Features in Marketing
Copy Key Stakeholders on Email Campaigns
Keep your key stakeholders in the loop by copying them on email campaigns. You can use this feature in any number of ways. For example, you could use this feature internally by copying key groups across the enterprise on your campaigns to raise awareness and increase collaboration. You could also use this feature to boost campaign success by copying account managers on email campaigns so they can personally follow up with each client.
Use Defined Milestones to Understand the Success of Marketing Activities
Create milestones to define key steps in the buyer’s journey, for example, making a purchase, becoming a qualified opportunity or joining a loyalty program. Measure the milestones over time and track marketing activities and journeys against them to understand effectiveness. This feature enables your marketing team to better understand which marketing efforts are most successful and which they can improve upon or avoid altogether.
Create Forms Using the New Intuitive Form Experience
Create smart, visually appealing forms without the help of a developer using the new intuitive form experience. Using a modern drag-and-drop editor, you can easily design forms to be placed on your website or portal to capture customer information.
Enrich Marketing Content by Embedding Additional File Types From the Asset Library
Create richer outbound marketing content by embedding documents, presentations, PDFs and more in your emails. Upload your files, images and so on to the asset library, which has a new user interface for document management, and simply add links in your emails to pull the assets from the library.
Finance and Operations Release Wave 1 Features
Here we’ll cover a few key features related to Finance, Supply Chain and Project Operations.
Top Features in Finance
Accounts Payable Fully Automated With Invoice Capture
The “vendor invoice capture” feature is a powerful tool that helps capture data noted from a vendor invoice, imports the data into Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, and attaches the uploaded images to the vendor invoice.
This release will introduce using both vendor invoice types (vendor invoice related to purchase orders (PO) and those that are non-PO related) and improvements on the data exception. It will help end users build a custom AI model for invoices that is more robust than the out-of-the-box feature can handle. The overall benefit of this feature will allow the end user to focus on vendor exceptions and less on data entry.
Payment Reference on Ledger Settlement
Microsoft will add an enhancement to the ledger settlement page related to viewing payment references. The ledger settlement page allows you to view all transactions not marked as settled. When reviewing unsettled payments on this page, it is hard to match them to the correct invoices. With this release, the end users will be able to see the payment reference within the page and apply it to the correct transactions.
Simplify Integration With Tax Solution ISVs
The “simplify integration with tax solution ISVs” feature will support end users who integrate a third-party tax software with D365 Finance & Operations. Connecting two systems takes a lot of time and money to implement and maintain. This new feature will make integrations more cost efficient and reliable with this out-of-the-box approach connecting to the independent software vendors (ISVs).
This feature will include validation against addresses of the account and tax tolerance, including external tax rates for the API and other components such as parameters and mapping configuration to connect the two systems.
Currency Revaluation Posting Profiles
The addition of currency revaluation posting profiles allows the user to get very specific regarding the postings to specific adjustment accounts. This new feature allows you to make account selections per currency and module. This allows postings for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, General Ledger and Bank to each post to different main accounts, versus a single account in previous versions.
Review Cross-year Settlements
Dynamics back-ported the cross-year settlements feature to version 10.0.29, allowing users to settle and unsettle transactions across different fiscal periods. This feature is particularly handy when someone has misapplied customer payments, and you discover it later.
Packing Slip Date as the Delivery Date for Sales Tax Calculation
If you are invoicing processes that might take place days after the shipment of goods, this feature allows the system to charge the correct tax more accurately on goods. Especially in the US, where states implement tax codes at various times, this feature will now use the shipment date versus the invoice date for tax rate determination and subsequent calculation.
Customer and Vendor Payments Posted in Detail With Summary Bank Postings
This feature allows the user to make detailed journal entries for specified customer or vendor payments. In the past, those detailed entries translated to detailed entries in the bank account sub-ledger, but now Dynamics lists those entries as summary postings.
Top Features in Supply Chain
Archive Inventory Transactions
The “archive inventory transactions” feature will help end users store historical inventory transactions more efficiently. With this release, Dynamics 365 allows you to store these transactions in Dataverse instead of your working environment. The key benefit of this feature is that it will lower the cost of storage and increase performance in the system.
Top Features in Project Operations
Use Deferrals for Stock or Production Project Scenarios
The deferrals for stock or production project feature will help end users capture deferred cost at the project-group level. Based on the project group you select when creating a project, it will allow you to defer ledger posting instead of having to select Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss options. This also allows the options to state which revenue transaction types (expense, item, fee or HR) to defer.
Microsoft Power Platform Release Wave 1 Features
In this section, we’ll cover feature highlights for the following Power Platform applications: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Pages, AI Builder, Power Virtual Agents, Power BI, Microsoft Dataverse and key deprecations.
Top Features in Power Apps
Reuse Power Fx Formulas With User-defined Functions
Power Fx now supports user-defined functions. This feature allows makers to store logic into functions and reuse it, making the app-creating experience more streamlined and efficient. It’s now easier to build on top of your previous work or repurpose bits and pieces of your logic.
Add Table Columns to Forms and Views Automatically
Microsoft recognized one of the biggest friction points for Microsoft Dataverse makers is that when creating table columns, the system doesn’t automatically update forms and views used for model-driven apps. This feature introduces a new button called “update forms and views” that will allow users to choose what table columns to add to forms and views for the table instead of the current method of manually adding each newly created column to the form and view.
Top Features in Power Automate
Use Natural Language to Create Flows
You may have heard about the ChatGPT chatbot, which has been making waves in the technology world. We’re seeing a lot of platforms leverage AI models to support natural language to enable complex capabilities. This feature is now available in Power Automate, allowing users to describe a flow and then create it based on their description of the automation needed. It will generate the flow and parameters, explain how Power Automate built it, and suggest improvements.
Sequential Approval Flows
Often, approvals require multiple stakeholders’ inputs before you can push forward an initiative or request. Additionally, visibility to the different approval stages and where requests may stall is valuable information. This feature enables makers to create multiple-stage approval flows in Teams and Power Automate with the ability to assign an approver for each individual stage along with visibility to the entire approval history.
Native Integration for Flows With Excel
Users will now be able to create and execute flows from within Excel with an Automate add-in within Excel that will allow users access to Excel-specific templates from an Automate menu. This update reflects the truly integrated work experience between apps, a trend we’ve seen with Teams. We’re excited to see it expand into other Microsoft tools.
Top Features in Power Pages
Provide Website Inventory Data for Tenants and Environments
An accurate inventory of all the websites in your tenant is essential for following governance best practices. Previously the only way to view this information was from a read-only list in the Power Platform admin center with limited metadata providing additional details. This feature will introduce additional metadata to provide more valuable information in addition to the ability to export the data. This functionality could be useful in other areas of Microsoft products, so we’re hoping to see this rolled out in other areas soon!
Use Cloud Flows With Power Pages Sites
This feature enables native integration between Power Pages and Power Automate allowing professional developers access to a connector they can use with APIs to trigger events from Power Pages and support bi-directional data exchange.
Top Feature in AI Builder
Retrain Documents Using the Feedback Loop Feature
When Microsoft first launched AI Builder, your imagination was the only thing limiting the possibilities and use cases. But a huge blocker for true enterprise application was that once you trained your model, it wasn’t realistic to use in the real world where you’d constantly encounter new information or potentially different documents requiring analysis.
To support ongoing training without having to edit and essentially recreate your entire model, this feature introduces a training wizard queue, where it will send flagged documents with low confidence scores for review and retagging. You can then use these to enhance your model’s training and performance.
Top Features in Power Virtual Agents
Trigger Bot Topics by Events
A bot’s ability to process requests and trigger topics outside the standard conversation prompt and directly from events allows it to support advanced scenarios and meet a wider range of needs and use cases. Coupled with Power Fx expressions, you can reference connectors to trigger bot topics from various events. This will be a game changer for the user experience.
Enrich Conversations With Adaptive Cards
Driving exchanges with a call to action and reducing the barrier to completing the next step in a workflow or process is key. The fewer clicks, tabs and windows, the better. Power Virtual Agents will now support enriching conversations with adaptive cards, enabling users to interact directly with and assess custom-formatted data or visual content within the window without navigating to a different interface.
Top Feature in Power BI
Send Unique Report Per Recipient With Paginated Report Email Subscriptions
It doesn’t need to be time consuming to create reports tailored for everyone on your team anymore. Previously, we could only send paginated reports to a list of recipients with a single set of parameters and filters. Now, Power BI can support mapping the relevant report parameters to your email recipients. Everyone receives a dynamic filtered view of a report with the information that matters most to them.
Top Features in Microsoft Dataverse
Send Alerts When Dataverse API Hits Usage Limit
When customers experience slowness today, it’s often unclear what the issue might be, and many assume there is a platform issue. Many times, though, there’s a good chance you reached licensing, API service protection limits or component limits. This update will provide clear alerts and calls to action so that users and admins can understand the problems they are facing and plan accordingly.
Quickly Access a Dataverse Environment
Build applications in a personal environment (also known as a developer environment) with no additional licensing costs. In this personal environment, which is limited to 2GB of storage and does not count against your tenant capacity, you can connect data and build and run apps using Dataverse. To scale the app, simply move it to a sandbox or production environment.
Microsoft will deprecate Internet Explorer 11 support for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. We heard last year Microsoft is deprecating Internet Explorer, which means this deprecation comes as no surprise. Microsoft will now redirect users who attempt to access Dynamics 365 or Power Platform from Internet Explorer 11 to use Microsoft Edge to access these apps.
ConclusionThere are a lot of great features coming in the pipeline for 2023. These features will empower, transform, and help drive your business. By letting users focus on high-value tasks and leveraging new capabilities to take care of the rest, we have no doubt that our customers will see real value from these new capabilities.
We’re very excited about the takeaway theme of heavy integration across apps. We know the more cohesive interface experience when using these tools and the ability to use capabilities across platforms is something our customers (and team) will love.