Discover the key new features coming to Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft has used its Inspire event to outline the pipeline of new Dynamics 365 updates and features coming in the 2021 release wave 2

What is the Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 2?

Being based (predominantly) in the cloud, Microsoft can update its Dynamics 365 CRM solutions at any time with ease. But it takes a consistent approach. While security patching is rolled out on a continuous basis, new features and functionality are added twice a year in wave 1 (around April) and wave 2 (around October).  This announcement relates to new features coming in the latter part of 2021.

What are the Dynamics 365 updates?

As usual, there’s an enormous number of updates across the various modules – some are minor improvements while others are major new features. Our summary of the key updates are below:

Dynamics 365 Marketing: Wave 2 is set to allow for a granular approach to user journeys, allowing marketers to deliver more personalised content (with AI-powered suggestions)

Dynamics 365 Sales: Updates are focused on enhancing links between Dynamics 365, Teams, LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, effectively creating a tighter link between the key tools of the modern sales team.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service: Improvements have been made to multi-channel support methods and to finding knowledge base articles, making the job of customer service agents easier. There’s also new machine-based learning around the estimated effort for support tickets (based on historical analytics) to assist managers.

Dynamics 365 Field Service: A new customer portal is being added to facilitate self-scheduling and appointment making, simplifying communication and engagement with customers (Akita has already developed something similar to great effect)

Dynamics 365 Project Operations: Microsoft’s newest Dynamics 365 module is bedding in as a solution to connect sales, resourcing, management and finances. Dynamics 365 release wave 2 updates for this module look set to focus on any minor bugs and integration points. However, organisations should take this as a sign it's time to migrate away from Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation which is due to be retired.

Dynamics 365 Business Central: Microsoft’s SMB ERP solution gains deeper application integration with Microsoft 365 and capabilities to manage tenants more easily.

When can I access Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 2 features?

As usual, some elements announced in Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 2 will be available to trial before being made more widely available.

From 2 August 2021, organisations will be able to start trialling new features for Sales, Customer Service and Field Service.

The full wave 2 release will then be available in full from 1 October 2021.

How will Dynamics 365 updates be deployed?

As previously Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 2 updates are split into the following three types:

Users - Automatically: User experience features that only impact users will be updated automatically.

Admins - Automatically:  Some more advanced features only available to admins will also be implemented automatically. These are typically additional features related to areas such as tenant control.

Admins – Manually: These more in-depth features need careful consideration before deployment, as they may interfere with any Dynamics 365 custom configuration. It’s advised these are only undertaken by skilled developers.

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