Dynamics 365 & Power Platform: 2021 release wave 1 plans published

dynamics 365 power apps

The new Dynamics 365 and Power Platform plans for 2021 release wave 1 has been published by Microsoft. The plans cover hundreds of new capabilities that will reach preview and general availability between April and September of this year.

The documents covering the plans for both product areas, totalling over 450 pages, can be found in PDF format and in Microsoft’s online documentation format.

Some of these updates are already well-known, including the likes of preview features that will reach general availability, other updates offer a look into product direction. An example would be the improvements to the Microsoft Teams integration appear in a few places, as do new Azure-based services that enhance Dynamics applications.

The early access features in non-production environments can start being tested by customers from February 1st. As part of Microsoft’s release wave model, the features that are reaching GA will then be deployed in production environment during the release wave period that begins in April 2021. Methods do vary by product, so customers will need to plan accordingly.

Overall however, the product line-up shows few changes at higher levels. Dynamics 365 Product Insights looks as though it has been removed as a standalone product. Its features appear to now have moved under the Engagement Insights branch of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. Furthermore, Power Apps Portals now appears to be categorised within the larger Power Apps service rather than having its own first-level listing under the Power Platform online documentation.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the most interesting changes noted by Microsoft Business Applications COO Mo Osborne in her announcement.

The product lineup overall shows few high-level changes. Dynamics 365 Product Insights appears to have been removed as a standalone product, with its features now moved under the Engagement Insights branch of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. And Power Apps Portals appears to now be categorized within the larger Power Apps service rather than having its own first-level listing under the Power Platform online documentation.

  • Dynamics 365 Sales is adding automation and sequencing enhancements, as well as mobile app updates.
  • Dynamics 365Customer Service is delivering the all-in-one contact center, now with first-party voice built on Azure Communication Services
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service will introduce customer self-scheduling and technician rating. And technicians are gaining a new knowledge management module.
  • D365 Finance will preview an intelligent cash flow offering. The Electronic Invoicing Add-on reaches GA. It is the first of what could be a collection of “globalization microservices” for regulatory needs.
  • D365 Supply Chain Management adds predictive analytics and Power Platform tie-ins that optimize a range of capabilities from machine telemetry to warehousing. Other new features cover rebates, inbound landed cost, and global inventory accounting.
  • D365 Project Operations will begin to support upgrades from Project Service Automation, accounting for non-stocked materials used on projects.
  • D365 Human Resources is expanding its integration APIs and its strategic partnerships.
  • The addition of B2B e-commerce operational flows was the big news for D365 Commerce, but the product will also GA the “buy online, pickup in store” process flows and capabilities.
  • D365 Business Central is improving partner administration tools and Teams integration
  • D365 Customer Insights add new data enrichment options and activation destinations, churn prediction, and a preview of Engagement Insights, which “enables individual and holistic interactive analytics over web, mobile, and connected products customer journey touchpoints”.
  • Power BI will expand integration with Teams while providing enhancements to both its Quick Create experience and advanced capabilities. Power BI Premium will offer customers a choice between per user and per capacity licensing options.
  • Power Apps will introduce printing support, a “top ask from our maker community”, and mixed reality capabilities for canvas apps
  • Power Automate is adding a trigger on actions in Microsoft Dataverse, which helps with integration to D365 Supply Chain Management and Finance.
  • AI Builder for Power Platform will get form processing improvements, new region availability, and new preview capabilities like signature detection.

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