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DevOps becomes mandatory for Dynamics 365 Business Central

by James Crowter
Managing Director, Clever Dynamics

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central community has been on a rapid journey over the last few years. Events, Extensions, automated testing, SaaS, AL, and VSCode are just some of the topics that have forced a whole different level of reskilling on users, partners, and ISVs. Usually, we become aware of the change one year and then by the following it becomes mainstream and critical to our success.

My bet would be that 2020 is the year that DevOps for Business Central goes from an excellent idea to the mainstream. I simply cannot see how we are going to continually certify current compatibility for the hundreds of ISV solutions (likely to be thousands by the end of 2020) and hundreds of thousands of per-tenant extensions using the old fashioned manual test and deploy method.

It's costing Microsoft a fortune

I'm putting my money on it this year because Microsoft is getting increasingly frustrated that its SaaS ERP platform is being run like thousands of on-premises systems. Both ISV and per-tenant extensions are continually and repeatedly blocking Microsoft's upgrade process, forcing the Business Central systems team to run an ever-increasing number of concurrent platform versions because of a few tenants stuck on each. This situation isn't viable as Business Central scales ever larger. Imagine the howl that would go up if something they were doing was costing us thousands a week. Isn't it fair then, when the reverse is true, they coax us to do something better?

Expect Microsoft to get harsher in applying the rules: 90 days past the launch of the new updates and your tenant will be upgraded without your failing extensions, even in your production instance. Tough if you haven't got it sorted by then; you should have. That condition is in your terms of service, so why should Microsoft be penalised because a few customers haven't fulfilled their side of the agreement?

It's poor customer service

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About James Crowter

I'm passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I've worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I've seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I've also had some hard projects over that time where it's felt more like warfare at times.

Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I've been working with a small Danish product called Navision that's now become Microsoft's Dynamics NAV and I've also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I've been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It's my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction.

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