Microsoft Business Apps 2021 Release Wave 1: Dynamics 365 CE and Power Platform first look

January 30 2021

Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform afficionados around the globe: rejoice! The 2021 release wave 1 plans have been released and are available for your detailed consumption. Fear not, fellow Microsoft connoisseurs, I have taken upon myself the task of reading through the Dynamics 365 novel (348 pages chock full of goodies) and the Power Platform manuscript (a brief 95 pages) and have highlighted some of the big changes coming your way.

First off, it’s important to note that the features discussed in either novella will be rolling out from April 2021 through September 2021. As you page through the PDFs, or more likely scan through the 2021 release wave plan high-level notes online, you’ll see that each feature may have up to three different dates set:

  • Public preview: organizations can opt-in to test-drive these pre-release features.
  • Early access: the feature is available to opt-in as part of early access on February 1, 2021.
  • General availability: the feature will be delivered within the month listed.

Note: these dates are subject to change (and they often do).

Dynamics 365 Highlights

We'll dive into three areas of highlights: Marketing, Sales and Service – and there are a lot of updates and new features! We even have a sales update that might just make your most stubborn sales reps finally adopt Dynamics 365. There’s also updates for Finance, Project Operations and Supply Chain Management that you can check out.

Marketing

There are many updates here, exciting ones too! A few that I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on include:

  • AI-generated segments: This is a great way to enhance who receives which messages.
  • Improved analytics: With this release, you can now monitor journeys and KPIs in real time!
  • Goals: You can set a goal for a journey and measure its progress.
  • Channel updates: send SMS to any mobile device, deliver push notifications to Android or iOS apps.

These improvements really enhance a marketer’s reach, analysis, and incorporation of AI.

Sales

This release comes with numerous updates and improvements to the Sales app as well, notably when it comes to digital selling, engagement, pipeline management and mobility. Let’s first dive into the mobile updates.

About Heidi Neuhauser

Heidi Neuhauser is Director of CRM Projects at Reenhanced, a software company specializing in rescue projects. With more than ten years of experience in Microsoft CRM, she has a wide variety of industry and product knowledge working with organizations of all sizes (from small non-profit organizations to Fortune 100 companies) to implement CRM and train end users.

Heidi has a notable passion for Microsoft Dynamics and it shows in every project she works on. She volunteers regularly in the CRMUG community. She serves as Chair for the CRMUG Philadelphia Chapter, speaks at CRM industry events about best practices and provides webinar trainings for others in the CRM community.

Heidi has experience with CRM across multiple industries, including education, oil and gas, distribution, manufacturing, travel, insurance, construction, not-for-profit, software, manufacturing, government and transportation. Some of the integrations Heidi has managed and trained end users around include ClickDimensions, ActOn, Hubspot, Exact Target, call center integrations and a number of ERP integrations. Additionally, she has assisted multiple organizations to roll out Sales, Marketing and Service for the first time, helping them to leverage technology to gain user adoption of the system.

More about Heidi Neuhauser