Microsoft publishes 2021 release wave 1 plans for Dynamics 365, Power Platform

January 27 2021

Microsoft has published its Dynamics 365 and Power Platform plans for 2021 release wave 1, which covers hundreds of new capabilities that will reach preview or general availability between April and September 2021.

The documented plans for both product areas, which total about 450 pages printed, can be found both as PDFs and in Microsoft's familiar online documentation format.

While some of the updates are already well known, like preview features that will reach general availability, others updates offer insights into product direction. For example, improvements to Microsoft Teams integration appear in a few places, as do new Azure-based services that augment Dynamics applications.

Customers can begin testing the early access features in non-production environments starting on February 1. As part of Microsoft's release wave model, the features that are reaching GA will then be deployed in production environments during the release wave period starting in April 2021. The methods vary by product, so customers will need to plan accordingly.

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.

Below you will find a selection of the most intriguing changes noted by Microsoft Business Applications COO Mo Osborne in her announcment of the release. You will want to dive into the details to learn details like dates, whether features are in preview or GA, and more.  And we plan to cover many of these product and service areas in more detail in the coming days and weeks with the help of subject matter experts from the community.

  • 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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Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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