D365 Wave Updates (Updated for 2021)

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Each year, Microsoft ships two major waves of updates to Dynamics 365 - one beginning in early Q2, and another in Q4. Microsoft publishes release plans beforehand to give IT, supply chain, and finance leaders time to prepare their implementation plan.

Sifting through nearly 400 pages of documentation about how these updates impact your business may not be at the top of your to-do list. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. The Microsoft Dynamics experts here at Blue Horseshoe created wave guides to help you understand enhancements to the Microsoft Platform. Wave guides are organized by release date.

D365 2021 Wave 1 Release

The 2021 Microsoft D365 wave 1 release (April 2021 through September 2021) focuses on enhancing the user experience to make processes easier and more efficient.

Wave 1 has a variety of updates relevant to IT, Supply Chain, Finance, and Retail leaders:

IT Leaders

Microsoft's 2021 release wave 1 plan is packed full of tools that IT leaders and system administrators will need to have on their radars. Across the family of Microsoft D365 applications, these tools promise to improve performance and scalability while optimizing development times. These include:

  • Inventory Visibility Add-In, a new API that makes it easier to get on-hand count information
  • Scale Units for Manufacturing and Warehouse Execution, to decrease downtime and latency
  • Independent Commerce Deployment and Installation Packages + Simplified Commerce SDK Update and Developer Experience
  • Adding Keys/Indexes to Base & Extension Tables + Report Extensibility for Business Central Partners
  • Batch Size Configuration in Excel for Finance and Operations to optimize the workloads for their specific user experiences
  • Improvements to the Telephony Provider Integration to make call recording easier to capture & analyze

    Learn more about the implications of Wave 1 for IT Leaders here.

    Supply Chain Leaders

    Supply chain and logistics professionals are getting a significant boost in inventory visibility as part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 1. D365 Supply Chain Management continues to expand warehouse management and transportation using enterprise cloud data to help supply chains adapt to changing consumer and business requirements.

    Improvements to D365 Supply Chain Management in wave 1 include:

  • Inventory Visibility Add-In - Provides REST APIs to connect inventory-related information from D365 with external systems
  • Integration Framework for Material Handling Equipment for Automated Warehouse Processes (Previously MHAX)
  • Updated Warehouse Management Mobile Application
  • Small Parcel Shipping
  • Saved Views for Inventory Logistics
  • Landed Costs
  • Schedule Work Creation During Wave
  • Override Default Production Reservation

    Learn more about the implications of Wave 1 for Supply Chain Leaders here.

    Finance Leaders

    As part of the D365 wave 1 2021 release plan, Microsoft is releasing several new features for D365 Finance designed to give finance leaders and users insights into their operations, more automated functions, and machine learning capabilities. New features include:

  • Advanced Bank Reconciliation Statements
  • Vendor Collaboration Bank Charges
  • Intelligent Budget Proposal, making it easy to gather historical data from actuals or budgets for budgeting
  • Treasurer Workspace - a one-stop-shop to manage your company’s cash successfully
  • Landed Cost
  • D365 Finance: Cash Forecasting

    Learn more about the implications of Wave 1 for Finance Leaders here.

    Retail Leaders

    Retailers are seeing a big functionality lift in Microsoft's D365 2021 wave 1 release. With D365 Commerce, retailers get a complete omnichannel commerce solution that provides centralized operational activities.

    New functionality includes:

  • Upgraded Product Recommendations Engine with options to Shop Similar Looks & Shop by Similar Description
  • Azure AD Single Sign-On
  • Customer Check-in for Touchless Commerce
  • Microsoft Teams Integration
  • Chatbots for E-Commerce
  • Independent Deployment and Installation Packages for MPOS, CPOS, HWS, and CSU Extensions
  • D365 B2B eCommerce

    Learn more about the implications of Wave 1 for Retail Leaders here.


    In addition, there are a number of updates that are applicable to multiple roles, including those noted above:

    Optimizing Customer Data

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights gives you the information you need to understand who your customers are and how they interact with your business.

    D365 Customer Insights (CI) is split into two apps accessible by the same URL: Audience insights and Engagement Insights.

  • Audience Insights provides a 360-degree view of customer data.
  • Engagement Insights (formerly Product Insights) provides analytics from customer engagement channels and IoT-connected products.

    In the Dynamics 365 release wave 1, multiple updates focused on making these two products feel more seamless for both the end-users and IT professionals. Upcoming features will help IT administrators manage their data storage and integration to Azure Synapse for the entire Customer Insights platform (Audience and engagement Insights).

    Learn more about the updates to Customer Insights included in wave 1 here.

    D365 Small Parcel Shipping

    Microsoft is including Small Parcel Shipping as part of their D365 2021 wave 1 release. With small parcel shipping (SPS), you can integrate Microsoft D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management with parcel carriers to form a connected shipping and data experience.

    Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management users will soon have added functionality to sync package shipment data, including the tracking number and cost from shipment carriers to sales orders. New fields added within Dynamics 365 enable the ability to configure:

  • Carrier service accounts
  • Third-party account number per customer
  • Shipping label printing

    Learn more about Small Parcel Shipping in Dynamics 365 here.

    D365 Automated Material Handling Integration

    With Microsoft D365's 2021 wave 1 release, D365 Supply Chain Management delivers on its promise to be an "end-to-end supply chain solution” by adding new inventory and logistics features to help organizations gain visibility, resiliency, and efficiency in their supply chain.

    Microsoft is releasing a material handling equipment integration interface (material handling). This functionality, developed by Blue Horseshoe and licensed to Microsoft, acts as a middleware for D365 and various material handling equipment or systems. Features also include material handling automation solutions for your enterprise.

    Learn more about the new Automated Material Handling Integration in D365 here.

    D365 Finance: Cash Forecasting

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance is launching multiple features as part of its 2021 wave 1 release to help financial leaders better understand cash forecasts.

    Earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX and D365 provided limited configuration that aligned the ERP system with what was happening in practice. Now, Microsoft D365 gives you the ability to bring in additional data sources plus tools within Azure Machine Learning and AI. With these new features, you’ll have the ability to get real-time insights into your company’s cash position.

    Functionality includes:

  • Customer payment predictions
  • External data for cash flow forecasting
  • Cash flow forecasting - project integrations

    Learn more about improved cash forecasting in Dynamics 365 here.

    Power Platform

    Microsoft’s Power Platform is quickly becoming the go-to platform for IT leaders and systems administrators. The platform includes Power BI - analytics and business intelligence tool, Power Apps – a low-code app creator, Power Automate – process automation, and Power Virtual Agents – intelligent chatbots. The Power Platform centers on your data to help you:

  • Capture data without disrupting basic processes
  • Share or distribute the data/information to the right people and in the right way
  • Consume and evaluate the data in a meaningful way
  • Microsoft’s Power Platform 2021 release wave 1 plan includes new features that track a rich set of metadata across all apps and flows within your organization’s tenant.

    New functionality in wave 1 includes:

  • Power BI Custom Reporting with BYO ADL
  • X-APP For F&O Apps
  • Power BI Embedded Gen 2
  • Link Sharing and Paginated Report Visual for Power BI Reports

    Learn more about the updates to the Power Platform in wave 1 here.

    D365 B2B eCommerce

    Since the launch of D365 Commerce, B2B e-commerce leaders have asked for solutions that meet their unique needs. Microsoft heard the call and is adding functionality to use D365 Commerce as their e-commerce solution.

    In the D365 2021 wave 1 release, Microsoft integrates B2B and B2C e-commerce functionality into a single commerce platform. It brings together merchandising and site management capabilities that support multiple business models. D365 Commerce gives B2B companies a native solution to the D365 platform, allowing IT leaders to streamline configuration with other Dynamics applications.

    New B2B functionality includes:

  • Business partner onboarding
  • Order templates
  • Quantity thresholds (minimum, maximum, multiple)
  • On account payment method
  • Salesperson for business partner
  • Handling of customer deposits
  • Account statement and invoice printing
  • Payment of sales invoice
  • Quick order entry
  • Dynamics 365 Sales integration
  • Return order and return merchandise authorization (RMA)
  • Order cancellation
  • Matrix control for order entry

    Learn More about the improvements to D365 Commerce here.

    Override Default Production Reservation

    Manufacturers are getting more flexibility in the 2021 wave 1 release of Microsoft D365 with the ability to override the default reservation principle for production materials. As part of D365 Supply Chain Management, this new functionality adds more control to how and when raw materials are reserved in the warehouse for a production order. In addition to impacting the reservation, this feature gives enhanced control of warehouse pick work generation for each raw material used in production.

    The previous versions of D365 and AX had a single parameter in the production control parameters that set the production reservation principle. This parameter was either set to Estimation, Scheduling, Release, Start, or Manual.

    Learn More about how to set the production reservation principle in Dynamics 365 here.

    New D365 Warehouse Management Mobile App

    Microsoft has redesigned its Warehouse Management mobile app to improve the user experience. As part of the D365 2021 wave 1 release, the new mobile app features a more intuitive design based on extensive usability studies from end-users across multiple industries.

    The Warehouse Management mobile app, part of D365 Supply Chain Management, is a new application, not an update of the legacy app. It’s available for both Windows and Android operating systems:

  • Windows 10 (Universal Windows Platform [UWP]) Fall creators update 1709 (build 10.0.16299) or later
  • Android 4.4 or later

    You can use the legacy app and redesigned version in parallel, giving you the option to migrate at your own pace; however, everyone will need to migrate as Microsoft discontinues support for the legacy version.

    Learn more about the new Warehouse Management Mobile App in D365 here.

    Landed Costs

    The new features for landed cost give supply chain leaders control, visibility, and status updates for inbound operations involving foreign shipments, ports, customs, freight forwarders, and other steps your company may take to bring goods into their warehouse.

    Landed costs allow you to define and track each segment of the in-bound inventory journey. Tracking segments include the inventory at the supplier's warehouse, the shipping dock, a freight forwarder, a landing dock or port and/or freight company, and the destination warehouse.

    With landed costs in Dynamics 365, you can define and track each segment of the in-bound inventory journey, including inventory at the supplier's warehouse, shipping docks, freight forwarders, a landing dock or port and/or freight company, and the destination warehouse.

    Inbound arrivals are more transparent and predictable with this visibility, and warehouse & inventory planning is vastly improved. With this added transparency, you can prioritize receiving processes to meet order demand.

    Landed costs provide additional visibility into the financial side of your inventory by better predicting the cost associated with getting the goods in hand. You can configure automatic cost calculations for various transportation modes, duties, and other fees incurred to get a product to the warehouse. Later, when the actual freight and other handling bills arrive, the estimated costs are adjusted to reflect the actual cost amounts.

    2020 Wave 2

    Mark your calendars because Microsoft announced the key dates for the 2020 wave 2 release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. This update is focused on helping you have the flexibility to quickly adjust to change and drive stronger business outcomes.

  • July 8, 2020: See the new capabilities: D365 Release Plans & Power Platform Release Plans
  • August 3, 2020: Early access available – test out the features and capabilities before they are released in 2020 wave 2
  • October 1, 2020: General availability - production deployment for the 2020 wave 2 release begins
  • October 2, 2020: Regional deployments will commence

    Keep an eye on our blog. The Blue Horseshoe team will be providing reviews of the new features and capabilities in the 2020 wave 2 as they become available.

    Missed the 2020 Wave 1 Guides? No Problem.

    Our experts teamed up to show you how to utilize the features released in 2020 wave 1 to increase productivity, enhance the user experience, and boost return on investment. Here are a few of those guides:

    Embedded Web Apps - Microsoft is adding the ability to embed web apps into the Dynamics 365 for Finance user interface. This extends the capabilities of your IT infrastructure and provides greater continuity with Power Apps. Learn more about how embedding apps provides a better data experience here.

    Planning Optimization - manage your master planning executions in Dynamics 365 with Planning Optimization. This provides planning of orders for raw materials, manufacturing orders, and capacity planning. It replaces the existing Master Planning night batch process. Read more about the Planning Optimization Tool here.

    Microsoft deploys 2 release waves per year for the Power Platform and Dynamics 365. wave 1 covers features released from April through September and wave 2 covers October through March.

    2020 Wave 1

    2020 Wave 1 Schedule:

  • January 27, 2020
    Microsoft will share release plans for new capabilities for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

  • February 3, 2020
    Access new features that will be part of the April update of 2020 wave 1.

  • April 1, 2020
    Microsoft will begin 2020 release wave 1 production deployment.

    Microsoft will publish a detailed roll out schedule in March with production deployment schedule to begin in April 2020.

    2020 Wave 1 Features

    Microsoft is starting to announce the new features in 2020 wave 1. The functionality adds more capabilities across the Microsoft business process applications to increase productivity, enhance the user experience, and boost return on investment. Here are just a few:

  • Embedded Web Apps - Microsoft is adding the ability to embed web apps into the Dynamics 365 for Finance user interface. This extends the capabilities of your IT infrastructure and provides greater continuity with Power Apps. Learn more about how embedding apps provides a better data experience here.

  • Planning Optimization - manage your master planning executions in Dynamics 365 with Planning Optimization. This provides planning of orders for raw materials, manufacturing orders, and capacity planning. It replaces the existing Master Planning night batch process. Read more about the Planning Optimization Tool here.

    Microsoft deploys 2 release waves per year for the Power Platform and Dynamics 365. Wave 1 covers features releasing from April through September and wave 2 covers October through March.

    2019 Wave 2

    The wave 2 release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform promises new features that increase productivity, enhance user experience, and boost return on investment. This release adds new capabilities across the Microsoft business process applications including: Finance, Supply Chain Management, Sales, and Business Central.

    The Power Platform, which includes Power Apps, Power Automate (formerly known as Flow), and Power BI, has its own wave 2 release plan.

    The Blue Horseshoe team looked at some of the new functionality and examined key features that will transform your business. We reviewed:

  • Advanced Performance Monitoring - allows for increased frequency and volume of information from the system, as well as access to that same information in development/test environments

  • Contextual Email in D365 Sales - sales professionals will be able to create their email while simultaneously accessing templates for commonly used communication formats, relevant content materials, and attachments

  • Improving Report Generation Times - server-side rendering and direct-to-PDF preview tools allow you to dramatically reduce report generation time. This enables personnel of all types to get back to business faster

  • New Deployment and Development Experience - Microsoft is rolling out self-service deployment to existing customers with the D365 wave 2 release. This allows users to deploy their own environments within Lifecycle Services (LCS)

  • Outbound Sorting and Pallet Building - this feature gives you the ability to build a pallet after packing giving you more control over your outbound pallet building process

  • Power BI in D365 for Finance and Operations - Microsoft is making Power BI improvements that enhance the capacity of administrators, analysts, and technical team members to more easily deploy and use these rich analytics features

    Release wave 2 includes features released between October 2019 through March 2020.

    As you look through Microsoft's release notes, keep in mind that delivery timelines and projected functionality could change.
As Vice President of Digital Transformation at Blue Horseshoe, Steve, guides businesses through their digital transformation journey. Steve has 20+ years of experience as a Program Manager/Design Lead/Project Manager implementing both Microsoft Dynamics AX / Dynamics 365 as well as tier I and tier II warehouse management and transportation software solutions. Steve's deep knowledge within the distribution industry and his innovative approach to solution architecture are the backbone of the solutions being implemented and deployed by Blue Horseshoe.

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