On July 6th 2018, Microsoft announced a set of changes to the way it delivers Dynamics 365 updates. The changes lowered upgrade costs and provided all users with access to the latest capabilities, performance improvements and a better support experience. All in all, this is good news to businesses that use Dynamics 365.

Predictable updates with continuous deployment

Microsoft now delivers two major releases per year – April and October – both of which will offer new capabilities and functionality. Each update is backward compatible, meaning your apps and customisations will continue to work post-update. New features which have major, disruptive changes to the UX will be turn off by default. Administrators will be able to test these new features before enabling them for their business.

On top of the two major updates, Microsoft will also continue to perform regular performance and reliability improvement updates throughout the year.

Early visibility of upcoming changes

To assist users in getting prepared and ready for new updates, Microsoft publishes release notes, starting with their April 2018 update. Release notes provide a summary of all the new features and improvements that users can expect from the update, including estimated timelines on when they should be available.

Microsoft plans to publish release notes months in advance of each major upgrade to give companies suitable time to plan for the new features. The release notes for the October 2018 update are available here

Test new capabilities in advance

One of the most exciting parts of Microsoft’s announcement is that users can test the latest capabilities in advance. Users can get access to Dynamics 356 updates before they are deployed in your business. Partners, such as Incremental, can take advantage of this and innovate early to be better prepared to assist customers.

As of the April 2019 update, users can validate major updates in a sandbox (non-production) environment as soon as a new release is available, in advance of the actual release date. This is great news for administrators, as previously you had to wait until the changes had happened. Only after this would you be able to assess the new features and plan for your company’s production upgrade. This change will help you reduce the elapsed time to upgrade therefore allowing you to realise productivity gains much quicker.

Microsoft and Incremental will work closely with users while testing the update, so that if any issues are found, these are resolved in a timely manner.

All users on latest version

As all businesses will be updated as part of the continuous delivery schedule, you will need to update to the latest version of Dynamics 365.

For Dynamics 365 (online) customer engagement applications, Microsoft issued update communications in May to all those running v8.1 and have scheduled updates. If you are using v8.2, you should plan to update to the latest version by January 31, 2019.

For Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations (online), all customers running v7.0, v7.1, v7.2, and v8.0 should update to the latest version by March 31, 2019. The only exception to being on the latest version is for customers with unfulfilled extension requests by Microsoft. For these customers, support for v7.3 will be available until April 30, 2020.

Microsoft will continue to support older versions of Dynamics 365 however older versions will go out of support after certain dates and Microsoft will only support the latest generally available version. We highly recommend being proactive with regards to updates and upgrading before your version goes out of support. Automatically being upgraded can cause major issues to your business.

Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Talent currently deliver updates and releases through a continuous update cycle. For users of those services there is no change.


This is a welcome announcement from Microsoft regarding their update process as it will allow administrators to better plan for new upgrades and it allows users to get access to new features faster. The new process will also allow the Dynamics community to better share ideas and collaborate as everyone should be on the same version.