Microsoft provides two major updates to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform each year, one in April and one in October.

Earlier this year we published several articles discussing upcoming changes in the 2020 wave 1 release, highlighting some of the key considerations for users. These updates were due to commence rollout from April 1st. Microsoft has recently announced some amendments to the Dynamics 365 2020 April release wave timeframes in response to Covid-19. The changes aim to relieve pressure on users while many organisations are focusing efforts on business continuity and keeping their people safe. Microsoft’s President of Business Applications, James Phillips, stated:

“During this critical time, we want to reduce pressure on our customers and partners to absorb updates driven by end of support or deprecation deadlines. […] We will continue to deliver on our innovation roadmap and leverage our safe deployment models, but will provide allowances for uptake of the 2020 wave 1 release.”’ You can read the full update from James Phillips here.

The crucial point to note is that Microsoft has proceeded with its plans to make the April update available within the original timeline, with features available from last Wednesday (1st April 2020). However, Microsoft has not enforced the uptake of this release in April. Instead, it is granting users an additional month until May to carry out further testing of their environments before enabling the updated features.

Model-driven apps and Power Apps suite

For the model-driven apps (such as Sales, Customer Service and Marketing) and Power Apps suite, the announcement sees no change to the features planned for general availability.

Features that have an impact on end-users, however, will not be automatically enabled. Early Access opt-in has been extended for the features that will be automatically enabled from May 1st. This means that organisations now have longer to test and validate these features in Sandbox environments before they are automatically enabled in production.

The timeline for the wave 1 updates to be automatically enabled has also been revised. See here for more details on these revisions.

Depreciations and extensions

As explained, Microsoft has announced they are delaying the depreciation of some features to allow organisations more time to prepare and migrate where necessary. Most notably, the depreciation of the legacy web client, previously due to be no longer available from October, has been delayed until 1st December 2020. This delay means that customers now have an additional two months to complete their migration to the new Unified Interface.

Along with the legacy web client, the depreciation of Process Dialogues is also now delayed until 1st December 2020, allowing more time for customers to reconfigure processes to use the suggested replacement tools such a Business Process Flows or Canvas Apps.

It is important to note that for some depreciating features there is no delay to the date they are due to be deprecated, including Task Flows and Voice of the Customer. Task Flows are still due to be removed by 1st October 2020, meaning customers should look to complete migrating process to alternative features such as Business Process Flows and testing ahead of this date.

After being deprecated in July 2019, the Voice of the Customer solution is due to be unavailable by 1st July 2020. From this date, customers will no longer be able to create and distribute new surveys using this solution, but fear not, existing survey and response data will still be available. In place of the Voice of the Customer solution, Forms Pro is now readily available for customers to utilise.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

The Dynamics 365 Business Central April 2020 updates see no planned changes beyond allowing existing customers additional time to update. Subsequent updates have no proposed changes at this moment.

Dynamics Customer Insights

Good news for Dynamics 365 Customer Insights users as this product sees no changes to the April 2020 deployment schedule.

Power BI

As well as changes to the release and depreciation schedules, Microsoft is limiting the number of changes planned for deployment in Power BI to just critical improvements and bug fixes. Microsoft has, however, promised to evaluate these updates in the coming weeks to ensure stability and support with this product during these challenging times.

In Summary

For assistance with any of the release or deprecation items mentioned here, please do get in touch. For further information on how your organisation can adapt and respond amid Covid-19, visit our business continuity hub which has been created to support you during this time.