Microsoft releases two big Microsoft Dynamics 365 updates referred to as ‘Waves’ each year, in April and October respectively. These Waves introduce new applications, functionalities, and improvements. The first Wave is scheduled for October 2021 and Microsoft will provide this update to all Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central environments by mid-October. In this blog, we will explain what you can expect of the new features en newest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
What can you expect from it?
First off, it is important to realize that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a product that has existed for 30 years and has developed significantly in this time. The software package was developed has been developed from a programming environment to a true cloud-based software solution. This means that users generally do not notice the updates, as they are implemented in the underlying infrastructure. Recently, it has become clear that the technical transition has been completed and that it is now possible to add new applications and improve existing functionalities.
In the October 2021 Wave update, improvements of a primarily significant functional nature can be identified and vast strides have been made with regard to user convenience. Lastly, the programme’s integration with Microsoft Teams has been significantly improved.
New functionalities in Business Central
The new functionalities are not world-changing in themselves, but they can bring great benefits to organizations.
For example, you can now plan by SKU. This allows you to work both at the product level and at the location level to create a schedule with parameters (settings) specific to that location.
The Forecast module has also been expanded. Use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) enables variant-based inventory management. An example of this is, ‘colour’. Previously, shoe shops could only predict the purchasing moment of ‘shoes of brand X in size Y’. Now, based on past orders, you can also predict when to purchase new stock of ‘shoes of brand X in size Y with colour Z’.
Another great purchase planning functionality that will be rolled out in October concerns items for which you don’t keep exact inventory, but for which you do need to plan repeat orders with some regularity. For example, pens and notepads or oil. You don’t keep accurate records of how much you use, but do want to order them periodically. The October 2021 Wave for Business Central makes this possible.
Another functionality that has been significantly improved, as in previous Waves, is the banking module. Dynamics 365 Business Central is therefore increasingly able to automatically recognize, read in, and process invoices. Manual processing or editing of invoices or bank statements is therefore necessary less frequently. This gives your organization a complete picture of its financial status more quickly.
Greater ease of use after the Wave
Microsoft has also paid close attention to user convenience in this Wave. Almost all of the improvements made in this area are the result of user feedback. In Business Central, you can submit requests and points for improvement via a special portal. These relatively minor adjustments often have a major impact on the user experience and job satisfaction.
In this Wave, the quick instructions in Business Central have been expanded significantly, for example. New users are guided in getting to know the software package, but more experienced users are also given guidance in discovering and making the most of new Business Central features through the improved tours.
The same is true for Microsoft’s approach to error messages in Dynamics 365 Business Central: in addition to users getting much more explanation and context to an error message, they can also directly click through the error message to fix the error. This eliminates the need for a user to exit the process to troubleshoot.
Furthermore, it is no longer necessary to install Business Central on your PC or laptop: the application can be accessed via the browser. To this end, the screens have been further streamlined and the build speed of the pages has been optimized.
Lastly, as with Customer Engagement, you can select multiple lines at once for quick editing.
One of the areas where Business Central lagged slightly behind Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement or Dynamics 365 Finance was in its integration with other Microsoft packages. Currently, Dynamics 365 Business Central is finding ample connection there. For example, the integration with Teams has been further expanded, making it possible to send messages from Business Central via Teams. This can then be done in a specific channel, but also through the chat function in Teams for example.
In Teams, the addressee receives both the notification and the link to the Business Central document to which the message relates. As an example: if there is an issue with an invoice, an employee can send a message from Business Central to a user in Teams requesting that they review the invoice and provide feedback or comments. The employee does not have to leave Business Central to do this, while the user in the other department does have all the important information at his/her disposal.
The integration with Customer Engagement has also been strengthened in several areas. For example, it is now possible to synchronize data from Business Central to Customer Engagement in bulk by selecting a number of lines. This option exists for both customer relationships and products.
Furthermore, integration with Excel and Power BI has also been significantly expanded. The set of Power BI reports that one can select in Business Central has been significantly expanded upon. As of this update, you can select Power BI reports from multiple sources and use Business Central to share them with other users.
Lastly, we want to take a very brief look at some changes that greatly benefit administrators. Opening up data to other applications, for example, has become significantly easier thanks to far-reaching modifications to the APIs. This means that, as an example, sharing data with Power BI or Dynamics 365 is now child’s play.
The October 2021 Wave also allows for the creation of copies of all environments in Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. Until now it was only possible to make a copy of the production environment, but now the option exists to make a copy of what are known as ‘Sandboxes’ – environments used for trying out and testing new Business Central features, but also for training.
October 2021 Wave makes Dynamics 365 Business Central more interesting
During this Wave, quite a few new Business Central features, but especially many improvements will be implemented this year. At Broad Horizon, we always strive to be fully up to date concerning new developments in Dynamics 365 Business Central. If you would like to know more about the new Business Central features in this Wave or if your organization has not yet switched from NAV to Business Central, then please feel free to contact us! We would be happy to tell you more about the many possibilities.