Ever since Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central was launched back in 2018, Microsoft has released product updates for the ERP software on a regular twice-yearly basis.
With each update, Microsoft has incorporated the feedback of end users like yourself into new features and functionalities for Business Central, all in a continuous effort to serve your needs better.
The 2023 Release Wave 2 update, the second of two major updates for Business Central this year, will introduce many new features and functionalities to make using the cloud ERP software easier than ever for the end users in your business.
These included the introduction of Microsoft Copilot to help optimise processes and shorten the time needed to complete tasks, making onboarding new users easier and faster than before, and improving usability with the introduction of key tips for faster keyboard access, among many other improvements.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the 2023 Release 2 update for Business Central, which will be rolled out progressively from October 2023 through to March 2024.
Note: This post was originally published in April 2020, and was updated to reflect the changes that came with the latest updates from Microsoft in July 2023.
1. Enhanced User Experiences
2023 Release Wave 2 will bring enhancements that boosts that boost your efficiency when your end users work with actions across selections in lists of records and view summarized data, so that they can easily fix any errors in data entry.
Get To Data Search From Anywhere In Business Central
Start a search directly anywhere in Business Central ; Source: Microsoft
You can now start a search directly from the Tell Me dialog with the Alt + Q shortcut key combination, no matter what page you are in Business Central. You can use keywords in Tell Me to search for data, and if you’re currently on an editable page, it will search for the value in the currently selected field.
This is scoped to data available in your Role Centre and the tables you can access by default. However you can customize the search scope by selecting Show tables to search on the Search in company data page.
Doing so opens up the Search Setup (Table) List page. By default, only the tables relevant for specific roles are selected, but you can use Show all tables and Filter to selected tables to browse other tables.
Choosing a table opens the Search Setup (Field) List page, where you can tailor the search to include fields in the selected table by turning on the Enable search toggle.
Search For Pages and Data in the Mobile App
Search for pages and data easily within the mobile app ; Source: Microsoft
The Tell Me feature has now been added to the Business Central mobile app, giving your end users the ability to quickly find pages or data on their mobile devices.
As with the same feature on the desktop app, users can’t access pages they don’t have permissions to open. Also, pages that weren’t allowed on mobile devices before, such as worksheet pages, won’t be available either.
You’ll need to turn on this feature on the Feature Management page.
2. Enhancements To Intercompany Functionality
With 2023 Release Wave 2, Microsoft will introduce several new features related to intercompany transactions, financial data consolidations, and approval workflows.
Make Intercompany Transactions Across Business Central Environments
You can now carry out intercompany and consolidation features across multiple Business Central environments. This means it’s now easy to set up an intercompany partnership between companies that operate in different Business Central environments.
To do this, go to the Intercompany Partner Setup page. When you choose an environment that you have access to, you can choose a company that you’re allowed to set up as an intercompany partner in that same environment.
Once you’ve done that, you can automatically send and receive transactions for the selected company, even if it’s operating in a different environment. All intercompany features can be used across different environments, including sales and purchase documents, intercompany general journals, and purchase invoice cost distributions.
Do Financial Consolidations Across Environments In Multicompany Setups
If your subsidiary doesn’t use the same Business Central environment as your main business, you can now carry out financial consolidation for subsidiaries and business entities across different environments anyway.
To enable the consolidation of financial data for entities without having to handle files, choose the environment that a business entity uses on the Business Unit Card page.
Include Approvals For Intercompany General Journals In Your Workflows
You can now set up an approval workflow for your intercompany general journals, thanks to the introduction of an assisted setup similar to the user template workflows. This new workflow can be found under Workflow Templates, and it’s named Intercompany General Journal Line Approval.
To designate which end users have the permissions to use this workflow, you must set them up on the Approval User Setup page.
3. Improved Supply Chain Features
2023 Release Wave 2 will also see the introduction of several new supply chain features that add efficiency, agility, and accuracy to the way you manage your warehouse.
Edit in Excel on item journals and warehouse worksheets
Change records in Excel, before publishing the changes to Business Central; Source: Microsoft
Entering data using the familiar Excel spreadsheet format has now been made easier than ever, speeding up data entry on item journals and warehouse worksheets.
You can use the Edit in Excel action to change records in Excel, and then publish the changes back to Business Central. When you open Excel, you’ll see the Excel Add-in pane on the right of the screen.
The Edit in Excel action has also been added to an extensive list of pages, making it more accessible than before
Usability improvements for warehouse, inventory and tracking
Set up warehouse employees in Microsoft Business Central ; Source: Microsoft
Based on feedback from customers of Business Central, Microsoft has made it easier to complete several inventory and warehouse processes.
You will now need to designate your warehouse employees as such in Business Central, and assign them to a default location and potentially other non-default locations. This setup will filter all warehouse activities across the database to each employee’s location, ensuring they can only perform activities at their assigned locations.
On the Warehouse Employees page, you can add a location for a particular user. Alternatively, you can choose the Add me as warehouse employee action, and select one or more locations.
4. Improvements To Reporting And Data Analysis
For the 2023 Release Wave 2 update, Microsoft will add more capabilities to Analysis mode to help you do more on-the-fly embedded analysis of your data, and provide new and improved reports in Power BI.
Analyse, Group, And Pivot Data On Queries Using Multiple Tabs
First introduced as a public preview feature in the 2023 Release Wave 1 update, Analysis mode brought a new way of interacting with your data on list pages. It offered an alternative to running reports using different options and filters, allowing you to simply add multiple tabs that represent different tasks or views on the data.
With 2023 Release Wave 2, Microsoft is extending this concept further with the following updates:
- You can now analyse data from any query in the same way as on a list page.
- From any analysis tab, you can share a link to said tab with your colleagues and team members.
- You can use shared links as a click-once installation of out-of-the-box analysis.
New And Improved Power BI Reports
For the business functions of sales, finance, and inventory, Microsoft will bring the following enhancements.
- Addition of API queries that can be analysed directly in the client.
- The ability to build Power BI reports and package them into a Power BI app available on AppSource
- Expose select queries and reports with Excel layouts.
- Document how KPIs can be shown and tracked in a Power BI metrics scorecard, which can then be embedded in the client.
5. Copilot And AI Innovation
Microsoft is bringing cutting-edge generative AI technology to Business Central for the first time with the introduction of Copilot to the ERP software. With Copilot in Business Central, you can empower your end users with an intuitive AI tool that helps them get more done with less effort, without needing to be data scientists.
Get Marketing Text Suggestions With Copilot
Marketing text suggestions were the first Copilot-powered feature to be introduced to Business Central back during the public preview. In the 2023 Release Wave 2 update, it moves to being generally available, and comes with the following enhancements:
- Various quality improvements that address customer feedback
- Support for more languages beyond English
- Use of marketing text on the Price List report
- Improved discoverability from within the web client
- Improvements to content moderation
Complete Bank Account Reconciliation Faster With Copilot
One feature of Business Central that Microsoft has enhanced with the introduction of Copilot is the Bank Reconciliation feature. Now, it comes with:
- AI-powered transaction matching that further improves automation, and reduces the remaining unmatched transactions that require human oversight.
- AI-generated explanations for how remaining transactions could be matched, making it easier for your bookkeepers to complete account reconciliation simply by reviewing and approving matches.
6. Increased Productivity With Microsoft 365
In the 2023 Release Wave 2 update, Microsoft addresses customer feedback about the reliability of the Excel Add-in for Business Central in specific use cases.
As such, this update will include the following enhancements to the Business Central add-in for Excel:
- Dimensions are included on more pages when using the Edit in Excel
- Increased accuracy of filters when they're transferred from Business Central to Excel.
- Improved reliability and performance of data refresh and publish through the latest OData V4 technology.
- The add-in now supports on-premises deployments that have a dedicated server instance specifically for OData feeds.
7. Investment In Modern Development Tools
Microsoft has moved app development for Business Central entirely to Visual Studio Code. With 2023 Release Wave 2, when it comes to data analysis and reporting, your developers will have more control.
Open Visual Studio Code From Web Client To Investigate Or Troubleshoot Extensions
Your developer or consultant can now open a new Visual Studio Code session from within the web client for a specific customer production or sandbox environment. It will support different contexts, and depending on said context, Visual Studio Code will either open to allow for the inspection of objects and source, or to attach and debug the current web client session.
Turn Off Data Analysis Mode On Pages And Queries
With the introduction of Data Analysis mode, your end users have the option not to run reports using different options and filters, and instead add multiple tabs that represent different tasks or views on the data.
However, for some list pages such as Feature Management, this capability doesn’t always make sense. Therefore, Microsoft has made the following possible:
- AL developers can turn off Data Analysis mode using page metadata
- Tenant administrators can override the developers’ choice in the client (by using a list page on a system table) on the tenant level)
- Tenant adminstrators can turn off the Data Analysis mode for specific users
Use The Built-In Rich Text Editor To Enter Data
Up to this point, you could only use the rich text editing capabilities when sending emails. With 2023 Release Wave 2, Microsoft will bring the power of the built-in rich text editor to all media fields in Business Central. Your developers will also be able to customise rich text capabilities for their extensions and applications.
This can reduce the time and effort needed to perform tasks, and the rich text editor can help ensure consistency and accuracy in the formatting and presentation of information, enhancing the overall quality and professionalism of content you enter in Business Central.
Questions About 2023 Release Wave 2 For Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
The 2023 Release Wave 2 update for Business Central brings many new enhancements to the cloud ERP software, building upon the improvements introduced with the previous update in the first half of the year.
These will improve the user experience in various ways such as enhancements to the user experience, improvements to intercompany functionalities, and the introduction of generative AI technology through Copilot amongst others.
For a detailed list of changes that are coming with this update, here are the release notes for 2023 Release Wave 2 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Otherwise, if you’d like to learn more about Business Central and what it can do for your business, click the image below to learn more about the cloud-based ERP software from one of the big brand names in computing today.
Highlights Of 2023 Release Wave 1
The 2023 Release Wave 1 update, the first of two major updates for Business Central this year, will bring significant improvements to key features and functionalities in the cloud ERP software, which will help users do even more.
These include enhancements to the intercompany features as part of improved support for users managing multiple companies, more seamless onboarding experiences, automation of regulatory tasks, and investments into the productivity of your developers and consultants, among many other improvements.
Improving the usability of Business Central remains a key focus for Microsoft, and this update will also introduce several enhancements for this purpose.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the 2023 Release 1 update for Business Central, which will be rolled out progressively from April 2023 through to September 2023.
Note: This post was originally published in April 2020, and was updated to reflect the changes that came with the latest updates from Microsoft in January 2023.
1. Enhanced User Experiences
2023 Release Wave 1 sees enhancements that boost efficiency when users work with actions and lists of records. It will also empower users to personalise the fields on a page by choosing from existing table fields, which reduces the time and effort of optimising their workspace.
Add Existing Table Fields To Optimise Your Pages
You can now add table fields to personalise your workspace without resorting to extensions. Source: Microsoft
All table fields have now been unlocked so that users like yourself can personalise your workspace by adding them to your pages, without the need for extensions. This allows customers to self-serve and reduce time to value while cutting implementation costs, freeing up developers to focus on higher-value work.
You can now do the following from the Business Central web client:
- Add fields to card pages, lists, and most other page types.
- Choose from existing fields on the source table that powers that page, including fields from table extensions.
- Drag and drop fields or columns into place, adjusting the content around them for an optimal experience.
- Apply customizations for themselves or for anyone in a specific role.
- Understand which fields are hidden on the page and which fields can be newly added from the table.
- Apply the change for themselves or for anyone in a specific role.
Using The Keyboard To Access Actions And Navigation Menu More Efficiently
Business Central now adopts key tips from Microsoft 365. Source: Microsoft
Business Central now adopts the access key feature which has long been a feature of Microsoft 365 applications, such as Excel and word, to boost efficiency for keyboard users.
When pressing the Alt key in the Business Central web client, the following features become available:
- Key tips are revealed alongside UI elements that indicate the next keystroke.
- Sequences of keystrokes can be used to navigate the user interface and activate UI elements, without leaving your current focused element.
- Actions become reachable, regardless of whether they are assigned a specific shortcut key.
- Access keys will be available for actions in the action bar and links in the navigation menu for users who experience Business Central in English.
Optimised Action Bar
Tailor the Action Bar to best suit your preferences. Source: Microsoft
First introduced in the 2022 Release Wave 2 update, the Modern Action Bar has been tweaked based on user feedback to reduce the number of clicks to reach actions that users use most often, and make relevant actions more discoverable.
It can also now be tailored to fit your needs on document lines, to give you more opportunities to work in Business Central in ways that suit you best. Choose Personalise on the Settings menu in the upper right corner, and then make your changes.
2. Modernised Financial And Operations Processes
For 2023 Release Wave 1, Microsoft continues to modernise the financial and operational processes in Business Central to give you more advanced features that help you grow your business.
Accounting Processes For Multiple Companies
When it comes to financial management, Microsoft is working to make it easier to manage accounting tasks for multiple companies in an intercompany setup. This includes improving the Intercompany Postings feature so that it’s easier to set up, get a better overview, and make the intercompany transaction processes more seamless and flexible.
Here’s how intercompany posting has been improved:
- Manage your intercompany setup on one page that includes intercompany partners, an intercompany chart of accounts, and intercompany dimensions.
- Handle bank transactions on the IC General Journals page.
- End-to-end flows are improved so that duplicated data doesn't require manual attention in the 'no-changes' cases.
- The experience when working with the intercompany inbox and outbox is smoother and Role Center cues are added to give an overview.
- IC general journals are included on the G/L Register page.
Accounting Period-end Processes And Analysis
You can add data to analytics using Statistical Accounts, in addition to dimensions. This lets you enter numerical data for general ledger (G/L) transactions that you can use for analysis.
The G/L Settlement allows you to apply G/L entries during reconciliation tasks, making it easier to get an overview of progress in the period-end process. This is especially useful for businesses with a high transaction volume.
Inventory And Warehouse Scenarios
There are now new filters available for when you're creating inventory put-away, pick and movement documents. Source: Microsoft
Microsoft continues to work on various aspects of Business Central’s inventory features. This include improving the set-up and demo data that’s provided, making the configuration of inventory features simpler, and building out warehouse and item tracking capabilities.
With 2023 Release Wave 1, Microsoft has added more filters to the Create Inventory Put-away/Pick/Mvt batch job. Now, you can filter by location, item, job task, and production line order. This lets you be more specific when you create inventory pick and put-away documents for your warehouse team.
You can also filter source document lines by date.
- Purchase orders and purchase return orders: The Planned Receipt Dateof the purchase line.
- Sales orders and sales return orders: The Shipment Dateof the sales line.
- Job usage: The Planning Dateof the job planning line.
- Outbound transfer orders: The Shipment Dateof the transfer line.
- Inbound transfer orders: The Receipt Dateof the transfer line.
- Production output: The Due Dateof the production order line.
- Production consumption: The Due Dateof the production order component line.
- Assembly consumption: The Due Dateof the assembly line.
Improvements To The Shopify Connector
The Shopify Connector will become extensible. Source: Microsoft
The Shopify Connector, which had previously been non-extensible, will become open for extensibility for specific scenarios based on feedback from customers and partners.
Returns and refunds recorded in Shopify are imported to Business Central when orders a synchronised. Source: Microsoft
Microsoft has also improved the synchronisation of data between the Shopify Connector and Business Central. Now, all returns and refunds that are recorded in Shopify Admin or Shopify POS will be imported to Business Central when you synchronise orders.
3. Investment In Modern Development Tools
Since moving Business Central entirely to Visual Studio Code in the first half of 2021, Microsoft has continued investing in modern development tools to enhance the productivity of your developers.
For the 2023 Release Wave 1 update, Microsoft continues their investment in the improvement of the Visual Studio Code experience by adding visual abstractions on top of AL code, better compiler resource management for your developers, and providing new options for AppSource publishers.
Introduction Of AL Explorer And AL Home
The AL Explorer offers a powerful tool for pro developers and technical consultants. Source: Microsoft
With 2023 Release Wave 1, Microsoft introduces the AL Explorer; a powerful tool in the hands of professional developers and technical consultants. It allows both types of users to explore, navigate, and better understand objects in extensions.
This increases the daily productivity for developers and allowing consultants to understand high-level structures of extensions so that they can specify new features, or do light troubleshooting.
AL Home offers users to keep up-to-date with the latest developments for AL Visual Studio Code. Source: Microsoft
A new AL Home startup page is also introduced with this update, and it introduces a new communication channel through which Business Central R&D can efficiently share news, best practices, upcoming events, urgent information and status, learning content, and more to all users of the AL Visual Code extension.
Improved Compiler Resource Handling And Faster Code Analysers
2023 Release Wave 1 will bring improvements to the performance of the compiler and code analyser framework, as well as optimise inefficient code analyser rules. This will eliminate reduced responsiveness and delayed results, boosting the productivity of your developers.
AppSource App Previews For ISVs
AppSource ISVs can now test and collect early feedback from select customers. Source: Microsoft
AppSource ISVs will now be able to keep new versions of their apps in preview mode when uploading them to AppSource. This will generate a link to the preview app that includes a custom “flightcode”, which publishers can then send to select customers.
This allows publishers to organise private previews of new versions of their apps with these customers, and gather early feedback from them.
4. Increased Productivity With Microsoft 365
With 2023 Release Wave 1, Microsoft builds upon the integration of Business Central with Microsoft Teams to help you achieve broader access to data across your business.
Adding Business Central cards in Teams chat is now easier than ever. Source: Microsoft
By sharing Business Central records as cards in Teams, you get added context to every conversation and enable your people to make data-drive decisions.
However, including a card in a chat message required multiple steps, slowing down the pace of communication. This update brings multiple enhancements that make this process easier than before.
- When Business Central users share a message that includes a Business Central card, the card itself now doesn't require additional sign-in prompts and simply uses the current identity signed in to Teams to also sign in to Business Central.
- Cards with a thumbnail image now consume less vertical space, allowing more surrounding content to show in the Teams chat or compose area. The card layout has been redesigned so that thumbnails are shown in a smaller size alongside fields.
- Access denied errors, such as missing permissions to a record or environment, are more seamlessly integrated into the Teams experience.
5. Improvements To The Onboarding Experience
Onboarding has been a consistent focus of Microsoft for past Release Wave updates. For 2023 Release Wave 1, the focus is on updating many standard tooltips to help users self-learn and achieve a better understanding of how to use Business Central.
New tooltips help self-learners get a grasp on using Business Central much quicker. Source: Microsoft
The content of tooltips will be updated to help ensure that you can complete the tasks that the fields are part of. Their look and feel has also been modernised, to make them easier to use.
The tooltips that users like yourself read most often have also been updated with improved information, and applies the new abilities to display multiple paragraphs and apply italic and bold font styles.
This makes for an improved reading experience, and is intended to make it easier for you to digest information about fields in the context of the task at hand.
6. New Governance And Administration Tools
With 2023 Release Wave 1, Microsoft will provide your administrators with additional capabilities for driving self-service and automation.
These include new settings for managing apps from the admin centre, improvements to the cloud migration page to create a better overview of the status of data migrations, the ability to include or exclude any table as part of a cloud migration, and enabling the process of transferring a Business Central environment to a different Azure AD tenant as a self-service scenario.
7. Improvements To Power Platform Integration
Last but not least, 2023 Release Wave 1 will build upon previous work to further improve the way that Business Central integrates with Microsoft Power Platform.
New Approval Workflow Experience With Power Automate Templates
Power Automate templates are now available to make workflow approval easier. Source: Microsoft
It will become easier to set up approval workflows with Power Automate, with the following options being introduced:
- Define workflows tied to a selected Business Central environment and company.
- Approve documents using mobile devices.
- Approve documents using Microsoft Teams.
- Support a chain of approvers and additional input.
More Sample Power Automate Templates And Power Apps
New sample Power Apps have been added to the samples gallery, which is accessible via GitHub, to demonstrate how to access data in Business Central as well as fufill business scenarios using Power Apps.
Several new templates for instant Power Automate flows have also been added to the flow template gallery. This makes it easier for you to start building your own automation flows, based on the samples provided within Business Central.
Questions About 2023 Release Wave 1 For Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
The 2023 Release Wave 1 update for Business Central brings many new enhancements to the cloud ERP software, building upon the improvements already introduced in 2022.
These will improve the user experience in various ways, such as intercompany management, onboarding, compliance with regulatory requirements, and usability amongst others.
For a detailed list of changes that are coming with this update, here are the release notes for 2023 Release Wave 1 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Otherwise, if you’d like to learn more about Business Central and what it can do for your business, click the image below to learn more about the cloud-based ERP software from one of the big brand names in computing today.