What To Expect From The Latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Update: 2021 Release Wave 2

Kyle Lim
27-Jul-2021 11:54:46

The 2021 Release Wave 2 update, the second of two major updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for this year, will bring to the table several new features that will be released in stages over six months, from October 2021 to March 2022.

For this release, Microsoft is investing in further capabilities that help customers like yourself- whether you’re a new or existing customer of the ERP software – achieve productive usage as quickly as possible.

Further investment is also being made in integrating Business Central with other components of the Microsoft 365 suite, including Excel and Microsoft Teams.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights that the 2021 Release Wave 2 update will bring to end users of Business Central like yourself over the next six months, starting from October 2021.

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 2021.

 

1. Improvements To Bank And Payment Reconciliation

The 2021 Release Wave 2 product update for Business Central will delvier new features that were most popularly requested by end users of the ERP software like yourself, including further enhancements to features that assist with onboarding new users in your organisation.

Bank and payment reconciliation features have been improved to assist end users like yourself better, and provide you with more information in the process. For one, the Payment Reconciliation Journal has been improved with the following capabilities:

  • Separate number series.
  • Posting preview.
  • Ability to reverse the G/L register posted through the Payment Reconciliation Journal.

The Bank Reconciliation page has also been enhanced with the following capabilities:

  • Bank ledger entries are now filtered so only ledger entries after the statement's ending date are displayed, making it simpler to get an overview.
  • The layout of the test report has been cleaned up, making it simpler to read. The report will also use the statement date as a filter for the G/L account as well as the bank account, so that the focus is on the period being reconciled.
  • When applying auto-matching, you can decide to not overwrite any of the already matched entries, or to overwrite all.
  • Many-to-one matching is now possible so many bank statement lines can be matched against one bank ledger entry. This will support scenarios such as a bank statement splitting up sales into payment methods for which you only posted one bank ledger entry.
  • When you transfer differences to be posted in a general journal, the entries will be auto-matched when you return to the bank reconciliation, reducing the redundant manual step.

 

2. Improvements To Customisation Of Various Pages In Business Central

Every business and end user needs different types of information to effectively carry out their business processes. This means that being able to drag fields or columns from a list to certain pages in Business Central is a powerful tool for tailoring these pages such that you get the information you need.

In 2021 Release Wave 2, Microsoft has included additional fields and columns to choose from on multiple pages in Business Central. These include:

Bank Accounts Balance At Date
Source: Microsoft

The Balance at Date and Balance at Date (LCY) columns in the Bank Accounts page.

General Journals 1General Journals 2
Source: Microsoft

The External Document No. column to the General Journals and Recurring General Journals pages.

Item Card
Source: Microsoft

And the Transfer Order Receipt and Shipment Quantities fields to the Item Card page, just to name a few of many new fields and columns that you’ll be able to find in various pages within Business Central.

 

3. Improvements To The Onboarding Experience

In the previous update, Microsoft introduced educational tours that you could use to guide your end users through the use of Business Central. However, these tours were limited to pages and controls that are defined by the AL language.

With the 2021 Release Wave 2 update, Microsoft has expanded the use of these tours so that can also include teaching tips that are defined by the platform to call out system controls, such as the top navigation bar and sorting and filtering controls.

In addition, these tours can provide your end users an introduction to and better understanding of the home page as a concept, and allow them to learn the basics of Business Central’s user interface.

 

4. Improved Integration With Microsoft 365

Building upon the integrations introduced in the previous product update, Microsoft is introducing the following improvements to the Business Central app for Microsoft Teams in the 2021 Release Wave 2 update:

  • New sign-up experience for users who are installing the app but don't have a Business Central subscription. Users will be redirected to a page where they can read about and sign up for a trial subscription.
  • Improved search term capabilities, like multiple word search and special characters, for looking up contacts.

The web client for Business Central will also include a new action to share a record link to Microsoft Teams. This allows you to type a message, choose recipients such as team members, groups or channels, and send your message with a link to the record stored in Business Central.

The new product update will also include enhancements to working with the Excel add-in for Business Central. For example, you will be able to export lists that are embedded in a part on a page to Excel.

Open in Excel
Source: Microsoft

The Open in Excel action downloads a static copy of your list as an Excel file, applying your filters and sort order just as shown on screen.

You’ll also be able to export report data to Excel from a report request page. The Excel file generated will only include the raw data, but not the report layout.

You can enable either of the Excel-related enhancements ahead of time in the current Business Central 2021 Release Wave 1 build. Both will be automatically enabled on all environments, starting with the release of the 2021 Release Wave 2 product update.

 

5. Improvements To The Web Client

The 2021 Release Wave 2 update will include enhancements to the Business Central web client based on feedback from Microsoft’s numerous community channels, to improve performance and usability.

These include various performance optimisations that benefit the Business Central client, as well as other clients – resulting in quicker-loading pages, more efficient resource usage on client devices, and other improvements.

Another enhancement specifically for Business Central Online will make it such that when vertical screen space is reduced, the header along the top of the client will automatically resize to a compact, 8-pixel height. This frees up more space in the client for data on the screen, and improves the usability of the client in general.

Role Explorer
Source: Microsoft

The Role Explorer window will also feature new, easy-to-discover actions that let you filter Role Explorer to show only reports, or only administration areas. You’ll be able to switch back in order to get an overview of all pages again.

This feature will work seamlessly whether you’re exploring only your role or all roles, using the Find option, or expanding and collapsing content in the window.

 

Questions About 2021 Release Wave 2 For Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

The 2021 Release Wave 2 update for Business Central brings to the table various enhancements that have long been requested by end users of the ERP software.

These improvements can be seen in Business Central across the board, covering features and functionalities from financial reconciliation and report customisation, to onboarding and further integration with Microsoft 365.

For a detailed list of the changes that are coming with this latest update, here are the release notes on the 2021 Release Wave 2 update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

If you’d like to know 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.

 

get my free guide now

 

Highlights Of 2021 Release Wave 1

Ever since its initial launch in 2018, Microsoft has been regularly releasing updates for Business Central twice a year. Each update has implemented new features and functionalities based on feedback, to expand its capabilities for Business Central users and developers.

The 2021 Release Wave 1 update, the first of two major updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for this year, will bring to the table several new features that will be release in stages over six months, from April 2021 all the way to September 2021.

For this product update for Business Central, Microsoft is investing heavily in providing in-app improvements tailored to help customers like yourself – whether you’re a new or existing customer of the ERP software – achieve productive usage of the ERP software more quickly than before.

These also include new features that help your end users retain their productivity levels even if they’ve made a mistake (for example, making it easier to correct dimensions for general ledger (G/L) entries), as well as more general improvements in the areas of performance, usability, and printing.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights that the 2021 Release Wave 1 Update will bring to end users of Business Central like yourself over the next six months, starting from April 2021.

 

1. New Features For Most Requested Areas For Improvement By Customers

The 2021 Release Wave 1 product update for Business Central will deliver new features to address some areas that were most requested for improvement by end users of the ERP software, along with other improvements to overall performance.

Banking and payments are highlighted among these areas, and Microsoft has responded by pushing out several improvements in this regard.

These include making it easier to replace bank reconciliation reports that were submitted with mistakes with a new report, simplifying bank statement file import so that users can map the columns of a regular file (.csv, .txt) to fields in Business Central, and improving the payment reconciliation journal so that it supports preview posting, separate number series, and user-defined documents numbers.

End users of Business Central like yourself have also requested an easier way to correct errors caused by specifying the wrong dimension in general ledger (G/L) entries. Microsoft has now added a Correct Dimensions action, which allows you to correct dimensions on posted entries by editing the dimension value, as well as adding or removing dimensions.

 

2. Improved Integration With Microsoft 365

Building on the integration of the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform with Business Central in the previous product update, 2021 Release Wave 1 further integrates the ERP software with other applications in the Microsoft 365 suite, bringing together the best tools for collaboration and managing business processes.

With this update, you’ll be able to quickly look up business contacts stored in Business Central through the Microsoft Teams search box or message compose area. You can also share your contacts in Teams conversations with your coworkers, view details about your contacts directly in Teams, and start a call with them directly from the collaboration platform.

 

Here Are Some Tips And Tricks On Remote Working More Effectively With Microsoft Teams

 

You’ll also be able to use data from Business Central for the mail merge capability in Microsoft Word to facilitate sending documents to a large number of recipients.

The update will enable cloud printing through Business Central, utilising the newly released Microsoft Universal Print technology. This allows you to print from anywhere when connected to the Internet and authenticated to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

 

3. Improvements To Modern Clients

Through an extensive portfolio of clients, Microsoft enables end users like yourself to access and utilise Business Central using a variety of devices, empowering you to achieve greater productivity whether you’re at your desk, at home, or on the go.

This means that Microsoft has to make sure that the user interface for Business Central is both intuitive as well as powerful when needed, in order to cater to users across a wide range of business roles, proficiency levels, local and accessibility needs.

Based on user feedback gleaned from community channels and studies, Microsoft has included client enhancements into the 2021 Release Wave 1 update to improve performance, usability and printing.

rolecenter-parts-loadingPart of the Role Centre only loads if they are shown on screen. Source: Microsoft

 

For example, the Role Centre home page now loads its parts on demand when you scroll to them. This reduces the load time of the Role Centre, allowing you to interact with its content much more quickly.

The web client for Business Central has also received enhancements to improve its usability, such as:

  • Lists of records now accept double-clicking as a quick way to activate a single record.
  • Ensuring that all text is consistently selected when you use the Tab or Enter keys and click once on a field.
  • Making the desktop interface adapt automatically to available screen space, to accommodate various screen resolutions, low-vision users that need to work with a scaled-up UI, and embedding the Business Central web client into small frames inside other applications.

Apart from enabling cloud printing through Business Central, this update will also allow you to print via the cloud when using the Business Central mobile app on:

  • Windows tablets, Apple iPad, or Android tablets
  • Apple iPhones or Android mobile phones
  • Any Windows 10 device
  • The Microsoft Teams mobile app in any desktop, tablet or phone

 

4. Investments In Modern Development Tools

Building onto the investments in the previous update, 2021 Release Wave 2 moves Business Central entirely onto Visual Studio Code, and further invests in modern development tools that will enhance productivity for your developers.

Your Microsoft partners can now add keys (indexes) to base tables and table extensions in your Business Central environment, improving their tools for helping you deal with any performance issues you may face with your Business Central environment.

A new per-tenant extension (PTE) validation service will be created to validate applications on different aspects when an upgrade to a new version of Business Central is scheduled. This reduces the chances of failure to complete the upgrading process due to lack of application dependencies, compilation errors, duplicate object IDs or other reasons.

You’ll also now be able to extend an existing report by making additive changes to the report dataset and request page, making it easier for you to customise your reports.

Currently, when you select an entry in lookup triggers, only names will be returned; this could lead to the wrong entry being selected if the name was not unique. With the update, it will also be possible for you to retrieve the record link instead of just the name, ensuring you’ll get the entry you’re looking for.

Lastly, it will be possible to obsolete interfaces like other AL object types with the new update.

 

5. Simplifying The Onboarding Experience

2021 Release Wave 1 also introduces features that will help your end users achieve productive usage of Business Central much sooner than before.

These include “getting started checklists” which enables customers like yourself to complete the last-mile setup of Business Central without requiring the assistant of your Microsoft partner, and simplified new in-app contextual visual aids to help you learn how to start using the ERP software.

This product update also simplifies the initial company setup wizard, as well as a new wizard that guides you through all the necessary steps of getting started with using Power BI within Business Central.

 

6. Improvements To Administration Features

2021 Release Wave 1 will also deliver a set of features that are intended to simplify and improve the way that Microsoft’s partners (of which AFON is one) administer to end users such as yourself, as well as the way that administrators manage licensing and permissions.

If your business has a large database, you may find that trying to export your data in the .bacpac format often results in a time out. This is because Microsoft Azure allocates insufficient resources to such an operation, and the update will provide a more reliable solution for the database export.

Should your Microsoft partner also be a delegated administrator for your Business Central instance, they’ll be able to perform the following actions:

  • Pause a job queue, which was scheduled by a licensed user.
  • Restart a failed job queue, which was scheduled by a licensed user.
  • Run a job queue one time, for one full cycle, to verify that it works.

This allows them to verify whether the job queues they’ve configured on your behalf can actually run.

Your Microsoft partners will also no longer lose their delegated administration access to your Business Central environments should you register them as business-to-business (B2B) users in your Azure directory for the purpose of collaborating via Microsoft Teams.

In some cases, your Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) organisation layout might change after you’ve implemented Business Central into your business. For example, this might happen after a business merger or acquisition.

In these cases, your partner can now submit a support request through Microsoft Support to reassign your Business Central environment from one Azure AD organisation to another, and thus help you maintain business continuity when the need arises.

 

Questions About 2021 Release Wave 1 For Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

The 2021 Release Wave 1 product update for Business Central builds on the improvements that the previous update brought to the table in the second half of 2020.

The new features and improvements that are coming with this update seems to be focused on improving the user-friendliness of Business Central for new and experienced users alike, and thus boost the overall productivity levels of end users such as yourself.

For a detailed list of the changes that are coming with this latest update, here are the notes on the 2021 Release Wave 1 update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Otherwise, if you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 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.

 

get my free guide now

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