What To Expect From The Latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Update: 2021 Release Wave 1

Kyle Lim
16-Feb-2021 16:47:43

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 February 2021.

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


Highlights of 2020 Release Wave 2

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 2020 Release Wave 2 update, the second major update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for the year, goes live this month. It brings to the table a number of features that will be released over the next six months, from October 2020 through to March 2021.

For 2020 Release Wave 2, Microsoft is moving to deliver a world-class service that meets the demands of a rapidly-growing customer base. These include improved overall performance, optimised handling of file storage, as well as features that were most requested by Business Central users.

It also includes a deeper integration with Microsoft Teams that will further enhance the collaborative efforts of your workforce, by enabling the ability to access data from the ERP software through the collaboration platform.


See How You Can Enhance Collaborative Effort In Your Workforce With Microsoft Teams Here.


Let’s take a look at some of the highlights that users of Business Central like yourself will get over the next six months with the 2020 Release Wave 2 update.


1. Improvements to Productivity Features

To build on the improvements to productivity features that came with the Wave 1 update, Microsoft has shifted its focus towards maturing the reliability and usability of its existing productivity features with the 2020 Release Wave 2 update.

For example, ensuring that the Modern Client is accessible for its users has always been a priority, and this update builds on it with various improvements to the accessibility of the client for low-vision users.

Reduced Width
Overview of Reduced Width. Source: Microsoft

These include several changes that improves the user experience for those accessing the Business Central clients with limited screen spaces, such as making the navigation menu and contextual notifications more responsive to reduced screen widths, among other feature updates.


2. Integration With Microsoft Teams

With the increase in the number of people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams has become a popular platform for enabling collaboration between team members in the past few months.

With 2020 Release Wave 2, Microsoft has further enhanced the functionality of the collaboration platform by enabling integration of Business Central with Microsoft Teams. Users will now be able to import data from Business Central into Teams conversations, enabling quicker decision-making as a team.


If You Need Some Tips On Achieving A Better Remote Working Experience With Microsoft Teams, Click Here.


3. Frequently Requested Improvements By Customers And Users

Building on their initiative to add new features to Business Central by popular demand, Microsoft continues to improve on the ERP software by releasing multiple features that were requested by customers and users in the product ideas portal.

CDS Resolve Synch ConflictsData Synch Errors

Overview of CDS Resolve Synch Conflicts and Data Synch Errors. Source: Microsoft

One of the features from the portal that the 2020 Release Wave 2 Update addresses are data conflicts that occur in the Common Data Service (CDS) due to business applications exchanging data on an ongoing basis through Business Central. These CDS conflicts will now be automatically resolved based on business rules that were put in place beforehand, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

Features and functionalities which received the most feedback from users, such as email capabilities, are also being enhanced with the Wave 2 update.


4. Enhancements To Service Quality

Every business demands that their enterprise software offers a dependable service and platform on which they can rely on when managing their operations, no matter which industry they operate in. To that effect, Microsoft has committed to further enhancing the service quality of Business Central in 2020 Release Wave 2, building on the improvements of the previous Wave 1 update.

If you implemented Business Central through partners such as AFON, 2020 Release Wave 2 comes with improved telemetry visibility for your partners through Azure Insights, in areas such as long-running AL execution, outgoing web service requests, and web service key authentication. This increased flow of telemetry will help partners like us assist in monitoring your digital environments for performance issues, and proactively prevent them from cropping up and interfering in your business operations.


5. Investments in Modern Developer Tools

Having completed the move of Business Central entirely to Visual Studio Code, Microsoft continues to invest in the latest tools aimed at enhancing the productivity for developers.

For example. AppSource apps will now be able to store their secrets in the Azure Key Vault with the arrival of 2020 Release Wave 2. This gives app developers the option to create their secrets in the Azure Key Vault account created in their own subscription, which will not be accessible by any other apps installed on the same environment.

2020 Release Wave 2 also introduces the Business Central Performance Toolkit, which will help your developers track and compare the performance between the different builds of their apps, and make sure that changes in code will not negatively impact the performance of your Business Central solution.


6. Transitioning From Dynamics On-Premise To Business Central Online

Last but not least, Microsoft continues to encourage existing users of their on-premise ERP solutions to make the transition to the cloud-based Business Central. Building on from the Wave 1 update earlier this year, the 2020 Release Wave 2 update adds support for migration from a broader set of Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV versions.

With Wave 2, your check books and open purchase orders stored in Dynamics GP will now be migrated to Business Central, allowing you to see them in the cloud ERP software after migration, and reducing the amount of manual setup needed.

If you’re currently using Business Central on-premises 14.x or 15.x and are planning to migrate to the cloud-hosted version of Business Central, you’ll now get support for the migration process with Wave 2 as well.


Questions About Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central's 2020 Release Wave 2?

2020 Release Wave 2 is an update for Business Central that, in many respects, builds on the enhancements that were introduced with the Wave 1 update earlier in the year.

Along with enhancements to productivity features, developer tools and migration support, the standout highlight of the Wave 2 update is probably the integration with Microsoft Teams, which promises to further enhance collaborative efforts by enabling Teams users to import organizational data from Business Central while carrying out online work meetings.

To get a full list of the changes that the latest release brings to the table, take a look at Microsoft’s notes on the 2020 Release Wave 2 update.

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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