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Dynamics 365 Gets New Release Cadence

19 September 2018
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Microsoft has announced a new update schedule for Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 now has a new programme of updates that sees them delivered to End Users and Partners on a twice-annual cadence. This new update schedule means that they will be delivered in April and October, offering new capabilities and functionality in more substantial, predictably timed chunks. According to Mo Osborne, Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Business Applications Engineering, “these updates will be backward compatible so your apps and customizations will continue to work post update.”   

Update delivery

Yes, Microsoft’s enterprise planning and customer relationship management software is moving to a release schedule of twice each year, on essentially the same schedule as Windows and the Office 365 suite. While larger update schedules have altered, as you might expect, performance updates and minor changes will still be delivered to Dynamics 365 customers on a regular basis throughout the year. This demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to supporting their flagship deployments. In addition, the corporation has said that any substantial updates that could have performance implications (cause disruptions to customers or have unpredictable side-effects) will be switched off post-deployment. This is to allow administrators to first test before enabling the features for their own organisations.  

Cost-effective access to more users

On her blog, Osborne stated that the “new update cadence aims to lower upgrade costs, provide all users access to the latest capabilities, performance improvements and offer a better support experience”. This announcement only affects the cloud-based version of Dynamics 365. Currently (and for the foreseeable future), the on-premises Dynamics 365 does not receive updates at anything like the frequency that the online version does.

Will Microsoft roll out a general preview for Dynamics 365?

Given that the corporation has now announced that Dynamics 365 will update to coincide with Windows 10 and Office 365, you might think that as with those products, Microsoft would launch a Dynamics 365 general preview programme. This short period before general release enables a large group of testers to stress test the product’s performance. However, Microsoft has decided to stick to its current programme of reaching out to a closed group of testers “one or more weeks before (the changes) are applied in production environments," possibly making for a very short jump on a release.

The impact on Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals

If you are a Microsoft Dynamics 365 developer or senior consultant reading about this, we would love to hear your thoughts on how these changes could impact your productivity. At Conspicuous, we think that moving to more standardised upgrade times could be helpful as it enables partners to plan activity around times where it might be more important to dedicate resources to training and personal development, especially given that Microsoft have insisted they will release patch notes months in advance. That said, some might argue that Microsoft have yet to prove that Dynamics 365 customers will have a good understanding of what they are receiving in their updates, or whether there will be any consistency to the updates each time they drop. We will have to wait and find out. Speak with one of our Microsoft Dynamics consultants based in the US or UK, we would like to know your thoughts.  

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