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UPDATE & ADVISORY SERVICE

How to manage Microsoft Dynamics 365 updates with the Update and Advisory Service

Last year Microsoft made an important announcement about changes to its update policy for Dynamics 365. From April 2019, there will be mandatory updates twice a year for all Dynamics 365 customers. So what does this mean?

Businesses need to familiarise themselves with the new Microsoft upgrade policy in order to be ready when the updates are released. If you want to continue to draw value from your investment in Dynamics 365, staying on top of this is crucial. In this blog, we look at the new policy, highlight the key dates for the April 2019 update, and discuss how to manage Dynamics 365 updates with the Update & Advisory Service.

 

The importance of managing updates

In the era of the cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS), automatic updates have become standard. Whether it’s adding or remove new features and functionality, improving user experience, or bolster security – there are countless benefits for customers. What’s more, it signals a shift from business applications being a one-off investment to becoming an ongoing lifelong ‘journey’ – giving organisations the opportunity to get more from the technology as it grows and evolves over time.

If you choose Dynamics 365 as your ERP or CRM, there’s no need to migrate to a whole new system every 4-5 years, as was the case before. Instead, Microsoft will regularly release updates that enhance your system to meet wider trends in technology and business. With the help of a good Dynamics partner, you can tailor the system to your requirements, so that you achieve long term goals.

 

So, what’s new?

  • Everyone on the same page – From April 2019, Microsoft will have established a single supported versionof Dynamics 365. It is the first major update where all customers across Dynamics 365 will be on the latest version and on a consistent update schedule.
  • Two updates per year – There will be two ‘major’ updates a year in Spring and Autumn. Release notes will be made available 8 weeks before these ‘major’ releases which gives Dynamics customers the opportunity to fully prepare for any changes.
  • Continued development – In addition to the two major updates, Microsoft will continue to deploy regular performance and reliability improvement updates throughout the year. Microsoft is phasing deployments over several weeks following safe deployment practices and monitoring updates closely for any issues.
  • Mandatory – If you are an online Dynamics 365 customer, your system will be updated in line with the Microsoft perpetual updates policy. Although there is no option to opt out of the overall update, any features that Microsoft deem to be potentially disruptive are not enabled by default. The new features can be enabled at a time which suits you.

To manage change, you need to know what is changing. Microsoft have released a document containing all the information about the updates in advance; however, this document is approximately 350 pages long and can be a lot for customers to work through.

Here’s a quick look at the most important dates you need to be aware of.

Milestone

Date

Description

Release notes available

January 21, 2019

Learn about the new capabilities for Dynamics 365.

Preview available

February 1, 2019

Try the new capabilities before they are deployed in production.

Release notes updates

February 21, 2019

Updates to release notes with additional apps and capabilities.

Virtual launch event

April 2, 2019

The Microsoft team preview what’s new

General availability

April 5, 2019

April 2019 update is available for production deployment. 

 

Introducing our Update & Advisory Service

In the last 12 months, Microsoft has released many important upgrades to Dynamics 365. Managing this change can be a significant challenge.

Awareness is crucial – knowing what is changing, what the impact of the changes will be, and having the time to plan and prepare for these is a must. If you can stay on top of this, you can turn these upgrades into opportunities to drive more value for your business. For instance, a new update might simplify a process, streamlining how your teams work and save time. However, if you are not aware of it, you won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

At Hitachi Solutions, our Update & Advisory Service is here to support customers on their Microsoft journey. Here’s what we can do to help soften the impact of the new policy change. Hitachi Solutions can:

  • Advise you on the D365 roadmap
  • Support you through your user acceptance testing (UAT) cycle
  • Escalate issues
  • Advise on new functionality
  • Advise on old functionality that is being deprecated
  • Offer industry-aligned advice
  • Provide all the information you need and advise on how to best manage change

In short, we know how customers use Dynamics 365, what is of the most value to them. We know what is coming next from Microsoft and what is being taken away. The Update & Advisory Service provides you with complete support, industry expertise and confidence in your business applications.

 

How to manage Dynamics 365 updates: practical steps

To learn more about how to manage Dynamics 365 updates, get in touch with the team at Hitachi Solutions today. If you’re a current customer, speak to your Account Manager, Service Delivery Manager or contact the Hitachi Solutions support help desk. If you do not have a support contract with Hitachi Solutions but are interested in switching to a Dynamics Partner that offers more value for your organisation, get in touch with our Update & Advisory Service or speak to one of our sales team.

Get in touch today

 

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Gill Carroll

Gill is a Service Delivery Manager within the Hitachi Solutions Managed Services team. Her role involves maintaining strong customer relationships and building client satisfaction through service excellence. Gill has worked with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Application stack for 15 years and is passionate about ensuring customers achieve high levels of adoption and return on investment for their solution.

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Author spotlight

Gill Carroll

Gill is a Service Delivery Manager within the Hitachi Solutions Managed Services team. Her role involves maintaining strong customer relationships and building client satisfaction through service excellence. Gill has worked with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Application stack for 15 years and is passionate about ensuring customers achieve high levels of adoption and return on investment for their solution.