It’s spring time and in the Microsoft community that can only mean one thing: the release of new features, functionalities and capabilities. Dynamics 365 for Business Central is focused at small and medium organisations who don’t necessarily require a large level of complexity to run their businesses. As an all-in-one business solution, it combines finance, sales, operations and manufacturing into one experience, including the Office 365, analytics and AI capabilities of the Power Platform. The nature of Dynamics 365 Business Central offers an end-to-end view on all processes. The Dynamics 365 Business Central updated of April ‘19 is focused on the improvement of customer satisfaction of the product.
Business Central is built on the four pillars of software design: Modern, Unified, Intelligence and Adaptable. The applications are built to work seamlessly with Microsoft’s Power Platform and easily be tailored to extend these capabilities. The first 2019 release delivers key advancements in each of these four pillars. A new modern experience, a strengthened and unified experience for customers deploying Business Central for Sales, Intelligent Cloud insights for on-premise customers on Dynamics GP, NAV and SL and new capabilities for extension and lifecycle management.
Main release topics:
Microsoft is making investements in the platform that make it easier for ISVs to get into the cloud. This is be done by splitting the application into a system app and, additionally, an app on top of that that functions as an extension, compiled in AL using Visual Studio Code. With this April release, Business Central is moving the base application and country modifications from C/ AL to AL code on optimization for large projects or additional productivity features, addressing feedback internally, as well as externally.
The following section points to the latest release features of this Spring release. These functionalities are to be release between April and September and can list capabilities yet to be released.
Users can now save their list filters and similar personalization to create different ways of slicing their data. No matter the device, personalization now follows the user.
Another feature to boost speed data entry and productivity, quick entry matches desktop users that spend a lot of time repeatedly typing in information, whether taking offers via phone or digitalizing receipts, registering new items etc. Quick entry gives an alternate path through the editable fields on the page, eventually saving users a lot of time.
Improved scrolling and load time
Rows are displayed more efficiently, improving display time, while being able to scroll to any position on the list without having to pause for fetching more rows.
Contextual search experience
Users can now enter custom search terms to help find pages and reports, search for solutions in the app source and extend the library with custom search terms, including partner solutions on AppSource. This can help users enrich their business solutions with the ones available on the partner community.
Adjustments to works sheet or document pages will optimize how they works e.g. with the help of the hide or move/ reorder actions features. Fields can also now be fully personalized, giving maximum flexibility.
Power users and support can now instantly inspect any page, revealing all its content of the record, including fields that are not shown yet.
Enhancements to Application Lifecycle Management
Application Lifecycle Managements have received an extensive enhancements, making it easier for admins and partners to manage tenants and creating better customer experiences. You can now customize the upgrade schedule, manage notifications, available extension upgrades, deploy release candidates. With this release, admins can now create multiple Sandbox environments for their tenants. Each one is a different environment that can be modified, upgraded and removed independently without affecting production. An automated service will validate per tenant extensions against the upcoming version of Business Central and notify admins if an incompatibility occurred. In addition, Business Central ISVs can preview Dynamics 365 lifecycle services (LCS).
Enhancements for Developers
With the Visual Studio, developers can now test and rapidly adjust visual content on page objects. Features include: filtering out unused extensions from the test environment, a visual environment for moving, grouping and hiding page actions, designing new List Views, Quick Entry Points, field importance etc.
Web API out of beta
The standard web API has moved out of BETA and the April release integrates final improvements from the community as version 1L. Key new enhancements include custom name sources, deep entity nesting, simple keys and an employee time sheet registration API. The standard API is built by default in Business Central online and can be enabled for on-premise as well.
Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Sales
The integration with Sales helps our customers boost sales performances. The April release delivers expanded synchronization, improved sales order integration, and share AI insights.
Intelligent Cloud Insights for on-premise customers
Existing on-premise customers get more Intelligent cloud insights for customers on Dynamics NAV, GP and SL. The on-premise customers can automatically synchronize their data to the Cloud, where they can make use of the latest insight capabilities. This release also introduces support of Dynamics SL 2018 and NAV 2018. NAV customers can replicate almost all of their on-premise tables to their Business Central Cloud tenant.
In October this year, we can already expect another major release of Business Central. From the information gathered, this upcoming release will not contain any C/SIDE or C/AL, nor will it contain the Windows Client. Which will bring the end of support for the product's older development model and user interface. All in all, Business Central as Saas is evolving, we’re getting on the One version continuous updates cycle and these provide effectively no disruptions for businesses.