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Featured News

Dynamics 365 and Power Platform timeline for the 2020 release wave 1

We deliver new capabilities to enable our customers and partners to drive toward strong business outcomes through two release waves per year.

Here are the key dates for the first release wave of updates planned for 2020, starting April 2020.

These dates will help you plan and on-board these updates with confidence.

  • January 27, 2020: Release plans available

Learn about the new upcoming capabilities for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

  • February 3, 2020: Early access available

Try the new features and capabilities that will be part of the April update of the 2020 release wave 1 before they’re enabled automatically. To learn more about the early access, check the early access FAQ

  • April 1, 2020: General availability

This is when the production deployment for the 2020 release wave 1 begins. Regional deployments will commence on April 3rd, 2020.

  • Production updates for 2020 release wave 1

Updates to production deployments will automatically start to roll out in April 2020. Regional production deployments commence on April 3rd, 2020. A detailed rollout schedule will be published by March 2020.

  • Production deployment updates for the new capabilities started during the month of October 2019 and will continue through March 2020. There are hundreds of new capabilities included in this release wave and you can find more details in the release plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
  • Product Updates page: New innovations in business applications starting April 2020

We encourage you to visit and bookmark the product updates page to learn more about new features delivered to market and watching the release overview videos and the release virtual launch event on-demand.

For more details, check the Dynamics 365 blog

Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Microsoft Business Applications Summit is the place for power users and experts to connect, collaborate & learn.

When? May 6-7, 2020, Dallas, TX (Note the date and location changes!)

What's in it for you?

  • Get Inspired
    • Meet the engineers behind the tools and products you use every day.
  • Build your skills
    • Learn hands on and explore many of the new capabilities across Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate, Mixed Reality, and more under one roof with experiential learning, hackathons, and workshops.
  • Turn data to action
    • Discover how Microsoft business applications work together seamlessly so you can get great insights out of your data to make better decisions with real-time intelligence to drive the digital transformation of your business.

Go here for learning about the 2020 Agenda and registration.

Moving forward with your transition to Unified Interface

If you are still on the classic web client, the time is now to prepare for the move to Unified Interface for Model-driven apps.

What action can be taken now?

There is a list of help and support materials including videos, articles, and documentation to help you plan and manage the transition below:

Performance benefits of Unified Interface: What you can do

Model driven Power Apps and Dynamics 365 apps are presented using the unified interface which has replaced the previously used web client.

The unified interface’s new architecture allowed us to implement several optimizations, targeting performance in high-latency networks by reducing the number of network roundtrips required to load pages.

Actual performance will vary depending on the customizations, client hardware, and network conditions.

Here is a list of what you can do to take full advantage of the Unified Interface performance benefits:

  • Getting the most out of modern browsers

What you can do: Use the latest versions of Edge or Chrome, as they are becoming faster with each update. If possible, do not disable browser caches, or wipe caches and the end of the session, as this will make the application much slower.

  • Efficient custom UI

What you can do: Avoid using web resources to add iframe content. If possible, build custom UI with the PowerApps Component Framework instead. You will automatically benefit from ongoing performance improvements, similar to those you get by keeping your browser up to date.

  • Optimizing for what the user sees

What you can do: When designing pages, put what is most important at the top to make it most easily accessible for your users. Move infrequently used components to other tabs on a form, use role-based forms instead of showing & hiding components, and make sure that different workflows have dedicated dashboards and views.

Feel free to use sections to organize your controls – this won’t make your forms slower.

  • Flexible application metadata

What you can do: Keep in mind that publishing application updates will invalidate all metadata your users have already downloaded, temporarily increasing load times. Don’t publish updates more often than you need to and consider doing it at the end of workdays to minimize impact on your users.

  • Modularized code

What you can do: Keep in mind that loading JavaScript code is slow, so customizations and PowerApps components should be kept as small as possible. If possible, consider writing your logic using Power Automate or Business Rules instead.

  • Solution Checker

What you can do: Run the Solution Checker regularly, as we are continuing to increase the variety of issues it can recognize.

Learn more about what make the Unified Interface faster and what you can do to take full advantage of the Unified Interface performance benefits.

Introducing improvements to data storage in Common Data Services

The latest improvements to Common Data Services which add options for binary data storage includes:

  • Introducing File and Image datatype
    • Capability to add File or Image fields to Out-of-the-Box or custom entities. It can be implemented through the Maker Portal for Canvas apps now, and with Model Driven apps in the near future.
    • As of today, fields of this type cannot be used in forms, dashboards and content is not available for search.
    • APIs are available and described here.
    • This capability does not replace existing functionality. The entities may take advantage of it and at the same time have Notes with attachments associated with them.
    • File and image field capacity usage information available to tenant administrator through Common Data Service capacity storage report.
  • Use of attachments
    • We recommend that for files and images greater 5MB, new File and Image datatypes be considered as the APIs are optimized for binary usage.
  • Attachment Management: Introducing update to App Source Attachment Management solution

Shortly, the App Source is going to be updated with new solution ( for Attachment Management that will allow customers to opt in to the experience that would provide a copy of all attachments in CDS providing the native experience for the binary use in CDS. Once the consent is provided, it is an irreversible process. The process does not replace original solution which will continue to exist per solution owner discretion.

General Availability: Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service

We’re announcing the general availability of Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service.

This new offering combines the vast capabilities of Microsoft Power Virtual Agents with the AI-rich analytics of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights in one unique solution.

  • Power Virtual Agents helps you to easily create and maintain intelligent chatbots without having to code. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents enables you to engage conversationally with your customers and employees.

Learn more about Power Virtual agents.

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights empowers customer service managers with actionable insights into critical performance metrics, operational data, and emerging trends to consistently deliver effortless customer service. Make better decisions and proactively improve customer satisfaction with AI-driven insights.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service (combined offering capabilities) on the Dynamics page

Learn How virtual agents transform the customer experience on Dynamics 365 blog

AI Builder December update

AI Builder AI Builder is a new low-code Power Platform capability to easily automate processes, predict outcomes, and improve business performance bringing the power of Microsoft AI to a simple point-and-click experience.

The December update to AI Builder adds even more capabilities for makers, with a new control in Power Apps, trial extension, new supported regions, and a way to better discover models that are ready to use instantly within Power Automate.

These updates include:

  • Text Recognizer in Power Apps

o Text Recognizer is a new AI Builder feature available in preview. Text Recognizer enables you to detect and extract printed or handwritten text that appears in images.

o It is now available in Power Apps as a new AI Builder control.

o It allows any Power Apps maker to build an app that can take a picture then extract text from it. This is very useful in a wide variety of scenarios, such as recognizing the identification number on machines, printed information on packages, and handwritten notes.

  • Trial
    • You can now extend your expired trials. This gives you 30 additional days to test and experiment with AI Builder premium features. Click the ‘Extend trial’ button on the AI Builder Build page to enjoy full access.
  • Region expansion
    • AI Builder is expanding support to two additional regions: Asia and Canada. Feature support will vary based on location.
    • For a breakdown of the release status for AI Builder features in your region, see Feature availability by region.
  • Build page
    • Models that are ready to use and don’t require any training are now presented on the AI Builder homepage.
    • These capabilities can be used in Power Automate or Power Apps.

Learn more about the AI December update here from PowerApps Community blog.

Update to the Power Apps and Power Automate Administration and Governance Whitepaper is now available

Learn about administration and governance of the Microsoft Power Platform by reading our updated Power Apps and Power Automate Governance and Deployment Whitepaper.

The whitepaper has been updated to include latest features as well as best practices for planning, securing, deploying, and supporting applications built on the Power Platform.

The whitepaper is covering the following sections:

  • Platform Architecture
  • Secure
  • Monitor
  • Alert & Act
  • Deploy, ALM and Azure DevOps
  • Educate and Support

Download the Whitepaper from here on PowerApps blog.

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Updates & Releases

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Release

The Service Updates for Dynamics 365 online version 9.1 are now available in some regions and coming soon to others.

To determine which version your organization has applied, check your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online version number.

Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, then click About.

Service Update 120 ( or higher) resolved issues including:

  • The "Set Regarding" icon was not visible for related records after selecting the "See more" link.
  • No search results were returned when linking a contact to an account.*
  • An error occurred when loading QuickView controls ("Error Loading Controls").
  • An error occurred when uploading an attachment to the Notes section.

Service Update 117 ( or higher) resolved issues including:

  • Item attachments in incoming emails did not properly sync to Dynamics 365.*
  • Header density was undefined when first loading a form.
  • Lookups and Quick Search could not find records with names containing special characters.

Service Update 114 ( or higher) resolved issues including:

  • A horizontal scrollbar appeared on some dialog windows.
  • Date and time text were overlapping calendar and clock icons.*
  • When navigating home, dashboards sometimes did not display until the Home button was selected or the app was reinstalled.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 On-premise Updates

The Service Updates for Dynamics 365 on-premise version 8.2 and 9.0 are now available in some regions and coming soon to others. These cumulative update rollups include all the hotfixes that were released for limited distribution.

Cumulative updates available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 9.0

Service Update 0.11 ( December 2019) resolved issues including:

  • Options in a global option-set were out of order.*
  • The "Save" button did not function on the Quick Create opportunity form.*
  • When selecting "Reply All" and drafting an email response, the time was missing from the Email Description field.

Cumulative updates available for Microsoft Dynamics 365 8.2

Service Update 8.2.13  (8.2.13- December 2019) resolved issues including:

  • When copying a stage in the business process flow (BPF) designer that contained a workflow step, the BPF could not be saved unless the workflow step was removed and then added to the copied stage.
  • Importing a v8.1* organization database from a v8.1 environment into a v8.2* OnPrem environment resulted in an error ("An error was encountered while processing user ... with account ... 'SystemUser' entity doesn't contain attribute with Name").

Portal Capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Releases

Version Check and Upgrade Information

  • To determine the version of a particular portal deployment, please reference to this KB #3166126.
  • For instructions on how to upgrade the solutions within Dynamics 365 when a newer version is available, please reference to this KB #3192042.

Latest Portal Capabilities Update

  • The Latest Portal capabilities Power Apps Portals Version (December 2019) for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is in early upgrade phase.
  • This release includes only an updated portal host and no solution package updates.
  • The portal host will automatically be updated by Microsoft.
  • For a full list of all portal updates released to date and their corresponding KB articles, please reference this KB article.

The latest Portal host Version resolves the following issues and more:

  • If the duration field on the form has a custom value, it shows as blank in portal entity form.
  • Autocomplete attribute is missing on email fields on Portal forms.
  • Clicking on validation error message for Date Time field does not redirect to that field.

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Additional News

Microsoft Forms Pro updates help improve customer feedback management

  • Forms Pro is a customer feedback solution that seamlessly integrates with your data platform, making it easy to capture customer responses, sentiment, and suggestions and then analyze that feedback with Power BI.
  • Forms Pro integrates with other Microsoft solutions, so you can integrate results and view survey responses directly from within Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform projects—a seamless way to gain a more comprehensive view of customers within your existing business processes—all with industry-leading security, privacy, and compliance. With Forms Pro, you can collect and analyze customer data, identify customer sentiment using AI-powered insights, and take immediate action on customer feedback to help close the customer experience loop.
  • Some of the newest features include: Email-embedded surveys, Survey Incentives, and integration with a Power BI customer service template.

For more details, join the On-demand webinar : Build a Data-Driven Customer and Employee Culture with Forms Pro

Dynamics 365 Customer Service adds Facebook Messenger capabilities

Unlike real-time channels like chat, Facebook Messenger gives users an asynchronous conversation experience, meaning a customer can send your business a message and then can close the conversation and return to it at a later point that is convenient for them.

Benefits of Facebook Messenger in Dynamics 365 Customer Service:

  • By including Facebook Messenger to our digital messaging offer further extending our omnichannel capabilities within Dynamics 365 Customer Service, customers can contact support organizations via their channel of choice, while simultaneously arming agents with a true 360-degree view of the customer journey and the tools needed to deliver a quick resolution that is consistent across all channels of engagement.
  • Customers can reach out to your company to seek support in an asynchronous manner and on a platform they’re already familiar with.
  • Agents can use the same unified, contextual, and productive interface used by chat to engage with customers and resolve issues.
  • Support center supervisors and managers can access rich reports to identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.

For more details, see this page on Dynamics 365 blog.

25 Days of flows – The Power Automate Advent Calendar

The Power Automate team added a 25 day series with a ton of best practices, lessons learned, and fun content around building flows. This series include:

  • Receive notifications when new videos are posted (automated)
  • Push updates from Dynamics to a Microsoft Teams message (automated)
  • Send Forms responses to Microsoft Teams and add built-in PBI analytics (automated)
  • Send a welcome email for new Microsoft Teams members (automated)
  • Query accounts from the press of a button (instant)
  • Translate text to French (instant)

The full recorded playlist is available from here in numerical order.

The actual Power Apps application is downloadable from here.

For more information see this page on Power Automate blog.

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Training Corner

Dynamics 365 App for Outlook Part 9 - App for Outlook Components

Read this post, on Dynamics 365 Community to take a closer look at the components that make up the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. You will also learn about:

  • Nuances of what is visible or not with App for Outlook Dashboard access through your security role.
  • Components of the app in terms of tracking and regarding record information.
  • Customizable areas in the App for Outlook

Check out the rest of the of rich contents about Dynamics 365 App for Outlook series below:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Flow of The Week: Create and insert a document approval sheet using Flow approval data

  • How use Power Automate to create a document approval sheet using Power Automate approval data before embedding it within a document.
  • This is a common use case which is a regular topic within the community.

This Flow will demonstrate how to dynamically generate the approval sheet from Flow approval data and add it to an approved rendition of the document (PDF).

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