Microsoft is revising its Dynamics 365 update policy resulting in some important changes for existing customers.

In a recent blog post it announced:

  • Two major D365 cloud releases each year will deliver new functions and capabilities
  • Updates will be available from April and October each year
  • Release notes will be published on July 23 for the October 2018 update
  • Updates will be backwards compatible so apps and supported customizations remain operational post-update
  • New features involving potentially disruptive changes will be disabled by default enabling prior testing
  • Revised update timelines to help administrators validate the impact of major updates in a sandbox environment
  • Continuous delivery schedule means that customers running an older version will need to update to the latest edition
  • Revised update process applies to the D365 apps and underlying platform (Common Data Service for Apps)

What this means for Dynamics 365 users

In practice, Microsoft has consistently shipped two main updates each year but the major change for existing customers is the removal of the option to skip a cloud release.

Until now, D365 admins have been able to remain up to one version behind the latest version but this will now require all to be on the latest available version.

With all users on one version, Microsoft will be better able to focus its resources on adding new features and making Dynamics performance improvements.

As a result, customers running Customer Engagement apps (Sales, Customer Service, Project Service & Field Service) should plan to be on the latest version by 31 January 2019.

D365 v9.0 users are already using the latest version but this change in policy will require v8.2 users to complete their cloud update before Feb'2019 to avoid having an automated update being scheduled by Microsoft.

Many admins already use a sandbox environment to test updates before applying to their live environment. From April 2019, Microsoft has signaled that it will provide a separate timeline specifically to test new capabilities and train users in advance.

As well as its two major updates each year, Microsoft promises a continuous set of updates for reliability and performance. A recent step up in the frequency of its update cadence has been evident with new updates arriving most weeks.

To find out more, Microsoft has published FAQ's about its new Dynamics 365 update policies.

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Preact is a Microsoft Gold Partner implementing and supporting CRM solutions since 1993.

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