January 25, 2022 8 min read
Corporate Vice President & Chief Operating Officer- Digital Transformation Platform Group
Today, we published the 2022 release wave 1 plans for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform, a compilation of new capabilities that are planned to be released between April 2022 and September 2022. This first release wave of the year offers hundreds of new features and enhancements, demonstrating our continued investment to power digital transformation for our customers and partners.
Highlights from Dynamics 365
- Dynamics 365 Marketing continues to invest in collaboration by enabling collaborative content creation with Microsoft Teams. Marketers can use content fragments and themes to improve authoring efficiency. Investments in Data and AI enable marketers to also author content with advanced personalization using codeless experiences. Every customer interaction matters, and in this release, we are enabling our customers to continue the conversation with their customers by responding to SMS replies through a personalized experience based on responses using custom keywords that can be added to journeys.
- Dynamics 365 Sales is putting data to work and enabling seamless collaboration to empower sales professionals to be more productive and deliver value in every customer interaction. Business data is now ambient and actionable from within Microsoft 365 interfaces, enabling sellers to quickly establish context and act on data. Using a single workspace in the Sales Hub, sellers can adjust their sales pitch using AI-guided live feedback and suggestions, and managers can track team performance and provide valuable coaching to help boost customer satisfaction.
- Dynamics 365 Customer Service continues to invest in delivering capabilities that ensure personalized service across channels, empower agents, and make collaboration easier in an ever-increasing remote world. With the new Customer Service Admin center app, we’re simplifying the setup with guided, task-based experiences making it easier to get up and running quickly. Enhancements to the inbox view allow agents to rapidly work through issues across channels while maintaining a focus on the customer. Investments in collaboration with Microsoft Teams include data integration, AI-suggested contacts, and AI-generated conversation summaries. Lastly, investments in knowledge management include relevance search integration and historical analytics, and unified routing with default queue enhancements and routing diagnostics.
- Dynamics 365 Field Service brings innovative enhancements and usability improvements to the schedule board. The new schedule board is now at functional parity with the previous version, and we are enhancing the user experience of hourly and multi-day views to improve dispatcher productivity. Additionally, the Field Service mobile application includes enhancements to boost technician productivity and is now fully supported on Windows devices.
- Dynamics 365 Finance is launching the general availability of subscription billing to ensure organizations can thrive in a service-based economy. We are enabling our customers to maximize financial visibility and profitability by bringing intelligent automation around vendor invoicing, financial close through ledger settlements, and year-end close services. In addition, we are releasing to market the preview of Tax Audit and Reporting Service. Lastly, we continue to enhance our globalization offerings in Globalization Studio such as Tax Calculation and Electronic Invoicing. With Globalization Studio, these low-code globalization services and their multi-country content will be available to any first and third-party app and extended with prebuilt ISV connectors.
- Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management investments continue to focus on driving agility and resilience in the supply chain. Enhanced warehouse and manufacturing execution workloads enable businesses to scale mission-critical operations using cloud and edge scale units. Planning Optimization brings new manufacturing scenarios and planning strategies to help businesses, and manufacturers, shorten planning cycles, reduce inventory levels, and improve customer service. The new global inventory accounting functionality allows inventory accounting in multiple representations to simplify operations for businesses working in multiple currencies or facing different local and global accounting standards.
- Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management brings an expanded set of out-of-the-box provider integrations, enabling rapid deployment and connectivity to an ecosystem of solutions in the order capture, logistics, fulfillment, and delivery process flows. Combined with the rich ecosystem of providers, customers will have the ability to achieve advanced order orchestration using the new expanded set of features and optimizations supported in inventory orchestration, order actions, and fulfillment. This release wave brings a brand-new Returns and Exchange management service directly integrated into e-commerce solutions. This service enables customers to orchestrate journeys that minimize operational costs related to getting merchandise back on shelves and drive clear communication with their consumers.
- Dynamics 365 Project Operations is investing in enabling capabilities ranging from onboarding, estimating, and using resources from external talent pools helping to boost efficiencies in project planning and delivery. Customers will also be able to upgrade from Project Service Automation to Project Operations using an in-place upgrade experience. In addition, customers can bring their own project management tools through a generic API where task scheduling can happen in the project management tool of choice and then integrate to Project Operations, becoming available to users in a read-only manner. Resource scheduling and booking would remain in Project Operations.
- Dynamics 365 Guides continues to invest in capabilities that improve the collaboration experiences for authors and operators on HoloLens 2. The application will also be updated to support guest access so that customers can share their guides with users outside of their organization.
- Dynamics 365 Remote Assist is investing in B2B service scenarios by bringing one-time calling to general availability and supporting additional calling policies for external users. Additionally, we are updating the Remote Assist mobile app to support improved collaboration through the ability to share screens across iOS and Android.
- Dynamics 365 Human Resources will equip HR professionals with the ability to tailor experiences and automatically complete processes when employees are joining, leaving, and moving within an organization. We will also provide intelligent talent management capabilities to enable companies to understand the gap between the skills needed for the organization and employees to be successful, and the skillset held by the organization’s current workforce. By providing this intelligent talent management capability, Dynamics 365 Human Resources enables companies to ensure the right people are in the right jobs, but also plan for the future.
- Dynamics 365 Commerce continues to invest in key B2B commerce scenarios, including sales agreements, on-behalf-of ordering, and partner-specific product catalogs and pricing. This release also introduces customer segmentation and targeting with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, and out-of-box A/B experimentation and analytics tools. The new Store Commerce app streamlines point of sale deployment and servicing while improving performance. New workflows in headquarters, bulk image upload, and manifest-driven upload simplify the management of media assets across channels. Lastly, customer service functionality is easily enabled on your e-commerce site with Power Virtual Agents and Omnichannel for Customer Service.
- Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is delivering multiple new capabilities in this release. Operators of Payment Service Providers will be able to offer fraud protection as a service to their businesses, including those that have multi hierarchy business structure. Deep search capabilities enhancing analytics and policy settings have now been enabled as well as integrated case management for purchase protection. In addition, Fraud Protection now offers support for native mobile applications as well as businesses building their offering on top of Power App portals. Finally, customers will be able to choose to have Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection provisioned within Canada if they have specific data residency needs or latency requirements that would require it.
- Dynamics 365 Business Central continues to simplify the customer onboarding experience by offering a modern Help Pane that gives users guidance and learning content where they need it most, in the context of their work. The Help Pane flattens the learning curve, increasing productivity, and business process adoption. Customers using Microsoft Power Platform can use the new capabilities of our connectors. In this release, we are making it easier to trigger a Power Automate flow directly from Business Central pages, which can save time by automating business processes. Collaborating on Business Central data in Microsoft Teams is smoother because we’ve removed the licensing friction.
- Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft’s customer data platform, expands the footprint of consent enablement features across more areas within Customer Insights. It enables customers to integrate and harmonize consent data from multiple consent systems and data sources. This will ensure that consent permissions and preferences of your customers are honored during real-time personalization scenarios in Customer Insights. New data enrichment capabilities will enable customers to leverage our safe data collaboration capability to share and enrich their customer data. Safe data collaboration puts you in control of your data with privacy-enabled workflows to join and enrich your data with other datasets.
Highlights from Microsoft Power Platform
- Power BI continues to invest in empowering every individual, team, and organization to drive a data culture. For individuals, we are improving the create experience through the addition of measures using natural language and allowing users to collaborate via OneDrive. For teams, we are bringing enhancements to Goals focused on enterprise needs, integration with PowerPoint, and adding new capabilities to the Power BI integration in Teams. To empower the organization, we are improving our experience with big data through automatic aggregations, data protection capabilities via data loss prevention (DLP) policies, and providing improved visibility into user activity to admins.
- Power Apps maintains focus on enabling developers of all skill levels to build enterprise-class apps infused with intelligence and collaboration capabilities. Makers will be able to collaborate on the same app to simultaneously work and merge changes to accelerate development and track collaboration. Makers and developers of all skill levels will be more productive with Dataverse, leveraging intelligence to assist development with natural language to code, powered by advanced AI models such as GPT-3 and PROSE. Most importantly, we are including key updates to ensure organizations can deliver flagship apps across the entire company faster and safer than ever. These include allowing packaging of apps to be deployed on Android and iOS and improvements to ALM and governance capabilities to ensure safe and scalable rollouts.
- Power Apps portals continue to invest in bringing more out-of-the-box capabilities to support both low-code/no-code development as well for professional developers. Some of the salient capabilities for makers include converting portals into cross-platform mobile applications by enabling them as progressive web apps, an option to use Global search powered via Dataverse search integration, and enhancements for professional developers to do more with portals using Microsoft Power Platform PAC CLI tool.
- Power Automate is more accessible than ever, which makes it easier to get started automating tasks no matter where you are in Microsoft 365. We have seen customers of all sizes increase the scale of their robotic process automation (RPA) deployments; therefore, we are adding features to make it easier to manage machines in Azure and the credentials of users and accounts. Finally, all the features we are building are increasingly automatable by default, adhering to the API-first approach, so that IT departments can manage their Power Automate infrastructure in whatever way they want.
- Power Virtual Agents brings improvements in the authoring experience with commenting, Power Apps portals integration, data loss prevention options, proactive bot update messaging in Microsoft Teams, and more.
- AI Builder is adding capabilities around document automation—in particular, the ability to process unstructured documents, such as contracts or e-mails. By extracting insights from the semantic understanding of the text in unstructured documents, customers will be able to extract key information from documents and process them automatically in an end-to-end flow using Power Automate. We are also focusing on building out a Feedback Loop process, enabling improvement of model accuracy by retraining models with data processed in production. Lastly, we are adding capabilities to effectively manage the governance and lifecycle of AI Models.
Early access period
Starting January 31, 2022, customers and partners will be able to validate the latest features in a non-production environment. These features include user experience enhancements that will be automatically enabled for users in production environments during April 2022. Take advantage of the early access period, try out the latest updates in a non-production environment, and get ready to roll out updates to your users with confidence. To see the early access features, check out the Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform pages. For questions, please visit the Early Access FAQ page.
We’ve done this work to help you—our partners, customers, and users—drive the digital transformation of your business on your terms. Get ready and learn more about the latest product updates and plans, and share your feedback in the community forum for Dynamics 365 or Microsoft Power Platform.