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At a Glance - Microsoft Dynamics 365 Release Wave 1

It’s that time again. In late January 2021, Microsoft announced the next 6 months of enhancements planned for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, which underpins the CRM capabilities in our Membership Experience Platform – MemEx.


Microsoft has published its Dynamics 365 and Power Platform plans for 2021 Release Wave 1. Each year, Microsoft delivers new capabilities in two six-month release waves. The last wave was released in October 2020, bringing hundreds of new and updated features to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Once again, this next wave will bring new functionality, rolling out from April 2021 until September 2021.

Highlights from Dynamics 365

What's new in Dynamics 365 Sales?

Dynamics 365 Sales is adding automation and sequencing enhancements, as well as mobile app updates. These include enhancements to save time so sellers can focus on selling, to provide more access to data insights, and to enhance the mobile experience for sellers on-the-go. Look out for updates to automation and sequencing, Conversation Intelligence, and many exciting updates to the mobile app.

  • Saving you time: Get tasks done more easily to keep the focus on selling
  • Intelligence at your fingertips: Provide data-driven insights to help with decision making
  • Helping you on the go: Enhancing the mobile experience for sellers on the go

What's new in Dynamics 365 Marketing?

Enhancements focus on deeper personalisation to engage customers, more channels to reach customers with the right messages, and analytics to improve results and achieve your organisational goals.

  • Deeper personalisation to engage your customers
  • More channels, power, and ease to reach your customers with the right messages
  • Analytics to improve results and achieve your business goals

What's new in Dynamics 365 Customer Voice?

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice expands the capabilities to collect feedback with prefilled answers, file upload support, drill-down question type, and customized survey headers.

Additional capabilities designed to improve survey response rate include pause and resume survey to enable users to complete a survey on a different device, automated survey reminders for recipients who have not filled out the survey, and over-survey management. Creating a follow-up action workflow is made easier with Power Automate survey response trigger.

Highlights from the Power Platform

What’s new in Power Apps?

Power Apps will introduce printing support, a "top ask from our maker community", and mixed reality capabilities for canvas apps. New features and improvements for model-driven apps, like MemEx, include:

  • Multi-line text controls auto-expand - in Quick View forms, multi-line text fields will automatically expand to show the full content by default.
  • Improved navigation in model-driven apps - for easier editing, a new page side pane will allow another page to be opened while the current page remains open.
  • Global Relevance Search improvements - including a redesigned results page.
  • Duplicate Detection & Merge - the recently introduced new experiences for these processes will now be default.

What’s new in Power BI?

Power BI will expand integration with Teams while providing enhancements to both its Quick Create experience and advanced capabilities. Power BI Premium will offer customers a choice between per user and per capacity licensing options.

  • Quick Create – a guided experience to help new users get started by typing or pasting some data to instantly get an autogenerated report which can be sliced and diced.
  • Sharing links for Power BI reports - updated process to make sharing reports in Power BI as easy and familiar as sharing with Office apps.
  • Smart narratives - helps to quickly summarise visuals and reports with out-of-the-box insights that are customisable.
  • Anomaly detection – report creators will be able to enrich charts with automatic anomaly detection for time series charts.

What’s new in Power Automate?

Microsoft are investing in many areas of Power Automate as part of the release plan including:

  • Trigger flows when a Microsoft Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service – CDS) action is complete.
  • Search records in Microsoft Dataverse using relevance search - create cloud flows to search records using AI-based relevance search for extended capabilities including Boolean operators, wildcards, fuzzy search, proximity search etc.
  • Record repetitive, manual processes with Power Automate Desktop – use the process advisor to record a process on your desktop and analyse this using a process map and associated analytics in preparation for automation.

What’s new in Power Virtual Agents?

The wave brings improvements in the authoring experience with topic suggestions from bot sessions, image and video support, and new topic trigger management to improve your bot’s triggering capabilities.

  • Insert Adaptive Cards - use Microsoft Adaptive Cards within the authoring experience to deliver platform-agnostic snippets of UI.
  • Portal Connectivity - Power Virtual Agents can now include templates to create bots within Portals and simplify processes when transitioning to Power Virtual Agents for editing.
  • Enhanced Natural Language Capabilities - including intent triggering improvements from live traffic and the ability to extract multi-turn topic suggestions for more elaborate dialogs.

If you have any questions about your current Dynamics 365 system, or the enhancements outlined in Wave 1, please contact us.


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