Highlights from Dynamics 365 release wave 2

Business applications are rapidly evolving to meet the needs of an increasingly digital and complex world. The era of form-based software and simple business logic is history–replaced with data-first, intelligent applications that proactively guide critical business outcomes across the organization.

The 2020 release wave 2 expands our vision to help you unlock the agility, innovation and resilience to adapt and thrive. More than 500 new and updated capabilities join an unparalleled breadth of intelligent, modular and seamlessly-integrated SaaS applications for the front and back-office; all atop the world-leading Power Platform to enable anyone to create apps and business processes.

In this time of unprecedented disruption—from remote workforces to changing customer expectations to supply chain challenges—this release wave extends investments to help your organization quickly adapt to any conditions with speed and agility—to build resilience into the fabric of the DNA of your company.

Connected customer experiences

Managing today’s omnichannel customer journey is no easy feat. Customer engagement requires constant attention at every touch point, whether human-assisted, self-serve, or automatic, and doing so requires visibility and collaboration across marketing, sales, and service. The 2020 release wave 2 updates further our vision to seamlessly connect data and insights across departments—breaking down the siloes that limit innovation and connected, personalized experiences.

Microsoft customer data platform (CDP)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, the Microsoft CDP and fastest-growing Dynamics 365 application, is a foundation for modern customer engagement, all on a trusted platform with unmatched privacy and security. Updates in the 2020 release wave 2 cement the solution as uniquely able to connect data holistically across departments and teams, with AI-powered insights to drive better outcomes.

Your teams will enjoy the new engagement insights capabilities, which give them a more comprehensive view of customers—easily accessible across teams, and always up to date. Audience insights boost the ability to analyze cross-channel customer interactions from websites, mobile apps, and connected products using engagement insights. And with seamless integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice, your team can track customer feedback signals across channels to proactively identify insights and drive meaningful engagement when customer sentiment and behaviors change.

Read more: Announcing new innovations for the Microsoft customer data platform

Marketing

We’re dedicated to delivering solutions that bridge marketing, sales, and service departments, seamlessly connecting ushering customers from first touch to acquisition to exceptional support. The 2020 release wave 2 updates take steps to connect that journey.

Over the next six months, we’re providing marketers with tools to build relationships and interact with customers at scale in this new world. New capabilities will help them orchestrate customer journeys, align sales and marketing, and make informed decisions. In response to increased demand for digital channels, this release integrates Microsoft Teams for digital events, improves social posting, revamps the customer journey designer, and lets teams use natural language to create target segments easily. And enhanced integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights helps teams discover segments and use them directly in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing to make campaigns more targeted and effective.

Read more: 3 new ways to build customer relationships using Dynamics 365 Marketing

Sales

Customer buying experiences are increasingly digital. In fact, 80 percent of enterprises expect a sustained shift to digital buying and selling methods, where sellers guide and collaborate with customers remotely. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales will help to further streamline the work of sellers and deepen their engagement with customers.

We’re ramping up AI-infused intelligence capabilities to deliver contextual insights that guide sellers to the next best action. Features like sales accelerator, advanced forecasting, and pipeline intelligence help sellers understand the health of the business and make accurately informed strategic decisions. Conversation and relationship intelligence helps sellers focus on activities and interactions that connect with buyers. And sellers can leverage Dynamics 365 Customer Voice to measure sentiment and Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics to better track and act on customer concerns around sales processes, products, and experiences.

Read more: Digital selling and customer engagement with Dynamics 365 Sales updates

Service

We’ve invested in the critical scenarios that businesses need to optimize support delivery and enhance customer satisfaction, reflected in the expansive scope of features is heading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service introduces a milestone in Microsoft’s first-party service solution. The addition of a native voice channel to existing omnichannel capabilities, built on the Microsoft cloud, empowers service teams with a seamless, end-to-end customer service experience across every channel within a single solution.

Dynamics 365 Field Service updates continue to drive productivity aligned to increasing technical success with first-time fix rates, optimized scheduling, asset tracking, and management. Plus, updates to Dynamics 365 Remote Assist give technicians even more ways to troubleshoot and resolve customer issues including the ability for allowing technicians and external customers to join a mixed reality call; expanded support for non-AR phones and added call analytics to surface challenge areas and opportunities for improvement.

Read more: Innovation on the service suite of Dynamics 365 applications

Connected operations

Effectively running a complex organization requires the seamless sharing of data, consistent business processes, and close collaboration across finance and operations departments. That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring cross-app capabilities across Dynamics 365 operations apps. This release wave continues the journey of making finance and operations data and business processes seamlessly available to Dynamics 365 applications, Microsoft Power Platform, and Azure Data Lake.

Finance

For Dynamics 365 Finance, we continue to focus on adding insights and intelligence and automating common processes. Intelligent cash flow forecasting, which previewed in 2020 release wave 1, will be released for general availability along with additional intelligence and automation in vendor invoicing.

We’ll also enhance core financials by adding asset leasing. This helps automate complex processes and eliminate risk, by making sure the system stays compliant with changing accounting regulations.

The Electronic invoicing add-on (preview) expands the invoicing capabilities in Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, and Dynamics 365 Project Operations to help organizations save money and reduce risk. The add-on simplifies adherence to the latest electronic invoicing standards, and provides consistent experiences in electronic invoice processing and exchange across different geographies.

Read more: Optimizing financial processes and reducing risk with Dynamics 365 Finance updates

For this release wave, Dynamics 365 Business Central investments center on delivering a world-class, comprehensive business management solution for small and midsized organizations.

We are expanding scenarios across Microsoft experiences—which today includes integration with Excel, Outlook, Word, and others—by introducing Microsoft Teams as a way to interact with coworkers and improve productivity, workflow, insights, and results.

A host of additional updates help meet the demands of a rapidly growing customer base, improve the handling of file storage, and address top customer requested features; and service security and performance improvements further safeguard business data and improve application performance.

Read more: What’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Business Central

Supply Chain

The pandemic took a toll on supply chains, from suppliers to consumers. Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is introducing new capabilities to keep the production line running and ease the day-to-day work on the factory floor.

Building on the Cloud and Edge innovation announced at Microsoft Ignite, we’re rolling out a new Engineering Change Management add-in, improving the ability to handle changes throughout the lifecycle of a product and ensure they are produced and released in a controlled manner. The new production floor execution feature provides more flexibility with a modern UI and a touch interface that makes managing complex jobs easier, even under the demanding conditions of the production floor.

New integration with Dynamics 365Guides gives frontline workers interactive, guided instructions right at their workstation. This helps manufacturers adapt to operational complexity on the factory floor with a new set of features focused on usability, so complexity can be managed in real time.

Read more: Overcome disruptions in your supply chain

Service-based operations

Dynamics 365 Project Operations is now generally available—the business application for service-based businesses that operate in a highly competitive market where winning new deals, retaining the best people, and increasing profit margins are significant challenges. Project Operations is designed to transform and modernize the project delivery lifecycle by bringing together cross-functional teams to deliver differentiated customer experiences.

In a single application—seamlessly connected to other Dynamics 365 applications—you can bridge your sales, resourcing, project management, and finance teams to win more deals, accelerate delivery, empower employees, and maximize profitability.

Read more: Optimize your project-centric business with Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Human Resources

Dynamics 365 Human Resources provides a comprehensive personnel management solution, including performance, leave and absence, and payroll integration. For the 2020 release wave 2, we’re focused on updates that further help HR professionals empower and engage their workforce, provide modern benefits packages, and stay compliant.

New self-service capabilities include the ability for employees to manage leave and absence directly from Microsoft Teams. Employees can view time-off balances and submit leave requests, and managers or HR will be notified when a request needs attention.

A benefits management workspace will provide administrators with a single experience to view items that require action or to track the enrollment progress for a single employee or groups of employees, including progress and associated actions for new hire enrollment, qualifying life events, and open enrollment.

Other highlights include an enhanced leave and absence workflow experience enhancements and simplified integrations and extensibility, including LinkedIn Talent Hub and Azure Active Directory.

Read more: Overview of Dynamics 365 Human Resources 2020 release wave 2

Commerce

We’re heavily investing in innovation for retailers—including updates in Microsoft Dynamics 365Commerce to further empower retailers to know how best to serve customers’ needs, ramp up digital commerce and contactless shopping, and efficiently run operations across the value chain. Read more about 2020 release wave 2 updates to enhance omnichannel shopping with Dynamics 365 Commerce.

Connected Store

We’re also continuing to evolve Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Store to offer benefits to retailers that are traditionally available only to online retailers, and to help bridge the physical and digital divide. For instance, you will be able to define a Power Automate workflow that makes inventory recommendations based on dwell time around a specific product, or make shift changes based on queue-length trends. To assist with social distancing, store managers will be able to understand shopper density and social distancing status in monitored areas, and set up notifications when the appropriate safety conditions are not being maintained. Read more about what’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Connected Store, as well as updates announced in July.

Fraud Protection

At the point of sale, updates to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection will help protect from purchase and payment fraud, account fraud, and shrinkage fraud while delivering a smooth experiences to online shoppers. Building on the new account protection and loss prevention capabilities announced in July, you’ll find tighter integration with Dynamics 365 Commerce and a new “manual review” capability that allows users to flag transactions for review, and then allow expert human agents to consume and adjudicate those transactions. Read more about what’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection.

Catch up on the 2020 release wave 2

Review the Dynamics 365 release plans for specific details for each update and additional resources.