What’s New or Changed in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations 8.0 April Release – Series 2
In continuation to my previous blog on the updates to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Spring release, where I had discussed more about extensions, in this article I would be taking about the reduction in version lifecycle and some of the impacts of more frequent updates from Microsoft.
One important thing to consider as a customer is that there is a reduction in how long you can stay on the old versions. Microsoft has made an announcement on the platform side, that once you go to platform 15, they’re going to start a program where you must have to take every platform going forward. In the old model you had a year to move off from the platform, now it has been reduced to a month to move to the next platform.
Microsoft hasn’t made an official announcement on the applications side; however, we foresee that we would be moving to a similar model where the lifecycle is going to be shorter. So, for example, if you read the diversion update article, it mentions that, for the 8.0 version, the support ends in April 2019, one year from when it was released. So most likely, there’s going to be a v8.1 release this fall, and as a customer you cannot skip the v8.1, in case you do, then you’ll run out of support before v8.2 is released. We’re moving to this model where from an application perspective you need to be keeping up with things on a regular basis because the support lifecycle is getting shorter. Since there is reduction in testing time and complexity of the upgrades, this story should be more feasible when we’re in the extension world versus the overlayering.
Some of the other impacts that you may want to consider is that if you are an ISV, your release schedules need to be tightly aligned with Microsoft’s release schedules, because if customers have to get upgraded fast, from an ISV’s perspective, there’s going to be an expectation from the customers that the ISV software is going to be ready roughly around the same timeline as the Microsoft upgrades. As an ISV you’ll still be building your software on a minimum version policy unless there’s a hotfix that somehow impacts your solution. The other impacts that are coming are the testing requirements, so if you must stay in line with Microsoft and be able to release your software faster, how are you going to manage the test cycle? Do you need to have more automated tests to get through that process faster? You need to be thinking about some of these considerations now for the future and how it’s going to look.
There’s going to be business impacts for everybody, so at this point its important to start thinking through what those business impacts might be. For example, Microsoft, ISVs and Partners have to stay more engaged with customers than what they were used to in the past. In the past, if customers were to stay on a version of AX for a long time, we might not have to be directly engaged with them, but if they’re kind of relying on us every six months because they need to upgrade to latest platform, there needs to be some kind of process or procedure in place to stay in line with what that customer is doing. Obviously, from a customer’s perspective, how are they going to manage this upgrade cycle, how are you going to manage the implementation if you’re having to do more updates during an implementation, you might have to do more project planning around the upgrade cycle or the release cycle. Hence, it is highly important to keep thinking about how environment is going to change as we move Microsoft Dynamics to this model.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I would be talking more about the platform updates and what’s new in the platform.
About the Author
Dhananjayan K J is Senior Digital Marketing Manager for SAGlobal, where his role is to primarily develop and implement digital marketing strategies for Microsoft Dynamics products and services. Dhananjayan has over 12 years of enterprise marketing experience with strong background in digital marketing across industries.