Starting in 2024, Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations will change its release schedule to only four service updates per year, instead of the previous seven service updates. If you’re a current customer, or considering moving to this solution, or undergoing an implementation now, you should be aware of what this change means for you.
You may have found it difficult to keep up with the previous update frequency of seven updates a year. This change will give you more time to plan and test the updates before they go into your production environment. However, it also means you will need to adjust your update process.
As a Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Partner, we assist our customers to help them adjust to the new update schedule as it affects their environments.
Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations or D365FO, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.
How Do Updates Work for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations in 2024?
As of February 2024, Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations has moved to four updates annually, occurring in February, April, July, and October.
The new update schedule gives you more time to check and understand each update, and more flexibility to apply them when it suits your business. Updates are scheduled for the first three weeks of every month, making the process more predictable.
Starting with the February 2024 release, which is 10.0.38, the release numbering has changed to show more clearly the important information about the release. The first part of the number shows the year and quarter when the release is scheduled to start auto-updating in production. The second part is the product version as it appears in Lifecycle Services. A star (*) at the end of the number means a major release.
For example: CY24Q2: 10.0.39* is product version 10.0.39 that will be available for auto-update in the second quarter of 2024. It’s a major update (the “April” release).
General Best Practices for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Updates
The best practice for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations updates is to follow these steps:
- Test: Try out the updates in a test environment before applying them to your main system.
- Validate: Make sure your business operations and any custom features work well with the updates.
- Deploy: Apply the updates to your main system at a time that works best for you, within the extended update phase.
Keep in mind, this process requires some time and effort from your IT team, experts within your company, and a partner like Encore Business Solutions to make sure everything works fine when the updates are applied to your production Finance & Operations environment.
As someone managing Finance & Operations, you’ll be notified about any new updates around two weeks before they’re available to everyone. This gives you about two to four weeks to try out these updates before they go live in your system.
The time required can change based on how complex your system is and the nature of the updates. It’s crucial to set aside enough time to thoroughly test everything to make sure the transition goes smoothly. Keep in mind, applying updates usually means your system will be down for about 30 minutes to an hour. So, it’s important to plan your testing phase well.
General Advice for Adjusting to the New Update Cycle
- Get familiar with the new update frequency: From 2024 onward, Microsoft will reduce the number of service updates from seven to only four per year. Get to know the new update schedule and when it will start.
- Get ready for the changes: To get ready for the new release schedule, you should know the new update schedule – when they will happen and what they will change. You might also want to think about the new policy on pausing updates (only one update can be paused at a time), and how it will affect your organization.
- Evaluate the effect: Evaluate how the new release schedule will affect your organization and find out any risks or problems that may occur. You may want to think about doing a risk assessment to find out any potential problems and create a plan to avoid or reduce them.
- Inform stakeholders: Let the stakeholders in your organization, such as employees, customers, and partners, know about the changes. You may want to think about creating a communication plan to make sure that all stakeholders understand the changes and how they will affect them.
Advice for Existing Customers
If you are an existing customer, the biggest change will be the first time you experience the new update cycle. After that, it should be a similar process, but less often. Additionally, more features will be deployed in each update, so it will be crucial to stay informed about when major changes are coming and especially look for the ones that will help your company or affect the current implementation.
Advice for Companies Currently Implementing Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations
You might be curious about how this new release schedule could affect your current Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations implementation if you’re currently in the middle of an implementation. (You may know the product as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.)
It’s important to think about how the new update frequency will affect your existing implementation timeline around critical milestone activities such as solution modeling, user acceptance testing, and go-live planning.
Advice for Companies Considering Moving to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations from Dynamics AX
If you’re getting ready to move from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, you may be curious about how these quarterly updates work and when would be a good time to start moving from AX to Finance & Operations. It should have no impact as to when you want to begin your migration journey.
When you start your initial deployment of the Finance & Operations test/development environments you will be on the latest release and then become part of the update cycle going forward. You should be familiar with the key features and functionality with the initial version you start on and then keep up to date on key features and functionality that may benefit your company to be incorporated into the go-live deployment.
Ultimately, this change is a net positive for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations customers, but it will take some forethought and adaptation to make the most of it.
To ask about tailored advice, implementations, and support for Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, please feel free to contact us.
Do you have questions about all the different terms in D365FO? Check our glossary of the most commonly asked-about terms, with definitions and examples.