What’s New in Dynamics 365 Business Central 2020 Release Wave 2 (Video)

Microsoft provides updates twice a year for Dynamics 365 Business Central (Cloud), one in the Spring and one in the Fall. This video will discuss the 2020 Wave 2 release for Dynamics 365 Business Central.

In this recorded webinar, we discuss and show some of the new features released in October 2020 in Dynamics 365 Business Central Wave 2, as well as highlights some features coming through to 2021. To see the complete list of new features, please visit What’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Transcript below:

Tess: Good morning, everyone. And thanks for taking some time out of your schedule for our webinar today called, “What’s New in Dynamics 365 Business Central Wave 2 in 2020.”

Before I pass it over to our presenter, I want to remind you that if you have any questions during the webinar, please type them into the question area in the control panel and Rico will answer the questions at the end of the presentation. The session is being recorded and you’ll receive an email with a link to the recording next week after the webinar.

So now I’d like to introduce you to our presenter Rico, a Senior Solutions Specialist here at Encore on the Dynamics 365 Business Central Team. Rico, I’ll pass it to you.

Rico: Hey, thank you. Thanks, Tess. Hey. Good morning, everyone. I will be the host of today’s session and I will walk you through on what’s new in Dynamics 365 Business Central in the latest update that just came out in October. We will focus on all of the features, but part of the presentation is a link to a website where you can see all the features and where you can see what’s coming up in the next versions.

So first of all, since I don’t know exactly who is in the audience today, I want to give you a little bit of a brief introduction on what Business Central is in general. What is Business Central? Where are we coming from? What is the idea behind this whole thing, and why it is so beneficial to have the software as a service solution but you still have the on-premises solution. So we can run both but I just want to stress out why it is so nice to be on the SaaS solution today. And then I will dive into a couple of new features that just came out this month.

So in 2018, Microsoft renamed the long-term known product Microsoft Dynamics NAV into Business Central. In full, we actually have like both of the versions renamed to Business Central. So the on-premises version and the cloud solution both are called Business Central. So when you hear Dynamics 365, first of all, it’s important to know what’s after the Dynamics 365, because there is a whole bunch of other products and solutions under the same umbrella. We are talking about Business Central, which is the small and medium business enterprise resource planning solution from Microsoft. So that’s called Business Central now.

And then ever since this transition to Business Central, Microsoft provides updates twice a year. So there will be a wave 1, which is in springtime, and there is a wave 2 in the year, and that is in fall. And we are just now in 2020 wave 2. So we just got the release of that. And as you can see on this side of this slide, there is constant improvement on modern clients. We have the common data service. We have improvements on that side in this version. Between the on-premises and the SaaS world, we had a whole new idea of how code should be done. In the old way we did a CAL. Now it is all AL.

So when we are talking about transitioning from NAV or from Business Central on-premises to the cloud, now everything needs to be done in AL. And we are working with our customers, which are sitting in the cloud in AL only, and so far, there is no thing that we couldn’t do at all. So sometimes it takes a little bit different approach compared to before, but so far we could do everything that our customers needed. So just for you as a little intro, like why are we even talking about the solution right now.

One other thing that I want to stress out is since this solution is sitting on the cloud, like if you choose to go with the SaaS offering, Microsoft is actually rolling out the updates to you automatically. You don’t need to do anything. Microsoft will provide the update. It will do an attempt of an update to a sandbox environment. If it fails, you get an email, we get an email. We will be notified why the upgrade failed for some reason. Maybe some functions are not available anymore. Maybe some external apps that are in the system are not yet ready to be upgraded. So there is definitely the attempt before you go for the upgrade, and then we have time to fix all the issues or maybe there are no issues at all. And then the next thing that you will see is that the update will also be rolled out to your production environment. So it’s a pretty stable process. There is definitely nothing going into your production environment before it actually run through all the upgrade procedures.

And the cool part is, it’s all part of your subscription compared to the old days where you had to do the upgrades like every other year or every 5 years or every 10 years. Now you’re getting the latest version basically out of the box every six months, but even between these six months, you get like the minor updates like the break fixes and whatnot, like what in the old days was called hotfixes. Those now go also into environments on the fly. Like every month there is like a silver spec that is applied to your environment. So you’re always up to date with the latest version, if you are on the SaaS model.

If you choose to have Business Central on-premise, same thing. We have to go with the AL code. So that’s the new way how we develop, and this gives us the opportunity to do the upgrades in an easier way than before. They still need to be triggered manually so it’s not that Microsoft pushes the updates into your environment. We still have to do them, but they are definitely easier than in the old days, but you have full control when they are actually happening versus when it’s on SaaS, you always get the latest one and you always get it when it’s ready. Just to give you an idea on why we were talking about this whole thing today.

And now I want to jump into the key features that I identified in the October 2020 release, which they also call, Wave 2 2020. So there are a couple of enhancements on the administration side of the entire system. There are a couple of enhancement on the application itself, like what the actual…like what the user will see, and then there are some upcoming features which I at least want to point out here. And then in the bottom here, we have the link (What’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Business Central), and I’m pretty certain when we send out the recording, we will have this link included. So we can jump directly into this webpage.

So let’s now actually go over into a demo. Look, that’s a little bit too fast. So let’s start here. First of all, Business Central is the start screen. It’s all web-based. And for the first thing that I want to do is going to the admin center. So if you are in your Business Central, you will have this little button up here, and then you can jump from here directly into your admin center. So the admin center will show you all the environments that are available for you. So you can see here that I have a couple of production environments, and I also have a couple of sandboxes. What you can also see is the versioning.

So here you can see that all these have already been upgraded to version 17. This is the Wave 2 2020. And this one is still on the release from before, but it already has an available update. So depending on my schedule that I can specify in here, it will update in the next couple of days, and I don’t need to do anything once I have specified which environment should be updated and which one shouldn’t. So this is basically your overview of where you are and what’s happening next. And this is all not new. One new feature that we have now is that we can actually rename sandboxes or rename environments. So before, the name was static, so once you have given a name and if there was a typo, you had to live with this typo. So now you can actually rename the environment if you ever wanted to. That’s kind of a cool and nice, and easy feature.

Another feature that I really love about the new rollout is that you can actually see which apps are installed in which environments, and you can also see their update status. So you can see all the apps that are installed. So you have like a couple of Microsoft standard apps, but if you had like third party apps, they would show up in here as well. You would see the installed version and the system is doing a health check or an update check in the background and will check for you if the apps are up to date. In one of the upcoming features like in the couple of next month, you will actually have the ability to update the app directly from here. It’s not released yet, but this is one of the pieces that they want to roll out over the next couple of months.

And when talking about apps, one more thing which is super helpful with the cloud version is there are more than a thousand Business Central apps in the Microsoft Business Central app store these days. So you can think about apps like apps on your phone. You have your phones, you have your operating system, everything is working, but if you want to install an additional feature, for example, like an automated bank rec or a POS system or reporting tool, you just go to the app store, install, like start with free trial. Most of them come with a free trial. You install it, you try it out. It goes into your environment. If you like it, you keep it. You just sign up for the subscription or pay for the license. If you don’t like it, you just delete the app, and then it’s gone. Same as on your phone. Like, you don’t need to merge any objects anymore. You don’t need to unmerge any objects. It’s similar to your phone, install the app, use it. If you don’t use it anymore, just uninstall it and it’s gone. And all these apps will show up in here and you will see on the update status.

The next feature that Microsoft introduced to the admin center on this site is capacities. Before, you were limited to 80 gigabytes on the environments. Like 80 gigabytes of database size, and you couldn’t go beyond that. And you were also limited to three production environments and three sandboxes, and you couldn’t exceed that. So if, for example, you are a company that is multinational and you needed different localizations for example, one in Australia, one in Europe, one in North America, you had to have three environments. But if you now would decide, you want to go to Asia as well, you can’t go within the same tenant with more than the three production environments. Now you can go with more than three production environments. So when you rolled it out, you will get the local features for that specific country also rolled out.

So if you need more than one production environment, please talk to your sales rep. They will be more than happy to figure out the licensing and how this is all set up. So you can have more than one production environment or more than the three that you already maybe have.

Another piece that also comes with this is like the database sizes. As I said, usually you were limited to the 80 gigabytes. One of the pieces that Microsoft introduced is now that you can actually go above the 80 gigabytes, it’s just a matter of licensing the space for the database. So that’s also a nice feature if you are a company that is heavily data-driven and you have a ton of data. In the past we had a customer or two which we couldn’t actually upgrade to the cloud because their database was just too big. Now we can since we can just increase the database size.

And that is actually what I wanted to talk today about the admin side of things. There’s a ton more, as I said, on the website. You can drill into it if you need more information like what new countries and regions have come over or have been deployed. It’s all in there so we can totally follow up on that.

So now let’s actually dive a little bit more into the actual environments. So what I wanted to do is go into my version 17 sandbox, and in there, Microsoft has introduced a new role that is called company hub. And the company hub is meant for people who are working across multiple environments and probably also across multiple companies. So this company app, in an earlier version there was kind of a thing like this, like a similar thing like this. Before it was called the accountant role but now this is actually more functional so it gives you also insights into the actual company right from here.

So it’s refreshing like the overdue sales invoice amount, overdue purchase invoice amount and the cash balance in here. So we have like a couple of KPIs already on the first screen here. And if you want to go into it because you’re interested into this company and say like, what is this? Like, where are these number coming from? What’s going on here? Why do we have like so many outstanding invoices? All you need to do is click on this link here, and then you can jump directly into the actual environment.

And by the way, I totally forgot to mention. This one is what you can set up. You can specify which environment and how they should be grouped and everything. That’s what you can specify on your own. So that’s totally helpful by just setting up the company hub as your start screen. So as soon as I click on this button, it opens a new window. Now I am in Business Central in my business owner mode, and I can see my two numbers that I just had on the other side also on my start screen here.

In Business Central itself, another piece that was improved is how you deal with general journals. So let me now go to my general journals here and there are two new functions that I want to show you today. So the first one is that you are now, did you have a checkbox on the general journal setups where you can turn on or turn off a background error check. So what this does, it’s actually doing what you did in the preview posting or in the actual posting. You’ve got these error message, like dimensions are missing, account is blocked, or like not in posting date range and whatnot. So now you can see those kinds of errors on the site here.

So let me just go ahead and complete this journal here. For the salaries, I want to have like 500 debit. I don’t want to go ahead, and I have wages. Now it’s calculating to 100, so my journal is now balanced, but I can see that I have issues on two lines. So what are these issues on my lines here? So if I drill down on this page, I can see that the document was out of balance. This is actually outdated. Sorry about that. But you can already see that the department code on the line 60, like on the G/L account line is missing.

So it’s telling me that this account actually requires a dimension, and I can also see that here. So if I would go now over here and adding a department. And for some reason, it doesn’t behave like I want it to behave today. Of course, maybe it’s just a little bit tired this morning. I should see the same error message on this line as well so I need to like clean all the error messages, then it will show me like, there are no issues in the entire batch. So if I had like 100 lines in here and it would tell me like, hey, there are 5 lines which have issues, all I need to go is to check, which are the lines that actually have issues? I think that’s pretty handy to see which lines have been checked and which of them are like faulty. So that’s kind of a nice feature. If you like it, you can turn it on. If you don’t like it, you just leave it off or you just hide it if you don’t want to see it. Hope that makes sense.

The next one I wanted to show you is a feature that actually allows you to have posted general journals. So in the past, when you posted a journal, it only went into the general ledgers, and then you had the G/L register to group the transactions together, but you had no concept of like similar to a Post-It document. So when you’re posting an invoice, you have a purchase invoice when you posted the Post-It purchase invoice, but when you post a journal, there was no comparable thing on the posted side. This is what Microsoft introduced with this version. This needs to be turned on. By default, it’s not turned on, but again, it’s just as easy as going here and say copy to posted journal lines. It just needs to have the tick box and then everything from now on that you’re going to post will actually go to the posted general journal lines.

So let’s actually do that. So since this is now all okay, I want to go ahead and post this journal. And now everything is gone. And in the past, as I said, there was no easy way to find like all the connected transactions again, but now there is a new screen which is the posted general journals. So if I go to the posted general journals, you can see everything that has been posted. And always when you have this bold new entry, this is when you have a new journal. So let me just move that over. So now you can see like all the amounts. So I tested this a little bit before just to make sure that it’s working for today, these are the transactions that we just posted.

And now the next really cool part about this is I can actually say copy selected a journal into a journal. So I can say, I only want to copy like some specific lines and move them into a journal. So I can even override the posting date. I could say, replace the document number by something else, and I can even reverse the sign. So If I want to undo something, I could totally do that from here. Let me actually do that for the whole thing so I would be able to post this. Select a journal and maybe change this to today’s date and click okay.

Do I want to open the target journal? Of course. I want to see what I was doing. So now it’s created these three lines with today’s date and the sign is opposite from before. It’s easy enough now to reverse a journal that was posted and I think that is a huge improvement because that is super handy. Now, if I want to just post, let me just post this guy here, if I refresh this page by hitting F5, you can now see I have a new G/L register and now the lines show up here.

Another option is that you can copy the entire G/L register. So imagine if you had like a batch that had thousands of lines, you don’t want to sit there and like select all the separate lines that should go over to the journal. You may want to just say, hey, I want to just reverse this one register. To do that, you would select this line, click on the G/L register, and then the same option here, but I don’t need to select all the lines. It would only populate everything that had the same G/L register. So that’s also kind of handy. Like you can either specify exactly which line you wanted to have like we did before in this one, or you can just say select the header, like one of the lines, and then everything that was posted in the same G/L register should be going into a journal again.

Since we are here right now, you may recognize an image or a button image on this screen and you feel like this is different from before. So you may have seen this little symbol here and you’ll recall that this used to be called navigate. So Microsoft finally got rid of the misleading navigate and navigate, one, being an action and one being a tab. Now Microsoft changed the name of the navigate button to go into the function to find like all the documents and everything that was related. They call this button now, find entries. So if you click that, that is what you got before when you clicked the navigate function. So we have the option to see like all the posted general journal lines and the G/L entries.

And the other button which used to be called navigate…let me go to general journal entries. This one was formerly also called navigate, but for the ones who have been using NAV before, you may recall that this button was called related information. Then Microsoft changed it to navigate, and here we are, again, we are at related. So related is what you may have known as navigate or in the very old versions, related information. So this is now a lot more clear. This is related information to the entry, and in the entry, you have the find entries button. Just to give you a heads-up. If you get the update and you’re looking for a navigate button, it’s gone. It’s renamed to those two things. Not a big change, but definitely confusing if all your documentation says, like click on the navigate button, but you need to click on the right navigate button, not on the other one. Now it’s definitely clear. You just need to update your operating procedures.

Another very cool feature that was done in the financial side is that the recurring journals actually allow you now to specify the reversal date. So let me just go over to the recurring general journals. So for those of you who don’t know what the recurring journals are, this is a journal that allows you to set up, like it’s a template for ledgers basically. So you’re saying, for example, you want to post like accrued travel expenses every month and like $500 and the balance account for that would be the accrued payables. So you have the travel expenses and then the accrued payables. So 100% of that would go into accruals. And if you would choose a recurring method that starts with reversing, that would actually not just keep the line after posting, it would actually post it and reverse it to the very next day. So usually for accruals that’s fine, until you post it like the end of the month. So if I would post it like 9/30, the reversal would happen one day later and it’s always one day later, then it would be reversed on the first of October.

So let’s just go ahead and show what’s happening here. So if I do preview posting, we can actually see what’s happening. We’re getting four G/L entries as expected. We’re actually building the accrual on 9/30 and the reversal is happening on 10/01. So this totally makes sense. And this was the only way we could use that in the past because we had no control when the actual reversal would happen. Now we actually have a reversal. So what I can do now is say, I want to change this to let’s say, 15 days later. So I want to have the post in date, and 15 days later, it should be reversed. If I would now go post preview posting, still four G/L entries, that’s all good, but to reversal is actually happening on the 15th of the month.

You may now say like, okay, what’s the purpose then? Like, why would I do that? Yep. Maybe you want to put something in and do one reversal like one or two months later or the end of the year or something else. And that’s kind of a common request that I got, you want to be able to post something on, let’s say the 15th of September, but you want to have it reversed on the 1st of the next month no matter what date I’m using here. So if I say, current month plus one day, that would mean calculate the end of the month and then one day later it should be reversed. So if I go now to preview posting, it would always be reversed first day of the next month. If I change this posting date to the 2nd of September and post it, still the same thing because the end of the month plus one day is still 1st of October.

And that’s kind of handy if you want, for example, to post invoices or post something in advance to be able to pay it, but you still don’t want to have it…you still want to reverse it the next month, so you’re not stuck with the end of the month date anymore. I think that is a super handy feature for all of you who are using recurrent journals. I am pretty sure you have at least one or two occasions where it’s like, oh, actually I like this one.

And there are like all these new features. So sometimes I feel people get tired of all the changes happening all the time to the system. So you come in and oh, now, it’s looking different. Oh, what is this function about? And you feel as an admin, maybe you have no control over this. And Microsoft kind of listens to this kind of complaint. So now what we also have in the system is 40 features. We can actually specify when a feature should be rolled out. That gives you the opportunity to turn on a specific feature in a sandbox, do all the training on the new users, and once the training is completed, you then would turn on the feature like the new feature in your production environment.

And this is what you can do in the feature management screen. I turned on a couple of features here, as you can see. So there is an update for the bar dialogue. So if you want to learn more, you just click on the button and it brings you to the website. Is this write longer descriptions on the items references, that’s a feature that I just rolled out yesterday, and the check financial journals in the background, like the function where you saw the dimension errors, I also turned this one on. I did not turn on yet the feature for the bank reconciliation because I still need to test it. And if it’s still good, if it’s good, I will turn it on. If I don’t like it, I can still leave it off. But Microsoft’s already telling you by version 18, which is Quarter 2, 2021, this feature will be definitely turned on.

So you already have the timeline until when you need to turn this feature on and roll it out to your users, because it will happen anyways. But you have at least control on when it will be rolled out to your users in a certain timeframe versus before you had to consume the feature. It’s there, now you have to use it. I think that is super handy, so you can kind of do like multiple roll-outs and train your SMEEs before they actually have to use the feature.

And that is actually everything that I had for today. I just want to mention that there are a couple of features coming. So let me just go to the website here. Of course, it opens in a different spot. So this is the website that I was referring to and here you can see all the administration features. You can see when it will be public preview, when you will have it in your production environments. So when it’s like checked off, then it’s already rolled out. But for example, this one restoring environments to a point of time in the past, that’s the feature that Microsoft will roll out in December 2020 as a public beta. So you can test it. And then in February it will actually be available as planned for you. So this feature will then actually allow you to turn back on an environment to a specific date. So if for example, something really went sideways, you would be able to, yeah, go back to the original state from before that.

Then we have the application. Most of them are like they are described in here. I just picked a couple of them for today’s presentation. But as I said, for example this one, the bank reconciliation, there is already something in the system. I didn’t test it yet. Microsoft announced it for December 2020, that’s why I didn’t want to include it for today. And then by February next year it will be actually available in the actual environments.

And there are like the country and regions and all the other improvements to the common data service which is basically the power platform that would…no, it’s the data which is sitting behind the power platform so we can connect easier to other products of the Microsoft Dynamics family like CRM and all the other plans like customer engagement and whatnot. So that is kind of a thing that’s also coming and constantly improved.

Yeah. So that is basically my little rundown on what’s new. And I’m actually super excited about the improvements on the financial side because I feel a lot of pain is removed by this and I like the idea of being able to manage features and to have more insight on the admin side.

I hope there are some questions. So Tess, if you have any, I’m here and open for questions now.

Tess: Awesome. Thanks for that great content, Rico. So yes, you can submit your questions in the questions area of your control panel and Rico will be able to answer them. So far we’ve just got a great webinar. Thanks, Rico. That’s the only question we’ve received so far.

Rico: That’s easy to answer. Thank you.

Tess: So thanks for that great feedback, but please do submit your questions and Rico will be able to answer them. We’ll give everyone a few minutes and if there’s no questions, then we’ll give everyone a few minutes back to their days, but we’ll just wait a few more minutes.

[Silence]

So I don’t see any questions coming in. Is there anything else you’d like to share, Rico, before we go?

Rico: I think I’m good. Yeah, if you have questions, anything about like how to upgrade, how this all works, concerns about cloud or anything, please reach out to your sales rep or to us like directly here and we will be more than happy to help you with all your questions and concerns.

Tess: Absolutely. All right. I think we’ll end a little bit early. Thank you everyone for joining us today and have a great rest of your day.

Rico: Thank you.

Tess: Thanks, Rico.

Rico: Thank you. Talk to you later. Bye-bye.

Contact us if you have any questions about the 2020 Wave 2 release.

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