Dynamics 365 Business Central continues to evolve into a solid and impressive modern ERP cloud-based solution. With each new release, we’ve seen how Microsoft prioritizes and improves the client experience and end-user productivity. The Business Central 2021 Wave 1 release includes some helpful functionality improvements that further strengthen Microsoft’s foundation in integration, administration, performance, and reliability.
The latest update was applied in April 2021, and new features and minor fixes will continue to be released through September 2021. This update focuses on fine-tuning everyday functionality and simplifying administration actions.
As with the previous bi-annual updates, Microsoft continues to listen to the key improvement and system enhancement ideas that users share in the aka.ms/bcideas forum. If you’re already a Business Central user, we encourage you to suggest improvements in this forum and vote for ideas already posted.
*Please note that this blog does not cover the entire list of updates in the latest release. This is simply a summary of some of the exciting highlights you can expect to be rolled out in your system over the next few months. For the full list of updates, visit Microsoft’s complete documentation on the Business Central Wave 1 2021 release.
Some Enhancements You Can Look Forward to In the New Business Central Update
Further Access for System Administrators
This release delivers a set of features designed to simplify and improve how administrators administer systems, as well as the way administrators manage licensing and permissions.
System administrators will be able to automate and schedule the installation of extensions through Automation API version 2.0, with the options of current, next major, or next minor version.
The system requirement for a database will be relaxed to compatibility mode, which means installations of Business Central, not including the online version (software as a service), no longer require a certain version of SQL Server or Azure SQL Database. You can now run the database on any SQL Server version and any operating system, as long as the database has the required compatibility level.
The reliability of the database export operation for larger databases with more companies has been improved. Customers with big databases that include more companies sometimes struggle to export data in the .bacpac format for troubleshooting, data analysis, and long-term data retention purposes. In these cases, the database export often times out due to insufficient resources allocated by Azure to the operation. The new Business Central update offers a more reliable solution for exporting much bigger databases.
Improvements for delegated administrators will offer additional access and capabilities to perform actions that were previously inaccessible for an administrator. For example, administrators can now pause a job queue, restart a failed job queue, or run a job queue for one full cycle to ensure it works.
Lastly, an administrator can now reassign an environment from one Azure Active Directory organization to another through Microsoft Support. The aim here is to protect business continuity and allow users to keep their Business Central environments running in situations where their Azure Active Directory organization changes.
Enhanced Application Functionality
This Business Central update delivers features for some of the most requested areas for improvement, such as banking, payments, and continued performance enhancements. Microsoft has included almost 20 positive changes in this area. Some of the highlights include:
- A new assisted setup will help move the task of adjusting item costs to the background if required
- New automatic creation of lot and serial number information cards
- Bank reconciliation improvements
- Improved synchronization between contact and customers or vendors
- Better defined lot sizes to clarify various stages of production
- Dimension corrections for G/L Entries
- Easier contact insights and access to a history of contact interactions
- New capabilities to adjust your inventory
- More control over settings for Default Dimensions
- Payment reconciliation journal improvements
- Simplified bank statement file imports
- Enhanced ability to edit active prices in your price lists and price overview pages
Better Communication with Microsoft 365 Add-Ons
In this Business Central release, Microsoft has made collaborative business processes in Microsoft Teams more efficient. They’ve added more support in cloud printing with Universal Print; enabled a Word merge in Business Central; broadened Search functionalities for customers, vendors, and other contacts from Microsoft Teams; and made editing in Excel more reliable.
Further International Reach
The latest update has brought Dynamics 365 Business Central to more countries, such as releases in India, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Algeria, and Kenya, to name a few.
Improved Microsoft Power Platform Functioning
The 2021 Wave 1 release offers improved integration with Microsoft Dataverse and Microsoft Power Platform. These features include virtual tables for Microsoft Dataverse, synchronized item availability from Business Central to Dynamics 365 Sales, and a Power BI connector to work with Business Central APIs instead of solely web services.
More Modern Usability for Web Clients
The web client performance improvements this update offers will positively affect usability and printing especially. Cloud printing has been enabled on the mobile app for phone and tablet use, as well as on the Microsoft Teams app. Users can also change the assigned printer settings before printing a report.
Extended Modern Development Tools
Microsoft has moved Business Central to Visual Studio Code (VSL) entirely now and continues to invest in areas that enhance productivity for developers. Some of these highlights include:
- Keys (indexes) that can be added to base tables and table extension tables
- You can now use one-dimensional barcodes in reports with Business Central online
- Return record link instead of name when using lookups
- Returning complex types
- Additional dimensions added in Item Tracking as a foundation for vertical solutions
- Improved extensibility of reservation management
- New AL objects have been added, such as Entitlement, PermissionSet, and PermissionSetExtension
- Extended reports
Onboarding Made Simpler
This Business Central update can help users get to productive usage faster through the new Getting Started checklist for guided and faster initial setup, an improved Company setup experience, and in-app contextual help improvements. Users can now install and uninstall AppSource apps using the Business Central Admin Center API. Users can also now enjoy further support for migrating data from earlier on-premises versions of Business Central to the new 2021 Wave1 release.
Reliable, Seamless Service
Regardless of what industry your small or medium-sized business covers, as a business operator, you expect dependable services and platforms to run your business on. We think you’ll like these last few enhancements.
Background sessions now have a timeout. This provides a helpful protection mechanism that avoids overloading the Business Central server. This server timeout setting can also be overridden or further specified as needed.
You’ll now be able to exclude non-editable FlowFields and fields outside a repeater control from ETag (OData). To support this change, the Web Services page has two new options, Exclude Non-Editable FlowFields and Exclude Fields Outside of the Repeater, which you can set on UI pages exposed as OData Web Services.
Microsoft Continues to Improve Business Central’s Stability and Dependability
We’d like to offer you a free resource to help you further understand Business Central’s amazing capabilities. We’ve compiled everything we know about it in this free, handy download.
If you’re already a Dynamics 365 Business Central user, the update has likely already been applied to your system. You’re welcome to contact us to discuss how the changes will enhance your business processes.
If you haven’t upgraded to Business Central yet and are still using a legacy version of Dynamics NAV, we encourage you to consider that upgrading sooner will be far better than upgrading later. As of December 2018, new versions of NAV are not available. You need a system that is capable of evolving as your business grows and adapts to a changing market. We believe Business Central will fulfill those needs.
Also, keep in mind that Microsoft is still offering up to 40% off to NAV users looking to move on to Business Central until June 30, 2021. We can help you take full advantage of this discount. Let’s talk through your concerns about upgrading your system.
We can offer multiple resources to help you understand what Business Central and its accessories can offer your business and make an informed decision.