Microsoft Announces New Features for Dynamics 365 in its 2022 Release Wave 1 Plan

Microsoft recently published its 2022 Wave 1 plans for the hundreds of features it is adding to Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and its industry clouds. Whether your focus is on accelerating a single process or disrupting your entire industry, there are scores of product feature additions and improvements. Wave 1 covers the period from April 2022 to September 2022. General availability, meaning the feature is ready to be used in a production environment, kicks off on April 1, 2022.  

But it’s not light reading. Microsoft documented the hundreds of new features that are inflight via downloadable PDFs. The downloadable PDF for Wave 1 features for Dynamics 365 and the Industry Clouds is here. The Wave 1 features for Power Platform PDF is here. In their PDF formats, Microsoft’s overview documents weigh in at 149 pages for Power Platform and 414 pages for Dynamics 365. For an overall synopsis of the features, you can look here

When announcing the 2022 Wave 1 features, Mo Osborne, Corporate Vice President & Chief Operating Officer- Digital Transformation Platform Group, said Microsoft’s direction in the wave demonstrates the software giant’s continued investment in powering digital transformation throughout the ERP ecosystem, as well as addressing some of the key shortcomings Microsoft hears from its customers. 

Hitachi Solutions… our thoughts

Depending on whether you are an existing customer with a solution already deployed, or a prospective customer evaluating Microsoft, the first thing to take away could be summarized as this:  in combination, both technology and cloud-based business systems continue to innovate and deliver increased capability to support your business transformation initiatives.  And Microsoft is knocking it out of the park…. with over 560 pages required to document new features – just for their 2022 release wave 1.  Microsoft has, and continues to, invest in their business applications. 

Next, depending on your business requirements, future transformation plans, and/or changes in your business, there are new features across Dynamics 365 applications, including Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Insights, Human Resources, Commerce, Fraud Protection, Business Central, Connected Spaces, Guides, Remote Assist, Customer Insights, Customer Voice, and Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, Financial Services, Sustainability, and Nonprofit. The Microsoft Power Platform release plan has new features for Power BI, Power Apps, Power Apps portals, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and AI Builder, as well as Microsoft Power Platform capabilities for governance and administration, ISV experiences, and data integration.    

In summary, that is a lot to digest with a lot of potential to harness in support of your transformation initiatives. Our team has provided links and quick read summaries to spark your interest within this article.  As a global solutions integrator with leading capabilities in Microsoft solutions and technologies, our skilled professionals combine advisory services with industry and technology expertise to support and accelerate our customers’ data and business system modernization initiatives.  While there is no ‘cliff-notes’ version to speed your absorption of Microsoft’s 2022 wave 1 release, Hitachi Solutions can be your tour guide, ensuring you learn all the important information to drive your ongoing business success.  If interested to explore your options, contact us! 

Intelligence and automation in core financials 

This release in core Dynamics 365 Finance is focused on bringing additional enhancements to core financial functionality, with intelligence through insights and automation as the overarching themes. Let’s look at some of the most significant features. 

Automation of core business processes 

By using configurable and extensible models, 2021 wave 1 updates provide intelligent and accurate cash flow predictions bringing intelligent automation around vendor invoicing, ledger settlements, and year-end close services to enable maximum financial visibility. 

For example, the ledger settlements functionality can run as a background process, based on rules that you specify. You can define the transaction selection criteria and create matching rules that are based on transaction attributes, such as financial tags and amounts. Additionally, you can define the frequency of the automated settlement, such as daily or monthly.  

The automation of OCR for vendor invoices completes the full end-to-end automation of accounts payable. By using Azure Form Recognizer, AI Builder, and Power Platform, the out-of-the-box optical character recognition (OCR) solution analyzes scanned content, performs data validation to ensure accuracy, and then converts the data into standalone documents. This will reduce the labor required for data entry and help reduce errors that can occur when tasks had to be completed manually. 

Analytical data lake reporting  

If your solution includes using a data lake, you can now simplify data pipelines to unlock the insights by connecting your Finance and Operations apps environment with a data lake. With general availability of the Export to Data Lake feature in Finance and Operations apps, data from your Dynamics 365 environment is readily available in Azure Data Lake. 

Data lakes are optimized for big data analytics. With a replica of your Dynamics 365 data in the data lake, you can use Microsoft Power BI to create rich operational reports and analytics. Your data engineers can use Spark and other big data technologies to reshape data or to apply machine learning models. Or you can work with a data lake the same way that you work with data in a SQL database. Serverless SQL pool endpoints in Azure Synapse Analytics let you query big data in the lake with Transact-SQL (T-SQL). 

Finance Insights 

Finance insights is a SaaS offering that reached GA in January 2022. New enhancements are available to predict your company’s cash flow, predict when you may receive payment for outstanding receivables, and generate a budget proposal that can help speed up your budgeting process.  

These features use intelligent machine learning templates to build models using data you provide (including data from a third party such as consumer report information from a bureau). These capabilities can then inform decision making and help you take action to respond effectively to current and anticipated business challenges.  

Subscription billing 

Subscription billing in Finance reaches GA in April, automating the complexity around the financial impact of managing recurring revenue. The comprehensive subscription billing capabilities will help organizations handle complex pricing, consumption, and milestone billing, and ensure they can thrive in a service-based economy. 

Globalization 

Microsoft is announcing Globalization Studio, a low-code tax compliance and globalization platform with tax calculation and electronic invoicing capabilities. The studio makes multi-country content available for integration with first- and third-party apps using ISV extensions. In addition, new global inventory accounting functionality will allow for simplified inventory accounting for businesses working in multiple currencies or facing different local and global accounting standards. The studio is currently scheduled for public preview in June. 

Supply chain resiliency

Increasing resiliency continues to be a priority for organizations as they emerge from the current crisis and reset strategies to anticipate and minimize disruptions. The investments in this wave release help organizations balance cost and investments in creating an agile supply chain that will ensure business stability. 

Deeper integration with Supply Chain Insights  

In preview as of November 2021, Microsoft continues to build out the functionality in Supply Chain Insights. The SaaS product scheduled for GA in April, connects existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain systems across the organization. Using advanced analytics powered by Azure’s AI and machine learning, Supply Chain Insights performs predictions and what-if analyses to simulate the impact of potential disruptions and gauge the impact of those decisions at any point along the supply chain. 

New functionality in this wave release enables early warnings around weather, natural disaster, and logistics risk signals, alerts, and predictions. Other investments build deeper integration with core Supply Chain Management, including integration with warehouse material handling automation, and warehouse features for manufacturing processes. 

Inventory allocation and ATP 

Visibility into your inventory is the basis for replenishment decisions, your fulfillment strategy, and even the financial status of the company. New inventory allocation and available-to-promise (ATP) capabilities in the Inventory Visibility add-in help businesses increase order fulfillment rates by pre-allocating available inventory for key channels and accounts. 

You’ll have insight into the immediate physical status of inventory, including a status of in-transit, on hand, ordered, or a custom status, allowing for quick adjustments to production or sales plans, as well as the ability to anticipate future stock levels. 

Planning optimization 

The Planning Optimization add-in is replacing the master planning engine in Supply Chain Management, allowing for near real-time tactical planning, with runtimes in minutes instead of hours. This allows businesses to update tactical plans several times a day without performance degradation, because it runs outside the core Dynamics footprint.  

The add-in functionality doesn’t currently support all the features that were available in the planning engine built into Supply Chain Management. Therefore, it’s important that you evaluate whether the Planning Optimization’s feature set will meet your requirements. However, Microsoft’s efforts to add functionality to the optimization add- in this wave are commendable. At this point, Microsoft updates the add-in monthly. 

Let us help

Hitachi Solutions provides a comprehensive solution for managing and maintaining the health of your Dynamics 365 business system and Power Platform products. This includes working with you to understand any impacts, and the opportunities, Microsoft’s updates present for your cloud-based solution. You’ll get a dedicated team that works collaboratively with you to ensure your business continuity and success. With over 560 pages to digest, our Hitachi Solutions team is here to help! 

Connect with us today.