Microsoft have recently announced the proposed updates for the first wave of 2021. The updates and implementations highlighted are set to be released into Business Central between April and September of 2021. However Microsoft have clarified that these dates are subject to change. Not every change will be covered in this post, instead we will delve into detail into what stands out. I’ve attached a list of all the forecasted changes coming. The April changes are now available!
Let’s firstly start with bank reconciliation which is receiving a couple of improvements. This includes the ability to delete a reconciliation mistakenly made. This is available on the Bank Acc. Reconciliation page. From here, you can then do a new report from the Bank Statements page.
In a similar vein, the payment reconciliation journal has changed. Firstly, it is now possible to select several lines at once for the purpose of transferring the differences to a journal. Moreover, preview posting will now be enabled and there will be user-defined document numbers. These changes are now available.
One key alteration is the amendment to how the role centre loads. Instead of loading everything together, each element on the screen loads in one by one and from top to bottom. What this does is reduce load times overall. When you log on, the page will begin loading any bits which aren’t yet visible as you scroll down.
Fortunately, Microsoft recognise that double clicking onto different types of records doesn’t always do the same thing. Microsoft have now amended this as to make it fulfil the default action for a record, which typically involves drilling into it to view relevant details which aren’t viewable externally. There are also improvements to the ways in which the screen accommodates different resolutions and for those with impaired vision who are having to use an enhanced UI.
As well as this, expect these improvements:
- The page inspection pane can be collapsed, leaving it at the side of the screen, consequently making the page clearer.
- Action buttons on report request pages and all dialogs will always be visible and accessible
- The report preview stretches to maximise usage of the available space. Fortunately the toolbar buttons remain usable.
- When the user amends the page width to make it thinner, the page margins reduce in size accordingly as to show more content.
A final client-based change worth mentioning is the ability to keep on working whilst a report is running, from the request page or from AL code, and be notified when the report is ready. Barring any setbacks, these client performance changes should be available now, as of April.
Alongside these updates, the figures below relating to speed increases in loading times were given recently at an online Dynamics 365 Business Central Launch Event, in early April. They are as follows:
- 20% faster access to Role Center page
- 98% faster to post a Payment Journal
- 40% faster posting of background document batches
- 3-5x reduction of SQL reads with Dynamics 365 Sales Integration
- Web Services up to 25% faster
- API Performance up to 5-6x faster
- Report performance up to 36x faster
New way of adjusting inventory
A method of amending item journals after posting is now available. This grants the user an opportunity to remedy any mistakes when posting the first time. These can be released and reopened at any stage, putting less pressure on the user to get it right first time (maybe some pressure is good!). These documents are usable following the set up of the number series on the ‘inventory setup’ page. To access the documents that have already been posted, simply go to the ‘posted inventory shipment’ or the ‘posted inventory receipt. The usage options available on the ‘report selection – inventory’ page allow you to print reports at different times.
Updates to storage and pricing
Microsoft are committed to reducing the cost of storage space, whilst simultaneously increasing the value you get for the price. In this first wave of 2021, Microsoft state that as standard, 80gb of data will be available for each customer. This will now, however, increase by 2gb for each essential user and by 3gb for every premium user. As you can imagine, when you start adding essential or premium users by the tens, this extra storage really starts to add up.
On top of that, the cost of additional storage is being slashed. Previously the price of additional gigabytes was $40. Fortunately, this is now being reduced to $10. Furthermore, for customers with large businesses buying 100gb at a time, this will be discounted more. Instead of $4000, this will be $500 and so for large volumes of data storage, you could be looking at paying eight times less now than before! It was clarified in the Q&A session that came with the presentation issuing this news, that this database pricing migration will not be automatic. Whereas the purchase of additional storage will have its price modified automatically, from $40 to $10, it is not the same for customers who have bought over 100gb. Their price will not be amended automatically and they will need to contact Microsoft to have their price change updated.
Other Business Central changes
There are some adjustments to the way in which dimensions work, with the aim of granting the user more control. Where the dimension value is set to ‘code mandatory’, the ‘allowed dimension values’ within the ‘default dimensions’ page will now provide a list of relevant dimension values to match the specific area to which it correlates, instead of including those which were not relevant.
Together with many Microsoft products, Teams links well with Business Central and users of both will now be able to see contact records from within the Teams application. You can achieve this either using the search box or from the message composing area. Additionally, contact records can be shared within conversations in Teams.
Microsoft have begun issuing a ‘Go Local’ development to particular countries. What this means is that a compliance barrier is created for a particular nation, protecting data by stopping it from leaving the country. This was initially introduced in wave 2 of 2020, for Germany. This time it’s Switzerland getting it. The goal here is that businesses will be able to reach customers that wouldn’t otherwise be able to have their data in the cloud due to data restrictions, typically by national law. Similarly to the storage changes, it’s not clear which month the Switzerland ‘Go Local’ introduction will arrive.
All updates are set for release in April except for several new nations that will now support Business Central. For those countries listed after Algeria, July is the expected release date. For those before Algeria, they should be available now.
The below nations are being added:
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
Notable points from the Q&A session
The online Dynamics Business Central Launch Event took place on 13/04/2021. Questions were raised by viewers with answers from Mike Morton, Claus Busk Andersen and also Jannik Bausager. Morton is the Business Central General Manager and the other two are both Principal Group Program Managers. Below are some of the key questions raised:
- Are there any developments coming for the SmartList Builder?
- There’s no timeframe for this to be added to Business Central. They do however strongly like the idea of its functionality.
- Will environments have their prices changed?
- There is nothing planned currently.
- Are there any changes to the limits to concurrent API calls?
- Nothing to show as of yet. However, Microsoft are looking to modify it to scale with the number of users. So, the more users you have, the higher the threshold is for the number of API calls that can take place at any given time. They emphasised this is a big issue they are looking to resolve shortly.
- Can we expect extensions for API in the future?
- This isn’t a priority currently.
- From July 1st, will existing customers have their additional storage with no added cost based on their number of users?
- Yes, for both new and existing customers.
- Will Dynamics Partners be able to access a free subscription in the cloud to demo Business Central to prospective clients?
- Microsoft are looking to introduce this but there’s no update on this yet.
Hopefully these updates enhance your experience using Business Central. As always, we will keep you up to date with all other Business Central updates. To learn more about implementing Dynamics Business Central, please contact us and speak to one of our experts. We’d love to hear from you!