Highlights of the 2021 Release Wave 2 for Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Power Platform

Highlights of the 2021 Release Wave 2 for Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Power Platform

Microsoft has published release plans for its second major wave of cloud updates for 2021 covering Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

The Dynamics 365 2021 Release Wave 2 is rolling out between October 2021 and March 2022, bringing new capabilities to the platform and across these products. In this post, we’ve highlighted a selection of the latest announcements focusing mainly on the customer engagement / CRM modules for Dynamics 365. This information is based on the initial documentation released by Microsoft, and as with any pre-release information, this is subject to change.

Enhancements to the integration between Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 is the recurring theme throughout this release wave. We’ve highlighted multiple examples of the upcoming improvements here but the headline announcement is Microsoft’s commitment to enable anyone in an organisation to view and collaborate on Dynamics 365 records within Teams, at no additional cost. Teams users without a Dynamics 365 licence will be granted “Team Member” level access to Dynamics data via the Teams UI.

Release Wave Quick-Jump Sections


2021 Release Wave 2 Timeline

The first edition of these two release plans was published on 27 January. Administrators can now evaluate a selection of the new features and updates in non-production environments before these are enabled by default.

Early Access Preview

From 1st February, administrators will be able to test and validate a selection of new features and capabilities that will be part of 2021 Release Wave 1 before these are automatically enabled for users from April 2021.

General Availability

Microsoft says regional production deployment of the 2021 Release Wave 1 is due to commence from 1st April 2021.

What’s New for Power Apps in 2021 Release Wave 1?

New features and improvements announced for model-driven apps, including Dynamics 365, include:

  • In-App Notifications – use pop-up notification toast or the notification center to alert users. These can be sent from within the system, using Power Automate or via external systems.
  • Multi-line text controls auto-expand– in Quick View forms, multi-line text fields will automatically expand to show the full content by default.
  • Process flow detail shown in mobile– including the name and time active will now be displayed on mobile devices.
  • Improved navigation in model-driven apps – for easier editing, a new page side pane will allow another page to be opened while the current page remains open.
  • Duplicate Detection & Merge – the recently introduced new experiences for these processes will now be default.

What’s New for Dynamics 365  in 2021 Release Wave 1?

Dynamics 365 Sales

The upcoming release wave will include a new experience featuring:

  • Enriched information, per meeting participant, taken from LinkedIn and Dynamics 365 insights
  • Access to personal contacts and a quick way to integrate these with Dynamics
  • Data filtering capabilities – quickly locate opportunities by either searching, quickly setting a column filter, or choosing a time-based slicer.
  • Advanced editable grid – instantly update deals in the deal manager workspace through an inline editable grid and personalise column displays.
  • New email template and email signature editor – as part of an enhanced personal settings area.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service

The upcoming release wave will include a new experience featuring:

  • Schedule board updates – weekly and monthly view support will be added to the new service scheduling board to avoid switching between legacy and new boards.
  • Update resolved or cancelled cases – using Power Automate flows, API or a plug-in. For end-users the case form will remain read-only.
  • New Auto-Post Config – new experience will remove the need to use the legacy web client configuration.
  • Federated Knowledge Search – connect external search providers to Dynamics knowledge search. Microsoft says it will provide connectors for SharePoint search as well as search covering Microsoft 365 apps.
  • Improved authoring experience – simplifying the process to configure routing rules for classification and work assignment.
  • Email configurability – improvements will enable the email editor, email template builder, and email signature builder to accept the full configuration capability of the Rich Text Editor control. This will enable customisation of available fonts, default font, toolbar buttons and option to access HTML.

Dynamics 365 Field Service

Updates in the 2021 Release Wave 1 include:

  • New view support in schedule board – map view and weekly / monthly views will now be supported in the newer schedule board.
  • Outlook appointments included in resource scheduling – as referenced above in the Customer Service section.
  • Knowledge management – enabling articles to be linked to work orders, and access them online or offline through the new Field Service mobile app.
  • Bing Maps features enabled by default – including inline maps with driving directions and auto-geocoding addresses.
  • Capture work order resolution details – to track how issues are resolved at work order and work order incident level.
  • Improved customer communication – with automated reminders and time changes sent to customers by email and SMS. Other enhancements will include estimated arrival time notifications and arrival tracking.

Dynamics 365 Marketing

The Dynamics 365 release plan details a series of new features for the Marketing app that will initially be introduced in public preview during Release Wave 1. These include:

  • New email editor featuring updated layout options, advanced image manipulation and real-time error information.
  • New dynamic content editor to quickly create personalised messages without writing custom code.
  • Use customer journeys to target leads or opportunities without a parent contact.
  • SMS messaging using Dynamics 365 Marketing Mobile channel.
  • Deliver push notifications to Android and iOS apps to include custom images, links, and videos.
  • New dashboards featuring cross-journey insights measured against engagement goals.

Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Updates in the 2021 Release Wave 1 include:

  • Including features such as Gantt chart views for project tasks, Microsoft Project planning tools and end-to-end integration with Dynamics 365 Finance, Microsoft is delivering the next generation Dynamics 365 project module.
  • Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation customers will be upgraded to D365 Project Operations in due course and in September, Microsoft indicates it will provide a preview of this upgrade process.

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