Microsoft Announces the Dynamics 365 April ‘19 Release Timeline

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In July 2018, Microsoft announced a set of changes to the way Dynamics 365 updates were going to be delivered to users, promising predictable updates, continuous deployment and early visibility of future changes – and delivering on those promises.
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The October ’18 release was preceded by detailed notes published in July, which included a summary of all the new features and improvements, as well as information on when they will be available. The D365 Customer Engagement apps for Sales, Service and Marketing were upgraded seamlessly, without any need for administrators or users to interact with them or code them, and this is the model Microsoft will be applying from now on.

Without ever disrupting the workflows of customers, D365 will update automatically in the future. The Redmond-based company has also made significant engineering investments to ensure quality and improve the overall stability of update deployments. As Mo Osborne, Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Business Applications Engineering explains it:

“We deploy our production updates using a gradual rollout mechanism called SAFE deployment. In this model, customers can first validate a preview of the update in a production-like sandbox environment. Our production deployments are phased across multiple weeks, with a subset of customers getting updated each week. This gradual rollout increases stability by ensuring that any bugs that are found will be fixed without impacting a broad set of customers.”

Microsoft is also working with customers that remain on the older versions to upgrade to the latest version and thus increase reliability and reduce the effect of bugs. Testing tools such as Easy Repro for Customer Engagement applications and the Regression Suite Automation Tool for Finance and Operations have been published to reduce the time and cost of testing before the upgrade.

April ’19 release timelines and details

According to Microsoft, the April ’19 release signifies a key milestone for Dynamics 365. It is the first major update where all of D365 customers will be on the latest version and on a consistent update schedule. It’s also a template of how major updates will be done going forward in April and October every year.

Key dates for the April ’19 release have been released, which means you can read a summary of the improvements that will help you prepare to receive the update with confidence, through early visibility of what’s coming, and early access to preview capability.

Early visibility and previews

On January 21, 2019, Microsoft plans to publish the April ‘19 release notes with the initial list of features for Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power platform. These release notes will provide customers with early visibility to get ready for the update.

Starting February 1, 2019, a preview of the April 2019 update features will also be available for you to validate in a non-production environment before those features are deployed in production. The list of features that will be available for preview will be called out in the release notes. As mentioned above, April ’19 release notes will be published on January 21, 2019.

Users can expect performance and stability increases across Dynamics 365 applications, with faster access to new features, smoother and more predictable upgrades for administrators.

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