Microsoft Update

Dynamics 365

Newsletter - August 2020

Message from our Microsoft General Managers

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Newsletter.  We hope you and your families are well, and you’re finding opportunity in this challenging time.

Here at Fusion5, we’ve been working hard to deliver rapid results to our customers that need us right now and accommodating those that need extra time as they work through the constraints suddenly presented.  For one of our customers in New Zealand, Manawanui, the level 4 lockdown meant critical communications needed to be sent the same day to ensure their customers were able to continue to receive specialised care safely.  We thought standing up the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing module in a single day was an incredible feat, and Microsoft agreed – watch their short video here to see this incredible, heart-warming story.  This is a fantastic example of resilience, and rapid return to value.  Just talk to us if you have similar needs, you’ll be amazed at what can be achieved with the Microsoft tools available to us today.

In other exciting news, Fusion5 has been awarded membership of the Microsoft Business Applications Inner Circle for the 4th consecutive year. This group of elite partners represents the top 1% of Business Applications partners globally and is in recognition of outstanding customer satisfaction and performance. This award is earned by every single member of our team and is in recognition of the courage of our customers trusting us with their business transformation journey with Microsoft Dynamics, and we are humbled.

We are also delighted to launch our Fusion5 Marketplace this month, your one-stop shop for all your Microsoft Cloud licensing needs. Fusion5 has developed deep expertise over the years in optimising your licensing spend, we have proven time and time again that when we have the opportunity to look under the hood, we typically find cost-savings.  We hold Gold level Microsoft Certifications for all products we sell, so rest assured we do not learn on the job and we invest heavily in the highest level of Microsoft support, Premier, to ensure we can provide our customers with the best service possible.  Check out our short (somewhat humorous) video here that summarises the Marketplace’s reason for being.

With the October Release Wave notes just landed, we are busily digesting what this means for our customers, and preparing to hit the main centres in NZ, and deliver a virtual roadshow for our Australian and remote customers to ensure you’re well informed.  So, rest assured, you will not need to read the 500+ pages yourself, leave it to our experts who thoroughly enjoy this stuff and we will let you know what’s important for you.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay strong and let us know if we can support you in any way.

Kristy Brown and Paul Griffin
Fusion5 - General Managers of CRM for NZ and Australia 

What’s coming in Dynamics 365 Release Wave 2

Watch the latest video from New Zealand presales manager Jonathan Rickard on what's new in Dynamics this quarter.

Key dates

July 8, 2020: Release plans available 

Learn about the new upcoming capabilities for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.  

August 3, 2020: Early access available 

Try the new features and capabilities that will be part of the October update of the 2020 release wave 2 before they are enabled automatically. 

October 1, 2020: General availability 

This is when the production deployment for the 2020 release wave 2 begins. Regional deployments will commence October 2, 2020. 

Planning for the next release wave 

On July 8, 2020, Microsoft published the release plans for the 2020 release wave 2 with the initial list of features for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform that will be delivered during the release wave. The release plans provide our customers with early visibility to get ready for the updates planned from October 2020 to March 2021. 

Starting on August 3, Microsoft will enable early access to new features and capabilities, allowing customers to validate them in a sandbox instance before being rolled out automatically in October. 

Current release wave updates 

2020 release wave 1 (April – September 2020) 

To date, 70 percent of the hundreds of features in the wave 1 release have shipped, with the remaining features slated to ship by September 2020, as indicated in the release plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. 

Keeping pace with the release waves 

Make sure to check out the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform product updates page for the latest release wave details including release plans, timelines, and overview guides and videos. 

Timings update

 

Microsoft have announced they are extending the below upcoming license and technical enforcement deadlines.  Hopefully this relieves some pressure for your business and allows ample time to prepare and respond to any changes that may come with COVID-19.  At Fusion5, we want to work with you to ensure any required renewals or transitions are managed smoothly to have minimal impact on business.    

Dynamics 365 Team Members: Existing Dynamics 365 customers who acquired the Team Members license prior to October 1, 2018 can continue to renew their existing Team Members subscription through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to transition to the new Team Members license. 

Dynamics 365 storage & prod/non-prod instances: Existing Dynamics 365 customers can continue to renew their existing storage and production/non-production instance use rights through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to transition to the new model. In the meantime, Dynamics 365 customers can use their existing storage and production/non-production instances.  

Dynamics 365 portals: Existing Dynamics 365 customers can continue to renew with their portal use rights through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to adhere to the new portal licensing use rights. See more info here.  

Dynamics 365 Plan customers: Renewing Dynamics 365 Plan, Customer Engagement Plan, and Unified Operations Plan customers can use qualifying offers to transition through June 30, 2021 (extended from June 30, 2020). To learn more about the updated Dynamics 365 packaging model please go here

CSP and web direct auto-renewal extension 

For Dynamics 365: All SKUs above will auto-renew through Dec 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Prior to December 31, customers must create a transition plan to the new licensing model. 

For Power Platform: Power Apps P1 and P2 along with Flow P1 and P2 subscriptions will auto-renew through December 31, 2020. Prior to December 31, customers must create a transition plan to the new licensing model. 

Technical enforcement extensions 

Technical enforcement for Dynamics 365 Team Members licenses purchased or transitioned after October 1, 2018 will come into effect on January 31, 2021 (extended from September 30, 2020). See more info here

Team Member License Changes

Existing Dynamics 365 customers who acquired the Team Member license before October 1, 2018 can continue to renew their existing Team Member subscription through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020).  Starting January 1, 2021 all renewing customers will need to transition to the new Team Member license use rights. 

Team Member Licenses use rights  

Team Member licenses are designed for light usage across an organisation with read rights across any data, there has always been restrictions on the create, update and delete rights across standard Dynamics entities.  For example: to write changes to an Opportunity, Lead or Case will require a full app license.  

Team Member Licenses are now restricted to only have 15 custom entities in their app with unlimited access to CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete). 

With the new usage rights enforcement rolling out Team Member Licenses can only write records against 15 customer entities.  If users require more customisation, they will have to consider either a Power Apps Plan or a full Dynamics 365 license.  Both offer unlimited use rights across custom entities with full licenses function capabilities.  Reading data across these 15 custom entities remains unchanged. 

Team Member Licenses can no longer perform create, update and delete actions and only read data from Accounts.  Entitlements for Contacts remain unchanged.  Full license types (Sales, Customer Service, Project Service or Field Service) will be required to write changes to Accounts. 

Team Member Licenses will no longer be able to create, update and delete from Knowledge records, managing and publishing knowledge articles will require a full app license.   

If you have any doubt on how your Team Member Licenses are being used get in touch with the Fusion5 team to guide you with a review of your user’s licenses. 

Existing Dynamics 365 customers who acquired the Team Members license before October 1, 2018 can continue to renew their existing Team Member Licenses subscription through December 31, 2020 (extended from June 30, 2020). Starting January 1, 2021, all renewing customers will need to transition to the new Team Members Licenses. 

Technical enforcement for Dynamics 365 Team Members licenses purchased or transitioned after October 1, 2018 will come into effect on January 31, 2021 (Extended from September 30, 2020). See more information here

Modern Workplace

Microsoft 365 is an experience. It enables your employees to work on a collaborative, secure and productive platform that enhances their primary roles within the organisation.  Each component within Microsoft 365 is designed to work together. A successful implementation will enable your organisation and users to: 

Achieve more together 

Create, connect and collaborate with people inside and outside your company. 

Safeguard your business 

Always-on security protects your data and device, regardless of where they are, through one up-to-date dashboard and a platform that’s always optimised to protect you against the latest threats. 

Work anywhere

Enable your staff to be productive anywhere on their choice of device.

Be empowered

Customise your licensing requirements to meet the various persona within your organisation, so they can do what they do best!

Microsoft Teams Updates 

Microsoft Teams has seen a myriad of productivity updates over the past few months and there are quite a few planned for the next release cycle. Microsoft Teams continues to evolve to be the hub for teamwork that helps people do their best work.  As of June 2020. Microsoft has announced new features and capabilities for meetings, calling, devices, chat and collaboration, IT admin, and industry features. 

Meetings, Calling, & Devices 

  • Together Mode - a new option in Microsoft Teams. Together Mode unites everyone in a virtual space as if in a theater instead of being separated in boxes. Together mode will be generally available by September 2020, but will start rolling out at the end of July 2020 
  • Large Gallery View in preview since June 2020, general availability coming soon. 
    Large gallery view expands the Teams grid view to 7×7, which will accommodate up to 49 participants at once on a single screen. 
  • Virtual Breakout Rooms allow meeting organisers to split their Teams meeting participants into small groups to assist ideation, brainstorming, learning, and discussions. Organisers can jump in between meetings on their own, or when requested by a participant, provide announcements to the individual rooms, and recall everyone back to the meeting at any time.  Breakout Rooms will be delivered later this calendar year. 
  • Multi-Window for Meetings & Calling 
    You will have the ability to pop out meetings and calling into separate windows to help them optimise their workflow. 
  • Teams Meeting Attendee Limit has increased to 300 Participants in order to help meet rapidly changing communication and meeting needs. This is generally available.

Chat & Collaboration   

  • Priority Notifications in Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to continually send notifications that repeat every two minutes for up to 20 minutes on all messages marked as urgent. 

Power Platform Updates   

The Power Platform is continuously evolving.  The existing capabilities are being enhanced as well as new capabilities being added. 

The Power Platform now encompasses the following products:  

  • Power BI
  • PowerApps
  • Power Automate
  • Power Virtual Agent

PowerApps  

  • Geospatial Features - With these new features, app makers will be able to quickly introduce location-based capabilities into their apps and start to digitise workflows in physical space using tools they are already familiar with. Geospatial will provide for features such as interactive maps and address suggestion. Geospatial is in public preview.
  • Mixed Reality- With these new features, PowerApps is one of the first low-code no-code platforms that makes it possible for everyone to build mixed reality applications. The application of this capability will allow for an immersive experience in your Business Application. With PowerApps you will be able to use 3D models or virtual volumetric representations to find out if a pathway is large enough, if the product will fit, or how placement might impact line of sight. These capabilities are now available in public preview. 

Power Automate   

  • Connectors – Over the past 3 months Microsoft have announced over 20 new connectors for Power Automate.  Some that stand out are the workforce management connectors for Microsoft Shifts, TimeGhost and WorkSpan. There are now over 300 connectors available to the Power Platform. 
  • Power Automate UI Flows – UI Flows are now generally available as of June 2020. New features are being rolled out on a regular basis. Microsoft also announced the acquisition of Softomotive, a world-leading provider of robotic process automation (RPA) with over 15 years of experience and the creator of WinAutomation.

Power Virtual Agent 

  • Advanced Enterprise Features – Power Virtual Agent now allows multiple users to collaborate and co-author a chatbot together. Team members can work on different topics simultaneously, or delegate complex tasks, like adding actions or setting up authentication to team members with different skill sets.
  • Authoring Enhancements – Pass context to a chatbot - Bots will be able to use context passed to them from the hosting website. For example, the bot can be made aware of the specific page the user was visiting before initiating the chat and can tailor its conversation accordingly.

Microsoft Dual Write

Microsoft has made available Dual Write technology for general release. Dual Write is near real-time synchronisation of data between Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Customer Engagement (CRM) via the Common Data Service (or as it's now known, Dataflex Pro). Once an entity is enabled for Dual Write, any create, update change in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations results in writes, in near-real time, to Dataflex Pro, and vice versa. For example, a change in a customer name in either system will be immediately updated to the other.

There are many out of the box entities available for synchronisation including: 

  • Customers & Contacts 
  • Products 
  • Vendors 
  • Quotes 
  • Order to invoice 
  • F&O Pricing available to CRM 

A sales order can originate in either Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and be available to both systems.

The dual-write infrastructure is extensible and includes the following key features: 

  • Synchronous and bidirectional data flow between applications
  • Synchronisation, together with play, pause, and catchup modes to support the system during online and offline/asynchronous modes
  • Ability to sync initial data between the applications
  • Ability to set, view and sync entity dependencies and relationships to support master data such as Customers, Products and Vendors
  • Extensibility for both standard and custom entities
  • Reliable application lifecycle management 

Dynamics AX Rapid Start

 

Considering a move to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations but don’t know where to start? 

Fusion5 are offering a 5 day proof of concept for on-premise Dynamics AX2012 customers to show you what your data could look like.  In addition, we can quantify the time, effort and costs required to move to the cloud. 

We understand that moving to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations is a big investment, and making the right move is critical. 

As part of the AX upgrade progress, we find that our customers want to adopt an out of the box and best practice approach to make the most of their Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations investment. They also want to take advantage of any new features as part of the continuous upgrade process (twice a year) to have their investment remain relevant.   

Over a one-week period, Fusion5 will assess the data readiness of your existing Dynamics AX environment and perform a data migration on your current Microsoft Dynamics AX2012 system (excluding existing customisations).   You will be able to take a ‘clean slate’ approach and be able to evaluate whether your existing modifications are still required.

Meet the team!

Meet the Fusion5 Dynamics family across Australia and New Zealand and get to know more about the team behind your solutions. 

Paul Hutchings -  Industry Director - Manufacturing F&O

Could you tell us about your career background?   

I come from a manufacturing background, not IT.  Working in different industries including high fashion women’s shoes to custom made granite benches, but have spent most of my time in process manufacturing in the food and chemical industries. I have had roles in production planning, supply chain management and operation management, then fell into IT because of the lack of process understanding of IT companies at the time.  Started with SAP and Movex as a contractor, and eventually ended up with an AX partner using AX3.   From there I have stuck with Microsoft Dynamics. 

I have now been involved with about 60 full implementations of Dynamics in a number of countries around the world. 

You can see that I am passionate about manufacturing and excited for the sector over the next 10 years due to what is happening in the world right now.  I can see massive growth in this area in Australia and New Zealand. 

What are some of your career highlights?  

There have been a couple of people who I have mentored who have gone on to be exceptional consultants (unfortunately working abroad now). 

Had one customer in his mid sixties who struggled with e-mail, who became a super user in AX2009, still going today. 

The friendships I have made over the years. 

What interested you in the role?   

The variety of people and environments and the friendships made through common interests long after the projects are finished.  

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time? 

Fishing, motor racing and an avid Rugby league fan.  (Sadly still waiting for the Warriors to fire.) 

Johannes Scholtz - Senior Consultant

JJ could you tell us about your career background? 

I have more than 15 years’ worth of experience, taking part in multiple roles. With a BSc in Information Technology and a passion for technology and people, I specialise in successfully combining people, processes, and technology to enable teams to achieve more. I have a passion for empowering, educating and sharing knowledge to ensure success and growth. 
I started my career as a Franchisee where I got to see first-hand how decisions, strategy and execution directs consistency, growth, and sustainability. Following this, I merged my love for business management with my IT expertise and moved on to become a Dynamics and Power Platform evangelist. For the past three years, I have focused on Microsoft Teams, D365 CE, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Data Factory, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power BI to ensure that teams are equipped and educated to enable adoption. 

What are some of your career highlights? 

By spending a bit of time with a customer during a project, I was able to increase their Power BI adoption by streamlining one of their monthly activities to a Power BI Report. By spending a couple of non-project hours we saved the business 20 hours of work per month. The Power BI team was introduced, and further savings were identified. Sometimes helping someone can go a long way. I've recently been notified that the Power Apps POC I lead with an international team has been accepted and will be refined and made production ready. This will be a 500+ user system, making it one of the larger implementations in the UK. 

Going to Inspire and learning more about the other features in the Microsoft stack. 

JJ what are you looking to bring to Fusion5? 

An open mind and looking at available options to provide customers with the best fit solutions across the Microsoft stack. The functionalities and technologies are available "to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more". It is our responsibility to take our customers on the Microsoft journey.  

Finally, tell us what you like to get up to in your spare time? 

I enjoy spending my additional time with the family, going to the beach, parks and movies. Sharing knowledge with young enthusiastic individuals using the Microsoft Minecraft Educational Edition. I started flying with my brother back in South Africa and have decided to continue and complete my Private Pilot License here. 

Read our previous April newsletter

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