Microsoft outlines new features for its Wave 2 Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP refresh

Microsoft is readying 'hundreds' of new features for Dynamics 365 and its Power Platform, which it will deliver between October 2019 and March 2020 as part of its 'Wave 2' roll-out.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing its twice-annual Dynamics 365 update pace, by providing its Release Wave 2 plan documents on June 10. The new features outlined by Microsoft include both new pieces of its Power Platform, specifically Power BI analytics, Power Apps, and Flow, as well as its Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP applications and services.

Wave 2 covers new Dynamics 365 and Power Platform features that Microsoft plans to release between October 2019 and March 2020. Microsoft plans to make some of these new features available in "early access" form as of Aug. 2, 2019. Microsoft's target for general availability for the first of the Wave 2 features is Oct. 1, 2019.

Microsoft timed the announcement of its planned Wave 2 features with the kick-off of its Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Atlanta. (It also happened to coincide, not coincidentally, I'm sure, with rival Salesforce's announcement of its acquisition of Tableau, which is a Power BI rival.)

The Dynamics 365 Wave 2 features include "hundreds of new capabilities" across its Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance, HR and Retail applications. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is highlighting the artificial intelligence features in its Sales Insights, Customer Service Insights, Virtual Agents, Market Insights and Fraud Protection applications. It also is adding more functionality to its HoloLens and mixed-reality applications, including Remote Assist, Product Visualize, and Guides.

On the Power BI front, Microsoft is giving the Power BI user interface a face-lift to make it look more like Office 365, as well as new reporting, data-curation features, and (later) enhancements to the Q&A natural-language query facility. Microsoft also introduced today a preview of a new Power Platform feature called AI Builder, which it is positioning as a low-code/no-code tool for more easily automating processes and predicting outcomes around business performance. It is directly integrated into PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

Microsoft officials said today they plan to make blockchain tools available to both PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. PowerApps is an app-development platform; Flow is Microsoft's workflow-automation equivalent to "If This Then That." Along with Power BI, PowerApps ,and Flow together comprise the Microsoft Power Platform

Here is the 350-page guide for combined Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Wave 2 features.

In January 2019, Microsoft made available its 315 pages of release notes for its Dynamics 365 April '19/Wave 1 update, outlining new features it will roll out for its ERP, CRM, Mixed Reality, and Power Platform between April and September 2019. The notes called out  "hundreds of new capabilities" across the various Dynamics 365 modules, with a special focus on those features Microsoft labels as "artificial intelligence."