Dynamics 365 release schedule and early access

This article provides information about the 2020 release wave 2 (October 2020 - March 2021) schedule and early access for the following apps that are available as part of early access:

  • Dynamics 365 Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 Sales
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 Finance
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
  • Finance and Operations cross-app capabilities
  • Dynamics 365 Human Resources
  • Dynamics 365 Commerce
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central
  • Power Apps

Key dates for the 2020 release wave 2

Here are the key dates for the 2020 release wave 2.

Milestone Date Description
Release plans available July 8, 2020 Learn about the new capabilities coming in the 2020 release wave 2 (October 2020 – March 2021) across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
Early access available August 3, 2020 Test and validate new features and capabilities that will be a part of the 2020 release wave 2, coming in August, before they get enabled automatically for your end users. You can view the list of Dynamics 365 early access features and Power Platform early access features now.
Release plans available in 11 additional languages July 23, 2020 The Dynamics 365 and Power Platform release plans published in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, and Swedish.
General availability October 1, 2020 Production deployment for the 2020 release wave 2 begins. Regional deployments start on Oct 2, 2020.

Early visibility through release plans

On July 8, 2020, the release plans are published in English with the initial list of features for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. The release plans provide you with early visibility to get ready for the updates planned from October 2020 to March 2021.

Early access to mandatory end-user impacting features

Customers and partners can validate the upcoming features and capabilities months in advance, before they're enabled automatically during the April and October updates. With early access, you can try out and validate these new features in a non-production environment, and get ready to confidently roll out the changes to users. Early access for the 2020 release wave 2 update will start on August 3, 2020.

Early access - frequently asked questions

Why should I opt in and test the features ahead of time?

As part of the new Dynamics 365 release cadence, we are deploying two release waves per year to all our customers and partners:

  • Release wave 1 covers features releasing from April through September.
  • Release wave 2 covers features releasing from October through March.

This early access provides you with an opportunity to validate the update in your sandbox environment before it is applied to your production environment. Early access also gives you an opportunity to experience the new features in advance and confidently roll them out to all your users.

How do I enable the early access features in an environment?

If you are using Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, or Dynamics 365 Field Service, you can enable the preview features from the Power Platform admin centre. Here are step-by-step instructions about how to opt in to early access updates.

If you are using Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Human Resources, or Dynamics 365 Commerce, you can apply the preview package to your environment via the Shared Asset Library in Lifecycle Services. For information about how to enable previews, go to service update availability.

If you are using Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can get to know the preview features in sandbox environments close to the General Availability release, or by contacting your reselling partner.

Which environments do I use for previewing the features?

You can choose to preview the features in one of your sandbox environments. In addition to the sandbox environments, if you are a customer of Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, and Field Service, you can preview the features in production environments.

We highly recommend previewing these features in a sandbox or trial environment prior to production. To get the full experience of the new features, we also suggest that you create a copy of your current production environment or database (for Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, or Commerce) as a test or sandbox environment to try out the new features and experiences.

What features and experiences are available for early access?

The early access features and experiences are listed in the Dynamics 365 2020 release wave 2 plan and Power Platform 2020 release wave 2 plan. By opting in to the 2020 release wave 2 features, you'll be able to try out the new features in Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Commerce, or Business Central.

How do I report bugs in early access features?

Follow the current process of reporting bugs through Microsoft Dynamics 365 support. We'll prioritise and fix the blocking bugs before we deploy the update in production.

What happens to these preview features in October 2020?

The preview features will become generally available on October 1, 2020.

How will the features in early access be deployed in production?

  • Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, or Field Service: In October 2020, all environments will be enabled to receive the 2020 release wave 2 features. The updates will be deployed on your environments automatically following our safe deployment process. If you want to enable the 2020 release wave 2 features before the update reaches your region, you can enable the updates yourself by opting in to the preview between August 3, 2020, and the date your region will be scheduled to have the features turned on. However, by the end of October 2020, all instances will have had 2020 release wave 2 features applied.

    This gradual rollout is the last safety measure to catch any potential issues as we apply the changes to all instances. It is the same approach we do for our regular patches and updates.

  • Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, or Commerce: You can configure the maintenance day and time windows in Lifecycle Services (LCS). You'll receive an email if you opt in to receive LCS notifications. You'll be able to select the designated tier 2 sandbox for the update. The sandbox environment will be updated followed by the production environment. You'll have five business days for testing and validation. For more information, go to the One Version service updates FAQ.

Will the 2020 release wave 2 release be applicable to on-premises?

  • Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, or Field Service: The 2020 wave 2 release does not apply to customers of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises). The 2020 release wave 2 release will be applicable for customers who belong to global, local, and sovereign cloud services.

  • Finance, Supply Chain Management, Commerce, or Business Central: The 2020 wave 2 release is applicable for customers of Finance + Operations (on-premises) as well. You can opt in to preview the new functionalities similar to online.

How does Microsoft ensure the reliability of these features?

  • Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, or Field Service: The quality of our releases is paramount to ensuring our customers' satisfaction. We have multiple parts to how we approach quality as we release to our global audience.

    We begin our process with a series of automated and manual tests across a wide variety of scenarios. These tests progress to the group of customers in multiple regions participating in our First Release programme, where those customers work in conjunction with the FastTrack programme on validating key scenarios on the builds scheduled to be deployed.

    This approach is followed by our robust safe deployment process that phases deployments over several weeks, gradually rolling out changes across the entire customer population. The safe deployment process allows us to continue to validate and monitor the release as it progresses, and provide slip-streamed fixes, if needed. This process provides the flexibility to quickly respond to any issues that might be found, and to update a build before it reaches additional customers.

  • Finance, Supply Chain Management, or Commerce: We ensure the quality of the release by adhering to a fundamental principle that's enabled through a series of progressive, rigorous, and automated validations as described in service update availability.

If I have further questions or feedback, where can I post them?

For any questions or feedback, join the discussion at the Release Readiness Forum in the Dynamics 365 community.