Dynamics 365 release schedule and early access

This topic provides information about the 2020 release wave 1 (April 2020 - September 2020) schedule and early access.

Key dates for the 2020 release wave 1

Here are the key dates for the 2020 release wave 1.

Milestone Date Description
Release plans available Jan 27, 2020 Learn about the new capabilities coming in the 2020 release wave 1 (April 2020 – September 2020) across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
Early access available Feb 3, 2020 Test and validate new features and capabilities that will be a part of the 2020 release wave 1, coming in April, before they get enabled automatically for your end-users. The list of features available for early access will be available on Jan 27, 2020.
General availability April 1, 2020 Production deployment for the 2020 release wave 1 begins. Regional deployments will commence on April 3, 2020.

Early visibility through release plans

On January 27, 2020, the release plans (formerly known as the release notes) will be published in English with the initial list of features for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. The release plan provides you with early visibility to get ready for the updates planned from April 2020 to September 2020.

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 twice per year, during the April and October updates. Early access allows you to try and validate these new features in a non-production environment and get ready to roll out the changes with confidence to users. Early access for the 2020 release wave 1 April update will start on Feb 3, 2020.

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 2 release waves per year Release wave 1 (covers features releasing from April through September) and Release wave 2 (covers features releasing from October through March) to all of our customers and partners. 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 model-driven apps in Dynamics 365 (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, and Dynamics 365 Field Service), you can enable the preview features from the Power Platform Admin center. In January, we will provide more information about how to enable the early access features.

If you are using Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, 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, see Service Update Availability.

If you are using Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can get to know the preview features in sandbox environments.

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 model-driven apps in Dynamics 365 (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, and Dynamics 365 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 Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 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 will be listed in the Dynamics 365 2020 release wave 1 plan. By opt-in the 2020 release wave 1 features, you'll be able to try out the new features in model-driven apps in Dynamics 365 (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, and Dynamics 365 Field Service), Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 Commerce.

How do I report bugs in early access features?

You should follow the current process of reporting bugs through Microsoft Dynamics 365 support. We will prioritize and fix the blocking bugs before we deploy the update in production.

What happens to these preview features in April 2020?

The preview features will become generally available on April 1, 2020, and by default will be deployed in all customers’ environments over the month of April.

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

  • Model-driven apps in Dynamics 365: Over the course of April 2020, all environments will be turned “on” to receive the 2020 release wave 1 features. The updates will be deployed on your environments automatically following our Safe Deployment Process (SDP). If you want to enable the 2020 release wave 1 features before the update reaches your region, you can enable the updates yourself by opting in to the preview between Feb 3, 2020, and the date your region will be scheduled to have the features turned on. However, by the end of April 2020, all instances will have had 2020 release wave 1 features applied.

    This gradual rollout is a 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. We will provide the regional level schedule later.

  • Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 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. See the One Version service updates FAQ for more details.

Will the 2020 release wave 1 release be applicable to on-premises?

  • Model-driven apps in Dynamics 365: The 2020 wave 1 release does not apply to customers of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (on-premises). The 2020 release wave 1 release will be applicable for the customers of both commercial and the Government Cloud.

  • Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Commerce, or Dynamics 365 Business Central: The 2020 wave 1 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?

  • Model-driven apps in Dynamics 365: 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. This progresses to the group of customers in multiple regions participating in our First Release program, where those customers work in conjunction with the FastTrack program on validating key scenarios on the builds scheduled to be deployed.

    This is followed by our robust Safe Deployment Process (SDP) 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 provides the flexibility to quickly respond to any issues that might be found, and to update a build before it reaches additional customers.

  • Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 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 Standard and First release service updates.

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.