Microsoft’s 2024 Release Wave 1 highlights I New features for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to be launched starting April 1st

As we approach April, we’re all geared up for the exciting new updates that Microsoft announced earlier this year. The 2024 Release Wave 1 plan promises a host of new capabilities to revolutionize business processes, rolling out gradually from April to September 2024. With the presented features, Microsoft proves once again its commitment to fuel the digital transformation for companies from all around the world.

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite and the Power Platform will encapsulate diverse enhancements, improved user experiences, increased automation, and advanced AI capabilities. The novelties will become generally accessible soon, so it’s important to explore them, in order to benefit from them as soon as they are officially launched.

Long story short, Dynamics 365 brings Copilot into the spotlight, while Power Platform enhances creator experiences, and in this article we quickly summarize some feature highlights.

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Sales

The leading sales application focuses in 2024 on providing more relevant customer information, expediting deals with actionable insights and empowering companies through expanded generative AI leadership and open configurability. Copilot adopts sales-specific skills and actions in order to enhance cutting-edge AI capabilities for sellers.

Copilot recommends relevant content

(General Availability in April 2024)

Finding the right information when necessary can be challenging for a salesperson. Moreover, the searching process can disrupt your attention, which is why Copilot recommendations appear directly within your workflow. From now on, you will be able to save time navigating between places and remain focused on your important tasks.

Copilot main page content

(General Availability in April 2024)

As you can already see, Copilot takes centre stage in this release wave. The new Copilot home experience allows you to discover information from different entities, prepare for meetings, follow-up email activities, understand your sales pipeline, and more. Basically, the workspace is expanded, and real-time insights are displayed in order to facilitate sales activities and customer relationships.

AI generates account summary

(General Availability in June 2024)

AI strives to save salespeople from wasting a significant amount of time on researching and collecting into one place the dispersed information about customers. Key customer data, such as leads, buying behavior, associated opportunities, marketing campaigns, will be easy to access with the new Account Summary feature.

Dynamics 365 Sales is about…

      • Empowering organizations with data and intelligence
      • Integration with Microsoft Copilot
      • Streamlined Lead Qualification
      • Sales engagement and automation
      • Improved user experience
      • Real-time and natural language chat functionality

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

Branded links

(Public Preview in April 2024)

You should consider creating branded links now, because automatically generated URLs are not as efficient as before. Some people perceive them as unprofessional, which is affecting your brand’s image. With the new feature, you can customize links for email and content, increasing your campaign performance.

Custom form fields

(Public Preview in July 2024)

To gain extra information about customers you will be able to create custom form fields and edit the label and properties as you wish. Data is stored as part of the form submission, and you can access it anytime.

Managed customer consent

(General Availability in June 2024)

Contact and lead forms are improved and allow users to check customer content before communicating with them. This comprehensive view allows you to see if someone has opted out of all communication from your business, or just specific topics/channels.

Email A/B testing and email send scheduling

(General Availability in April 2024)

Now you can A/B test emails to understand what variation performs best. Moreover, to ensure that your emails are reaching customers at the right time, you can easily schedule messages to be sent in specific time windows. In this way, your communication occur when customers are most likely to engage, but also when your business has salespeople available.

Customer journey flow analysis

(General Availability in April 2024)

Analyzing your marketing campaigns provides valuable insights, and the visual representation of traffic coming through your journeys helps you understand where you have an impact, and where you need improvement.

Customer Insights – Data

(Public Preview in July 2024)

Unlock new potential by creating and using real-time segments. In this way, you can target and market to people right when you need to. Real-time data ingestion, creation, and updates enable optimization of experiences in the moments that truly matter.

AI changes the way marketers work, helping them understand and optimize customer interactions with end-to-end journeys across departments and channels.

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Drag and drop attachments

(General Availability in April 2024)

The email attachment experience is enhanced as it allows now to easily drag and drop attachments in email. Also, you can copy them from one email to another. When the sender forgets to include an attachment, he receives a reminder, which is also a welcomed feature.

Automatic prompts from Copilot

(Public Preview in April 2024)

Copilot helps you in a matter of seconds if any questions arise, provides contextual suggestions, reduces handling times and assures a better customer experience. By providing automatic prompts to agents, Copilot guides them on how and what to do next.

Validate Copilot responses

(Public Preview in April 2024)

It’s easy to understand now how Copilot has generated any responses and validate the accuracy of the provided information because it exposes better citations of sources.

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Field Service

Work orders in Teams

(General Availability in June 2024)

Users get assistance from Copilot in Microsoft Teams with work order creation and scheduling. This feature simplifies the time-consuming process of creating work orders with multiple required fields, supporting workers and managers to be more efficient.

Insights for technicians

(General Availability in April 2024)

Through chat functionality, Copilot helps technicians to retrieve relevant information, such as work instructions, or other details regarding work orders, bookings, assets, and more. The answers are harnessing the knowledge extracted from various manuals and articles.

Field Service mobile

(General Availability in April 2024)

The Field Service mobile app provides technicians with essential job-related information like bookings, customer details, service tasks, products, and notes. It offers intuitive functionality, including swipe gestures, to streamline navigation. The new agenda view allows technicians to quickly access an overview of their scheduled bookings over multiple days, reducing the need to open each booking for details. Customizable columns also enhance the user experience.

Highlights from Dynamics 365 Business Central

This release takes Copilot to the next level and provides more capabilities for people to optimize their business processes and complete tasks with AI assistance when using Business Central. Generally speaking, Business Central is easy to implement and configure, and this release boosts efficiency with selection-aware, context-based actions. Wave 1 includes the following features:

        • •  Faster Adaptation with Microsoft Power Platform
        • Better project and service management capabilities
        • •  Expanded global availability
        • •  Enhanced productivity for developers who work with GitHub, Visual Studio Code and AppSource marketplace
        • More added capabilities Analysis mode, and Power BI and Excel Layouts.

Power Platform updates

Microsoft Power Platform empowers users and organizations to analyze, act on, and automate data for digital transformation. Comprising five products—Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Automate, and Microsoft Copilot Studio—it also includes the AI Builder add-in. The 2024 Release Wave 1 introduces hundreds of new features across Power Platform applications, as well as Microsoft Dataverse, governance and administration capabilities.

Power BI and data integration now operate under Microsoft Fabric. This transition aims to enhance Copilot experiences and meet customer demands, empowering organizations at all levels to make confident decisions at any scale. Data integration, now Data Factory, expands connectivity options and enriches its library of transformations, facilitating real-time data replication for analytics in the data lake.

Power Apps

Copilot is omnipresent, and it is now turned on by default in canvas apps that connect to Microsoft Dataverse. No configuration is required because it’s available right away when users want answers for their questions.

Moreover, Power Apps include now a new data visual editor which creates tables from scratch, using Excel files, SharePoint lists, or other data sources. You can create multiple tables at the same time and Copilot sets the relationships between them.

After deploying an app, you have to test it. In order to do that, you need to write test cases and run them, but now it’s easier because the whole process it’s automated.

Power Automate

Copilot here, Copilot there… and within Power Automate it provides insights and personalized recommendations. Copilot capabilities are brought across desktop flows, cloud flows and process mining. To provide a delightful experience in managing the automation estate, build automations, quickly troubleshoot any issues, customers can use natural language and so discover optimization opportunities.

Power Pages

The site creation process is now facilitated by Copilot capabilities, as it supports every step of site building – design, page layouts, content editing, data binding, chatbot, accessibility checking and securing the site. Power Pages can be connected to external data sources such as SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint.

Copilot Studio

Microsoft Copilot Studio now offers native capabilities for extending Microsoft Copilots, General Availability for Generative Actions, and geo-expansions. Additionally, robust capabilities are introduced for integrating with OpenAI GPT models, along with new channels like WhatsApp and software lifecycle features such as topic-level import/export and RBAC.

AI Builder

AI Builder is investing in three key areas: Prompt Builder for GPT prompts, Intelligent Document Processing with new features and models, and AI Governance improvements, including enhanced capacity management and data policies. These efforts aim to empower users with advanced Generative AI, streamline document processing, and strengthen governance across AI models within Power Apps.

Microsoft Dataverse

As for Microsoft Dataverse,  the maker experience is constantly enhanced by improving app-building productivity with Copilot experiences, providing seamless connectivity to external data sources, and introducing AI-powered Enterprise Copilot in Microsoft 365.

The good news doesn’t stop here!

While these upgrades and enhancements are certainly exciting, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The features listed here are just a few of our top picks at LINKSOFT, but the full release plan includes many more capabilities. Additionally, the information presented here is just a glimpse of the future updates. For more details, you can check out the plans in their traditional format below:

With all these updates and details, it’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed. If you have any questions or want to ensure that your business can leverage some of the features from the upcoming release, don’t hesitate to contact us!