Thursday, November 26, 2020

#MSDyn365BC - Enabling Upcoming Features Ahead of Time.

Hi Readers,

With #MSDyn365bc 2020 Release Wave 2, Microsoft have enabled a New feature called "Feature Management".

In this article we will understand - 

  • How administrators can turn on new features using the Feature Management page. 
  • What we need to take care before enabling new feature in Business Central.

This capability allows you to benefit as early as possible from feature improvements and innovative new features. It gives you the time you need to test and prepare your organization for change.

Administrators can learn about these features and independently enable each feature from the Feature Management page. 

Once a feature is enabled, it becomes available for all users on that environment no matter how they access Business Central.

These features are only optional for a while. Once they become part of base release in future they are mandatory.

As in timeline above you can see an example, about feature timeline when it converts from a feature to part of base Microsoft app. During this time frame administrator can try that feature in sandbox or Test Environment.  

How to enable an optional feature?

1. Search for Feature Management Page in Business Central.

2. Click on Edit List.

3. Select the Feature that you want to enable and set the Enabled for field to All users.

You can also try out the feature for yourself without enabling it for all users by choosing the Try it out link (if available). This will open a new browser tab with the feature enabled for that session.


To see the approximate date and service update when each feature is expected to become mandatory, see the Automatically enabled from field in the Feature Management page. 

What We need to Take Care as Partners?

Some of these features available in the Feature management page cannot be reverted back.

Before you enable any feature in Production, you first enable and evaluate it on a sandbox environment that has a copy of production data.

In Scenarios where your PTE (Per Tenant Extension), ISV Solution or Appsource Extension is dependent on previous version of the feature then all those extension will break after enabling feature.

When you choose to enable an irreversible feature, a warning dialog that describes the consequences is displayed. 

Will this replace the Early Access program or Insider Build?

No. The Insider Build that you use for your app development will have all the features that Microsoft is working on.

The Early Access program that is used by some Dynamics 365 apps makes a large set of new features available two months before a major update.

In Feature management only features that change the visuals or behaviors of the user interface and which require significant effort for business users to adjust to will be available.

Why they are not of the base release? Are they still in Dev/ Beta Testing?

Microsoft follows the policy to provide a time frame before deprecating a feature for partners to prepare that change. The window is currently set to 1 Year.

Features listed in the Feature Management page are considered ready and generally available but the window is over they will replace the old feature.

Most optional features are enabled by default on new environments for new customers to benefit from. Administrators can still turn any of these features off from the Feature Management page. 

Feature management works same way in SaaS and on-prem.

So why wait. Start Creating sandbox environment and start testing your PTE's with all features enabled. If PTE's break its time to plan for those rewrites for future readiness.

Let me know what you think about Feature Management in Business Central.

Regards,
Saurav Dhyani

https://www.sauravdhyani.com/

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