In a previous blog, we discussed the differences between an upgrade versus re-implementation from AX to D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management. Now that your organisation is using D365 Finance & SCM, you want to take advantage of all of the benefits of running a system in the cloud. One of them is making sure your system version is always up to date.
Have you heard of Continuous updates or One version? Microsoft is now frequently updating systems running in the cloud, which means you are always up to date with the latest features and issue fixes, whilst the operational impact is greatly minimised. No more large and expensive updates or re-implementations ahead!
How does it work? Will my system be updated automatically? What about testing? What are the new features? We know there are many questions, so this blog will explain it for you.
What is One version or Continuous updates?
Microsoft is optimising the way updates are delivered for a more consistent, predictable, and seamless experience for every client through Service updates. These are continuous, touchless updates that provide new features and functionality.
The updates aim to provide predictability, lower upgrade costs, access to the latest product capabilities, performance improvements, and a better support experience.
Updates are managed through Life Cycle Services (LCS) and they can be automatically applied to the environments if you prefer.
Updates types and options
Leaving the technical terms aside—where we would talk about Binary and X++ update types—the main two update options you should be aware of are:
Quality update: This will be used specifically to fix known issues.
A quality update is a cumulative, roll-up build that contains fixes for issues that are specific to the product version that you are currently running. There will be no quality update available for any version that is older than 2 versions of the current service update.
Service update: This is the actual new version.
A service update is a cumulative, roll-up build that contains new features, functionality, and the related quality update that is generally available.
Only the designated sandbox or production environment will be auto updated if you have configured the update settings for the LCS project. However, you can manually apply the current service update version to other sandbox environments or your cloud-hosted environments.
Microsoft will make up to 8 Service updates available every year and you are required to take a minimum of 2 of these per year.
Using Life Cycle Services (LCS), you can manage how your organisation receives these updates. There are various notification settings available. For example, you can sign up for the First Release program so that your organisation receives updates first.
The exact versions and availability of updates are available in docs.microsoft.com.
You can apply the updates to any of your environments manually (self-update) or remain on the default release schedule and receive the auto-updates when you schedule them.
Microsoft is committed to delivering predictable service updates. These service updates will be made generally available for self-deployment approximately 2 weeks prior to Microsoft automatically applying the update.
Can I choose not to update?
You can choose to pause up to 3 consecutive updates at a time. Pausing a service update can apply to the designated UAT sandbox, production, or both environments. After the pause window has ended and you have not self-updated to a supported service update, Microsoft will auto-apply the latest update based on the configuration selection made available in LCS. Microsoft will not provide support if your system is not up to date, and an update will be required before troubleshooting, which can cause delays during urgent issues. This means you cannot stay on an older version for a very long time.
New or changed features
With every new version released, Microsoft provides an extensive list of new features, additional resources, bug fixes, regulatory updates, and removed and deprecated features. These documents are large and contain information related to all systems and countries. The team at Professional Advantage review every set of release notes and select only what is relevant to our clients and send it in form of a newsletter.
Once the update is complete, the new features will be available in the “Feature Management” workspace inside of D365 F&SCM, where you can again review and decide what you want to enable.
Testing before the update
Testing the new version in the UAT sandbox environment is an extremely important exercise before the update happens in production. To help with this activity the Regression Suite Automation Tool (RSAT) is used.
RSAT significantly reduces the time and cost of user acceptance testing (UAT), as it lets functional power users record most business tasks using the Task recorder and then convert the recordings into a suite of automated tests, without having to write source code.
RSAT is fully integrated with Microsoft Azure DevOps for test execution, reporting, and investigation. Once the processes are recorded, all parameters are stored in Microsoft Excel files, providing a user-friendly way to maintain them. Using RSAT means when a new version is available you can simply re-run the automated tests and analyse the results.
RSAT does not completely eliminate the need for manual tests. Processes such as reports and trading documents still require manual testing.
How can we help?
Professional Advantage helps clients during their upgrade process and has extensive knowledge and experience with RSAT and other available tools, as well as training and supporting users during all phases of the project.