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Best practice on how to prepare for a major Dynamics 365 Business Central update

In our previous blog article on the subject, we discussed what process is followed when updating Business Central. Following on from this, in our latest blog article, we will take you through the preparation required for major Business Central updates. 

Schedule preparation time, test and learn before the Business Central update 

The best approach for preparing your business, users & customisations is to get in touch with Advantage who will be able to try out the new version of Business Central before your production environment is updated. You can find some of the ways that Advantage will use below: 

Prepare for major updates by updating select features faster 

  • You will find that some new features can be switched on for both sandbox and production environments which will allow us to thoroughly test and prepare for the change. In the vast majority of cases, you will be able to switch on features weeks before preview environments for the major update are available. 
  • You will find that after Microsoft releases some features or feature design improvements for smaller updates that some of these are optional until the next significant update is rolled out.  

Prepare for significant Business Central updates through preview environments 

  • From around a month from the major update launch date, you will be able to get Advantage to try out new functionality in preview environments. Put simply, preview environments are Business Central online sandbox environments that you can use to build a preview version of the application. Furthermore, when Advantage creates the new sandbox environment for you, we can select the preview version marked as (Preview) from the version list.  
  • At this point, Advantage will be able to see if there any issues or bugs that will need to be reported to Microsoft. 

Please note: 

Previews are gradually rolled out across the whole world, so you may find that this option isn’t available straight away so you will just need to keep coming back and checking. 

  • The newly built preview sandbox environment will showcase dummy company data. Furthermore, you will find that the preview on a copy of your current production data is not supported as of yet; neither is testing the upgrade for your current version to the preview. However, Advantage will be able to use the sandbox environment to showcase the new product capabilities in addition to checking that your per-tenant extensions are working as predicted. 
  • As part of the preparation stage, Advantage will look to run your tests on a preview environment at least a month before the major release of Business Central is rolled out which will lead to the updates of your production environments to be much more straightforward. This will help to ensure that your business, your customers as well your code are ready to go when the time comes. 
  • Furthermore, Microsoft will update the preview version only at the point if significant flaws or issues are highlighted before the major update is available for production environments. It is worth noting that apart from any fixes, there largely will be no other changes made to the product between the preview and the official launch of the update. This is where Advantage can help you as we can start testing straightaway! 

Please note: 

It will be possible to test the update on a copy of your production data from a sandbox environment when Microsoft releases the new update in production from April or October. At this point, Advantage will be able to run further tests on that version. 

Another crucial point worth noting 

The preview version along with the sandbox environments that are based on it will be removed 30 days after the next major update becomes available to businesses. 

Get busy preparing for the major update just before the production environment is updated 

  • As soon as your business receives the notification from Microsoft that the new major update is ready for you, you can get Advantage to test the new version through a sandbox environment as well as schedule exactly when you wish it be updated. The process can started by Advantage who will make a copy of your production into a sandbox on the same version as your production environment. The good thing about this is the fact that your newly created environments are automatically added to the update process in less than an hour, you will be informed about when this update is ready & from this you will be able to set a time and date for the newly created sandbox to be updated. As a default setting, all new environments are automatically setup to update within 7 days but as mentioned above you can change this date to suit your business. 
  • If you decide to make changes to the update date, you will see that the update will begin within the closest update time window that you set out in the environment. If you are keen to get this update started straight away for your sandbox environment, you can which means it can be started within 24 hours if required. 
  • Furthermore, if any issues occur during the update, you will get an email notification that outlines exactly what the issue is. This is why it is so important to have a Microsoft Gold partner like Advantage to take care of this for you. 
  • Any environments where the update doesn’t work because of per-tenant extension compatibility will be automatically reverted to the original application version with the next update attempt setup automatically for 1 hour. For future updates, this will be set for 7 days, however you can change this date should you need to. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is currently using Dynamics 365 Business Central and are keen to ensure that the latest Microsoft update goes smoothly for your business then bring in our Business Central experts  to come and help your business to fully prepare for this update. 

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