On May 1, 2018, Microsoft released its newest version of Dynamics SL, Dynamics SL 2018. While the software was intended to be announced and discussed at the Dynamics SL User Group meeting last year in Tampa, FL, this event was delayed by Hurricane Irma. Rather than delay the release, Microsoft opted to discuss the new product in a series of webinars leading up to the May 1 introduction of the software.
At Wipfli, we were given the opportunity to cohost one of these webinars featuring Jeff Suwyn on January 10. During this highly informative webcast, Suwyn discussed some of the things to come, but also provided a lot of insight on the things that led up to the 2018 release.
In the weeks following the webcast, we discussed some of the top new features in a blog series on the software, including a blog discussing the release and support schedule, enhancements and additions to the Web Apps Platform, deeper integration with Power BI, and more.
Understanding the Release and Support Schedule
While this is nothing new and is actually something that Microsoft has had in place for decades, it’s important to understand the release and support schedules.
Every few years, Microsoft releases a new product, and the clock starts ticking. For the first five years, products are in Mainstream Support, in which Microsoft releases year-end updates, tax and payroll updates, security and non-security hotfixes. Additionally, companies using the software can make warranty claims, request new features, and receive no-charge incident support. Currently, SL 2015 and now SL 2018 are in Mainstream Support.
Following this comes Extended Support, encompassing years 5 through 9. During extended support, users will still get security fixes, receive paid support from Microsoft, and have access to knowledge base articles. However, Microsoft will not publish non-security hotfixes, allow for warranty claims, or listen to design changes and feature requests. Users with an extended hotfix agreement can still receive non-security hotfixes. SL 2011 is currently in Extended Support, and Extended Support for Dynamics SL 7.0 ended last October.
Read more about the support clock in our blog on the topic.
How the CU2 Update to Dynamics SL 2015 Will Impact SL 2018
When Microsoft releases new products, it builds on what works best for users, meaning that some of the features that were added to SL 2018 were tested in the previous SL release, SL 2015 CU2. The SL 2015 CU2 was released very late in 2016, and provided many hotfixes, improvements, and enhancements to the software, as requested by SL customers. We discussed some of these features here, including:
- Continued Improvements to Web Apps
- Project Enhancements
- Invoice Comment Improvements
- Expense Entry Auto-Populate
Continued Improvements to Power BI and Dynamics SL
Microsoft Power BI was a big part of the One Microsoft movement, and has continued to help businesses make smarter decisions with more data—faster. While Power BI is in no way exclusive to Dynamics SL, it has played a major role in making the platform and its users even smarter. This business intelligence software integrates dozens of data sources into one platform, and allows users to turn information into insights and data into decisions.
There are many, many uses for Power BI. From giving your marketing people new ways to look at Google Analytics data or email data to providing users new ways to slice and dice an Excel spreadsheet, Power BI has become a highly effective software for those in the project management world. We covered some of the ways businesses using SL can leverage Power BI for better visibility here.
Well an in-depth view of all the latest features can be seen on CustomerSource, PartnerSource, and by joining the DSLUG resources, one of the biggest changes is the introduction of a quarterly release schedule in order to roll out new features for users faster.
In addition to this, the software will include enhancements to Multi-company processing, Multi-Currency Project base currency, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and more.
2017 brought some much needed improvements, and you can view many more changes and fixes in Microsoft’s technical documentation. 2018 will bring a new release, a new support calendar, and many more new features requested by users.
We’ve been talking a lot about the past and present of Microsoft Dynamics SL, and welcome you to learn more by watching the recording of the What’s New in Dynamics SL 2018 Webcast. Ready to learn even more? We’d love to hear from you. Get in contact with us by filling out this form or calling our sales team at 703.860.6945.