Business Central Product Management Update December 2019

Dec 20, 2019 1:32:04 PM

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We would like to provide you with an update of what we are working on, what we are planning to do, and our expectations about the releases of our products.

1. Business Central Product updates 

We are in the middle of upgrading our on-prem solutions from 2019 Wave 1 (V14) to 2019 Wave 2 (V15). Due to the complexity of some of our C/AL to AL conversions, we expect to deliver all our D365 Business Central 2019 Wave 2 releases in Q1 of 2020. However, this is an estimate and could be subject to change.

The released products will be a continuation of our on-prem functionality. We also want to assure you that as long as Microsoft brings out new on-prem versions of Business Central, we will update and deliver our solutions on that platform.

Industrial Equipment Manufacturing

Our IEM solution has been upgraded from 2019 Wave 1 to the online platform on 2019 Wave 2 as is. The core functionality has not changed; we have applied minor changes to Product Registration and  Sharepoint Integration.

We are striving to ensure that the codebase and, therefore the functionality of both the online and on-prem solutions of IEM will be identical. In the short term, there will be a difference in the way our BIS solution is applied.

Over time, we will integrate these so there will be a single codebase for online and on-prem.

 

Food Manufacturing & Distribution

For the Food solution, we will integrate the new version of BC Anywhere Mobility Solution (formerly known as NAV Anywhere). This new version has an entirely fresh look and feel.

It has a lot of visual improvements (support for in-line pictures, placing buttons where wanted, support for a brick-style list, etc.) but also has a more comfortable and intuitive way of building processes.

Standalone BC Anywhere Wave 1 2019 update is now available; the integration with the food solution will become available with the new update of BC Food.

As with IEM, we will strive to have the same codebase for online and on-prem for the Food solution as well. While this may not happen in early 2020, we expect to reach that goal with the 2020 Wave 2 release.

 

Product Engineering

We will be transforming the Product Engineering solution into multiple apps. We are currently working on a plan to create a Quality Management app and an Engineering Change Management app.

These apps will have a slightly different look and feel as well as functionality. However, our ultimate aim is to deliver solutions that are the same for online and on-prem while still guaranteeing an upgrade path from PE 2018 to PE current version.

 

BC Anywhere Mobility studio

As mentioned before, we have released a completely new version of this solution on 2019 Wave 1. It consists not only of a new way to configure the processes, but also offers new possibilities in defining pages.

It is now possible to show pictures in line with other data, use a brick-style type list, dynamically search for data, set filters on lists, use infinite scrolling, and place buttons anywhere on the page.

We are working together with Microsoft to bring this solution to the online platform, and we expect general availability to be around Q2 2020. We expect the on-prem release of 2019 Wave 2 by Q1 2019.

 

Business Integration Solutions

The BIS functionality is undergoing a complete transformation. As you know it is mainly built on .NET functionality, which has restrictions in place for the online platform. Therefore, we are working with Microsoft to solve theses restrictions and make sure we have an online version of BIS available by Q2 2020.

This means that we will have an on-prem solution of BIS on 2019 Wave 2 that will still depend on .NET and is a continuation of the current solution. We are facing challenges in the C/AL to AL conversion, but we are confident that BIS On-prem 2019 Wave 2 will also be released Q1 2020.

 

2. Future Development

Our teams are currently working on updating the solutions to 2019 Wave 2. We are preparing, improving, and maintaining (as required) the online versions that are available at this moment.

On top of that, we will strive to deliver new functionality for our solutions or create new separate apps and extensions.

The way we will regulate access to our online solutions will change as well. We are working on the details on how to set that up, but for now, the idea is that with the activation of the User Experience Essential or Premium, the ‘Basic’ level (offering 1 for our solutions) become available to the customer.

If the customer has purchased the ‘Extended’ or ‘Advanced’ level, we will ship or install an extension that will unlock the additional functionality in the solution. Once this functionality becomes available, we will update you on it.

 

3. How we will deliver our solutions

Currently, you are used to downloading our solutions from our partner portal or our Service Now Download portal and installing them in the customer database. This way of delivery will not change.

What will change is what we deliver in that download package. For our vertical solutions, we will provide the solution in the form of a .app file (an installable extension through powershell) as well as a zip-file containing the .al files.

We would prefer that partners use the .app file and build extensions on top of that, but we do realize that when it comes to localizing solutions, sometimes in-line modifications are inevitable.

As stated before, the online vertical solutions will be an embedd-app, meaning that this code will contain both the BC-solution and the add-on solution as one integrated solution.

For our horizontal solutions, we will only deliver a .app file. This will allow the partner to install the extension or app but not to change it. For both horizontal and vertical solutions, we encourage our partners to develop extensions on top of our solutions instead of making inline modifications.

If this means that you need an extension point (a.k.a. event or hook), please create a support-case of the type Request in Service Now, detailing where you would like the event, what additional variables you would like to use and why you need it.

  • We retain the right to refuse the creation of an event at any given point of time; however we will provide our reasoning for the refusal
  • If the request is in standard MS code, we will refuse directly, and you will be requested to log a request with Microsoft
  • If the request is in Microsoft code that has been modified by us, and we have approved the request, we will create the event. However, we retain the right to remove the event in case of changes made in the code by Microsoft or us
  • If the request is in our code, we will investigate and upon approval, create the event.

Event creation should generally be delivered back to the partner with the next update.

 

4. Upgrade and Support Strategy

For the longest time, we have partially followed the Microsoft upgrade strategy in that we delivered an RTM version, a mid-year CU, and a final CU with the release of the new major version.

With the new release strategy by Microsoft, we will change that.

We are currently investigating the possibility of creating a monthly update for both the online and the on-premise platform. The more we move towards the realization of one codebase, the easier it will become to achieve this goal.

Another significant change is the support strategy. To-Increase will follow Microsoft in supporting the current and previous two versions of a solution (for 18 months), starting with 2019 Wave 2.

Click this link for more information: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/30881/modern-lifecycle-policy

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