Steve Brooks, CTO, Bam Boom Cloud
Spring is in the air, which can only mean two things: daffodils and the Business Central road map for update release wave 1 of 2022! There’s a huge number of updates – Business Central has seen over 500 changes since it was first released in 2018, with two waves of updates every year. There’s over 50 coming up in this wave alone.
Here are my top 10 standout features for the April 2022 update wave.
STANDOUT FEATURE #1: CONSOLIDATE CUSTOMER/VENDOR BALANCES
This allows the set-off/net-off of balances where a customer is also a vendor, which we see often in certain industries. It also allows journals to be posted with a net-off effect, which saves time for accounts teams working on both the customer and vendor sides, improves visibility and exposure, and easier reporting.
STANDOUT FEATURE #2: COPY LINK FROM SHARE MENU
While this may not seem important, we can now nest Business Central within other apps such as Teams and still share directly through to Teams rather than manually copying the link. What this means is Teams users (with a BC license) can see details about Items/Customers/Transactions without logging into BC. This is a very cool feature that will allow more collaboration without even logging into the system.
STANDOUT FEATURE #3: CONTEXT-AWARE HELP
This gives help to end users based on what they’re actually looking at. This may seem obvious but compare the images below, where you can see what we currently have above what the new release will have. There are now targeted, context-aware help links. This also provides a future for partner and ISV-led help so you can do something completely unique for a customer or they can download apps from AppSource with specific guidance for that app. This is a huge improvement because end users can get specific help to keep them productive, and from a partner perspective this keeps the service desk focused on the trickier tickets!
STANDOUT FEATURE #4: SHOPIFY CONNECTOR
This formal partnership with Shopify allows integration between Business Central and e-commerce through Shopify. This allows you to adjust pricing on an e-commerce platform directly from Business Central, as well as synchronise sales, stock and orders through from Shopify to BC. Native connectivity to Shopify means we can automate processes and improve reporting. It will be very interesting to see how it compares/competes with existing solutions!
STANDOUT FEATURE #5: BI-DIRECTIONAL CRM SYNC
This improves on the standard connector between D365 Sales and Business Central because changes that are made in Business Central sales orders that have come from Sales Professional or Sales Enterprise can be synchronised back to CRM. Previously, we had a one-way sync. Now, when we make changes in Business Central (e.g. operations change quantities, delivery dates shift, stock availability changes), they will flow back and the sales team will be able to see changes to the status of orders and can talk to their customers about them without having to log into BC and without getting out-of-date data. This changes the synchronisation from being a cool feature into something that benefits a day-to-day production environment so more businesses will be able to use standard integration.
STANDOUT FEATURE #6: BETTER REPORTING OUT THE BOX
Business Central reporting keeps getting better. This allows more configuration of account schedules, so we can add more columns and Business Central supports more formatting. This means there is more functionality available from Day 1 (not every customer needs Power BI or Jet Reports) so having this is a great development.
STANDOUT FEATURE #7: EXCEL REPORT LAYOUTS
This allows Excel to be used like Word and RDLC so that you can export a template, make changes and then reimport for all users. Charts, graphs and custom fields can also be added to reports. So, when people are using that file in the future, they have a customized report layout, which is useful for when accountants and finance teams want Excel-based reporting with a little bit of customization.
STANDOUT FEATURE #8: DATAVERSE CHANGE EVENTS
Virtual tables were a bit niche as they couldn’t be used in workflows or PowerApps very comprehensively. Having events in Dataverse is great because when events happen on a virtual table, they trigger an event that can be used in Power Platform, so Business Central is better integrated with other aspects of Power Platform such as Power Apps, Power Automate and the Dataverse native applications.
STANDOUT FEATURE #9: TEAMS IMPROVEMENTS
More and more people are using Teams across their whole business, with increased collaboration, especially when people are still working from home. By removing the ‘Pop out’ feature (see the image below) and adding much more detail for Teams users, collaboration is made even easier through Teams as it is now more viable for working in BC and responding to links and transactions. Infrequent users of Business Central may never need to log in, but also don’t need to rely on out-of-date data in Excel/SharePoint
STANDOUT FEATURE #10: OUTLOOK ATTACHMENTS INTO BUSINESS CENTRAL
This is a very cool development that builds on the existing Outlook to Business Central integration so that attachments from Outlook are tracked to Business Central records and are all downloadable in Business Central. The Outlook integration is a top feature that almost all our customers use, so this makes it even more useful!
That was my top 10 features from the Business Central update wave 1, 2022. There are some really exciting updates coming out. If you are interested in the nitty gritty of all 50+ features, you can check them out here.
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