What Happens If You Don't Update Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS: 3 Ways It Can “Break”
Since the initial release of Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft has made clear its commitment to constantly improving, extending, and strengthening the product to meet the rapidly changing and increasing demands of business. For companies on the SaaS/Cloud version of Business Central, which translates into updates every month (2 major releases and 10 minor releases annually) This means the base application is constantly changing for the better, which is great. However, it also means that there are risks when you do not update your Business Central to keep up with these releases. Here are a few issues that can “break” Business Central if you don’t keep it up to date:
- Monthly major and minor releases. Of course, as Microsoft puts out new releases of Business Central and the base code changes, customizations can break. To understand the Business Central AL code landscape, when your custom code in NAV was migrated to BC 15 and beyond, the code needed to be converted from C/AL to AL, decoupled from base NAV using Events, and then published as an Extension. Most likely, one single, large extension was created for all of your custom code. If one tiny line of custom code breaks due to the base code being updated, the entire Extension would excluded from your update if that code is not corrected since it is part of one large Extension.
- Microsoft is aggressively obsoleting code. Microsoft is slowly relocating and cleaning up code in the process to improve performance and capabilities, increase the scalability of the product, and make it easier to customize and update. Again, if you have add-ons or customizations that are reliant on code objects that are being retired, moved, or changed, you will need to ensure that your code is updated accordingly. Microsoft provides plenty of advance notice, typically 2 years, of code that they intend to make obsolete. Any code reliant on the code that will become obsolete needs to be reworked before the code becomes obsolete.
- Add-ons can create problems. Any code that was not generated by Microsoft has the potential for failing during a release. However, ISVs (who provide add-ons) are required to keep their add-ons up to date with the latest releases of the product. If an add-on becomes a block to a SaaS update, that add-on will be removed from your BC SaaS environment. This shouldn’t happen because Microsoft provides code for the next release to partners with solutions on AppSource. However, we have seen ISVs not keep up and their product removed since it was ‘blocking’ or breaking the Microsoft update.
Something else to look out for: Some developers lock code during the development process, which is not a best practice. By locking the code, no one else can access it. If you have locked code, it could potentially break a future update. Be sure to check for locked code before you do an update.
Secure the Future of Your Business Central Implementation with a Reliable Partner and an Upgrade Subscription Plan
In, short, if you are a Business Central SaaS customer, it is imperative that you keep up with what is changing. Just because you’re on a SaaS product does not mean the end to upgrades! You will receive notices through Business Central from Microsoft, but you need to make sure someone is monitoring those notices and knows what to do when you receive one.
This is where a partner and a subscription plan are invaluable. Yes, you can go it alone, but why put that pressure on your IT staff and risk making a mistake that will cause your BC to break?
A side note about customizations and add-ons: If you have a lot of custom code and/or ISV add-ons/Extensions, we highly recommend you have a sandbox created for testing before a major release is upgraded in your environment. Something else to consider is that Microsoft is always adding new functionality, much of which could eliminate the need for some of your current customizations and/or add-ons. That is another good reason to be on a subscription plan and be proactive with updates to Business Central SaaS—so you can take advantage of opportunities to eliminate customizations and/or add-ons when they’re no longer needed.
Make a commitment and update Business Central when new releases come out. With an upgrade subscription plan through a qualified partner with specific expertise in managing your SaaS upgrade cycle, you can proactively stay in front of all releases. ArcherPoint offers several fixed-fee upgrade subscription plans offering a range of services, including “proactive” (Managed Services) and “reactive” (Break-Fix) options. The notable difference: Proactive plans keep you in front of upgrades and updates before they are pushed out to you, eliminating any potential downtime.