Business Central 2024 Release Wave 1: New Features and Enhancements

By: Simbe Ngongalah

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central continues to evolve, bringing new features and improvements that enhance productivity, efficiency and usability. The 2024 Wave 1 release is no exception, packed with updates that promise to refine user experience, boost system performance and provide additional reporting capabilities.

Let's dive into some of the most notable enhancements and new additions introduced in this latest release.

1. Use New Excel Layouts for 365 Selected Reports

One of Microsoft’s standout features in the 2024 Wave 1 release is the expansion of its reporting capabilities in Business Central by integrating new Excel layouts. These layouts are specifically designed for key business areas such as finance, sales (customers) and purchases (vendors). This upgrade is not just about adding new reports — it's about providing a flexible and interactive tool for business analysis and presentation.

Feature Details

The 2024 Wave 1 update includes eight new Excel reports that improve the ease and efficiency of creating and customizing reports:

BC 2024.1 Excel layouts

These reports are particularly useful because they:

  • Provide multiple layout options
    Users can now choose from various layouts that best fit their reporting needs. Whether it's for financial analysis, sales tracking or vendor management, these layouts make it easier to visualize and interpret data.
  • Offer data segmentation
    For reports pulling from multiple data tables, the layouts smartly distribute the data across multiple worksheets.
  • Enhance customization
    Beyond using the provided layouts, users can leverage these reports as templates to craft their own unique Excel layouts. This customization ability is crucial for businesses needing tailored reporting solutions.
  • Support advanced data manipulation
    With options to use pivot tables and other advanced Excel features, users can dive deeper into slicing and dicing the data for comprehensive analysis.

BC 2024.1 Excel layouts 2

2. Advanced AI Capabilities — Copilot

Business Central’s latest feature update, Copilot, is an AI-powered tool designed to augment creativity and boost productivity among users by drastically reducing the time typically required to identify trends and anomalies in data.

Furthermore, the release includes additional functionality to Copilot that enhances the sales document creation process, allowing users to generate sales lines quickly and efficiently — which can significantly boost productivity and expedite customer transactions. Users can simply articulate their analysis needs in a straightforward sentence, and Copilot does the heavy lifting right within Business Central.

Example 1 — Using Copilot to Identify Trends and Analyze Data

Below is an example requesting that Copilot group the Customer Ledger Entries by dimensions to see which category of customers generated the most revenue:

BC 2024.1 Copilot

Copilot processes this request and displays the results in an “Analysis” tab, while providing users with the ability to keep, discard or further analyze the results. At a glance, we can see that the large customers generated the most revenue:

BC 2024.1 Copilot 2

Users can quickly adjust an existing analysis tab by expressing their desired changes in natural language in the “Add more details about the analysis” box shown above and letting Copilot process the request. Copilot summarizes the information presented in the analysis tab as a concise sentence, drastically reducing the time needed to identify trends and anomalies in data.

Example 2 — Using Copilot to Enhance the Sales Document Creation Process

Copilot's flexibility is one of its strongest features. Users can input data in the format most convenient for them, whether typing directly into the system, uploading documents or using prebuilt prompts. This adaptability ensures that all types of users can benefit from the tool, regardless of their technical proficiency.

In the below example, I created a new sales order and selected the customer I am selling to. Then, I navigated to the lines section of the order (select Manage > Suggest Sales Lines). In the Copilot prompt box, I entered a list of items with quantities, prompting Copilot to generate sales order lines from the list provided. The tool also contains a built-in prompt guide to assist users in entering different prompts as needed:

BC 2024.1 Copilot 3

When I click “Generate”, Copilot displays the details of the lines to be inserted. With its advanced AI algorithms, Copilot doesn't just input data, but comprehends it. This ability to interpret input means that Copilot can suggest sales lines tailored to the specific context of the customer and the sales document, reducing errors and enhancing the accuracy of sales documents. Users also have the option to either insert the data into the sales order or discard the results and enter new prompts if needed:

BC 2024.1 Copilot 4

When I click insert, we can see the lines being inserted into the sales order:

BC 2024.1 Copilot 5

By automating the creation of sales lines, Copilot significantly cuts down the time typically required for manual entries.

3. Viewing Incoming Documents In Archived Quotes and Orders

Another nice feature in latest update in Business Central 2024 Wave 1 brings a significant enhancement to how businesses manage their documents, particularly when dealing with archived sales and purchase quotes and orders. As of April 2024, users can now access incoming documents added to these quotes and orders even after they have been archived. This update marks a stride forward in document management efficiency, ensuring seamless access to critical business information.

When a user archives a purchase or sales quote or order, whether manually or automatically, the archived version retains all incoming documents that were attached prior to archiving. For instance, if an incoming document was attached with a specific document, and this order was later received fully and invoiced, the archived version will still hold the attached document accessible for review.

BC 2024.1 Archived Quotes and Orders

To view these documents, users can simply navigate to the “Purchase Order Archive” list page — or its sales counterpart — and select the relevant archived document. The “Incoming Document FactBox”, which highlights these attachments, will display all associated files that were attached to the original document. Note that the Incoming Documents FactBox is hidden by default, but you can personalize pages to show it.

BC 2024.1 Archived Quotes and Orders 2

Conclusion

Business Central 2024 Wave 1 is designed to make businesses more resilient, efficient and adaptive in a rapidly changing economic landscape. With the new Excel report layouts, the enhanced Copilot capabilities and improved functionality for document management, Business Central is poised to remain a leading solution for enterprises looking to optimize their operations.

Need Help?

If you’re interested in improving your processes in Business Central, contact us online or give us a call at 410.685.5512.

Published May 24, 2024

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