The spring 2019 update of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O) has introduced a new feature with the potential to simplify integrations with other services and applications.
Business Events will provide a set (over 200 initially) of business events that can be registered with endpoints to notify applications outside of the D365FO environment. These events can be based upon steps in a workflow or transactions (for example, invoicing a sales order). Microsoft has also provided a development framework for creating custom business events. This framework will allow a quick, lightweight mechanism to notify other external applications of events occurring inside D365FO.
Microsoft’s commitment to move D365FO to a SaaS model has not been without challenges for the end user. One of the features of Dynamics AX was the ability to customize anything in the product. However, that flexibility was not without costs and deferred issues. Customers often found their customizations proved to be a barrier to the adoption of new features. The deep code analysis and work required to layer their customizations into a new version was just too expensive and high risk to justify the effort.
With the move to D365FO, the subsequent shift to the Evergreen model, and a more authentic SaaS experience, the landscape has changed. Developers are no longer able to modify the base code, instead they must use extensions to accomplish needed modifications. But organizations are realizing, that even customization through extensions are not without cost. With the Evergreen model, and the goal of one version, organizations now have to prepare for a monthly cadence of updates, with major functionality released semi-annually. As you dig deeper into the roadmap, you realize that the semi-annual features are not arriving in one roll out. The features will be released when they are completed, tested, and deemed ready for use. With each monthly update, there is potential for conflict between an organization’s customizations and new or modified functionality.
To ensure these new updates do not impact operations, D365FO customers will need to embrace a monthly testing cadence. Although Microsoft is providing automation tools to facilitate the testing of updates, it’s important to note that all modifications — even those developed using extensions — must be constantly examined as new updates arrive.
It is against this backdrop, that we highlight a key value of Business Events: The update will provide a way to allow business processes originating inside D365FO (such as invoicing a sales order) to affect applications and services that are external to the ERP environment.
What Does it Do?
Imagine an organization that needs to update their B2B website whenever an order is invoiced. Prior to Business Events, you might address this need with an extension to the sales order invoicing process. Now, instead of using a customization, you can activate that Business Event in D365FO, and every time a sales order is invoiced, a message containing the details of the invoice will be sent to an Azure queue where it can be processed, and the website updated. The possibilities are endless, and most importantly, the code required to accomplish this resides outside of D365FO. You can safely make modifications to the process independently of your D365FO environment, mitigating the need to test modifications for this process.
How Does it Work?
Business Events in the catalog are selected and then activated. The activation allows the Business Event to be associated with a previously defined endpoint. The D365FO batch process is used to process the events. For every Business Event found, the batch job will send a message to the defined endpoint. What happens next is entirely outside of D365FO and can be whatever makes sense for the business processes.
Business Events will help D365FO organizations maximize the value of their ERP system, without adding the risk and complexity associated with modifying their core system. At Columbus, we believe in the value of an implementation approach focused on business processes. Your business processes can now use Business Events to unlock additional functionality within your ERP environment, while reducing the need for customizations.
To learn more about this upcoming feature check out the Microsoft docs page Business Events.