Understanding Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy

Microsoft wanted to provide a better product support system than their traditional Mainstream and Extended support programs. The aim was to raise the percentage of customers who were on current releases and thus lower support costs and improve customer satisfaction. The problem with this worthy goal was that there was little consistency in how partners wrapped their own software around Dynamics, and consequently costs remained high. So Microsoft developed a new standard programming interface (A/L) for all partners to use in building their products around Dynamics, to provide a clear, consistent, and yet seamless interface between Dynamics and the partner software, leading to the holy grail of lower support costs for Microsoft, partners, and most importantly, users. They set a deadline for all first-line partners to be compliant with this standard by December 2023, and knk met this deadline with knkPublishing 2023 R2, which is MS Azure Cloud-ready.

Products governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy are supported as long as customers stay current as per the servicing and licensing requirements published for Dynamics users, by accepting all servicing updates (two per year) and applying them within a specific timeframe. Most customers are happy with this arrangement as the frequency of the updates means that there are fewer big changes, the learning curve is much shorter, and as long as they load the patches and updates in a timely fashion, they are permanently supported and have all the latest features in the software. Of course, the downside is that if customers do not install the updates, then Microsoft supports the software for a year at most, service degradation or interruption is possible, and there are downstream consequences for partner products and their support.

In summary, although the cadence of the updates is quicker (two updates a year plus patches), more users will be on newer supported releases, and everybody wins. Partners like knk can follow the Microsoft update cycle with their own updates, and although users can still experience difficulties in synchronizing updates for a portfolio with multiple partner products, a good deal of the issues have been minimized and support from all parties is continuous.