Enterprise Solutions, Project Management

Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation – Improving Customer Engagement

Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation capabilities in Dynamics 365 (online) provides an end-to-end solution that helps sales and delivery teams engage customers and deliver billable projects on time and within budget.

PSA is a broad and deep solution that provides a single system for customer engagement across all project-related functions. It is aimed at providing an integrated customer experience for those who deliver customer facing, revenue focused, project-based services.

PSA includes functionality around:

  • Planning
  • Estimating and pricing projects
  • Optimizing resource utilization
  • Tracking and approving project tasks and finances
  • Monitoring performance metrics

The PSA solution gives companies the ability to enable on time, on budget project delivery whilst at the same time improving project efficiencies, collaboration and profitability. Here are several specific benefits for different areas of the business:

Available anywhere, on any device

There are two flavors of Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation:

  • If you’re using a desktop, you’ll use the Project Service Automation app.
  • If you’re in the field using a smartphone or tablet, you’ll use the Project Resource Hub app which is a subset of the Project Service Automation app. The Project Resource Hub app is built on the Unified Interface framework, which uses responsive web design principles to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience for any screen size, device, or orientation.

Sales

As a salesperson, it’s important that I can see any ongoing projects for my customers. So now I can have a projects sub-grid available on my account form where I can see all the projects that are ongoing for the customer and the overall project status.

When I’m working on an opportunity for a service deal I can now have the ability to select the contracting unit (the team of users that I think will be responsible for delivering the project). I can also select the project price list, will be used to quote for the project.

Also within the opportunity form, I can now associate a project based line where I can choose my billing method, whether it’s time and materials or fixed price, what the customer’s budget is, and a description of what those services are.

When I create a quote, that information will be pulled through into the quotation, and I can then start working with my delivery team to get accurate pricing on that quotation to ensure that we’re quoting accurate project pricing against that deal.

The chargeability view within the quote line allows me to see what my standard pricing is for any given resource type, together with the actual price that I want to quote on this opportunity for those given resources, together with the cost price and the profit margin. Here I’m able to edit my sales pricing to manipulate the pricing to achieve the margins that I need for this project.

Working in conjunction with a project manager I can associate my project to my sales quotation, I can pull through all my pricing for this deal based on accurate information provided from the project delivery team. I can also create an invoice schedule defining exactly when and how I will invoice this project.

Once the quotation has been won and marked as one, the system will automatically create a project order, and it’s against this project order that all the invoicing will happen and where we can also start to track the contract performance.

 

Project Management

A Project Manager can create projects based on project templates, or from scratch. He can build out my work breakdown structure detailing all the tasks that are required, the effort required to deliver those tasks, my start and end dates, and the roles that I need to deliver those pieces of work.

A project manager can look at all his project estimates for each of the different tasks, and he can look at that in terms of sales pricing, cost pricing, and the effort required.

He can look at his project team members that will be delivering the work. As those team members start delivering the work, he can track the progress, the hours that have been delivered, versus the effort estimate, and also any schedule variances as well.

Finally, it’s important that I can see a global view of all of the projects I’m managing, so he can use the dashboard capability to do things like tracking projects by overall project status, by which stage of the process they’re in, by their go/no-go status, by their cost consumption, and also by timeline.

Resource Management

A resource manager, using the PSA functionality within Dynamics 365 can see how many outstanding resource requests he has, and what are the resource demands in Dashboard. He can also see utilization of resources by role.

If a resource manager wants to schedule one of the resources, he can go and look at active resource requests, select one of them, and go and find matching resources. The system will then propose any resources that match his requirement in order of closest match. He can choose one of those resources, select them and book them against that project.

For viewing all the bookings of current resources, we can use Schedule board functionality Dynamics365 with a different view (Hourly, Daily, Weekly, monthly views).

Using Resource utilization, resource managers can track whether resources are meeting their utilization or not.

Consultants/Resources

As an actual resource working on a project, he can take advantage of the Office 365 groups integration to collaborate with his team members. This is great if you have remote resources because they can use this central Office 365 Group to have access to a shared calendar, to have conversations about any given project, to have shared notebooks, and to share documents that relate to a specific project.

Resources can access all their bookings and tasks. They can open their booking and can see the information for it. They can update the booking and enter how much work they have completed and how much is left to complete.

Within PSA as a resource, they can submit time and expense entries and I can also do this on the CRM mobile app as well.

Business Intelligence and Analytics

Finally, let’s look at the Power BI reporting capability.

With Power BI there is a prebuilt solution template for Dynamics 365 Project Services Automation. This gives you the ability to see many predefined metrics that allow you to track things like your margins, your costs, your project services pipeline, your backlog.

These metrics are all provided as part of the PSA Power BI solution template but you can also harness the power of BI to add your own data and to slice and dice in any way that you want.

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