Project Service Automation for Dynamics 365 – Improving Customer Engagement
Project Service Automation (PSA) is an end to end solution developed on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and provides functionality from quote to delivery to invoice.
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. WATCH our overview video to see the solution in action.
PSA includes functionality around:
- Estimating and pricing projects
- Optimising resource utilisation
- 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:
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 services 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 particular 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 particular 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 on this particular project.
Working in conjunction with a project manager I can associate my project to my sales quotation, I can pull through all of my pricing for this particular 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 particular project.
Once the quotation has been won and marked as won, the system will automatically create a project order, and it’s against this project order that all of the invoicing will happen and where we can also start to track the contract performance.
As a Project Manager, I have the ability to create projects based on project templates, or from scratch. I 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.
As project manager, I can look at all of my project estimates for each of the different tasks, and I can look at that in terms of sales pricing, cost pricing, and the effort required.
I can look at my project team members that will be delivering the work. As those team members start delivering the work, I am able to track the progress, the hours that have been delivered, versus the effort estimate, and also any schedule variances as well.
Finally, as a project manager, it’s important that I can see a global view of all of the projects I’m managing, so I 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.
As a resource manager, using the PSA functionality within Dynamics 365, I have the ability to see my dashboard, to see how many outstanding resource requests I have, and what my resource demand is. I can also see utilisation of resources by role.
If I want to schedule one of my resources I can go and look at my active resource requests, select one of them, and go and find matching resources. The system will then propose any resources that match my requirement in order of closest match. Once I’m happy to choose one of those resources, I can select them and book them against that project.
And at any point, I can go into my schedule board functionality and see all of the bookings for my current resources.
Then finally, as a resource manager, I can use the resource utilisation area to track whether my resources are meeting their target utilisation or not.
As an actual resource working on a project, I can take advantage of the Office 365 groups integration to collaborate with my 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 of their bookings and tasks. I can open my booking and can see the information for it. I’m able to update the booking and enter how much work I’ve actually completed and how much is left to complete.
Within PSA as a resource I have the ability to 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 a number of 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.
Check out the video that accompanies this blog.
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