Power for Project-Oriented Services: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation
Project Service Automation (PSA) is a brand new capability within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. While Microsoft Project has long been available as part of the Microsoft Office portfolio, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation differs by enabling specific business processes for managing projects (including planning, scheduling, project management, and billing). We learned at CRMUG Summit recently that soon PSA will provide direct integration Microsoft Project client for its rich planning and schedule design capabilities.
The initial focus of PSA includes professional services, internal project organizations, and field service organizations as an extension of field service scenarios—for example, your company sells solar power equipment and projects include the installation and configuration of the purchased products. It’s a great fit for organizations in the manufacturing, construction, professional services, consulting, or other fields where tracking of projects, physical and employee resources, and time spent on projects.
Why Project Service Automation?
To optimize the customer experience in project oriented services, a couple of key drivers delivering those projects on time and on budget. That’s the minimum requirement from a customer perspective. From a company perspective, however, it’s also important to deliver those projects at profitable margin and to templatize or systematize those projects where possible.
Project-based organizations can improve these aspects of their business by bringing people, processes, and technology together. Combing these aspects improves the customer experience by delivering value at every interaction. On-time, on-budget service delivery requires collaborative experiences as well as efficient and effective tools to improve our processes.
Microsoft understands this and built a comprehensive solution that runs on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and provides an end-to-end solution for project based sales, resourcing, delivery, and billing. CRM opportunities become projects with their associated project types, quotes, contracts, and other elements that build continuity across sales and delivery. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation closes the gap between sales and service by seamlessly and easily incorporating project estimates and details into the sales process. With one button, all the estimating performed by delivery becomes the details behind the quoting of new projects.
Project departments need to ensure they are the hub of this strategy with a clear view of the current client portfolio – understanding the hallmarks of the relationship and being able to cement a firm-wide approach to prioritization and pursuit of clients.
Key Features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation
The key features of Project Service Automation include:
- From lead generation, to quote, to opportunity, to delivery, to invoice in a single system
- Planning, estimating and pricing simple or complex projects
- Optimizing resource utilization, helping manage the right resources for the right projects
- Tracking and approving project tasks
- Managing and tracking time and expenses
- Monitoring key performance metrics
Project Service Automation offers many more impressive new capabilities, some of which are listed below. We will provide a deeper dive in our upcoming Webcast:
- Project Service Automation Series Outline
- Project vs Field Service: What’s right for me?
- Resource Management
- Sales to Project Process
- Projects and Templates
- Finances and Forecasting
- Project Execution and Tracking
- Opportunity Management
- Project Planning
- Resource Management
- Team Collaboration
- Time Expenses
- Customer Billing
- Analytics & Integration
Other features include:
Sales and opportunity management – Manage leads, prospects, accounts and opportunities in a single, integrated system. Teams work much more collaboratively when they have visibility and access to what is happening with each and every customer.
Project management – Centralized project management features including project setup, project progress, client invoicing and cost tracking increases productivity and efficiency. It’ gives back the one thing service organizations value most…time. Assess project risks with real-time view of over-budget and under projects, unmet milestones, unpaid invoices and pending proposals. Utilize built in workflows to improve team efficiency and automat mundane activities to improve visibility of project status, productivity, resource costs, expenses and invoicing.
Resource management – Track, schedule, book and forecast resources including people, equipment and things. Assign resources to projects, based on certifications and skills, availability and other important attributes. Streamlines administration functions including talent acquisition, onboarding and time and expense entry.
Collaboration and mobility – Mobile features enable access to project information, task completion, expense entry and team collaboration anytime, anywhere and on any device. The optional client portals enable customers to view the progress and status of projects and any related information you choose to share.
Project accounting and billing – Track, view and analyze costs and revenues with budgeting tools that give project managers and accounting deep visibility into project details. Forecast utilization by role or resource, and get project budgeting information down to the activity level. Handle all aspects of contract management and revenue recognition from contract initiation to renewals, realignments and billing frequencies.
Reporting and dashboards – Monitor the heartbeat of your projects, and work faster and smarter. All project details can be viewed in dashboards with drill down to the underlying project and task information. Dashboards enable project managers to bring data together and create personalized dashboards to analyze and present information more effectively.
Delivering project excellence with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation
Delivery execution is another key element of a PSA solution, and Microsoft delivers on this. If you are a resource manager, project manager, practice manager or executive, you need the right people, skills, time to deliver project excellence. PSA helps you with this by having a single screen view of Resource Availability. This is a fully interactive, filtered view of people and skills across a timeline horizon, allowing you to much more easily make decisions to and assign people with the right skills to the right projects. In a single system, everyone can have visibility into resources and their availability, as well as submit requests to a resource manager to review and find the right person, skill, and cost for a project.
Utilizing the Power of BI in project service automation
As part of the Dynamics platform, you can also utilize Microsoft Power BI to tap into the rich information about projects and performance. With informative and interactive visualizations and anywhere, anytime access, everyone can see their forecasts, project details, resources, utilization, and more. Delivered across any device and any browser, Power BI is the tool to maximize your insight into your service organization performance.
Interested in finding out more about Dynamics Project Service Automation? Watch our complimentary webcast, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Deep Dive: Delivering Projects on Time and on Budget. You can also contact us for a personal demonstration.