Whether you’re new to Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) or are wondering if adding the Project Service Automation module is worth it for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re diving into how Project Service Automation — D365’s project and resource management tool — can streamline your processes and increase your team’s efficiency and productivity.
From contractors to nonprofits to professional services, organizations across industries can see a lot of value from Project Service. Here are a couple of the big pain points it can solve:
- Resource Availability: Resources are the most valuable assets to a project-based organization, and it’s important to utilize them efficiently. Project Service helps visualize how well-utilized your resources are and helps you find the right resources to use for work on upcoming projects.
- Time Management: If you need to capture how much time you spend on each task for internal tracking reasons or to externally bill for those hours, Project Service provides an easy way to track time — a big win for users and administrators both.
- Visibility: Typically, you have a group of current projects you’re focused on delivering, and a group of upcoming projects. Project Service puts both groups into a single pane of glass, providing greater visibility into which employees will be needed in the future, what they’ll be working on and how much time they will need to dedicate to those upcoming projects.
- Progress and Status Updates: How are you performing? How is the project going? Are you on-schedule and meeting budget targets? If you’re always tracking down a status or asking who’s available to complete a task, Project Service can save you time and keep you organized. It even offers quick analytics and comparisons to other projects.
Create Efficiency Through D365 Project Service Automation
Let’s take a look at how a contractor could utilize Project Service.
In the planning phase, Project Service helps break down the required work into tasks and resource requirements. It then enables resource alignment and booking of both people and equipment so that you can find the right resource for the project by using filters such as skills, roles, location and availability. You can also choose the type of booking: hard, proposed or soft. A soft booking communicates to other resource managers that you’ve got something on the line for a particular resource before it is fully contracted.
One of the best things about Project Service is how it enables you to plan and estimate projects while you’re in the middle of trying to close an opportunity. You can plan out expected timelines and tasks, estimate budget, and search for and soft-book appropriate resources. When the opportunity closes, you can immediately hit the ground running because most of the details have already been built out.
For the build/project delivery phase, when you’re deep into the work, Project Service helps you manage tasks, log time and view timelines and budget consumption — all from a detailed but organized dashboard. Data visualizations help you determine how you’re performing relative to original goals, such as your timeline and budget, so that you can make adjustments on the go in order to stay on track.
The Project Service dashboard also shows key pieces of information you need to go about your day, based on your role. Those performing the core of the work can view the tasks and details relevant to them and what they need to complete and when. Managers can view the project management dashboard to see how projects stack up against each other or assign new tasks and resources.
If you have similar types of projects, you can create templates based on a previous project. For example, reviewing time logs on completed tasks allows you to develop more accurate estimates of how long it will take to complete those tasks for similar projects. Timelines, work breakdown structures and resource requirements can all be set up and cloned, which lessens the time you spend doing data entry when you could be executing against the project instead.
When closing out a project, you can aggregate financials to display data visualizations that track revenue across people, regions, customers and projects; show how profitably you’re delivering projects; and compare performance relative to other employees. This helps managers make better decisions about staffing and if work processes themselves need to change.
Process Maturity Drives Business Performance
There is a large amount of profitability you can gain as an organization by maturing from a project management standpoint. Organizations that implement structured business processes and leverage integrated information systems to provide one view of the business see higher bid-to-win ratios, billable utilizations, on-time projects and profit margins. Effective project and resource management helps organizations move up this maturity curve, and technology tools such as Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation enable this more effective management.
Have questions? Want to learn more about Project Service Automation? Contact the Wipfli Dynamics 365 specialists for a free demonstration.