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Sikich Boston

Enhancing Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Professional Services Organizations

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Perhaps I should start with a definition and where else would I look if not Wikipedia. Loosely quoted: Professional services is an industry grouping that refers to technical or unique functions performed by independent contractors or consultants whose occupation is the rendering of such services. Hmmm….

Per Wikipedia, examples of professional services include accountants, actuaries, appraisers, architects, attorneys, business consultants, engineers, law firms, public relations professionals, and medical center personnel. Hmmm….

One defining factor is that professional services organization charge by the hour. When you call your attorney, he/she literally or figuratively pushes the button on a stop watch, and pushes that button again at the end of the call. That amount of time is then recorded against your account and you receive a bill for your attorney’s time.

So let’s agree that the ability to track time is crucial for any so-called professional services organization. As a Microsoft Business Solutions Partner, we fall into the category of professional services and our consultants do indeed track their time and our clients are indeed billed accordingly.

How that process is facilitated and managed is therefore critical. Making it easy for consultants to log their time is critical. And of course, accuracy counts!

Enter Assistance Software PSA, a solution that runs directly out of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online. It’s fully integrated with CRM and all you need is an Internet connection to log in. It integrates with Outlook, too, making it easy for consultants to track and enter time. It also allows us to schedule consultants and create timelines right out of Outlook. Consultants can log in from anywhere and anyone within the organization can generate data and reports.

The benefits of Assistance Software PSA have been visible and immediate. Consultants no longer have to wrangle with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to log their time. Everyone has easy access to client, project, and invoice information. Reports pop right out. We can track billable hours and analyze productivity.

Like Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM exists in an ecosystem supported by ISVs (Independent Software Vendors). Assistance Software PSA is not the only ISV solution that we’ve integrated into our CRM system, but it’s one that is used by every employee and one that we highly recommend.

For more information, we’re at 508-485-5588 and www.AlticoAdvisors.com.

By Marcia Nita Doron, Altico Advisors,, Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner for Massachusetts and Beyond

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