By now, you have probably already heard that Project Service Automation (PSA) is a new solution offered in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1. As most of us in this space know, it's been a frequent request, and has often been met by bolting on third-party solutions. No longer.
For service-based companies looking for a Project Management module within their CRM, this solution is a pretty impressive, in that it offers a fairly comprehensive set of functions to aid sales, project management, and delivery teams in delivering billable projects on time, while working efficiently and staying within budget. There is enough going on here with this solution that we will break this topic into three parts - this post is Part 1.
If you have not yet installed it, check out our
After installing, it will appear as an additional tile within your CRM menu (shown below). You'll notice there is quite a bit of content within this menu item that is specific to Project Service Automation. In fact, while you still have things like Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities, the majority of the content in this menu came with the Project Service Automation feature.
Don't let this overwhelm you; it's a lot of content, but we're going to help you get started with this series of three blog posts. First, though, let's talk about what project service automation really is in CRM when you break it down, and why it could become something your business relies on.
For companies that treat the delivery of their services in a project-style manner, this new module allows you to work your way from the beginning of the sales process, all the way through to the final client deliverables, tracking all necessary metrics as you go. It contains three distinct sections: Planning and Delivery, Billing, and Resources, which are clearly defined in the menu shown in the screenshot above.
The Planning and Delivery section, in a sense, resembles Microsoft Project. This is where you can create projects, complete with timelines, team members, estimated and actual costs, and status. You can go back in and edit those projects as you get more information or get further along in them. And you can see what phase of a project you're in at all times, with really easy-to-understand visuals. Our second post will dive into this part of the solution in more detail.
The Billing section is where you track finances involved in a project. Invoices, actual costs, and journals are kept here. The information entered here strengthens reporting, as it ensures financial information is tracked uniformly throughout each project. At the same time, it simplifies things such as overrides and expense approvals, since they can be done by the project manager, all within the same system where timelines and tasks are being tracked. Our last post in this series will cover Billing in more detail.
We encourage you to give this solution a spin, since it has been a long time coming and will satisfy many requests over the years for a robust project management solution within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.