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Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

Simple Project Management for Microsoft Dynamics 365

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Have you noticed the trend toward simplicity?

Everyone is busy and employees may wear many hats. There are an abundance of tools that are supposed to make our work day easier, but sometimes the tools themselves can complicate our lives.

You just need something to get the job done. So you can move on.

In the past we were trained to think that bigger was better; that software with all the latest bells and whistles and robust functionality was necessary to get the job done. But now, simple is no longer seen as a negative. The most popular new apps and tools succeed purely because they are streamlined and easy to use. This is the way you should look at project management software too.

Most services organizations just need to manage a project against a budget. They need to be able to say:

  • This is the project
  • This is the budget for the whole project.
  • These are the things that need to get done within the project.
  • This is who is assigned to get those things done.
  • This is how much time they have spent.
  • This is how much was billed toward the budget.

They don’t need to focus on distribution of resources across a large enterprise. They don’t need complex resource allocation based on preset work groups. They need simple management for their projects.

Why should you implement a complex project management solution when you're only going to need 10% of the functions?

There are many different project management applications you can choose from. Some are stand-alone; one is even sold with Dynamics 365. However, the key differentiator for our Crowe Project Management tool is simplicity.  It is focused, giving you just the features you need to manage your project, without complication.

And because it is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365, the project information you need is already there, in a system your team already knows how to use.

But isn’t Project Service Automation (PSA) included in the new Dynamics 365 licensing?

Yes, PSA functionality is included in the Plan 1 offering for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition at $115 per license. Or there is a $95 stand-alone application license.

However, you may find that PSA is more than you need. Any Microsoft Dynamics 365 user with an inexpensive $10 team viewer license can add a Crowe Project Management license which starts at less than $20 per user.

So just because PSA is “included” in Dynamics 365 does not mean you shouldn’t evaluate your options.  You want the best fit. Not just what comes in the box.

In addition to license costs, you should also evaluate implementation costs and user adoption.

The Crowe Project Management tool is very intuitive. It just needs a quick installation, not a full “implementation” like other software products. And it requires very little, if any, training time.

On the other hand the Microsoft PSA tool includes so much functionality that you will need to invest a considerable amount of time to set it up. There are a lot of moving parts that make up the full functionality. For example, you need to set up resources and bill rates, then set up engagement buckets, different types of templates for different types of engagements based on bill rates, etc.

Whether you are paying a Microsoft partner or trying to do it internally, there is more effort involved in implementing a larger tool, and rightly so, than installing a very simple project management tool.

With Crowe Project Management you click to start a new project, add tasks and you are ready to go.

There are larger project management solutions available, but most companies just don’t need all of that. You are paying for features you will never use.  Why not pay for a less expensive tool that fits your needs perfectly and that you can start using quickly?

Your project team is busy. Let them focus on what is truly important, serving your customers, instead of learning and maintaining a complicated project management system.

Just keep it simple.

If you are interested in Crowe Project Management contact us at 877-600-2253 or crminfo@crowehorwath.com.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

 

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