Managing internal projects with Dynamics 365 Project Operations

It is a project manager’s job to make sure a project progresses according to plan and is realized within the set budget and time frame. That is true for external customer projects as well as projects within their own company.

Many companies use professional project management solutions to better coordinate and control customer projects. So why not use the same solution to manage internal projects, too?

Our recommendation is Dynamics 365 Project Operations which supports managers and the whole project team with any kind of project. 

What is Dynamics 365 Project Operations? 

Dynamics 365 Project Operations is Microsoft’s latest project management solution and has been on the market since October 2020. It succeeds Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation and includes extended features for comprehensive project management. 

The solution covers the entire project life cycle from prospect to contracting, project execution, monitoring and invoicing till an overall analysis. Thus, Dynamics 365 Project Operations solves the issue of disparate systems for different aspects of a project and unites all project data in one application.

It includes capabilities for

  • opportunity management,
  • project planning,
  • resource management,
  • team collaboration,
  • time and expense management and
  • customer billing.

Dynamics 365 Project Operations for internal purposes

The larger an organization, the bigger and more cost-intensive its projects usually are. Especially if the company unifies various subsidiaries or sub-companies under one corporate roof, several projects are likely running at the same time over several months. In these cases, it is only sensible to manage them with a professional tool. 

Every industry and every organization is different, and so are their internal projects. Dynamics 365 Project Operations is highly flexible and with the help of an experienced Dynamics 365 partner like proMX it can be customized to fit all individual needs. 

We’ve selected two customer cases where we did just that: set up and tailor Dynamics 365 Project Operations for internal project management.

IT project management

The IT department of a manufacturing company based in Germany with 30 subsidiaries on four continents handles a lot of different and rather expensive projects that require a lot of planning. That is why the company decided on a project management tool to support its IT team with the coordination and monitoring of its various projects. The preferred solution was Dynamics 365 Project Operations, which proMX implemented and adapted to the IT department’s needs.

Via a separate ticket system requests from all subsidiaries reach the IT department. Often requests trigger a so-called change, that is an update, extention or modification of an existing service, software or hardware. Other requests lead to entirely new projects. The ones that exceed a certain cost limit need to be approved and are then set up as project orders in Dynamics 365 Project Operations. 

As with external projects, they have a contractor, which is the IT department and a client, which is the subsidiary requesting a change or project. In Dynamics 365 Project Operations the IT department can easily calculate precise costs for materialistic resources like hardware or software as well as human resources. Figures from previous projects help to estimate costs and duration. 

Depending on the scope of the project, sometimes external service providers are involved. That, too, can be handled within the solution thanks to its subcontracting functionalities. The company’s IT department can create contracts with external service providers directly within the application. Third-party companies that work with the manufacturing company frequently are added as bookable resources, which allows them to track their working times in the system just like internal team members. 

Tip: If you want to learn more about subcontractor handling in Dynamics 365 Project Operations, check out our expert video:

Whether internal or external project team member, working within the same system ensures that everyone has access to current data and information. That prevents long feedback loops and speeds up the process. Furthermore, it is easy for project managers from the IT department to keep an overview of progress and potential delays, and intervene early if necessary. 

When a project is finished, the IT department even sends a pro forma invoice to the respective cost center of the “client” alias the subsidiary. That is very helpful to see which cost center caused which amount of expenditures and when. 

Budget management

You can also use the Microsoft solution for managing budgets, donations, or, as in our second example, funds. 
A large German clinic network approached us with the need for a solution to manage funds they received from the government to boost their digitalization. This money is tied to strict conditions: Firstly, the money has to be spent on certain, pre-defined measures, for instance developing patient portals or increasing IT security. Secondly, the projects need to be completed by a certain deadline, otherwise they would have to pay back some of the money they had been given. 
Due to around 600 projects the clinic network works on at their institutions across Germany and due to its respective significant budgets, they needed a comprehensive project management solution. An overview of all projects, including funded and spent money, as well as solid controlling capabilities were imperative.

Dynamics 365 Project Operations provided the perfect foundation for such a solution. We adapted the application to the requirements of the clinic network. On the one hand, that meant removing some of the functionalities that were unnecessary for their purposes to make it as easy to use as possible. On the other hand, we added some features like Project Gantt to control project progress even better.
After an introduction, they started using the solution right away and have been managing their funds and respective projects there successfully since. 

Tip: If your company receives private or governmental funds connected to conditions or your NGO requires a tool to handle donations, check out our solution proMX 365 Smart Funding, based on Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

Conclusion

There are many different scenarios where it makes sense to use a professional project management solution for internal purposes. Dynamics 365 Project Operations is a perfect choice: It is flexible, customizable and can be seamlessly integrated with other Dynamics 365 solutions, Power BI or Microsoft Teams. 

As one of the most experienced Microsoft partners for Dynamics 365 Project Operations, we are happy to answer your questions or support you with your implementation. Make sure to get in touch!

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