Streamlining project management through D365 Project operation

  • 8Min to Read

Project Management” is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market —these are all examples of projects.” 

…Project Management Institute 

Project services automation

In this blog, we will discuss the new powerful addition of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations that make it an excellent means for streamlining Project Management.

About Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Overview of Microsoft Dynamics 365 

Dynamics 365 is essentially a cumulation of interconnected cloud-based modular applications and services for managing various processes relating to customers, employees, and business activities of an organization. It is a unification of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) features with integrated capabilities for data management, business logic, and processes which thereby removes the need of having separate, siloed sales and marketing functions. 

Built on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, it offers a trusted platform with a broad ecosystem of services like native integration with Microsoft 365’s productivity apps giving a unified way to manage users and services. 

Dynamics 365 offers automated, integrated, and intelligent sales and marketing capabilities that efficiently connect, prioritize, and convert leads into paying customers.  

Dynamics CRM is the most powerful tool for the fast-growing industry and crucial for businesses of all sizes. It has been years since we are discussing the benefits of having a system for managing business processes and how it can benefit your business and your customers.  

The core Applications and Modules composing Dynamics 365 includes: 

  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing 
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales 
  • Dynamics 365 for Retail 
  • Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations 
  • Dynamics 365 for Project Operations 
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service 
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central 
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service 
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent 

Project Management through Microsoft Dynamics 365  

Previously, Microsoft offered Microsoft Project, Project Service Automation (PSA) and D365 Finance as various Project Management applications, but this variety created a confusion amongst users due to some duplicate functionality between these app & none of them providing end-to-end management of projects. 

To resolve these shortcomings, Microsoft launched a new application in its Dynamics 365 platform called Project Operations (PO) which focuses on encompassing all aspects of a project’s lifecycle covering front-end Sales functionality to back-end processes for project planning\implementation, accounting and financial attributes. 

Difference between Dynamics 365 PSA and PO 

There is often a confusion regarding Project Service Automation (PSA) and Project Operations (PO).
While both are project automation tools of Dynamics 365 family, PSA is primarily focused on front-office project management business, PO offers functionality for project management integrated with accounting and finance features like the following: 

  • Sales 
  • Project Planning 
  • Resource Planning\Utilization 
  • Team Collaboration 
  • Time and Expenses 
  • Accounting 
  • Business Intelligence 

With these enriched features, PO accommodates usage for the following types of users that are typically involved in a project’s lifecycle: 

  • Account Manager 
  • Project Manager 
  • Partner Manager 
  • Resource Manager 
  • Team Member 
  • Project Accountant 
  • COO/Practice Director 

How does it work? 

Evolving from Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation to Dynamics 365 Project Operations helps in managing entire project life cycle, from initial Lead\Opportunity Sales stages to Billing, Invoicing & Support. 

Using D365 CRM Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to plan & schedule tasks, PO helps in managing anything & everything your CRM could do to improve process automation and enhance customer relationships. 

It covers the whole project cycle, from creating a planning opportunity, tracking & managing resources, to quoting, and approve time and expense for delivering project-based services on-time, within budget. 

Benefit of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

1. Sales and Opportunity Management 

D365 offers a comprehensive view of your business sales and opportunities in Microsoft Project Operations.
In myriad ways, it is easy to manage opportunities and convert more leads in the Project service automation module to support the management of project-based engagements… with spreadsheets and standalone systems, it might be difficult to get this.  

Key Features included: 

  • Real-time view of the entire sales pipeline 
  • Generating Statement of Work (SOW) 
  • Define project contracts 
  • Identify scenarios where you can use the opportunities 
  • Work and manage opportunity lifecycle 

2. Project Planning 

Effective project planning involves many factors that need to include in the initial project engagement process. Project managers and sales teams can work together to define and refine estimates using PO enabling you to see costs, resources, efforts, sales value of opportunities, and adjusting budget accordingly.  

Key Features included: 

  • Defining project scope 
  • Establish effective communication 
  • Setting a realistic time frame 
  • Estimating costs consumption 
  • Documenting deliverables 

3. Efficient Project Management 

D365 PO helps teams to stay productive while effectively managing all the project deliverables on time and within budget. Project Managers and teams can use advanced scheduling tools to plan a project according to the delivery timelines and take calls on assigning resources for client tasks to manage the complete project lifecycle.  

Key Features included: 

  • Plan projects by using a work schedule and estimates. 
  • Estimate and track project costs and revenue. 
  • Use project estimates during the sales process. 
  • Track the progress of a project in the pipeline 
  • Customer support ticket creation 

4. Resource Management 

Following project planning, teams can produce an initial estimate of the project and assign people to it.
Project managers can effectively set and manage client tasks, and track and assign the right people for the right tasks to ensure they form a cohesive team. This can be done manually or automatically, as per the skills\availability in resources pool, where resources can search for and apply directly for open project roles. 

Key Features included:  

  • Assign role-based tasks to resources 
  • Tracking of task completion and bottlenecks 
  • Monitor performance of members involved in the project 
  • Manage and reduce labour and resource cost  

5. Increased Team Collaboration 

Dedicated team collaboration and communication are essential in a sales organization, and PO tool in Dynamics 365 fulfils it seamlessly. When new opportunities arise, the sales and delivery teams collaborate to develop a proposal that can be won and delivered. The collaboration ensures a smoother get-go for salespeople and project managers by providing them with related reports relating to project progress. 

Key Features included: 

  • Extended collaboration between teams  
  • Unified collaboration features 
  • Relevant insights into resources and roles requirements 
  • Embedded Teams chat experience for Dynamics 365 CRM 

6. Time and Expense Management 

Project Operations (PO) features in D365 CRM provide the ability to estimate project breakdown structure to get project actuals with accurate timesheets to track billed time for resources.
As the progress of the project, PO users/resources can redefine timesheets and recalculate expenses to update the actual effort on projects. In such situations, CRM automatically analyses revenue and cost forecasts to manage project schedule changes. 

Key Features included: 

  • Maintaining consistent reporting  
  • Up-to-date dashboards 
  • Reduce disruption with a unified digital workspace 
  • Review project actuals and changes 
  • Approve time and expenses on resources 

7. Customer Billing and Invoicing 

Dynamics 365 Project Operations offers strong functionalities to generate as few invoices as possible. Here, we are referring to the fact that it would automatically take both time & expense lines and place them on one invoice if they were billed monthly. Project managers can get all the details on what is involved in invoicing in a single window. 

 Key Features included: 

  • View and send invoices to customers  
  • Override and track overrun on Invoices  
  • Add payment services on posted sales invoices 
  • Use combined shipments functions to invoice multiple shipments  
  • Review Transactions 

8. Analysis and Reporting 

PO tools provide highly advanced analytics for existing dynamics users. Along with providing access to significant data insights through interactive dashboards of dynamic 365 CRM.
Utilizing powerful reporting capabilities in Microsoft Project Operations that enables you to provide service to your customers while informing training initiatives and allocating resources based on roles and skills. 

Key Features included: 

  • Intelligent Insights to manage critical business risks & issues 
  • Review profitability and KPIs with an analysis tool 
  • Make well-informed hiring decisions  
  • Set project actuals with accurate business insights

Agree to differ

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations brings a remarkable improvement in project planning, resource management and other phases of Project Lifecycle streamlining the overall process with refinement in end-to-end visibility, improved productivity and more.
Working on various projects for different business domains across different geographies, we have come to understand that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an amazing platform for all business, but its true potential can only be realized when it is optimized such that it is able to cater to the specific needs of a business.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner specializing in Dynamics 365, we strive to help businesses in realizing the true potential of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Sales, Project Operations, Field Service and more through our team of experienced developers, architects, administrators, consultants, and support operatives that offer the most efficient and cost-effective services for you.

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for any assistance in Dynamics 365 and other prevailing and upcoming Microsoft technology products, services, and support needs along with services in Custom Development of Hybrid Solutions involving Microsoft Power Platform, MEAN Stack, UI Path and other Business Development services for Website Design, SEO, SMO, Email Marketing, etc. 
Looking forward to hearing back from you.