Microsoft CRM Project Service
Microsoft has released a new industry solution for Microsoft CRM known as Project Service. This post describes the new functionality, which customers can take advantage of the new solution and compares this solution to the existing Professional Services solution in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
Microsoft CRM Project Services
Microsoft released CRM Project Services as part of the Online 2016 Update 1 in May 2016. Project Services is a key part of Microsoft exciting new CRM/ERP strategy known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 which is to be released in October 2016,
The new Microsoft CRM Project Services leverages the existing Microsoft CRM Field Service industry solution by utilizing the same scheduling engine. In addition, the Microsoft CRM Project Services was built from the ground up by Microsoft utilising the AX team responsible for Project Management and Accounting thus leverages key AX design and concepts and in places extends them. For these reasons, Microsoft CRM Project Services feels like a mature solution given it’s a version 1.0 product. Key features of the Microsoft CRM Project Services are:
- Sales force automation for Project oriented organisations including the ability to estimate and quote projects, the ability to monitor actuals versus budget from the opportunity after the deal is won and the strong pipeline management available as standard in Microsoft CRM.
- Project Accounting features such as Customers, Project Contracts, invoicing for Fixed Price and Time and Materials and support for multiple organisations or legal entities including inter-organisation booking entries.
- Project Accounting covering transactions like time, expense and fees. The time and expense entry in particular is strong with a diary and grid based entry. There is also a mobile app to support these features.
- Project Management features such as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Resource Management through a scheduling board with the ability to hard and soft book resources, the ability to centralize resource bookings through a booking request is supported along with the ability for Employee to update their skills and a bookings dashboard for Employees.
The diagram below provides a context for Microsoft CRM Project Services in terms of how it integrates with legacy ERP/Dynamics NAV/AX and the rest of the Microsoft solution offering:
The key target market for the Microsoft CRM Project Services are as follows:
- Accounting services
- Information Technology
- Engineering Services without inventory handling requirements
- Legal (may requires ISV solution for practice management)
Microsoft Dynamics AX Professional Services Automation
Microsoft Dynamics AX Project Services Automation is part of the greater AX Finance/ERP solution. This solution offers the financial modules such as Accounts Payable (employee reimbursement, vendor financial management), Accounts Receivable (customer financial management), General Ledger and supply chain modules such as Procurement and Sourcing, Inventory and Manufacturing as shown below:
In addition, Dynamics AX provides these additional features in comparison to CRM:
- Project Accounting and Management
- Internal project types
- Public sector functionality such as Commitment Accounting and Grants
- Other project accounting functionality such as Retention etc.
- Integration with Microsoft Projects
It also provider these Expense Management features:
- Corporate credit card support
- Travel policies
- Cash Advance
- Expense types such as Entertainment, Taxi etc. which provide the ability to capture additional information such as guest for Entertainment, from and to locations for Taxi etc.
Microsoft CRM Project Services is the right choice for the customers with the following criteria/requirements:
- Industries in the target market mentioned above.
- Existing CRM customers who want to extend their solution to minimise change management.
- Customer who do not want to replace their existing ERP or Finance system.
- Smaller professional service firms with emphasis on ease of use/time to value i.e. less than 300 employees or divisions of larger organisations with Professional Service type requirements
- Domestic requirements only
Microsoft Dynamics AX is the right choice for customers with the following criteria/requirements:
- Customers who want to replace their ERP/Finance system or require a tightly integrated Professional Services/ERP solution.
- Customers who require materials handling or have supply chain requirements such as manufacturing, inventory or procurement functionalityLarger professional service firms i.e. greater than 300 employees with corporate card, travel policies etc. type requirements.
- Customers with advanced Project Accounting functionality such as Fixed Price Revenue Recognition.
- Industries or verticals which need internal projects such as Government, Not for Profit, Construction or Equipment Manufacturing
- Domestic and International requirements
A third case is where both Microsoft CRM and Dynamics AX are required. This hybrid solution is required for customers with best of breed Marketing Automation, Sales Force Automation or Case Management requirements or the customer is an existing Microsoft CRM customer and then require Dynamics AX for certain aspects of their back office operations. If you would like to know more about Dynamics CRM Project Service or Dynamics 365 please do not hesitate to contact Empired.
Posted by: Rob Rudd, Solution Specialist Dynamics AX | 13 September 2016
Tags: Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX
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