What the Heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation?

One of the most common questions we’ve heard from professional services companies lately is: What the heck is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA)?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) solution. It helps professional services companies run their business more productively by bringing people, processes, and automation technology together through a unified experience. PSA is a powerful addition to Dynamics 365 that enables project management capabilities in Dynamics 365.

Simply put, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for PSA unites opportunity management with project planning and management. After the sales and planning stage, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA excels at handling resource management, team collaboration, time and expense management, customer billing and service analytics.

Dyn 365 PSA

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation

I guess the first pertinent question might be, why do I need PSA? After all, we already have Microsoft Project which is an advanced project management tool! Microsoft Project is a great tool for project managers and in some circumstances, might be the only tool you need, Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA won’t be for everyone! But you will find that Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA has a slightly different focus, it is not “just” about project management. It is more focused on the engagement with the customer. By this I mean it covers the full life cycle of the project right from initial estimate to completion.

SBS Group has partnered with hundreds of professional services clients to help them utilize technology solutions that lower costs, improve visibility and enable efficient allocation of resources. Our solutions for project-driven firms are:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA for companies with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM)
Progressus for small to medium sized companies
AXIO for enterprise companies

All three products are based upon common data services, and interact seamlessly together, and with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Progressus and AXIO run on the back-office ERP side of the business, while Microsoft Dynamics 365 PSA is on the front-office CRM side of the business.

We cover this in more detail in our webcast, 5 Reasons Project Driven Firms Switch to Dynamics 365. Interested in learning which solution is right for your company? Start a discussion with one of our business technology experts today. Contact us for a free evaluation.

Best Regards

Eric

About Eric Forgo

Eric serves as the Director of Business Intelligence and CRM for SBS Group. He is responsible for developing and driving innovative solutions, overseeing related services and ensuring SBS Group customers derive maximum business value from their technology investments.

Eric has spent more than 20 years in the Microsoft ecosystem, holding executEric Forgo, SBS Group Directors BI and CRMive positions with leading ISVs and consulting firms where he led teams in the deployment of Microsoft ERP and CRM. In addition to his technology background, Eric spent the early part of his career in financial management. He is a CPA with a BS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Boston University with a concentration in Finance.

 

Young Love, Project ROI and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Do you remember when you first started dating? Young love, holding hands, all of that business. You wanted to make sure that whatever you put into relationships, you would be getting back out of it. Did they make you laugh? Did they have a positive outlook on the world? Where they into the same activities as you? Hey, I did say YOUNG love. Or maybe you have kids who are going through this right now. It’s an investment. The same is true for any investment in life, as well as business.

Businesses are in business to make money. But when it comes to projects, calculating the true value of any project with respect to its impact on margin has always been challenging, mainly due to the ambiguity of turning notions into dollar values.

For instance, training employees will improve expertise and productivity, but how does that translate to bottom-line savings or revenue growth? Spending thousands of dollars on automated systems and software is likely to improve work efficiency, but what’s the dollar-value improvement of that efficiency?

Return on investment (ROI) is a key calculation in answering these questions, as well as showing the project value and its impact on the margin.

In a previous post, we talked about how a project-based environment helps companies better project a return-on-investment (ROI). Why is this important? Your customers want to know what their ROI is going to be if they do business with you. And you want to improve project profitability, as well as determine what ROI you are receiving from your own internal projects (when you implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for instance 😊).

Project ROI

So what is Project ROI? It’s an indicator used to measure the financial savings/gain (or loss) of a project in relation to its cost. Typically, it is used in determining whether a project will yield positive financial benefits, and in turn giving approval to proceed. In six sigma, the formula is:

Project ROI = ((project’s financial gain or loss – project’s cost) / project’s cost)) X 100.

SBS Group has two products for companies who need project management, both based on Microsoft Dynamics 365: AXIO for larger, enterprise companies, and Progressus for small and medium sized businesses. Both products help you predict, manage, and track ROI.

axio-for-professional-services

AXIO helps you run your business and projects more effectively with enhanced resource management, invoicing, accounting, revenue recognition, collections, contract management, project budgeting and beyond.

Progressus monitors ROI every step of the way from project setup, budgeting, resource management, cost tracking, and time and expenses.

Let us know how we can help you measure ROI, and if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

Microsoft Ignite Announces AI and Bots to Boot

This is our third post covering announcements from Microsoft Ignite in as many days, but there is a lot to talk about following this conference!

Building off much of what Microsoft unveiled at the Inspire conference in July, the company announced new products and innovations that span Azure, Bing, Office 365, Dynamics 365, Windows 10 S, Microsoft Teams, artificial intelligence (AI), security and threat protection, plus a host of developer announcements around SQL Sever 2017 and beyond.

Yes, we said AI. And bots to boot. This isn’t a science fiction movie plot – it’s a reality for businesses, made possible by Microsoft.

New Dynamics 365 AI solutions, such as chatbots and virtual agents, are designed to augment existing customer support and sales processes with intelligent assistant technology and natural language processing (NLP). These agents are already in production within Microsoft Support operations and in pilot with customers – HP and Macy’s are already using the new chatbot to help handle customer queries so that people can get their responses faster. The virtual agents can also integrate with third-party chat apps through the Microsoft Bot Framework, letting them live in apps such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Slack.

Microsoft also announced a preview of updates to Azure Machine Learning: Azure CosmosDB and Azure Functions. These offer developers and data scientists a new set of AI model management tools leveraging open-source frameworks. The Azure CosmosDB database service and server-less Azure Functions offering lets developers write a few lines of code that can tie ML into Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, database changes, and more.

Use AI to solve business problems

Vision
Image-processing algorithms to smartly identify, caption and moderate your pictures.

Speech
Convert spoken audio into text, use voice for verification, or add speaker recognition to your app.

Knowledge
Map complex information and data in order to solve tasks such as intelligent recommendations and semantic search.

Search
Add Bing Search APIs to your apps and harness the ability to comb billions of webpages, images, videos, and news with a single API call.

Language
Allow your apps to process natural language with pre-built scripts, evaluate sentiment and learn how to recognize what users want.

What does all of this mean for Dynamics 365 users? Better customer service for one. Imagine having AI and chatbots continually trolling the Internet for you to determine if, and how, your customers or prospects are talking about you. You would have the ability to proactively solve customer service problems before they become a PR nightmare.

Let us know if we can answer any questions about these or other announcements from Inspire.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions.  From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and Robbie-2017products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robbiemorrison

 

Heads Up Salespeople! Microsoft Takes LinkedIn Integration to the Next Level

As usual, there were a lot of announcements at Microsoft’s Ignite customer conference this week. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote exemplified the broad swath of innovation Microsoft is targeting, touching on how everything from AI and mixed reality to quantum computing and data-ready cloud infrastructure are changing the way we do business.

Microsoft had several announcements around its LinkedIn integration, which is great news for salespeople. You may recall, Microsoft announced its LinkedIn Acquisition last June. Many of us wondered how this would play out in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 space.

Microsoft is updating the Dynamics 365 user experience (UX) from a standard LinkedIn widget to a fully configurable integration. LinkedIn InMails and messages will be able to be sent directly from within Dynamics 365 for Sales, and added directly to Relationship Insights as with any other sales interaction. As a result, Dynamics 365 relationship analytics will be expanded to include InMail and PointDrive interactions.

There will also be Relationship Assistant cards triggered with LinkedIn data, so salespeople will be able to natively render profile photos from contact records in LinkedIn. You will also be able to search across Office 365, SharePoint at Microsoft, and OneDrive at Microsoft for LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365 sales profile cards if all of the services are connected and integrated. What a timesaver this will be! And salespeople can now visit a prospect knowing all of the LinkedIn connections they have in common, all integrated on their mobile device with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM).

linkedin-dynamics-crm

The goal at Microsoft is to help salespeople create warm leads and relationship sales. With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is a gold mine of information.

You can identify the best way to reach and connect with prospects, including introductions from colleagues that they know and trust and:

  • Focus on the right people with predictive lead scoring
  • Find every member of the buying committee
  • Discover the best path to reach each buyer for a stronger response

Let us know if we can answer any questions about the integration, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Relationship Sales.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

Simple is Better: Introducing the Microsoft Office 365 Licensing Wizard

Microsoft recently upgraded the business version of Office 365. Unfortunately, accessing this upgrade was difficult for most customers. Previously, customers “…had to call Office 365 support, cancel their old subscription and manually reassign their user licenses to the new plan — which, needless to say, was a time-consuming process.”

To fix this issue, Microsoft developed the ‘switch plans wizard’, which allows customers to “…go to the Office 365 admin Web page and click a link, and their user licenses will be automatically moved over to the upgraded Office 365 plan”. By simplifying the upgrading procedures, Microsoft is making it easy for customers to purchase products, while reducing overhead, with just a single click.

The one caveat to using the wizard involves the original purchase of Office 365. Only customers with less than 300 users who purchased Office 365 directly from the Microsoft website will have access to the wizard. “Customers who purchased a boxed copy of Office 365 Small Business or Small Business Premium (or any form of pre-paid card), purchased through a Microsoft volume license, or purchased through a telecom/ISP reseller are not able to use the Switch plans wizard at this time,” according to Microsoft.

These reduced restrictions on licensing make Office 365 a valuable resource, especially for those running Office 2003. As with Windows XP, Office 2003 will be retired on April 8, 2014 so make sure to upgrade your Office software. SBS Group is hosting a free webinar to show you how to make the move from Windows XP to Windows 8. For more updates of Office 365 and all Microsoft Dynamics needs, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and join our LinkedIn group.

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