One of the biggest challenges for project-oriented companies is the use of different, disconnected systems for managing their business. The sales department has a CRM system, project managers use various tools to plan and track project progress, employees report project time and expenses in separate applications. And the accounting department has an accounting system that is completely isolated from those of other departments.
All this contributes to ineffective project management, especially when it comes to complex projects that are difficult to predict, forecast, coordinate and implement.
How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations helps us?
Dynamics 365 Project Operations is a single business application combining the key activities for a project-oriented company into one:
Lead and Opportunity management
Time and Expenses
Dynamics 365 Project Operations enables companies to manage their business from one place and integrates work across different departments so that everyone can work efficiently, optimize their operations and successfully implement each project.
Lead and Opportunity management
With Dynamics 365 Project Operations, you can keep track of all information – about a potential customer from Lead through Opportunity to Quote and Contract. You can apply different price lists to a quote that are calculated on the basis of various dimensions. You choose how quote lines are generated – manually, based on a template or on estimates of previous projects or on a detailed plan of the project.
In case of a won deal, the contract is generated automatically in draft status and different types of contracts are available – fixed price, expense-based or a combination of both.
Project managers can create a detailed project plan using embedded Microsoft Project for web capabilities – Kanban planning views, Gantt charts and work breakdown structures while at the same time communicating all task details with their colleagues in Microsoft Teams.
Dynamics 365 Project Operations uses a Universal Resource Scheduling mechanism which allows for easy employee scheduling by skillsets appropriate for a particular project, as well as for overall management of the company resources. Resources can be of various types – internal and external employees, equipment, etc. The resources found by the resource manager can be directly booked to a project, but they can also be proposed to the project manager using resources requests. All employee skills are classified, maintained and assessed with business-appropriate models.
Teams communicate plans, budgets, scopes, tasks and deadlines quickly and efficiently directly in Microsoft Teams, which is integrated into Project Operations. They can share content or record calls.
Time and Expenses
Employees can easily and quickly enter time spent on projects on a daily basis using a web or mobile application. They can submit their time reports for approval on a periodic / weekly basis. The approvers are opportunely informed about the registered time and can easily approve several time entries at a time.
Employee expenses on projects are similarly reported using the capabilities of the Expense management module. Again, the employee uses a web or mobile application. This allows for uploading receipts and invoices upon their receipt. Receipts are stored and from them expense lines are created at a later stage. The latter can be created automatically thanks to the built-in OCR data extraction capabilities. Expense lines are subsequently included in an expense report, which is passed on for review and processing.
Integration with Dynamics 365 Finance provides extensive financial functionalities such as:
revenue and cost recognition
advance payment billing
time and material billing, with the option to adjust and process lines for posting
calculation of correct VAT according to the requirements of the respective legislation.
All this is organized in appropriate workspaces and allows easy creation of invoice proposals, processing and submission for review and invoicing.
The built-in integration with Dynamics 365 Finance allows for complete accounting of the company through the use of other modules of the system – Accounts payable, Accounts receivable, General ledger, Fixed assets and others.
Project Operations comes with embedded Power BI reports – KPIs and dashboards for resource utilization, planning, budgeting and project execution.
In conclusion, all these capabilities of Dynamics 365 Project Operations are not new. They are the result of the combination of several Microsoft business applications that provide the best functionalities and practices in the field:
Project for the web
Project service automation
Project management and accounting module in Dynamics 365 Finance.
Combination is possible thanks to Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Dataverse, the unifying platform of the Dynamics 365 ecosystem.