Is Project Service Automation for Dynamics CRM right for you?

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01 Mar Is Project Service Automation for Dynamics CRM right for you?

If you could see all the different tools and systems your colleagues use to be productive, you might get some surprises. Of course, some of the tools would be entirely expected – Word, Skype, Outlook, SharePoint etc. Others might be a little less expected – with teams using Dropbox, or a project management tool you had never paid for. Others would be really odd – you might discover certain colleagues were using Facebook groups to allocate tasks or some ancient file share which you thought was entirely redundant.

The challenge of enterprise IT is that companies often struggle with chaotic infrastructure, with all kinds of quirks and historical oddities. You typically have teams using an eclectic mix of legacy systems and an ever expanding set of new tools. Now, to rein this in and get a more consistent (and secure) IT setup, it makes a lot of sense to use platforms such as Office 365 which draw all your diverse and distinct tools – from project management to BI to your CRM – into one place.

Bringing distinct services into a unified place and combining different tools often makes a lot of sense. Microsoft recently released Project Service Automation for Dynamics CRM which does just this. It combines aspects of Microsoft’s Project Online and Dynamics CRM to provide a new tool that allows you to manage the whole process of adding new cases to your system and managing these through to completion. So, how exactly does it work, and is it for you?

So, what is Project Service Automation?

As a Microsoft Gold Partner and 2016 Project and Portfolio Management Microsoft Partner of the Year, we’re very excited about the potential of Project Service Automation. The major selling point of the tool is that it will allow you to add new cases, leads, accounts or quotes to your CRM, and then from the same interface, lead them right through the project until completion. Typically, a business will have a CRM where you store your various accounts, leads and other customer interactions. At the same time, you normally have an entirely different piece of software that lets you manage projects that come from your CRM. The beauty of Project Service Automation is that these closely related tasks are brought into one place.

Project Service Automation provides a central view for employees across the business – from sales teams to account managers to project managers and team members. It provides a central place for:

  • Opportunity management
  • Project planning
  • Resource management
  • Team collaboration
  • Time and expenses
  • Customer billing
  • Analytics and integration

This means you get a central place to view your projects from start to finish and avoid misunderstandings and confusion. Microsoft are also allowing integration with many of their other platforms, such as Office 365 Groups, which should help streamline your experience even further.

Is this for you?

Project Service Automation for Dynamics CRM really could be a game changer in the way businesses approach projects. That said, it’s not necessarily going to be for everyone. If you have an established project tool and CRM and these are basically working pretty well for you, there might not be a huge incentive to learning a new tool. It’s also clear that while Project Service Automation is definitely sophisticated, it’s not as powerful as either standalone Microsoft Project or Dynamics CRM. If, for instance, you’re running a big PMO and want to do complex analyses – such as portfolio comparison – Project Service Automation may not give you the horsepower you’re looking for.

However, you may find that at present your company’s needs are more than supported by what Project Service Automation offers:

  • If you currently tend to just run a few small projects, using a massive tool like Microsoft Project can be overkill. Project Service Automation will, in many cases, be perfectly suited to your needs.
  • Again, smaller and growing companies often have little need for a highly sophisticated CRM; you just need somewhere to store leads, capture customer information and manage your accounts. Project Service Automation will offer you more than enough here.
  • If your current CRM and project management tool are built by different companies – say Asana and Capsule – it may well make more sense to bring all your projects and accounts into one place. Project Service Automation will make the whole process more streamlined and allow interfacing between your different services.

 

Ready to find out more?

Project Service Automation for Dynamics CRM is a relatively new release from Microsoft, but it has the potential to really change how companies manage their projects and their customer relationships. While it might not be the solution of choice for every company, it is likely to be highly relevant to many more. Keen to find out more? Make sure you sign up for our upcoming webinar to see Project Service Automation in action and have all your questions answered.

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About the author
Mike Spink

Mike Spink, has over 25 years of business development experience and has been selling Dynamics CRM solutions since 2006. Adopting a highly consultative sales strategy, Mike takes great pride in providing clients with solutions that make significant improvements to improve business efficiency and profitability. He's worked with clients across a wide range of business sectors and adopts a very hands-on approach to account management and client engagement. Mike enjoys working very closely with the delivery team during project implementation and go-live and is always available to help ensure customer satisfaction. Mike joined CPS in June 2014 and works closely with Microsoft CRM to ensure CRM client success.

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