SAGlobal Announces Industry’s First Integrated Dynamics 365 Solution for the Service Industries
We at SAGlobal are very excited to announce the industry’s first integrated Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, PSA, and ERP solution purpose-built for professional services organizations and other project-driven businesses. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to our approach for providing an integrated, best-in-class solution for services organizations looking for a comprehensive cloud-based business management platform.
In late 2016, Microsoft announced Dynamics 365, which converges their industry-leading Dynamics AX ERP and Dynamics CRM solutions to deliver a next generation suite of intelligent cloud-based business applications. The vision of Dynamics 365 is to change the game in the business applications market by offering not only best-in-class CRM and ERP functionality, but to do so on a common data model that is also shared with Office 365, and with embedded intelligence from Power BI and Cortana Intelligence Suite, all run on the #1 cloud for business – Microsoft Azure. This vision holds the promise to drive digital transformation in ways that no other enterprise software vendor can deliver.
Within Dynamics 365, Microsoft has decomposed the CRM and ERP functionality in a way that allows you to deploy the functionality as separate applications or workloads, or to deploy them together as a complete platform. More specifically for professional services organizations and project-based businesses, the following Dynamics 365 applications or workloads are most likely to be deployed:
- Dynamics 365 for Sales – Formerly known as Dynamics CRM, Dynamics 365 for Sales is a market-leading customer engagement platform designed managing the entire sales and client relationship management lifecycle.
- Dynamics 365 for PSA (Project Service Automation) – PSA is a professional services automation solution built directly inside of the Dynamics CRM platform, offering a cutting edge solution for project sales, delivery, collaboration, and resource management.
- Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations – Formerly known as Dynamics AX, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is an award-winning ERP platform capable of managing all aspects of your organization’s finances, operations, and human capital.
On their own, each of these applications offers best-in-class capabilities that most competitors can’t match. When combining them in an integrated manner, you now have a platform capable of transforming how you engage your clients, execute your projects, and optimize your talent.
While Microsoft is delivering an integration platform within the Dynamics 365 suite over time, it is intended to support initial cross-industry scenarios that can then be extended by Microsoft partners and ISVs.
As Microsoft’s foremost experts in the professional services industry, SAGlobal has used our deep industry expertise to design an integrated solution purpose-built for project-driven services organizations. As such, we’ve taken into account specific use case scenarios that are unique to these businesses. This not only means that data flows seamlessly across Dynamics 365, but that key users such as Project Managers can easily move across applications in a relevant manner when performing their jobs.
To allow organizations to manage their clients, projects, finances, and resources in an integrated environment, our Dynamics 365 integration solution includes the following components:
- Data and process integration across Dynamics 365 for Sales, PSA, and Finance and Operations– This includes the following integrated entities and processes:
- Customer data, including contacts and addresses, can be entered and maintained in Dynamics 365 for Sales, and automatically flow into Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
- Projects can be initiated and work breakdown structures created in PSA, which then flow into Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operationsfor billing, revenue recognition, project accounting processes and reporting/BI.
- Timesheets entered in Dynamics 365 for PSA flow into Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations for billing, project accounting, and reporting.
- Resources can be entered in the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations human capital management module, and flow into Dynamics 365 for PSA for resource management.
- User-driven navigation scenarios – SAGlobal has developed industry-specific navigation scenarios that span the Dynamics 365 applications to optimize efficiency and productivity levels, and to ensure that users can go to a single place to access information and tasks, regardless of where the work actually happens. This includes examples such as:
- The ability to deep-link between Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and PSA for navigating to specific pages and records when moving between Dynamics 365 applications.
- The use of work spaces in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations for consolidating information and tasks that originate and occur across Dynamics 365 applications.
- Embedded industry-specific BI – Perhaps most importantly, this solution was designed to collect and aggregate project transactions and data in a way that allows organizations to use SAGlobal’s Projects+ BI solution and Power BI to embed intelligence directly within Dynamics 365. Projects+ BI is a pre-built industry-specific Business Intelligence and reporting solution with over 100 aggregate measures and dimensions relevant to project-based businesses, as well as pre-built role-focused Power BI content packs, all managed in Microsoft’s in-memory SQL Azure data entity store.
In essence, this integrated solution allows you to utilize Dynamics 365 in the following manner:
- Dynamics 365 for Sales is used as a salesforce automation platform for customer relationship management and sales.
- Dynamics 365 for PSA is used as a project management, resource management, and project collaboration platform.
- Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is used for project accounting-related processes (billing, revenue recognition, etc.), financial management, human capital management, and other operations.
This provides a truly best-in-class solution that no other business applications providers can offer.
Here are some screenshots that illustrate a few of the concepts above:
- Customer record integration and deep-linking:
- Finance and Operations Workspaces Deep-linked to Project in PSA
Project Status Workspace (SAGlobal Projects+) with Navigation to Project in PSA
These new capabilities are being added to SAGlobal’s Projects+ for Dynamics 365 industry solution that provides best-in-class industry functionality, industry-specific BI, and industry best business practices for professional services organizations and other project-driven businesses. Projects+ is a Microsoft-certified solution available on the Microsoft AppSource site, which requires that SAGlobal manage and update all aspects of this solution to remain compatible with new updates to the core Dynamics 365 applications as they come out.
About the Author
Andy Yeomans is Director of Business Development for SAGlobal, where his role is to help project-driven organizations evaluate and select ERP software systems to better manage their finances, projects, clients, and resources. Andy was instrumental in developing the organization's Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions and practice area for the AE & Environmental industry. Andy has over 17 years of ERP experience and has helped dozens of AE & Environmental firms evaluate, select, and implement ERP software systems for their business.