What Is Project Operations?
Dynamics 365 Project Operations is a solution designed for project-driven businesses that allows you to deliver projects in a timely and cost-effective manner, keeping teams productive and united. It was released in October 2020, and for many businesses it became the tool for efficient project management, resource management, PMA (project management accounting), and forecasting.
This application enables companies to handle projects starting from estimation all the way to invoicing, working along with Microsoft productivity tools like Teams and Planner, hence enhancing collaboration and keeping your team synchronized the whole way. It is an evolution of the existing modules of Dynamics 365 Finance, as well as the previously available PSA, or Project Service Automation, from Microsoft.
The Difference Between Project Service Automation and Project Operations
Both Dynamics 365 Project Operations and Project Service Automation are project automation and management tools. Project Operations is actually an upgraded version of its predecessor – PSA. In essence, the difference is that PSA is focused on front-office project management while D365 Project Operations covers a greater variety of roles within an organization. To be more specific, the latter includes more advanced project planning and scheduling functionality, as well as some of the features of Dynamic 365 Finance, including project management accounting and expense management.
Although PSA provided basic project management functionality, it had missing features, and this drawback was successfully fixed by the release of the upgraded solution. Here are some important features that are now available with it:
- Full integration with the Microsoft tech stack.
- Revenue recognition, made possible thanks to seamless data flow between Customer Service and Finance modules, and consequently, improved forecasting.
- Advanced resource planning – you can now assign resources to projects and tasks based on schedule board dashboards, and choose the most appropriate assignees based on their skillset, availability, location and other factors.
- Better user experience, thanks to advanced capabilities, integrations with other technology and the use of productivity solutions like Teams and Planner.
Project Operations Features and Capabilities
Project Operations offers an interactive tool for scheduling and visualizing project activities through dashboards and Gantt charts. These tools provide a convenient way to plan resources, schedule delivery, forecast results and plan budgets. Besides that, its modules also include opportunity management, project planning, resource management, time and expense management, and billing.
It is also available on mobile devices for uninterrupted work regardless of where you or your team members are. Team collaboration is another important feature of the solution, as it enables project team members to work together on projects and keep track of project status and deliverables in real time. This improves visibility across your digital workspace and streamlines delivery.
What is also important, Project Operations has in-built business intelligence tools – Microsoft Power BI and Cortana, for advanced project analytics to help you gain visibility into your critical KPIs and even make forecasts.
Disadvantages of Project Operations: Is It a Good Choice for Your Business?
Although many companies find the solution highly convenient for their project management needs, it may not be the best one for highly complex and longer-term projects. If your company has projects that require a sophisticated tasks’ structure with dependencies and a greater variety of resources to be planned, then this application might just not be enough for you. Ongoing invoicing is another task that might be challenging to accomplish with this tool.
So, in order to understand whether it makes sense for your business, you need to evaluate the following aspects of your projects:
- Variety and types of resources needed for delivery
Another thing to take into account is your existing IT infrastructure and business processes. Talk to your Microsoft Dynamics consultant to help you assess your needs and requirements and make a choice. It goes without saying that investing in a solution that only covers a small share of your project management needs and requires other apps might not be cost-effective, so getting an understanding of how this new tool will fit into your processes is critical.
Project Operations in Relationship to Other Microsoft PM Technologies
Microsoft offers a range of solutions designed for managing tasks, work, projects, programs, and portfolios. These are Microsoft To Do, Teams, SharePoint, Planner, Shifts, Project Professional and more, and Project Operations is the latest addition to this list. Project management includes tasks, activities and deliverables, and involves team collaboration, time tracking and resource planning, with all of these aspects requiring specific attention. Project Operations is aimed to facilitate this process, and thus it integrates well into the rest of the Microsoft technology stack that you are familiar with.
Do you need help with the deployment of Project Operations for your Dynamics 365? Get in touch with Microsoft Dynamics 365 experts at OMI. We will evaluate your existing Dynamics infrastructure and suggest an optimal deployment scenario to help you make the most of Project Operations and incorporate it seamlessly into your project management to better connect all teams across your operation, help you win over more business, speed up delivery and increase profits.