Let me preface this post with a comment – Christmas is not all about the presents, and yes, I even tell that to my kid. However, when my software provider comes out with a new version of their software, with a bunch of cool new features, I can’t help but feel like they just gave me a big Christmas present that I can’t wait to open and play with! It’s a good thing my husband isn’t forcing me to wait to unwrap this one (he’s terrible for that in our house).
So, thank you Assistance Software for a brand new toy to play with right before Christmas! Here is a little background on the latest and greatest solution I’ve been working with in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It’s called Assistance Software PSA, and to tell you what it is, here’s the quote from their webpage:
“Assistance PSA is the solution for professional service organizations. By making use of the powerful Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, this technology is fully available within Assistance PSA. It allows you to turn opportunities into projects, calculate your hours and plan your projects, all with a single mouse click.”
Now let me tell you about all the great features they just gifted their users with in this month’s new version release:
- First, I have to talk about the technical stuff; it’s compatible with CRM 2015 online and on-premise, as well as CRM 2016 – so you need to upgrade to enjoy the benefits of the new features. Now the good stuff! In the past, creating project templates was a tedious task requiring the creation of each one from scratch. Now you can copy the template and rename it. Or better yet, keep your templates simple, by creating a project from one template and pulling in the related Items from another. Project creation is now so much easier.
- I realize most people don’t enjoy entering their budget numbers into a Project however, there’s SOOOO much value in doing it. With the new version of PSA, you can now copy the budget details into the Fixed Fee Items as the Amount, instead of letting it sit at a budget level. This also helps you on the sales level. With the previous version of PSA, they introduced the ‘opportunity to project conversion’ which took your opportunity budget and added it to the new project. Now you can apply it to all your items at the click of a button (as long as your sales person was right). Please don’t forget how import the budget information is. It helps in so many areas yet so many people just skip these fields.
- I love GANTT charts – they are so pretty. Now you can do almost everything from your project GANTT chart. You can add activities, assign resources and create CRM appointments for integration to Outlook. When you create the activities and assign the resources, you can pull resources based on their utilization levels, skills, role, or even the geological region they are in. This saves you from looking through the other areas of the system, checking the resources schedule, seeing if they have the appropriate skills, and so on. Now you can do it all in one place while scheduling the project items.
- And then there’s invoicing. I’m not a financial person so invoicing is normally really, boring to me. However, there are so many added features in invoicing. I can apply every feature to a requirement that each of my clients have asked for in the past – now that makes me a happy camper! Here they are:
- You can split all the invoices on a project into multiple percentages for different accounts (70% for one account, 30% for another account)
- Or when you go to create an invoice, it doesn’t have to go to the account on the project, it could go to a third party (don’t start invoicing your worst enemy, he’s going to pass his Net 30 payment terms, and no one will be happy).
- Previously you had to unselect (or select) lines for invoicing one by one, you can now select (or unselect) all the lines at one time.
- They’ve even added in an ‘Invoice From’ option, so that you can select a specific period, not just the Invoice To date.
Talk about a list of enhancements to one area – so convenient, and even makes the non-financial people happy because we’re generally the ones that get in trouble for doing this wrong.)
- The last major thing that I’m excited about is the Utilization Sheet – being able to see how busy your employees are based on the last 12 weeks (your past quarter) or see how they are scheduled for the next 12 weeks (forecasting your upcoming quarter). The enhanced visibility is crazy amazing. You can change the utilization sheet to view it by days (like usual), or weeks, or months, and with the color coding of the employees, it’s such a great at-a-glance of who has availability. Love it!
I can’t wait to install this latest version today into my demo environment and play with everything. There is so much more going on here, not just a few new features; they are truly enhancing the visibility that Project Managers have into their work and making things so easy for the user. I can’t even describe how happy this makes me as a Solutions Consultant. They just get it – all of it!
Oh, and then I got to see the Roadmap – another Christmas gift!!