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What is Dynamics 365 Project Operations?

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Dynamics 365 Project Operations is a Microsoft application for the Dynamics platform that is designed to connect sales, resource management, project management, and project finance management in one application. Project Operations is an evolution of the existing project management and accounting modules inside Dynamics 365 Finance as well as the previous Project Service Automation (PSA) solution found in the Sales CRM from Microsoft.

The project functionality that used to come native to Dynamics 365 Finance and PSA is now merged into a separate SKU available as Project Operations. If you are looking for the old D365 project management and accounting or PSA, you won’t find them anymore. They are now officially Project Operations.

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Whitepaper on Dynamics 365 Project Operations Functionality.

Why Project Operations Doesn’t Work for Most Companies

Although it is touted to integrate all your project processes in one application, if you are expecting Project Operations for Dynamics 365 to provide an integrated business system for your project-based company, you will be disappointed. Although Microsoft claims many new capabilities with Project Operations, the truth is most of it is the same as the previous project management and accounting module for D365 Finance and Project Service Automation, just under a different SKU.

These solutions, and now Project Operations have never worked well for project-based companies in AEC, project/ETO manufacturing, energy, biotech, aerospace, defense, and many professional services. There are many factors missing that are critical to these types of companies. In short, Project Operations does not solve your core business problems. For a detailed analysis, see our quick functional comparison below.

If you are looking for a Dynamics 365 solution to manage and control your project business processes from end-to-end, Project Business Automation is the answer.

Download the Project Business Automation Quick Guide

Compare Dynamics 365 Project Operations

To dig deeper into Microsoft’s Project Operation’s  capabilities, we decided to compare it to our own Adeaca Project Business Automation solution. Our comparison dives into the key capabilities that any project-driven company needs.

Our analysis is revealing. See the table below. The columns represent the 2 different ways Project Operations can be deployed. The capabilities differ significantly depending what route you choose. The first is the previous project management and accounting (Dynamics 365 Finance ERP) deployment. The second is using D365 Finance and Customer Engagement (CRM or Sales).

Download our Whitepaper on Dynamics 365 Project Operations to get all the details and understand exactly what capabilities are included, what you need as a project business, and how to get them with Dynamics 365.

D365 Project Operations Features and Capabilities

Microsoft touts many features and capabilities with Project Operations. Here is a quick summary of what is included.

Project Management

Based on Microsoft Project, Project Operations has a simplified, drag and drop project scheduling tool. It includes dashboards, task management, scheduling, interactive Gantt charts, and work-breakdown structures. It is a planning tool, not a project execution tool.

Opportunity Management

Being integrated with Microsoft Sales, CRM, it has a pricing and costing engine to use for deal management.

Resource Management

With a built-in resource profile tool, it allows you to match resources up to project requirements based on skillsets.

Time and Expense Management

Project Operations is focused primarily on professional services organizations. As such, a core feature is a tool to submit time and expense reports via a mobile app or browser.

Project Accounting

Based on the previous version of Dynamics 365 project management and accounting, Project Operations offers some basic accounting functionality to adhere to GAAP or IFRS standards. However, it completely lacks a cost breakdown structure.

Project Dashboards

Project Operations comes equipped with limited visualization tools to help with resource utilization, forecasting and budgeting.

Wondering how Project Operations is deployed with D365? Download this guide.

Project Operations and Project Business Automation

Microsoft’s release of Dynamics 365 Project Operations clearly is a move toward Project Business Automation, trying to create an integrated business system for project-based companies. The premise of the category is to eliminate the silos of applications and data that Project Businesses typically use in favor of one platform that incorporates key Project Business functions, including:

Adeaca has been working in the PBA space for 12 years, and Microsoft Project Operations is a greatly simplified addition to the effort.

Adeaca PBA and Microsoft D365 Project Operations cater to very different needs. This article is an attempt to clarify what level of PBA solution is right for you.

When to Use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

Knowing when Project Operations makes sense for your company requires the answer to a few simple questions.

  • Are you a services-based organization?
  • Are your projects simple and short in duration?
  • Are you happy running your project financials and cost management in spreadsheets?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then Project Operations may work for you.

If you answered anything other than yes for any of the three, you may need to explore other options.

learn more Learn More: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations: Who is it for?

As Microsoft states, Project Operations is geared toward the services industry. This means that project businesses in construction, engineering, project-driven manufacturing, biotech, and other industries likely need something more robust to cover their business requirements.

Don’t buy a business system if it doesn’t support your whole business. If an application only covers a small portion of your needs but you still need to support the bulk of your processes with ancillary apps, tools and spreadsheets, or make massive custom modifications to it, keep looking.

If your goal is to eliminate the need for those spreadsheets and ancillary applications and be able to manage your project business in one comprehensive business system, then Adeaca PBA may right for you.