Project Operations in Dynamics 365 | Which Version to Deploy?

What Dynamics 365 Project Operations version should you deploy for your business? There is a lot of buzz around Project Operations, so I’d like to help you clarify what the right decision is for your business. We’re going to talk about three different scenarios, two of which use the Dynamics 365 Project Operations app, and one of which uses a special module in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

The scenario that fits you will depend on your business needs and existing software.

Overview

Dynamics 365 Project Operations (formerly called Project Service Automation) helps you manage projects from quote all the way to delivery. It ensures up-to-date project costing information for sales estimates and quotes, automatically generates statements of work (SOWs), and invoices, and analyzes KPIs like profitability, utilization, and timelines.

Project Operations integrates with the rest of the Microsoft stack and is hosted in the cloud, so you benefit from automated updates, accessible mobile and web apps, and a monthly billing cycle.

Note: Project Operations is one of the five different Dynamics 365 apps that serve various CRM needs. In some contexts, you may also see those products referred to as “Customer Engagement” or “CE” apps. Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (F&O), which we’ll also mention below, is now technically licensed by Microsoft as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

Would My Business Benefit from Project Operations?

For businesses that regularly manage multiple projects of varying sizes, Project Operations unifies those complex aspects of a project and streamlines visibility for the whole team.

If you’re having problems with effectively resourcing your projects and tracking resources and costs, then your business would probably benefit from Project Operations.

Three Different Project Operations Scenarios

There are basically three different Project Operations scenarios. One that’s called the Project Lite Deployment Scenario. The second one’s called Project Operations with Finance & Operations. The third is the Project Operations for stocked/production order scenario. And that third one lives inside of Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

Everybody who’s familiar with F&O has probably heard of the project management accounting module. And this number three option is essentially that.

So, with Project Operations, there are these three different versions – which one’s right for you?

Which Project Operations Version to Deploy

Industry Example
Project Lite Deployment Scenario (Standalone,  Business Central/other ERP)
Project Service Automation (non stocked with Finance & Operations)
Project Operations for Stocked/
Production Order Scenario (Included in Finance & Operations)
Construction/
Contracting
X
Consulting/
Professional
Services
X
Marketing Agencies
X
Software Development
X
Manufacturing
X
Engineering Firms
X

 

Project Lite Deployment Scenario

For industries like construction, consulting, professional services, marketing, software development, engineering or manufacturing, the Project Lite Deployment Scenario could fulfil those business’s needs.

This Project Lite Scenario works well for resource-based businesses that do not have Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, and instead use Dynamics 365 Business Central or a non-Microsoft ERP solution.

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications like Sales, Customer Service, and Field Service work seamlessly with this scenario. Integrating with your ERP solution provides the most value, allowing you to invoice a customer and track them all the way through to your proforma invoicing.

This scenario is built on Microsoft Power Platform technology, so you can take advantage of the Power Platform, Dataverse, and Power Automate, as those technologies become more prevalent with Project Operations.

Project Operations with Finance & Operations

The Project Operations application is integrated via Dual-write integration technology into Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

This option works well for businesses in the construction, contracting, consulting, or professional services area with no inventory, who do not stock their own products. A company could purchase products from elsewhere and sell them, just not keep stocked inventory themselves.

This scenario takes you from the quoting process, all the way through to your proforma invoicing. Your expenses, inventory, revenue recognition, and project accounting is all done in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, and is integrated from Project Operations via the Dual-write technology.

Project Operations for Stocked/Production Order Scenario

This version lives inside of Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations and is essentially the project management accounting module. Typically, manufacturing and engineering firms land in this category, if they produce a product that they need to carry inventory for. If you already own Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, you should already have this functionality.

This version covers everything from project sales, planning, resource management, time entry, expenses, invoicing, revenue recognition, and project accounting. It’s great for manufacturing or engineer-to-order businesses who have robust project management and accounting needs.

Watch this video for more detail about determining which Project Operations scenario fits you:

If you’d like to discuss the scenarios and best options for your business, please get in touch.

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