With the recent release of Microsoft Dynamics 365, we have seen the release of a new common resource scheduling capability which previously was only available for scheduling resources in Field Service and Project Service.
This new capability makes it possible to create bookings for any entity in CRM, including custom entities, and to see them on a central schedule board along with any field service or project service bookings.
I recently met a client who needed this exact functionality. Their sales process included the need for a face-to-face meeting with the prospect before being able to close the deal. That face-to-face meeting could be scheduled with any one of multiple resources and in any one of their UK offices. They needed the ability to see a central calendar of available resources and locations and then to be able to book a meeting directly from the Opportunity form. That is exactly the functionality provided by the new common resource scheduling capability.
In this article I will walk through an example of how to set up this scheduling capability for a specific scenario related to the Opportunity entity and show you some of the capabilities that are available.
Note: To use the common scheduling capability, you will need to have licenses for either Field Service or Project Service Automation.
Scenario: Let us imagine that we are an organisation that provides different types of eye surgery. We have a number of clinics around the country and a number of Eye Surgeons working in those clinics. In order to buy a surgical procedure, we must first be assessed by a clinical advisor who will not only asses our suitability for the surgical procedure but will also explain and advise exactly what the process entails as well as getting our signature on any disclaimer forms. A patient cannot be booked in for surgery and payment cannot be taken for the surgery until they have had a face to face meeting with a Clinic Advisor, been assessed and signed the relevant paperwork. Therefore, as part of our Sales process, we need the ability to book a Clinic Advisor meeting against our CRM Opportunity. The following steps will walk us through setting up that capability.
There are a number of settings that must be completed in CRM to enable us to start making these bookings:
1. Enable resource scheduling for the Opportunity entity
2. Create organisational units for each of our Clinics
3. Create Resource Roles for our Clinic Advisors and Surgeons
4. Create Resource Skills to define what the Clinic Advisors can advise on and what type of surgery the Surgeons can perform
5. Create Resources so that we know who are Surgeons and Clinic Advisors are, which Clinic they work at and what Skills they have
6. Create Work Hours so that we know their availability to meet with Patients and perform Surgery
1. Enable Resource Scheduling
Navigate to Resource Scheduling > Administration > Enable Resource Scheduling for Entities.
Here you can add the Opportunity entity for resource scheduling and publish your changes.
You’ll now see that is possible to create a booking from within the Opportunity form as the ‘Book’ button is now enabled on the command bar.
2. Create Organisational Units
Navigate to Resource Scheduling > Organisational Units.
Here I have created an organisational unit for each of the UK Clinics.
Navigate to Resource Scheduling > Resource Roles.
Here I have created two new roles, Clinic Advisor and Surgeon
4. Create Resource Skills
Navigate to Resource Scheduling > Resource Skills.
Here I have created a number of skills relating to Advice and Surgery:
5. Create Resources
Navigate to Resource Scheduling > Resources
Here I have created a number of Resources and have linked them to my Skills, Roles, and Organisational Units.
Don’t forget to associate them to an Organisational Unit i.e. in this case, a Clinic.
You can then also use the standard CRM functionality to define a User’s work hours. This is where you can capture which days they work, their work hours, breaks and any vacation.
Putting it all in use
Congratulations! You have now gone through all the steps needed to be able to create bookings against Opportunities.
Navigate to an Opportunity and click on the ‘Book’ button. A scheduling window will open, showing you the first available appointments that meet your booking criteria.
Note that you can choose your Organisational Units, Resource Roles and Skills to filter out the available appointments based upon which clinic and which type of appointment you need to book.
You can save your settings in this scheduling window so that it will remember your preferences for next time.
I’ve also made a slight change to my Opportunity form by adding a sub-grid to show all the Active Bookings directly against the Opportunity. Now everyone using my CRM can see the appointments that have been made for this Prospect.
To see all bookings, navigate to Resource Scheduling > Schedule Board. Here you can see your central calendar and all the bookings that have been made. The Schedule board uses colour coding so that you can easily see the status of your bookings.
For more information about Resource Scheduling in Dynamics 365, take a look at our accompanying video or talk to us. While you're here, download the step-by-step game plan to using your CRM successfully.