D365 Field Service App – fundamentals

Introduction to D365 Field Service

This post is a part of a “Field Service for Citizen Developers” series. Click here to see other posts.

What is Dynamics 365 Field Service App?
Dynamics 365 Field Service is a model-driven, first-party (read: offered by Microsoft) Power Apps ‘app’. It was traditionally a part of CRM or Dynamics Customer Engagement offering.

What does it do?
The focus of Field Service app is to bring the benefits of automation, planning and optimal execution to the ‘field service’ component of the business. Imagine an app that lets you manage entire field service (sales engineers, field technicians, maintenance gurus, fleet etc.) of your organisation, resources and their specialities, equipments used for providing services and assets that are serviced, purchasing and maintaining inventory, onsite guided experience using specialised mobile app, with basic to advanced scheduling capabilities (including AI) – all under one rood and without writing a single line of code. This is what makes Field Service App the most exciting proposition particularly for citizen developers

Is it for me?
The two questions to ask are:

  1. Does you business involve any field staff (examples are: technicians who go to customers to fix/install/replace equipments, mechanics who go out in the field to service assets, field sales engineers who conduct survey and assessment for opportunities, project team who work in the field)?
  2. Do you have CRM with customer data in place?

The usual question of ROI, alignment with strategic goals still holds – as they do with any IT project. The reason I mentioned second point is because I believe Dynamics 365 Field Service comes after the deployment of CRM as a natural progression in digital automation journey (CRM as in customer data, and not so much as the product’s name).

If it is yay to both question, then Dynamics 365 Field Service would let you the following:

  1. Fix the bulb before it stops working: preventative maintenance could save $$$ in assets servicing business
  2. Keep customers happy: ensure prompt delivery of services from phone call to service at home – all within promised SLAs
  3. Optimisation of business: give powerful tools to planners to do better scheduling of services per resource skills, distance to travel, quality of asset, entitlement of customer, and several other factors (you could add your own custom factors too)

This is not a sales pitch, of course but if this sounds interesting you may head to Microsoft site to see further benefits (particularly the case studies).

Typical implementation avenues for Dynamics 365 Field Service are in following verticals: utilities, construction, manufacturing, health care, telecom, warranty and maintenance, fleet, minerals etc.

The two biggest takeaways
The two major benefits or key differentiators for the business that Dynamics 365 Field Service brings on the table are:

  1. A tailored mobile experience for the field service: The Dynamics 365 Field Service comes with its own mobile app (not the standard Dynamics App) which means it is tailored for the use on the field, works offline, and comes with other features which makes it very easy for the staff to pick the work, execute, and then move to the next one. In my experience, this has been a real game changer and single biggest contributor to increase in productivity
  2. Data: Data is the new currency. When you start scheduling, execution and billing on a system like Dynamics 365 Field Service, you get access to plethora of data on assets, products, cases, quality of service, travel times, equipments, resources etc. This in turn leads to lots of possibilities and optimisation in business through analytics and use of Power BI over the data. If you add AI and machine learning to the fix, the possibilities are literally endless.

The landscape of the product
Following is the helicopter view of the Dynamics 365 Field Service app:

As you can see the first three fundamentals of the app are:

  1. Work itself that needs to be scheduled and then actioned
  2. Resources who will do the work. This could be people, equipment and combination of both (for example, a crew consisting of two engineers and a truck)
  3. The Scheduling function that enables booking resources to the work. A key part of this function is a glorious calendar called Schedule Board

Above landscape is by no way a complete picture of the entire app, but it does represent a view of key components and functions. The other functions in the app are: time entries, setting up IOT alerts, AI based resource scheduling, SLAs etc.

Hope this introduction piqued your interest. Feel free to share your feedback or DM me on twitter – I would love to help you in your Power Apps journey.

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