The Wave 1 Release Plans 2020 for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are out and my first impression is; it is going to be a very very exciting year. Dynamics 365 Field Service is getting more tightly integrated with Azure and Power Apps and that push is leading to a lot of new features and functionality improvements. The early peek view will available from 3rd Feb and will be GA from April this year. Following is a round-up of most exciting new features in Dynamics 365 Field Service for me:
NEW Schedule Board
The Schedule Board is the linchpin of the Dynamics 365 Field Service and therefore nothing is more exciting to know that entire Schedule Board screen is re-written and a ‘next generation’ and ‘reimagined’ is on its way. This will address all the performance-related issues and enable planners to do their work faster.
Scheduling work ‘sequentially’
Often work needs to happen in a specific sequence the field. For example, you need to first do a risk assessment, run telemetry diagnosis and then decide to fix or replace equipment. This feature is now in the pipeline.
In the business of keeping assets up and running (think of any everything-as-a-service company), inspections of the assets and equipment are important. Since it was not part of the product, I have seen plenty of solutions for support this (surveys, power app, custom entities etc.). The good thing is this is under works and we’ll soon have inspection designer, inspections and ability to link inspections with work orders – all out of the box!
Timesheets and time capturing per work order
For service-based companies, work orders mean billing and billing mean revenue – therefore billing the right cost of work orders is a must-have. In this context, I can’t overstate how significant it is to know time entries are going to be an inherent part of Field Service (previously, you need to add Project Service Automation solution for time entries) and there will be enhancements to configure granularity of time capture, per your business, for work orders.
Details here and here
‘Suggested’ Incident Type
This is one of those ‘wow’ features which, I feel, will result in a major productivity boost for Dynamics 365 Field Service users. As per the release plan, the system will automatically suggest Incident Type based on the historical data (read work orders, cases etc.) – all thanks to machine learning algorithms.
Suggested action for IoT alert
Take a step ahead and this machine-learning based feature is also going to help to keep the asset up and running by auto-suggesting the action on IoT alerts. Imagine you have hundreds or thousands of devices in the field and your engineers respond to IoT alert based on each device type, manufacturer guide, type of alerts etc.; the system will now ‘learn’ by keeping a track of your engineers’ actions and then start suggesting those actions automatically. Should save lot of hours and midnight oil burning.
Thanks for reading. We will keep an eye on enhancements as they are rolled out and watch out this space for further exploration and review of new features. Till then, feel free to share your feedback.