Exactly one week ago today, I wrote a blog about Microsoft unveiling enhancements and fixes to Universal Resource Scheduling (I will refer to this as D365 URS for the remainder of the blog).  At the time, I thought wow, we are really onto something and I cannot wait until Microsoft comes out with their next set of updates for D365 URS.  Microsoft delivered us an early Christmas present by providing us a second update to D365 URS. 

No, you don’t need a new set of glasses as you read that correct.  In less than one months time, Microsoft is providing additional, and in some cases, major enhancements to this functionality.  While I won’t touch on every single of these, I will certainly comment on what I’ve experienced with my customers and how it resolves issues or provides greater flexibility for the scheduling community.

Performance Improvements

Let’s admit it, we all love when the internet is faster or our applications run faster.  Searching for available resources in D365 URS is no exception to that rule.  According to Microsoft’s blog, searching across a large resource pool for a a requirement (one day, across 7 days or even 30 days) will return significantly faster results.  This should prove to be a significant usability win for the larger scale customers.  I’ve worked with customers that have thousands of resources throughout each region of the world.  Searching, depending on the criteria, would sometimes cause frustration for dispatchers (not to mention searching before the 1st update in December could through out an ambiguous error message).

For example, if searching for a 1/2 hour requirement across a 7-day window with 1,000 resources returns 12 times faster, that means the dispatcher now gains additional time to perform other tasks.  Think about this – how many times does your organization or your customers dispatch Work Orders or Project Requirements (or anything else) with D365 URS?  Now multiple that by the efficiency gain over the course of a day, week, month or year.   I’ll leave that for you to ponder what that means for your organization or your customers.

Tracking Proposed Duration

This may be one of my favorites in this round of D365 URS enhancements.  I’ve had customers in the past ask me:  how do I see how many hours have been proposed to this project?  How can I quickly see how many hours I still need to possibly fulfill.  The wait is OVER!  The second best part of this enhancement:  Microsoft has an upgrade script that will update existing requirements to show proposed duration.

In previous versions, schedulers could only see Total, Fulfilled and Remaining Duration.  This left a big gap:  who/what has been proposed but not yet confirmed for this requirement.  I would create a report for my customers that would show potential / proposed bookings for a requirement.  The issue with this is it takes longer for a scheduler/resource manager to book resources on projects as it required some analysis and investigation.

Tracking-total-proposed-duration

With this new feature, schedulers can get a glance of the full requirement bookings (Proposed, Fulfilled, Remaining and Total Duration) by expanding the requirement and reviewing the details as seen below.

Tracking-total-proposed-duration_2

There are many other exciting features in this latest update that are worth mentioning, but at the time of writing this blog, I’ve yet to experience them to provide you with my thoughts.  These features include, but are not limited to:

  1. Usability Improvement for Booking Creation
  2. Enhanced Support for Partially Available Resources
  3. Simplified and Non-Intrusive Error Message

All of the latest and greatest features will prove to be big usability enhancements for those that already love the feature set of D365 URS.  Keep in mind, these features are available for URS version 2.3.x, Field Service version 7.3.x and Project Service Automation version 2.3.x on Dynamics 365 version 9.0.x.  If you are not on D365 v9.0.x then you will have to wait to experience these great features and more.

Innovation at Microsoft is coming fast and furious.  We at At Your Service look forward to seeing what else Microsoft has in store for its D365 user community.  Over the next few weeks I plan to play around with all of these features and provide greater insight into them and how they can provide your organization with the insight needed to stay ahead of the curve.