Project-driven businesses have multiple interdependent systems and applications, which is why they are complex and challenging to manage. For a project-driven business to succeed, these disparate systems and applications need to be well connected. However, lack of coordination is just one of the key challenges confronting these organizations. Some of the other key challenges include:
Lack of 360-degree visibility into progress, delays, overheads, and expenditures of projects
Inability to make personnel and inventory allocation decisions due to competing projects and limited resources
Substantial manual work, disconnected systems, and ad-hoc processes around project cost control, progress, billing, work breakdown structure (WBS) management, subcontracting, etc.
The above problems are consistent with most project-driven businesses. To address these problems, project-driven companies constantly lookout for effective project management solutions. There are numerous project management solutions available today, and To-Increase’s Project Lifecycle Suite (PLS) solution is one of them.
For more than 11 years, we at To-Increase, have worked with our customers in the manufacturing, engineering, and construction space to understand their challenges. Based on their project challenges and inputs, we have developed the PLS solution.
This blog gives you an overview of the PLS solution ― its key capabilities, benefits, and how it adds value to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations (PO) within Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management.
What’s Project Lifecycle Suite?
PLS is an end-to-end solution that spans the project lifecycle ― from proposal and sales management to project and resource management, finance and accounting, business intelligence, and knowledge management.
PLS unifies workflows to promote collaboration across cross-functional teams, improve visibility, and provide insights. As a result of this coordination, project-driven organizations can efficiently track and manage projects, optimize the workforce, and enhance profitability.
Additionally, it is already built in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management (D365 F&SCM) and does not require any extra integration effort. It is cost effective and can help optimize business performance.
What value does PLS add to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations?
Microsoft’s Project Operations are of two types – Project Operations (F&SCM) and the recently launched Project Operations (CE). As an inner circle partner, To-Increase is working closely with Microsoft to add missing strategic capabilities and refine PO capabilities based on specific industry and complex business needs.
PO is great for simple projects, and PLS offers features that address the challenges of complex project-driven companies, thereby strengthening PO further.
Whether your business is resources-based or inventory-based, or both, if you already use Microsoft D365 F&SCM to manage projects, PLS can help you enhance D365 project capabilities. Read this blog to learn how PLS complements Project Operations.
Scenarios that Project Lifecycle Suite supports
PLS strengthens D365 PO and F&SCM capabilities in the following two scenarios:
- Integrated Deployment Scenario, where resources are in play and inventory is not involved. For instance, companies that sell services such as Booz Allen, PwC, and Deloitte, or software firms such as Adobe, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Dropbox whose products do not involve any inventory.
- Stocked Deployment Scenario, where both resources and inventory are involved. For instance, companies dependent on inventory, such as Mitsubishi Electric, Swatch Group, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.
Read the whitepaper to understand the scenarios that PLS supports and learn what you should keep in mind when selecting the right project management solution ― PLS or Standard Microsoft Project/Microsoft PO.
What are the capabilities of Project Lifecycle Suite?
To-Increase’s PLS includes capabilities, such as advanced work breakdown structure (WBS), cost breakdown structure (CBS), graphical resource planning, cost codes, progress billing, and reporting, sub-contracting, project change orders, forecasts, and much more.
- Budget management and cost control― PLS offers advanced capabilities for budget management with CBS and complete end-to-end visibility of WBS. Full visibility into WBS and CBS makes it easier to
- Graphical resource planning ― PLS’s specialized module, Advanced Project Planning (APP), provides a visual method that makes project planning, scheduling, and associated operational activities easier.
- 360-degree visibility ― The solution offers a unified view of all the projects, sub-projects, resources, inventory, cost management, and progress management. A unified view of
- Project change management ― Capabilities such as project change orders and forecasts help manage project changes seamlessly.
- Sub-contracting ― Strategic partnerships are essential to driving businesses today. The sub-contracting capability provides the flexibility to manage partners in Dynamics 365 F&SCM.
- Cost codes ― Activity-based costing or cost codes are essential to manage costs and time effectively and identify profit centers. An insight into cost is fundamental in boosting profits and overall business growth.
- Project inventory ― Helps reserve inventory in advance, resulting in seamless project execution
- Equipment management ― Projects that use equipment need to be connected to Microsoft’s Asset Management module, which is enabled in PLS.
- Project progress billing – Progress billing is a way to manage invoicing in industries where projects may take months — even years — and cost millions of dollars. Progress billing reduces risk and tracks progress. PLS has this capability enabled and supports the billing model too.
What are the benefits of Project Lifecycle Suite?
PLS addresses the needs of all the cross-functional teams that span the entire project lifecycle. It offers an end-to-end solution that enables organizations to manage complex projects, allocate the right resources at the right time, forecast budgets, improve team collaboration, win more projects, and improve profit margins. Here are the key benefits of PLS:
- Improve collaboration across systems and applications ― The solution offers a unified, 360-degree view of all projects, which helps remove data silos and improves communication between cross-functional teams.
- Increase your quote conversion rate ― You can use project quotes and bidding with PLS’ project-specific pricing and estimating functionality to ensure appropriate margins and win more projects.
- Get complete project visibility ― The advanced WBS capability helps track and manage your WBS from various aspects. You can monitor progress and earned value, manage project subcontractors, and control budgets, billing, cost, revenues, and margins. You can also get details of material, fee, and expense transactions on time that will enable you to manage any equipment efficiently.
- Cut material cost and prevent stockouts― PLS’ project inventory and logistics enable master planning by project and provide project-wise material availability overview. You don’t need central stock and can manage material cost and availability by project.
- Monitor project costs and avoid project overruns ― WBS, CBS, earned value, Estimate to Complete, Estimate at Completion are the functionalities that help monitor project costs and avoid overruns. You can use the subcontracting or project change order functionality in PLS to anticipate schedule and scope changes.
- Make resource planning more efficient: Get a clearer, visual overview of your data. Visualize your project plan and get real-time insights into your planning, resource capacity, and resource allocation to get a comprehensive understanding of the project status.
Can Project Lifecycle Suite meet your requirements?
PLS helps project-centric companies with efficient project planning, change management, inventory planning, resource allocation, and cost control. In just one click, you will gain an insight into actual cost projection and supply and demand outlook. It enables you to improve your project efficiency, leading to better business performance and productivity.