This post is part of my MB2-714 exam series of articles and contains my notes relating to entitlement management in CRM 2016.
This post covers the following required areas –
- Understand service scheduling scenarios
- Understand the service scheduling process flow
- Define and manage resources
- Implement customer service schedules
- Create and manage resource groups
- Define sites, holiday schedules and services
- Schedule service activities in the service calendar
- Manage service activities
Understand service scheduling scenarios
Service scheduling can be used in a lot of different scenarios, for example it could be used to schedule an engineer visit to a client’s house. The benefit to this would be that the engineer can have a block of time automatically reserved, the availability of the engineer can be tracked easily and in some cases certain engineers could be chosen if they are the least busy for example, reducing the risk of other appointments being delayed.
This could also apply to other scenarios –
- Booking a meeting room – A service could be set up that will try to book a single room to capacity before moving on to a secondary room. This would be done by setting the meeting room as a resource and setting the service to choose the busiest resource.
- Booking equipment – Using the engineer example again, the tools required can be setup as resources and then booked as required, you could take this further and try to ensure all booked tools are located in the same offices as the engineer which would be done by setting the Selection Site to ‘The same site’
Elements of Service Scheduling
Service Management includes a lot of elements in CRM the most important of which can be found in the Service Scheduling section of the Service Management menu which I will briefly cover below.
Business Closure allows you to define times when new services cannot be scheduled for (there can be exceptions to this if a service is set to no observe business closures) which can be useful if for example your business does not operate on bank holidays or perhaps if there’s a company-wide training day.
I have created a new business closure for Monday because who likes Mondays anyway and it should allow me to demonstrate how this filters through later.
Facilities/Equipment allows you to define the resources such as tools, rooms, cars or any type of equipment that may be required to fulfil a service and also allows you to specify where that equipment is located which can be useful if for example your company has several offices with equipment spread out between them.
As an example I have created a new piece of equipment which we will use in a service we’ll define shortly.
Sites allow you to define base locations of your business which may be offices, storage locations, or an area where the company operates depending on the requirements. As an example I have added ‘Portree’ as a location which we will use later in our service. (Don’t worry the details are largely made up)
Services allow you to define services offered, as an example I have created a Grass Cutting service which will eventually be used to demonstrate how all of the different service elements pull together.
It’s worth knowing that the Initial Status Reason field determines what the status is when the service is first created.
As you can see below it is also possible to set a Default Duration which is used in scheduling services to determine how much time to block out in the calendar and ‘Start Activities Every’ field which determines how frequently a new service can be scheduled.
Once the new service has been saved selection rules can be added which govern what resources can be used and what is required to complete a service, as an example I have created selection rules which will book a Garden Strimmer and book the least busy staff member. It’s worth knowing that when creating a selection rule you can modify the Selection Criteria which I’ve briefly described below –
- Random (default) – will randomly select a resource.
- Least Busy – will select the resource with the least booked time, this can be useful to spread the workload out. In my example I have chosen to select the least busy staff member for each job which in theory means they will have more time between jobs.
- Most Busy – will select the resource with the most booked time, this could be useful if for example a meeting room is required and you want to fill a single meeting room to capacity before booking another meeting room.
Also worth knowing is that selection rules can search for resources in either ‘The same site’ which is useful for equipment as an example or ‘Any Site’ which may be more useful for searching for staff with specialised skills.
Resource groups allow you to define resources which can be grouped together, for example I’ve created a group titled ‘Landscaping Equipment’ which contains a Strimmer and a rake which will both be needed to cut somebodies grass to a professional standard.
The Service Calendar is where services are scheduled, the service calendar uses all of the previous elements I’ve discussed in order to make scheduling simple.
A new service activity can be scheduled either using the ‘Service Activity’ button which allows you to quickly create a new activity whilst defining all elements of it or by selecting ‘Schedule’ which presents the Form Assistant which I’ve shown below.
Once a service has been scheduled it will then show in the service calendar with a colour dependent on the activities current status. The colour can change depending on the following values –
Capacity is used to limit the availability of a resource the example Neil uses is –
Firstly, for example, a workshop may have a capacity that you can only repair four cars at any moment in time.
But you can also use capacity to reflect skill level. For example, a junior engineer might perform one car service every hour. (Capacity of 1.) And a senior mechanic might be able to perform two. (Capacity of 2.) By setting the capacity on the resources you avoid over committing.
On Facilities/Equipment capacity is set up using Work Hours which are accessed by entering the facility/equipment record and selecting Work Hours in the left-hand nav.
From here a new weekly schedule, a work schedule for one day or Time Off can be configured.
Service Management in CRM can be quite a difficult topic to understand fully as there are a lot of different elements that have to come together to make it work as expected, with this complexity however does come a lot of power to set the system up to any requirements you may have so it is well worth learning in full. I feel like this is something I will need to cover again before taking the exam.