What are the Main Entities Used in Dynamics 365 for Field Service?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service helps to increase the efficiency of field service operations to empower technicians, maximise resources and enhance the customer experience.
We've worked with several customers who implemented their system as Dynamics CRM before Microsoft released its Field Service app for Dynamics 365. In the absence of dedicated field service capabilities at that time, the design of their systems were significantly reliant on custom elements to handle these processes.
With subsequent concerns arising about restricted scalability and support of these customisations, in many of these cases a re-implementation using the first-party Dynamics 365 Field Service app has been the most effective solution.
To help you assess if your organisation could also benefit by taking this approach, in this post we'll look at the main entities and functionality used in the app.
Bookable Resource: In Field Service, anything that needs to be scheduled is classified as a bookable resource. In many instances this will be individuals who may be users, contacts and accounts. This also includes company assets and crews of workers who are collectively booked for a defined period of time.
Bookable Resource Categories: Each bookable resource can be grouped by type. For example, company assets can include vehicles and equipment that will be booked for field service jobs. For individuals, resource categories often include engineers, technicians and sub-contractors.
Resource Pay Types: Tracking the organisation's costs associated with a resource booking.
Characteristics: This is used to detail the skills and competencies that each resource possesses. It includes tracking of individual qualifications, certifications and experience needed for certain types of field service work that will help schedulers find and book the best suited individuals for each requirement.
Booking Statuses: To precisely reflect your processes bespoke booking statuses and accompanying colours can be set that will appear on the scheduling board. In addition to confirmed bookings, other statuses could include proposed bookings, showing travelling time, work in progress and completed jobs.
Booking Rules: allowing systems admins to define warning alerts or error message that are triggered when users create or edit resource bookings based on custom conditions. For example, a warning could be triggered if a scheduler attempts to book a resource who does not possess sufficient skills that are required for new service requirement.
Territories: if your organisation works across different geographical areas, service territories can be configured to help schedulers quickly find the best qualified resources within a defined territory.
Post Code Records: relate to service territories meaning that accounts can be automatically assigned to a territory when the address is entered. From the post code field on an account record, Dynamics 365 will automatically populate the service territory field when a match is made.
Work Order: this record details what work needs to be done and manages the required resources. Work orders are raised for any type of field service work such as installations, maintenance and repairs.
Incident Types: these are service templates which enable users to quickly raise work orders for frequent routine service jobs. Each incident type template details the service tasks that need to be completed, the required skills for this job type as well as the estimated work order duration.
Priority: as implied, this option will prioritize work orders. It includes assigning a custom colour that will show in the schedule board to help schedulers visually distinguish the priority of each job.
Work Order Type: categorise different types of work orders such as installations, repairs, upgrades, maintenance and other types that enable work order information to be filtered in views, reports and dashboards as well as the schedule board.
Work Order Sub-Statuses: as each work order record progresses its status values will be set. The Field Service app has 6 standard settings including Open - Unscheduled, Open - In Progress and Closed - Posted. These system settings can't be amended but custom statuses can be set as sub-statuses to precisely match unique processes and terminology.
Service Task Types: list each type of task the assigned field service resource(s) will need to complete during this job. These will be detailed in an incident type template, and ultimately the work order. A duration for each item will roll up to define the overall work order duration. For example, within an equipment repair incident type, a series of service tasks may be defined that detail each check and action an engineer should follow to investigate and resolve the issue.
Time Groups: can be specified as multiple time windows for scheduling field service work e.g. 9am - noon, noon - 4pm or 4pm - 7pm
Product: detail about products that are sold to customers. This can include warranty information, price, model number, serial numbers. Products will often be added to work order when an incident is added, or this detail may already have been pulled through from an originating case.
Customer Asset: this capability tracks serviceable items that are installed at a location which will often be a customer's premises. The asset record tracks each activity specific to this item including a work history that details all visits including installation, servicing and repairs. This record can also be used to store an image asset.
Price List: defining how much a customer will be charged for your product and services. The Field Service price list is associated with work orders and includes a series of extensions to the standard Dynamics price list capability. For services this includes functionality to allow for a minimum charge amount to reflect a base charge for all call outs, a minimum charge duration and flat fee pricing for fixed cost visits.
Purchase Orders: will track items that need to be ordered from suppliers with associated system statuses including submitted, received and billed.
Purchase Order Sub-Statuses: enabling more precise tracking of purchase order statuses in line with bespoke processes.
Warehouse: this record provides a detailed inventory and transaction history. This can represent a fixed warehouse, or a vehicle used by field service engineers. For each product in the warehouse this reports the physical quantity at the warehouse / on the van, the quantity allocated, volume on order and the actual quantity available. For products carried on a van, engineers can use the Field Service mobile app to add items to a work order that will update the inventory accordingly.
Ship Via: specify different shipping method used.
Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA): this record will be created when a product needs to be returned and a RMA sub-status will specify the precise return status inline with your processes.
Return to Vendor (RTV): as implied, these records are used when items need to be sent back to a vendor while an RTV sub-status provides further tracking detail.
Agreements & Billing
Agreement: provides the framework to automatically generate work orders and invoices. For maintenance work an agreement record can define the frequency that work orders are generated and the detail of the work order. The agreement record details customer information including billing account, start / end dates and pricing.
Agreement Booking Set-Up: defining the type of activity that much be performed, the priority level and if a work order should be automatically scheduled. This will also define how many days in advance a work order will be generated for flexibility to fit in with a customer's availability.
Payment Terms: used with purchase orders enabling purchase managers to set these when creating a purchase order.
Tax Codes: specifying how tax will be applied to your products, agreements and services.
Universal Resource Scheduling
The Field Service app uses Dynamics 365 Universal Resource Scheduling to schedule visits for all field service requirements. Using the schedule board, field service dispatchers and schedulers match the most suitable resources for each requirement who possess the right skills, experiences and / or qualifications.
Connected Field Service
This Dynamics 365 capability will monitor connected devices to check that customer supplied equipment is correctly functioning and minimise down time. Where anomalies or failures are identified, notifications will be triggered to resolve the issue remotely, or dispatch an engineer to fix this for proactive servicing.