I am currently revising for the MB-230 exam. This exam is for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and covers all aspects of customer service. As I revise I plan to publish blog posts that collectively will become a complete revision guide for anyone embarking on the same journey as me. In this post I will give an overview of service scheduling.
Below you can see an extract from the current skills measured statement for the MB 230 exam. You can hopefully see that scheduling is firstly a significant section of the exam and also that it covers numerous topics. Because of this I will not cover the full detail of scheduling in one post! This post will be an introduction covering the key concepts, later posts will dive deeper into the themes raised.
It will be a common requirement to schedule service based activities, for example scheduling the repair or installation of equipment. Sometimes this will involve scheduling work that will be completed at a customers location. Other times the scheduling will be for services to be performed at service locations. (Such as booking your car in for a service at a garage.)
Dynamics 365 includes a feature called Universal Resource Scheduling (URS) which provides an ability to schedule resources in many circumstances.
URS concepts are actually shared between other Dynamics 365 apps beyond customer service. For example, scheduling of work orders in the Field Service app leverages URS. Meaning we have the same schedule board capabilities in Field Service and Customer service.
Whenever we want to schedule something it is important to understand want needs to be done, what is needed to accomplish “it” plus who is capable of and available to complete the task.
Scheduling within customer service involves two components which allow us to define what is to be scheduled and also what resources are required to completed it;
- Service – these define what an organization is offering to their customers. A service might be a definition of a car service or maybe treatment at a beauty salon. The service record defines how many resources are needed to complete the task. Importantly you may need to be aware that a resource can be a person but also equipment. For example, a car service will need a mechanic to complete the service but other physical resources such as a service bay would also need to be available.
- Service activities – each service activity represents the delivery of a service to a customer.
Services and service activities are used together to define what needs to be done, how it needs to be completed and when will to be done. When we schedule a service activity Dynamics 365 will use URS to look at the resourtce requirements associated with the service and identify which people, facilities and equipment are available to complete the activity.
URS provides the solution that allows companies to schedule service activities. (and other entities.) It provides the core scheduling functionality, which can be leveraged in Customer Service scenarios and other Dynamics 365 apps. (Such as Field Service.)
Three core tables are creates as we schedule items;
- The item to be scheduled. This could be a service activity in customer service, a work order in Field Service or other entities.
- Resource requirements. based on the service these define what need to be completed for the item to be scheduled.
- Bookable resource booking. A bookable resource booking (catchy name!) is a booking against a resource requirement for a suitable resource. The bookable resource requirements will be defined based on the selected service.
Item to be scheduled
We may begin with a service activity. This is the item to be scheduled and include a definition of the service to be provided, what customer needs the work to be done and any scheduling preferences. (Including delivery time windows, preferred technician and more.)
When the service activity is created, a resource requirement is also created. This defines the details required to schedule the activity. URS uses the requirement record to identify suitable qualified resources. Requirements for a service activity might define the type or resource required, the service centre, any resource preferences and additional scheduling constraints.
Bookable Resource Booking
Bookable resource booking records are created as a resource requirement is scheduled. This provides specific details of the resource responsible for delivering the service activity. This could be the person responsible for completing a work order in Field Service. But it could also refer to a booking for the physical equipment required to complete the task. The resource booking will reflect the estimated (or actual) time to complete the task.
As part of your revision you need to become familiar with the components / terms relating to the various components involved in scheduling.
The items can be split into three groups.
Scheduling components – these are the components required to complete the scheduling process
Tools – these are the features to be used to schedule the components. (e.g. the schedule board.)
Settings – these are the configuration options which support the process of scheduling the components.
Scheduling components include;
|Resources||The people, facilities or equipment that you can schedule to work on “items” to be booked.|
|Services||Represents the service your company provides.|
|Service Activities||An activity record that can be used to reflect the delivery of a service to a customer. They therefore include what service is to be completed and for which customer.|
|Facilities / Equipment||A definition of the facilities and services that might be needed as part of a service activity.|
|Resource Categories||Used to categorise the roles / positions that resource might have. (e.g. Technician, Consultant, Designer etc.)|
|Fulfilment Preferences||Used to define how the schedule assistant results are displayed. For example time groups might be used to show blocks of bookable time.|
The schedule board is our primary tools for scheduling. It is an interactive calendar used to schedule specific items of work. The board can be filtered as required. Additionally scheduled items can be views on a map.
The settings area will define any additional parameters which impact scheduling. For example;
Organizational units – used to represent “containers” that group resources together. Often an organisational, unit might reflect a physical location that resources operate from. For example, a company with a Southern and Northern office may commonly have two organizational units defines. (One for each service location.)
Business Closures – These maybe used to define when the company is not open. For example, public holidays like Christmas day etc.
I hope this overview has given you an initial introduction into the key elements involved in the scheduling process. In future posts I will expand on these concepts in an attempt to cover all of the aspects you need to revised for the MB 230 exam. As always, please keep in mind that hands on usage of the system is essential. Meaning you should actually create resources, services and service activities. Plus then schedule these to appreciate how the schedule board operates. Enjoy.