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 cover some of the concepts of setup needed before you can schedule your resources and services.
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. Meaning this post is one of several that I will create to cover all aspects of scheduling. In this post I will cover the initial configuration and setup required.
Before you can start to schedule items using customer service scheduling there are several things you must first ensure are defined. As these are essential to be able to effectively schedule work.
When assisting an organisation to configure service scheduling asking loads of questions which may help define / refine the required setup. Some examples are below;
What services do we need to schedule?
Do our services require multiple resources?
So our service require different types of resources? (e.g. sub-contractors, equipment etc.)
What does an unscheduled item “look like”?
Does the service activity need to go through multiple statuses or stages before it is scheduled?
What does a scheduled item look like?
Is there a difference between the item being “just” schedules and when someone is actively working on it?
Do the resources need to take breaks?
What factors can impact scheduling of a resource?
Is out organization split into service areas? (e.g. North / South)
Where will the service be executed?
When will specific types of resources be required?
Organizational units are used to group resources together. Often are organizational units will reflect the physical locations that the resources operate from. Maybe a company has regional service centres in the North and South. When this happens it will be common to schedule a particular requirement from just one organizational units.
Below you can see that I have used the “Organizational Units” option within the scheduling area to define my organizational unit.
Notice below that on the scheduling tab I have entered the latitude and longitude for this unit. This information is essential to be able to show the organizational unit on maps within the schedule board.
Tip: As there is no address input and automatic lookup of the lat/long information I used a website to help me find a suitable setting. https://www.latlong.net/
Each resource will have a calendar / working pattern. But you may also need to define a set of business closures that will aid scheduling. For example, if you company is shut on Christmas day and New Years day you may need to reflect these as business closures so that no bookings are accidently scheduled on these days.
Below you can see I have opened the business closures option from the settings area of scheduling. First of all notice the grey bar containing the year, you can sue this to scroll forward or backward as required.
We then use the “New” option to add closures as required.
For each closure we define several fields;
Name – a description of the closure reason.
All day event – Set to “yes” if the closure is all day. But you can enter “no” and define a closure of “n” hours if required.
Start time – The start of the closure.
End time – The end of the closure.
Below you can see that I have defined “an important” business closure date. Notice that this is a one day event but seems to start a day early! This is because the shutdown is actually running from midnight on one day until midnight on the next day.
Note: Later when you define resources we have an option to observe or not observe business closures. Say you have an engineer that provides 24/7 on call support, then that engineer will probably not observe business closures. Whilst other engineers who have a “normal” working pattern would observe closures.
Resource categories allow us to group our resources by roles. These can be useful when scheduling as we can easily select a particular type of resource.
For example, I a software consultancy may have may different types of resources. Including developers, consultants and more.
Below you can see that I have used the resource categories option to define a number of resources.
Notice that for each resource category we can also associate the required skills and proficiency level resources holding this role will be expected to have.
Facilities and equipment
In addition to scheduling “people” it maybe common to need to use facilities and equipment. One classic example is an car repair company, as any service will require a free service bay (facility) or maybe a particular diagnostic tool (Equipment).
Facilities and equipment can be associated with resources and scheduled as part of services scheduling. When we create a facility/equipment record, we define the name, organizational unit and time zone of the facility / equipment. Additionall a description can be entered to describe this item.
The working hours tab allows us to define the working pattern of the facility to euqipment. It might be that a piece of euqipment is always available. But you will find examples when this isn’t always true. For example, a training room may only be available on certain days or times. A training room (for example) may also have a capacity.
In this post I hope I have covered some of the key setup items that need to be created before we begin to use service scheduling. As part of your MB 230 revision I suggest you experiment with these options creating some organization units, facilities etc. In later posts I will explore how these settings effect the definition and scheduling of our services. Enjoy.