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 concepts around creating 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 important topics around defining your resources and services.
Before you can schedule anything you are going to need to define the services your organization offers. And also define the resources needed to execute those services.
Bookable resources are the people, facilities or equipment that are needed to execute a service.
Unified Resource Scheduling (URS) handles scheduling across all of the Dynamics 365 applications that may include elements of scheduling. Meaning any defined resources will be available in customer service and also other applications such as Field Service. We have the following resource types;
User – a resource is mapped to an internal Dynamics 365 user record. This is a common type of resource as these are the people who will deliver the services.
Generic – used as a place holder to define the type of resource needed. A specific named resource would then replace a generic resource at a later date. (Typically I have used this type of resource in connection with the Project Service App. A project management application!)
Contact / Account – very similar to a user resource but instead of mapping to a system user record these resources can map to user or account records. (Possibly useful when planning work for sub-contractors who are external to your organisation.)
Equipment – Defines the resource as a piece of equipment.
Facility – used to represent a building or room.
Below you can see I have created a resource of type user and associated this with my user record.
Note: Ensuring the corrorect time zone and location is entered on the general tab maybe significant as these can influence how the resource shows on the schedule board.
Depending on the additional applications you have installed one or more tabs may show with additional parameters specific to that application. Below you can see that I have “Project Service”, “Field Service” and “Omnichannel” installed. All of which share this same bookable resource record.
The scheduling tab (shown below) contains some additional parameters which are common to all the applications using URS.
Start / end location – if locational data is significant we can define if the resource will start (or end) work from their address or their organizational unit.
Organizational unit – Each resource will be linked to one physical location via the organizational unit.
Display on schedule board – You can decide if this resource should be visible on the schedule board using this option.
Enable for availability search – this option lets us decide if this resource will be included in the availability searches which maybe completed using the scheduling assistant.
We can set the resource start and end locations as “location agnostic”. Meaning the resources do not have a defined start / end location. Also, if locations aren’t important then the start and end location will probably be defaulted to organizational address.
We can use the related option to view the characteristics (skills) of this resource. In addition to defining the resource we can also define a rating value to demonstrate the resources proficiency.
Under resource category associations we can see any roles (aka resource categories) which have been associated with this resource.
The show work hours option can be used to define the working pattern for this resource. (For example, Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm.) We can also flag on off periods of non-working time or time off.
As we define a working pattern we can define the capacity of a resource. (Typically for people this will be “1” but a facility (e.g. a meeting room) could have a larger capacity.)
We can also flag if the resource will observe business closures or not.
Tip: You could also add break times, like an hour for lunch if required.
Facility resources are useful when you need to reserve a physical space, such as a room for an event. Or if you need to schedule an appointment with a person at a facility, for example an appointment an a health clinic. As facilities as physical locations their start / end locations must always be the organizational unit address.
Services define the schedulable work that can be performed for a customer. Such as servicing a car or upgrading a PC, cutting someone’s hair etc.
As shown below we first end a name and description for the service. We can also define the state the booking will first show as on the schedule board. (As in, requested or tentative.)
Having saved the service we can use the resource requirements tab to define the resources needed to deliver the service. As each service may require different types of resources.
We can also group the required resources. This helps the dispatchers schedule an entire team (group) of resources for the single service activity. Groups can be useful if multiple technicians are required or maybe combinations of technicians and equipment.
It is also possible (if required) to define multiple groups of resources. This might be done when multiple combinations of resources would be an acceptable solution. When defining resource groups we can opt to specify that all or any of the resources are needed to fulfil the requirement. All, meaning all of the resources defined in the group will be required. Whilst any means that only one of any of the list resources will be required.
Below you can see that I have created a resource group that I have renamed to be called “My Group”. In my simple example I have then added a requirement. Once I have added my requirement I can add any requirements. Such as under resource categories I have shown the that the resource will need a “role” of developer.
Next to my group I have also defined a duration of 4 hours and flagged that all the resources must come from the same organizational unit.
Tip: I have shown a very simple example below. As part of your revision I suggest you start off simple. But once you have scheduling work I encourage you to experiment with more complex scenarios.
One option you should experiment with is the sort option! This gives me several options that will help decide how resources are presented in searches.
- None – no sorting is applies.
- Randomize – presents the available resources in a random order.
- Most busy – presents the resources with the most bookings first.
- Last busy – presents the resources with the least bookings first.
You can deactivate services if they are no longer required. This will make it unavailable for future bookings. B UT … you can only deactivate the service if there are no open or schedules service activities associated with the service.
Hopefully this post has given you an introduction into some of the concepts around creating resources and services. You will no doubt (hopefully) now understand that we have quite a few options! You may need to create multiple resources and services as part of your revision to experiment with the many scheduling concepts. My tip is, start off simple and once you have scheduling operating gradually add more resource / services to experiment with more and more features. Enjoy.