Those of you that use Dynamics SL for Professional Services work tend to love Dynamics SL’s project series. There are very few bothersome areas since the modules cover in good depth some of the most important things to you-Utilization? There’s a module for it. Flexible Billings, there’s a module called “Flexible Billings”. Time and Expense entry and approvals-yep, you guessed it-there’s a module for it that allows you your choice of a rich client or a web client. There is a transaction creator module called “Project Allocator” that creates billable transactions from: timecards, expense reports, vendor purchase orders turned ap vouchers…even journal transactions.

Project Allocator appears to be designed into the product from the beginning since most financial and distribution modules prompt for project and task right out of the box. What project-related firm does not like being able to issue inventory to a project without the cumbersome manual transactions most ERP systems force to decrement inventory and increase WIP on a project? Sales Orders can even create projects and tasks. It seems Microsoft has everything for project-centric businesses.

The one area that is slightly weak is timecard entry. What our clients do not like is the performance of business portal and the lack of spell checking. Some have complained about the extra click needed to enter longer comments as well. The purpose of this blog post is to offer solutions to some of these Dynamics SL timecards related challenges.

Below, you can see the rich client for entering time. What’s nice is that you can re-name fields, hide fields, add fields and even duplicate last week’s timecard. What’s not so nice in the limited space in the timecard description area and the need to click on the “Invoice Comments” button for longer description that some customers want on their bills.

 

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Entering Timecards in Business Portal is an option. Typically the screen looks very similar but runs in a web browser without as much configurability as the rich client version of the timecard. In my experience, the rich client also performs better regardless of the hardware setup. Business Portal time entry, like the rich client does not have spell check; something more and more people are coming to consider a necessary part of timecard entry as it saves a lot of time when approving invoices.

Another option that a large Microsoft Partner of ours with offices in Minneapolis, Dallas and Denver has asked us to integrate with is “Replicon”. Replicon is cloud-based and easy to use. They have more than 1.5 million users worldwide using their time and expense management solutions. An obvious benefit from the picture below is the ability to enter time on your phone or tablet

 

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A third option available to Dynamics SL users is re-creating the timecard entry screen but using a different grid than the one that comes standard with the Dynamics SL Software Development Kit (SDK). Using a commercially available grid, you can add features such as spell check and word wrap more easily. This would mean the user does not need to click on “invoice comments” to add longer comments. They can be added right from the grid.

Another option we have considered is asking our excellent CRM Partner, PowerObjects, to create a timecard entry in Microsoft CRM. This would allow users to stay in Outlook/CRM when they enter time.

I hope these additional ideas have been helpful to you.

Warm Regards,

 

Jack Boyer

www.boyerassoc.com/blog