Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Field Service can help you deliver outstanding customer experiences, from allowing you to proactively identify and resolve issues before they happen to effectively allocating your resources and more. But before you implement the solution, you need to determine where it should sit within your organisation’s architecture.
In this blog, we’ll cover how you can do that, plus how D365 Field Service integrates with your other core software components.
- Consider the three-pronged attack
- Be principled in your approach
- Document your current state
- Use an architecture diagram
- Design your IoT architecture
- Make the most of IoT
1. Consider the three-pronged attack
When you’re examining the architecture of your organisation, as a part of adding new or improving existing business capability, consider these three areas:
|What to do
|Analyse your current and future business models and capabilities, geographies, people and products to ensure a holistic and ROI-driven vision is created.
|Organisational scope diagram, business principles catalogue, business process catalogue.
|Study a documentation of the application and data landscape to ensure a good fit. Map data and how it flows through applications aligned to the business architecture - this ensures integrity and control are maintained.
|Information principles, data dissemination diagram, application architecture diagram.
|Define the technology landscape, making topology decisions and planning for platform consolidation
and retirement of obsolete
|Deployment diagram, gap/fit
requirements document, success KPIs.
Reduce risk to your operations by assigning a cross-organisational team and getting their input on the topics above. If you use this approach to create and communicate a clear current state, future vision and roadmap, you can gain buy-in at all levels of your business.
2. Be principled in your approach
Make a catalogue of your design principles - this can help facilitate discussion and accelerate decision making. It also means if you want to review the project after its go-live, it’s easier for you to understand your rationale behind the strategic direction taken at the time.
Here are some principles to consider when designing a field service solution:
- Cloud or on-premise deployment?
- Will you align staff to products and/or geographies?
- What’s your mobile platform preference (e.g. iOS or Android)?
- Shared or multiple service organisations?
- Do you prefer a single or multiple master data management approach?
TIP: Your architectural design workshops should be facilitated by a strong leadership team member who can take an impartial approach.
3. Document your current state
Before you plan for your future state, it makes sense to document your current state. You need a solid map of your current organisational, application and technical landscape. Tools, such as Visual Paradigm and the Archimate language, can help your team build clear documentation that communicates to technical and non-technical stakeholders alike.
This step will allow you to identify applications that could be retired in future due to functionality duplications or perhaps they’re approaching end of life. This is particularly valuable knowledge, especially when acquisitions or mergers are planned or have taken place.
4. Use an architecture diagram
As you begin to make architectural decisions with your key stakeholders’ concerns and design principles in mind, using an architectural diagram, such as a logical architecture diagram, helps to put the business, information and technical components into context.
Use a simple building blocks type approach - this will help you drive effective communication of the architecture and show the future scope of the business processes being supported as they’re selected or pushed out of scope.
A key point in your design discussions will likely be: will this be a full cloud or a hybrid solution? This decision will also have an impact on the requirements for integration of data between applications.
5. Design your IoT architecture
If service alerts can be generated based on IoT sensor data, that will ultimately create cases to be managed by service engineers. This, however, will require the implementation of a technology and data architecture that is robust, secure and can potentially support multiple vendors.
Here are some key points to consider when you’re designing your IoT architecture:
- Wide area network topologies and mobile connectivity (e.g. WiFi, 3G/4G/5G)
- Enterprise messaging frameworks to manage sporadic connectivity
- Enterprise security – minimising and controlling the attack surface created by IoT devices in the field
- Scalability – how to securely, quickly and easily commission devices at scale
6. Make the most of IoT
The Internet of Things is slowly transforming many industries. For example, adding IoT sensors to your assets will not only allow you to reduce manual work, it can also help you monitor your equipment performance on-the-go, boosting productivity and ensuring business continuity.
This data can also feed into your ERP, effectively centralising that knowledge, increasing operational visibility and facilitating cross-team collaboration.
However, adding these sensors will undoubtedly make your information security officers nervous. So, it’s important to build an approach to security that fits seamlessly into your existing organisational processes. That means bringing your team on-board with your ideas, starting with getting their input to foster their buy-in.
This is arguably key to the success of your field service implementation.
Here are some topics to bring up during your discussions with the team:
- Authentication - The authenticity of the identity of a person or entity related to the system
- Authorisation - How you’ll define and enforce the permitted capabilities for a person or entity whose identity has been established
- Audit - How to provide forensic data proving the system was used in line with stated security policies
- Assurance - How you’ll test and prove the system has the security attributes required to uphold the stated security policies
- Availability - The ability of the system to function without service interruption or depletion even during downtime
- Asset protection - Protecting your information assets from loss or unintended disclosure, and resources from unauthorised and unintended use
- Administration - Adding or changing security policies, how policies are implemented in the system, and the persons or entities related to the system
- Risk management - Your organisation’s attitude and tolerance for risk
Dynamics 365: The ultimate solution to transform your field service operations
Excellent customer experience revolves around meeting your customers’ needs and providing them with a high, consistent quality of service. That includes your field service - it needs to be just as consistent and connected as the rest of your customer service.
This is where Dynamics 365 Field Service comes in. The solution helps you better manage your customer demands, connect your core business systems and give your technicians and agents the right tools at the right time so they can solve cases.
Read about the features and functionalities of Dynamics 365 Field Service in more depth in our comprehensive factsheet. Download your copy via the button below.