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Last year, Microsoft launched the latest addition to the Dynamics 365 stack - Dynamics 365 (D365) Project Operations. Described as an end-to-end project management solution that’s designed to help service-based organisations drive project success and profitability, it replaces D365 Project Service Automation (PSA).

Are you thinking the two solutions sound awfully similar? You’re not alone. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons behind D365 Project Operations’ development and how it compares to D365 PSA.

Why D365 Project Operations was developed

Project management toolsPhoto by Startup Stock Photos

It wasn’t as though Microsoft didn’t have any project management tools. Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project, D365 PSA and D365 Finance & Operations (F&O) were just a few of the solutions that had the functionalities suited to effective project management.

However, this abundance of tools was likely what fuelled the birth of D365 Project Operations. Users were confused as to which of the above Microsoft solutions best met their project management needs. Some businesses were even using a mixture of different solutions.

Plus, there was some duplicate features and functionalities.

So, Microsoft decided to develop a solution that encompassed all of the above solutions’ key features and cover every stage of the project cycle. The result? A project management solution that can handle both the front-end sales functionality and back-end financials to offer complete visibility.

One project management application to rule them all.

The differences between D365 Project Operations and PSA

Both are end-to-end project automation and management tools. However, D365 PSA revolves more around front-office project management. In contrast, D365 Project Operations covers both front and back-office.

For example, Project Operations includes the planning and scheduling functionalities of Microsoft Project (previously not available in PSA) as well as some of the project management accounting and expense management features of D365 Finance.

This includes features such as:

  • Project planning
  • Resource utilisation and optimisation
  • Forecasting (e.g. expected resources, time, expenses etc)
  • Time and expenses tracking
  • Project accounting (current, expected and how they compare)
  • Business intelligence

So, D365 Project Operations is suited for more roles within the business than PSA, including:

  • Account managers
  • Project managers
  • Resource managers
  • Project accountants
  • COO

Transitioning from D365 PSA to Project Operations

D365 Project Operations vs PSAPhoto by cottonbro

Since D365 Project Operations became available for general use (1 October 2020), it has not been possible to buy any new PSA licences. But you can continue renewing existing licences until 1 October 2021.

D365 PSA will reach end of life in October 2024, whereby any support and updates from Microsoft will cease to be offered.

If you’re a PSA user, don’t worry. You won’t face immediate disruption. You will have between two and four years to transition to Project Operations (depending on the type of contract).

In Microsoft’s 2021 release wave 1 plan, it was stated that D365 PSA users will get the chance to upgrade to Project Operations. Microsoft promises ‘a seamless transition’, with data migration tooling available within PSA to help users make the switch.

Additionally, there is support available from either Microsoft themselves or partners - like Columbus.

Got any further questions? Reach out to us via the button below today.

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The ultimate application designed to connect your project-centric business, end-to-end

To find out more about D365 Project Operations, from its features and functionalities to why it’s the ultimate end-to-end solution for project-based organisations, download our factsheet. We discuss the key features in more depth and explain how they can help you overcome industry challenges.

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