Customer Engagement & Dynamics CRM Forum


By Dian Taylor posted Sep 15, 2020 12:57 PM

In July 2020 the release notes for wave 2 came out for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and on August 3rd we were able to enable these features for early access. I’m writing a series of articles on these new features.Previously I wrote about generic updates and the updates in Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Customer Service and in last week’s article I wrote the first half of enhancements and new features for Dynamics 365 Field Service.

If you haven’t read that article yet you can do that here.
In today’s article I’ll discuss the second and final half of Dynamics 365 Field Service features and updates. I will discuss the following topics:

  • Usability Enhancements
  • Work Order Metrics
  • Asset Properties
    • Property Definitions
    • Templates for Property Definitions
  • Using Power Automate for Field Service Workflow
  • Enhanced Skill Matching in RSO
  • Customer Asset validations and Related Account Re-parenting
  • Additional Enhancements

Usability Enhancements

The ‘Field Service subgrids as a dialog’ feature opens Field Service child records in a separate overlay window so that system users don’t navigate away from the record they were viewing or editing. For example, while you are working on a record, like a work order, you can create, update, and review related child records, like work order service or work order product without having to leave the form you were accessing this record from. If you want to turn this functionality off, you can do that by navigating to the settings area and opening the field service settings. Open the Other tab and set the ‘Work Orders Subgrid records open as Popups’ to ‘no’.

Work Order Metrics

There are several new fields that have been added to the work order which addresses some previous gaps. These fields allow for better tracking in the work order life cycle. The new fields have been added to the ‘Record Log’ tab on the work order form. The fields that have been added are:

Total Estimated Duration – This field calculates the total estimated duration from related work orders service tasks. These tasks can come from an incident type or get added manually. I did notice that for any existing work orders prior to the update this fields didn’t get updated, however if you edit any of the related work order service tasks this will initiate the recalculation and update of this field. It’s interesting to me that this doesn’t look at the related requirement records. I.E If we add a second requirement to the work order it will not update this field.

First Arrived On – A date field that will show the date and time the first booking is marked as arrived. This field is also not updated for any existing work orders.

Completed On – A date field that will show the date and time the last booking related to this work order was completed. This field is also not updated for any existing work orders.

Asset Properties

This is another pretty cool feature that has been added with this release. Asset properties allow us to create unique information for each individual asset. Maybe you want to store certain data for HVAC assets, like what the cooling capacity is, or whether or not it comes with a remote or has a heater, which you probably won’t store on an elevator asset. With asset properties we now have the ability to do this! No, these are not fields that are added to the asset form, but several entities that work together in order to capture this data. The first thing you need to do is create these property records. These represent the data we’re storing, like ‘Cooling Capacity’, ‘Heater included’ or With Remote’. You can do this by navigating to the settings area in the Dynamics 365 Field Service app. You’ll notice a new section called ‘Asset Properties’ containing ‘Properties Definitions’ and ‘Templates for Properties’. Click on ‘Property Definitions’ and add the new records. The property types represents the type of data that will be captured in the property record. Values available are: Number, String, Boolean and Date/Time. Properties can be associated to assets in two ways: one by one or by using property templates, allowing us to add multiple properties at a time, which I will describe below.

Adding properties to an asset  one by one

When you’re ready to select which of these properties you want to use for a particular asset, open the asset you want to add the properties to and click on ‘related’, then select ‘Property Asset Associations’. This is where you will be able to pick the properties you want to use for this asset. Once you’ve added the properties click on the ‘Properties’ tab. You will see two subgrids. The top one is called ‘Current Property Values’ and ‘Property Log History’. The ‘Current Property Values’ is exactly that, it shows all the properties that are current. If you try to update an existing record in this grid, you’ll notice that it not possible. You’ll need to create another record by clicking ‘+New Property Log’. You’ll also notice that as soon as you create another property log record with the same property, the newly created record will show in the top grid, while the ‘older’ value drops from there and will only be visible in the ‘Property History Log’ grid. This grid can be used to view current and previous values of certain properties, which makes it kind of behave like an audit trail.

Adding multiple properties to an asset – Templates

We can create templates for property definitions which allows us to add multiple properties to an existing asset all at once. You’ll need to add the properties to the template first. Once the template gets associated with an asset, all the properties related to that asset will be ‘copied’ over to the asset. Users can assign the template to an asset through here, or you can open an asset, click on the ‘Related’ tab and select ‘Asset Template Associations’ and create a new record. Users also have the option to add Asset Categories to a template. When any of these asset categories are assigned to an asset, all of the properties in the related template are again ‘copied’ over to the asset.
Under the ‘Asset’ grid on the template you’ll see all the assets that have the template related to them. NOTE: You will not see the assets that are related to this template through the asset categories.

Using Power Automate for Field Service workflow

I believe this feature was in preview a few months ago. According to this documentation from Microsoft this feature will be available for public preview in October of 2020. I was able to turn this on in my environment by navigating to the ‘Settings’ area in the Dynamics 365 Field Service app. On the top of the sitemap you’ll see ‘Field Service Settings’ under ‘General’. When you open the ‘Field Service Settings’ and click on the ‘Other’ tab you’ll see ‘Use Enhanced Background Processing’. When this option is set to yes, all asynchronous Field Service background processes will be processes through Power Automate or asynchronous plugins instead of the historic Dynamics 365 workflows.

Enhanced Skill Matching in RSO

This is not something that I was able to experiment with or test, but I still wanted to mention this feature as I do think it is an important one. If your organization is using RSO (Resource Scheduling Optimization) this can be important for you. We all know that resources can have one or multiple characteristics associated with their resource record. This features enhances RSO as it will pick a resource with the least amount of skills required to complete the work. The reason behind this is that resources that have multiple skills will be available longer for jobs that need their unique skills. So for example I have a work order that needs someone with electrical skills, and I have two resources called Ann and Bill that are both available, where Ann has 2 characteristics, electrical and programming and Bill has only the electrical characteristic the system will pick Bill for the job.

Customer Asset Validations and Related Account Re-parenting

Most of you probably know that when you create a work order and populate the customer asset field, the customer asset that is selected needs to be related to the service account on the work order. If this is not the case, you will see an error message stating just this, preventing you to save the work order. But what if you have a scenario where you need to be able to associate a customer asset that doesn’t belong to the service account to the work order? Maybe equipment is company owned, but is leased to a different company (the service account) or maybe you work for a manufacturing company that stores customer assets, but doesn’t track the service accounts, because their products are being sold by a partner channel to end users and therefor they don’t know where the asset it located? This new update will allow us for these types of scenarios. You can turn this functionality on or off by navigating to the ‘settings’ area in the Field Service app, and opening Field Service Settings. You’ll need to set the ‘Disable Customer Asset Validation’ field to ‘Yes’.
As you probably suspected the ‘Account Re-parenting’ functionality has something to do with the customer asset that is selected in the work order. When this is turned on, the system show a pop-up asking the user if they want to re-parent the account on the customer asset (for the the asset related to the work order). This window will only show if the selected customer asset on the work order has a different account that the service account on the work order. This can also turned on from the field service settings in the ‘settings’ area. Dan Gittler from Microsoft recorded a video on this which you can view here.

Additional Enhancements

Here are some additional enhancements that are scheduled for later this year, which were not in early access, which means that I was unfortunately unable to look at them and test them.

Integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management – With this feature, techs who are using Field Service can initiate purchase orders that flow into Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management without having to switch apps or initiating manual workflows outside of Dynamics 365.

Embedded optimizer within schedule board (RSO Only) – The default capabilities of resource scheduling optimizer functionality is made available in the schedule board.

Predictive work duration – The work duration will be predicted by AI based on various factors like resource performance, incident type, customer location, territorial differences, and seasonal changes. The AI will learn from historical data to calculate realistic duration times. It also provides efficiency ratings which allows dispatchers and service managers to drill down to detailed ratings for technicians across incident types. 

The technician locator: Sending scheduled service confirmation notifications to the customer. On the day of service, sending a reminder with a link to track technician location and estimated arrival time. A portal application from which customers can view scheduled service details and technician arrival details.

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