Microsoft Dynamics CRM 1.2 and now 3.0 could be considered as extremely flexible platform, suitable for small, mid-size and corporate businesses, it is easily customizable via C# or VB.Net in MS VisualStudio, however you can deploy MS CRM as is for sophisticated task, such employee timecards, consultant billable hours tracking, contract management, etc
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 1.2 and now 3.0 could be considered as extremely flexible platform, suitable for small, mid-size and corporate businesses, it is easily customizable via C# or VB.Net in MS VisualStudio, however you can deploy MS CRM as is for sophisticated task, such employee timecards, consultant billable hours tracking, contract management, etc. Assuming that you as business owner have IT department or even Microsoft savvy consultant you are ready to launch employee timelog process right away, without annoying customization and custom reporting.
Procedure. MS CRM is flexible in the sense that you can create and attach activity to virtually any object Account, Contact, Lead, Quote, Order, Invoice, etc. If you have your consultants do just that it will help (all the documents and info will be in CRM), however it would be no structure and you would be spending your time digging CRM in the search of historical information. Remember Lotus Notes Domino? Where you could also keep attaching and expanding lists and tree-like structure? You need the procedure and the procedure will help you structurize the data in MS CRM
Structure. The structure, deployed for employee time management should be like this. Customer (Account) should have Contracts. Each Contract should have contract lines (where you can allocate the budget per line), then each line should have Cases (when you fulfill the contract you assign your consultants to the cases, such as install software, fix bugs, replace old server with the new one, etc.). And finally, consultants should log cases, such as appointments (if the date and time is known) and tasks (if the date and time is now known, however you know the deadline)
Scenario. Customer ABC has ERP Implementation contract. This contract has two lines: Software Installation (24 hours budget) and User Training (40 hours budget). You activate contract, open two cases for Installation: SQL Installation and Client installation. You assign SQL case to John and Client case to Bill. You book John for Monday onsite visit (appointment, from 8am till 4pm) to install SQL, for bill you create task install clients for Nancy and Marilyn (you ask Bill to stop by next week, but you leave him to schedule and decide on the date). When John finishes installation, he opens MS CRM, appointment (either web or outlook client), goes to the appointment->action->close appointment (action Close Appointment->Completed) and 8 hours are logged toward SQL Installation case. When finally you close the case you decide on the number of billable hours (you will be shown the actual and budgeted time).
Reporting. You will probably need two reports: consultant/employee time, were you should be able to see budgeted, actual, written off time here you evaluate consultant performance. The second report is Project status.
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