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Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

Posted on by 7

Hi,

I have a question regarding Dynamics Project Operations and how it is related to Business Central Project Management capabilities. We would like to start using project management capabilities on the Dynamics 365 platform.

Our research so far pointed towards Project Operations as a platform that would suit our requirements (we provide digital services, mostly in project based approach and are already using Dynamics 365 Sales). However, we would like to integrate the project management process and the invoicing process.

Microsoft documentation states that Project Operations is closely integrated with F&O. However, we are a relatively small organisation and therefore, F&O wouldn't suit our requirements in terms of an ERP system. Business Central would be better suited but we have found that a) Project Operations is not integrated with Project Operations the same way F&O is. I have found questions on this community board asking whether this integration is on the roadmap and have found Microsoft employees stating that it is, but not for the near future. And b) Business Central has its own Project Management capabilities.

I am currently wondering how the project management capabilities of both Business Central and Project Operations compare. Whether an integration between Business Central and Project Operations is indeed in the pipeline. And what our integrations options are if we were to run Project Operations and Business Central alongside each other.

Thanks in advance.

  • Sophia Profile Picture
    Sophia 6 on at
    Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management
    Hey there!
    So, to clarify a few points:
    1. Dynamics 365 Project Operations Resource Management: This feature lets you manage resources, bookings, and scheduling efficiently. While Project Operations is deeply integrated with F&O, it doesn't have the same native integration with Business Central.
    2. Comparing Project Management Capabilities: Business Central’s project management tools offer solid functionality for budgeting, tracking, and invoicing. Project Operations, on the other hand, is more robust for larger-scale operations, offering advanced scheduling, resource optimization, and project planning.
    3. Integration Pipeline: Although there have been talks about integrating Project Operations with Business Central, it seems like it's not happening soon, according to Microsoft.
    4. Integration Options: Running Project Operations and Business Central together means you'll likely have to use third-party connectors or build custom integrations to sync project data and invoicing.
    Hope that helps!
  • ausnik Profile Picture
    ausnik 47 on at
    Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management
    Hi - Does anyone know of any advancement in Project Operation to Business Central integration from Microsoft? We can build an integration piece but would prefer to use an out of the box component if possible - to save time and money, and stick with out-of-box components. Business Central is more suitable for financials for most organisations in our market. 
  • Hambdabili Profile Picture
    Hambdabili 5 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    I noticed that this thread is about a year old, but I wanted to provide some insights regarding your question on Dynamics Project Operations and Business Central Project Management capabilities. Integrating project management and invoicing processes can be a game-changer for streamlining operations. While Project Operations might have seemed like a good fit initially, it's understandable that Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O) might not be the ideal choice for a smaller organization like yours. Also, if you're interested in further enhancing your project management skills, project management courses can provide valuable insights and strategies. Ultimately, it's important to evaluate your integration options and choose the solution that best suits your organization's needs.

  • Kerry Evans Profile Picture
    Kerry Evans 165 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Dynamics 365 Project Operations and Business Central both offer project management capabilities. However, Project Operations is currently more closely integrated with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O) than with Business Central. Microsoft has stated that they plan to integrate Project Operations with Business Central in the future, but there is no confirmed timeline for this.

    In terms of comparing the project management capabilities of Business Central and Project Operations, Business Central has its own project management capabilities that may meet your requirements, while Project Operations provides more advanced features such as resource management and project accounting.

    If you were to run Project Operations and Business Central alongside each other, you would need to consider integration options. One option could be to use a third-party integration tool or build custom integrations to synchronize data between the two systems. Another option could be to use Microsoft Power Apps to create custom integrations between the two systems. Ultimately, the best integration approach will depend on your specific business requirements and IT capabilities.

  • Juan Simon Profile Picture
    Juan Simon 996 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Hi,

    Interesting point. 

    Mind you the product is not in a mature state yet, and because you can use other tools to connect them other features are more urgent.

    Power Automate is ONE tool at your disposal. You can also use Virtual Tables that actually got updated recently: Get started with virtual tables (entities) (Microsoft Dataverse) - Power Apps | Microsoft Learn 

    They were created to integrate different systems to Dataverse.

    Thanks!

  • ExiteDigital Profile Picture
    ExiteDigital 7 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Thanks for another elaborate answer! Since there doesn't seem to be a single definitive answer to the original question, I will mark your post as the answer.

    I mainly hope Microsoft will invest more into the integration between Dynamics CRM offerings and Business Central. For now it seems that the vision is mainly that BC is a one stop shop for SMEs in terms of project management, sales, resource management, finance etc. While for enterprise sized firms, F&O is the finance core with all the modules (D365 Sales, PO, SCM etc) as best-of-breed tools with native integrations to enrich the core process.

    To me it still seems there's a gap here, there should be plenty of firms for which F&O is too enterprise, but the BC ecosystem is too basic for the task at hand. Which leaves you with picking other D365 modules of which only Sales natively integrates and the rest is subject to integrations with Power Automate or APIs which adds unnecessary complexity in application- and data architectures.

  • Verified answer
    Juan Simon Profile Picture
    Juan Simon 996 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Hi, we could spend hours talking about this!

    Since I don’t know all the details of what you need, I will just share my overall view.

    Project Operations is where the investments are going alongside Project for the Web, so you will see a different app in one or more years from today, as more functionality is added, so don’t quickly discount it as an option if it does not check all the boxes. When comparing these tools, look at what you need today and where you want to go tomorrow, and yes, maybe in the short term you may need to compromise one feature over two others you need knowing that later you will fill that gap.

    I don’t see Business Central having a huge investment in terms of Project Management/Resource Management for instance, since the focus is Accounting and Financing, but basic features are there in case you need them, and they could be a good start for your case. Nothing wrong with that!

    You can integrate with Azure DevOps to track velocity and have a more Scrum-focused interface for instance.  There is a native connector so not hard to do.

    I don't know if that is coming but what I can do is create the idea and ask others to vote it, so they consider that.  Now, native integrations are great, but one could argue that with the other tools you can get the same result and even tailor it to your own needs. 

    I hope this helps, and please confirm this as answered.

    Thank you!

  • ExiteDigital Profile Picture
    ExiteDigital 7 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Hi Juan Simon,

    Insightful answer, thanks a bunch!

    It does still confuse me how Microsoft positions PO. The fact that PO integrates natively with F&O and the fact that BC has its own project management capabilities almost make it seem like PO is being positioned as an enterprise grade project management module where it positions BC as an alternative for SME sized organisations.

    From what I have seen so far from the project management capabilities in Business Central, the functionality just isn't there to create elaborate project management structures, it just serves as a tool to map resources to tasks etc.

    Now on the flip side, our project organisation leans heavily on Agile/Scrum methodologies and it seems neither BC or PO is really suited for that task anyway. Which means BC could just about suit our needs in terms of resource management.

    For now it seems the best course of action would be to stick with D365 Sales and choose BC for simple project- & resource management while creating extensive Agile/Scrum plannings using separate software.

    I do however find it awkward that Microsoft doesn't seem to have a suitable SME alternative for the lead-to-order and order-to-cash process flows that is otherwise covered by D365 Sales, D365 Project Operations and F&O for Enterprise grade firms. At least not without having to build integrations with Power Automate or Dataverse..

  • Juan Simon Profile Picture
    Juan Simon 996 on at
    RE: Project Operations VS Business Central Project Management

    Hi ExitDigital,

    The Project functionality of Business Central is limited when compared with Project Operations (which is built for project management). So, no WBS interface, just 'boring' ERP-like task entries there. So in many scenarios you have all Sales and Project Execution on the PO side and Accounting, Procurement and Invoicing on the BC side. Not aware of being considered today, I did create the ask for the product group but it needs votes, so maybe you can help me there:  Microsoft Idea (dynamics.com) 

    Dynamics 365 Sales and BC have a small native integration between them where 'some' tables get integrated, more on the Sales side of things:

    pastedimage1665513077331v1.png

    Now, not sure how well it would work for Project Operations. I used it in the past it and it did! But official documentation does not recommend this. So, I would suggest you test this in a sandbox to make sure it works for your purposes, but know that it is an option!

    pastedimage1665513298441v2.png

    For integration of say: Invoices, Subcontracting and more, you can use Power Automate, Logic Apps, Virtual Tables (Dataverse) and APIs. 

    Let me know if this helps.

    Thanks,

    Juan Simon

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