Thursday, April 2, 2009

Now's the Time To Improve Productivity

There’s little you can do to solve our world’s financial woes. So why not focus your effort on something you can control – making your organization more efficient and productive in a tough economic environment. Our Q1 2008 newsletter introduced the Dynamics SL Business Portal and how it could be used to organize and access information from anywhere at any time. In this issue, we’d like to expand on this topic a bit and explore ways to reduce IT costs and improve efficiency.

Your Portal to Efficiency
The Dynamics SL Business Portal is a collection of predefined, Web‐based pages that interact directly with Dynamics SL data. Samples of preconfigured pages include time and expense entry, purchase requests, and employee self‐service. The Business Portal is built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (“SharePoint”) technology. As such, its utility extends beyond your Dynamics SL system. SharePoint can act as a central repository that manages all of your organization’s documents, allow you to collaborate with others inside and outside your organization, and automate many common business processes. SharePoint also reduces IT administration expense as it provides web‐based access to Dynamics SL, eliminating the need to load software (and subsequent updates) on every user’s workstation.

One View, One Set of Project Documents
SharePoint is a great tool for managing project documents. Think of the productivity gains you’ll experience by merely clicking on a Dynamics SL project and accessing a centralized library containing related consulting contracts, statements of work, change orders, project plans, status reports, and project meeting minutes. No more wasted time digging through file cabinets or searching the network for misplaced documents. Project data from Dynamics SL can be combined with other important sources of information including spreadsheets, graphs, and notes. Perhaps best of all, everyone is working from the same SharePoint portal so your project team is always working with the most recent documents.

Improving Communication
With project calendars, team member information, announcements, and meeting notes all centrally located and available over the Web, SharePoint significantly improves communication within your team. What’s more, you can extend SharePoint technology to your customers. With appropriate security, they can access important project information online and reduce the time your staff spends responding to project status inquiries. You can even include a process for your customers to view and approve your invoices online which will speed‐up payment and improve cash flow.

Who’s Managing This Project?
With a multitude of graphs, tables and even “green/yellow/red” conditional alerts, Project Managers can use Dynamics SL Business Portal and SharePoint technology to track key performance indicators (KPI’s) such as staff utilization, project milestones, and actual vs. budgeted project expenses. Share‐Point can also be used to automate time consuming, manual processes like approving change orders.

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