It has been said that getting software development teams to input their time once is hard but getting them to input it again is impossible. As a project-driven activity, software development requires tracking costs and employee time for each project. Small and mid-sized professional services companies have a unique set of challenges for building, testing and releasing software internally. Specifically, these companies want to capture the time spent on various aspects of the software development cycle within their project-based accounting software.
Meanwhile, the professional services industry continues to evolve. Market pressures such as shifting buyer behaviors and more commoditization of services mean that business leaders want, among other things, to increase operational efficiency. Finding ways to streamline routine processes has become even more of an urgency. For the bottom line, having greater insight into employee time spent on projects means business leaders will have a deeper understanding of project costs and help them make decisions that drive the business forward.
Velosio is helping SMBs in the professional services industry tackle this urgency head on with Advanced Projects for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with integration for Jira and Azure DevOps to automate development team time entry.
API Integration with Jira and Azure DevOps
Advanced Projects for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers professional services companies an integrated solution for project management, billing and inventory management. This single, cloud-based solution provides companies with precisely what they need to meet industry requirements: robust business management functionality such as project quoting and budgeting and financial management. The advanced tools and insights delivered by Advanced Projects help these companies stay ahead of the competition leveraging Microsoft’s cloud platform.
Those concerned about the bottom line need to know how much time is being spent by the development team. As part of their business, professional services companies often maintain software development teams that frequently use software to plan, develop, and deliver software. But even those companies running much smaller software development teams will usually rely on some kind of software to manage development. Two of the most popular choices for this kind of project management software are Atlassian’s Jira and Microsoft Azure DevOps.
This post won’t compare and contrast the various benefits of both tools for capturing developer time across the development cycle. But suffice it to say these solutions help with continual software delivery and help companies supply more significant value to their customers. At its core, “DevOps” (the general term separate from the Azure software) is a set of practices that works to help teams build, test, and release software quickly and reliably. These processes usually loop between the software developers (development) and IT teams (operations).
A challenge with software development accounting is that, out of the box, the accounting system and Jira or DevOps don’t talk to each other. Generally, this development is project-driven activity that requires costs associated with them to be tracked. Jira and DevOps have developers track their time. But their time is best spent, from a business viewpoint, on development. And most any project manager or scrum master could tell you that it’s not easy to get their developers to track their time across more than one type of management software.
How Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 works
Advanced Projects owners who have enabled the Jira or DevOps API Integration can map a unique resource into a specific Jira or DevOps user. They’ll be able to find the resource as an external time entry user. The email address will be validated against DevOps or Jira to ensure this unique combination of DevOps or Jira user to Advanced Projects resources can be enforced.
When a project is marked as “Development,” the Advanced Projects user will map a project to a DevOps or Jira project. When a unique task is marked as a “Development Task,” the user will be able to map an Advanced Projects task to a DevOps or Jira feature.
Developers then enter their time spent working on any mapped projects only once, in one system. As a best practice, developers should input their time whenever they complete work or are closing out their day. They update the work items with how much time they’ve spent and how much is remaining. This information then populates their timecard in Advanced Projects along with the right project/feature combination. As a final step, developer finalization of their time is required.
More efficiency and productivity with less work
Even a small professional services company could have two dozen people involved in the software development cycle. And those developers might include notes and attachments as they’re tracking their time spent on each project. Without integration, that information can be easily forgotten, lost, or worse, recorded incorrectly.
Advanced Projects for Dynamics 365 Business Central streamlines the process with real-time integration that enables the flow of entry data captured when it’s inputted the first time. With the API integration, this data is automatically populated in the timecard in Advanced Projects – doing away entirely with the need for double entry. All that critical information is automatically transferred to the timecard in Advanced Projects. This means data is inputted only once, giving more time back to the development team. The result of cutting this redundant effort is that the time entry task is greatly reduced, and duplicate entry errors are completely eliminated.
And, even more important to the business, delays are reduced. Customers don’t get late invoices because time must be reentered or corrected. Your finance team can confidently bill accurately and consistently every time. Financial decision-makers at SMBs can know the bottom line isn’t being undercut by wasted time and effort.
Discover more about Advanced Projects for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and how it can help your professional services company illuminate hidden costs, do away with budgeting guesswork and knock down sales and delivery silos.