Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

Written by: Elliott Ichimura

Preparing for Complete Transparency

The service delivery lifecycle is where the rubber meets the road and where firms most need industry-specific capabilities. Firms have to be able to connect project colleagues to information, project tools, and each other while minimizing risks and maximizing delivery speed.  Being able to impose methodology controls on the planning and execution of projects is so critical to the predictable, repeatable, and ultimately profitable delivery of an engagement. This is why practice leaders and chief operating officers services firms invest so much time and effort in driving the definition of archetypical projects with phased structures, milestones, and deliverables.

Clients today are looking for highly responsive and transparent service delivery with clear economic value. Our purpose is to help providers meet and exceed these expectations by delivering reputation-enhancing service experiences reliably across offices, practices, and time zones. And at the heart of our vision is the dynamic service professional: talented problem solvers who can adjust to changing client, market, and operational needs because their business applications and tools are integrated-by-design yet built-to-flex to evolving business demands.

The days when clients defined a scope of work and tossed a project over the wall to a services firm to be worked on in an independent and sequential manner are largely gone. Today, many clients consider you part of their larger team; likewise, they often expect their staff to operate as embedded and integral members of your core project team. It’s a brave new world where tight collaboration creates the expectation of a new level of transparency among the firm, client, and other team members.

The privacy that used to exist—where you used to be able to maintain back office operations behind a curtain—is rapidly going away, primarily because technology-driven flows of information have eroded organizational boundaries. Clients expect on-demand, self-service access to the status of projects, the burn rate of the budget, and so on. Increasingly, the attitude is, “There should be an app for that” to monitor all aspects of a project and team collaboration.

It’s no longer enough to be able to accomplish assignments repeatably, consistently, and profitably. Now, it’s about handling this much more complex tapestry of talent, information, knowledge assets, and deliverables within a constantly changing environment, and it requires that you be able to communicate changes and adjustments proactively throughout the project. If keeping today’s relentlessly engaged clients happy weren’t enough of a challenge, another aspect of this new world of collaborative execution is that you have to find ways to ensure that the third parties on the team—the other vendors, contractors, and freelancers—aren’t undermining your brand. How can you manage their interactions with your clients in meetings or webinars, for instance?

This situation can provoke anxiety and fear in project managers and their firms. How can Microsoft help? We can help you embrace these challenges and leverage familiar tools to make the most of collaborative execution.  Unlike most other providers of business applications, Microsoft delivers both commercial systems and consumer products, so we understand both audiences. We have the benefit of applying learning about usability and adoption garnered from our consumer products to imbue intuitive simplicity into our commercial products.

Over time, we believe that more pieces of these collaborative projects will be “open by default,” but our tools allow you to control your pace of progress in this area, so you can start with the curtain completely closed and raise it incrementally.

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