Introduction to the Service Level Agreement Functionality in D365

Dynamics 365 offers built-in comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) functionality that caters to several different scenarios. In today’s post, we’ll explore this SLA functionality in more detail.

For one thing, SLAs are the first step toward crafting key performance indicators (KPIs) and then tracking performance against those KPIs. Of course, your support representatives see KPIs simply as timers on record forms that indicate the time remaining until (or time passed since) the prescribed (or allotted) amount of time to solve a support request. On the other hand, SLAs also can allow CRM users to pause the KPI timer depending on the status reason of the support request. For example, if a service representative cannot proceed until additional information is provided by the customer, a status reason of On Hold can be used to pause the timer until the status reason changes. It is important to remember that On Hold time, like everything else, can be tracked, measured, and reported. In many organizations, it’s just another KPI.

Within Dynamics 365, the SLA functionality can be configured to consider many different factors, including things like the SLA starting point from which the SLA is calculated, operational hours, holiday schedules, and pause/resume permissions. Prior to configuring an SLA, it's important to note that each one should include an SLA item record that defines the following:

Note that all SLA records must be activated, and a default SLA must be configured where entitlements are not being used.

To be able to properly configure an SLA in Dynamics 365, you must first configure your organization’s schedule.

Configuring the Customer Service Schedule

Follow these steps to create a Customer Service Schedule:

1. Go to Settings > Service Management.

2. On this page, find Customer Service Scheduleunder Service Terms.

3. You will see all existing Customer Service Calendars. To create a new one, click New in the Command bar.

4. In the popup window, name your Customer Service Schedule, add an optional description, and click Create.

5. Another popup window appears – this is where your organization’s weekly schedule can be customized:

Work Hours

Work Days

Holiday Schedule

Time Zone

Once all weekly schedule information is completed, select Save and Close. Note that if your organization needs more than one service schedule, simply repeat Steps 3-5. Once the weekly schedule is fully configured, it will look like this:

 

service level agreement

Configuring the SLA

Now that we have created a service schedule, we can define what our expected response levels should be. Our KPI’s can be based on two metrics: First Response Time and Resolution Time. Essentially, we need to determine what constitutes success or failure for each of those metrics, as well as what actions should be taken when a KPI is close to not being met or has not been met. Let’s look at a scenario where we want high priority cases to be resolved in 1 business day, and normal and low priority cases to be resolved within 3 business days.

1. Navigate to Settings > Service Management > Service Level Agreements, which can be found in the Service Terms

2. Click +New in the Command bar.

3. Name the new SLA (in our case, we’re calling it Default SLA. Identify the Entity to which the SLA should apply. In our demo, we’re using the Case NOTE: SLAs can apply to any Entity; the entity just needs to first be enabled for SLA tracking.

service level agreement

4. Click OK. A new SLA Form will appear on which you need to identify your desired Applicable From and SLA Type options:

Applicable From – From the list of available options, select the field from which the SLA items will be calculated. For our example, we will choose Created On, indicating that we want the SLA timer to begin as soon as the case record is created.

SLA Type – You can choose either Standard or Enhanced. What’s the difference?

When the appropriate options have been selected, save the SLA record. It will look like the screen below. Note that fields with the lock symbol cannot be updated once the SLA is saved:

service level agreement

Creating an SLA Item

Once the SLA record has been configured and saved, you can create the SLA Item record. In our case, we’re calling it First Response KPI. This SLA Item defines when the SLA is applicable, as well as its success criteria:

service level agreement

Within the Success Actions, SLA Item Failure, and SLA Item Warning sections, we can define additional actions - like sending an email or changing the status of the record based on predefined criteria. In our example above, we defined Failure after 1 hour and Warn after 30 minutes.

Once the SLA Items have been created and the SLA has been configured, saved, activated and set as default, it will look like this:

service level agreement

Seeing it in Action

Once saved, the SLA timer is displayed within the Enhanced SLA Details tab, and it correctly takes into consideration the business hours, as well as the First response in and Resolve in times for the SLA. When the SLA for resolution has been met, it will display Succeeded; when it has not been met, it displays Expired.

service level agreement

So, that’s how SLA’s work in Dynamics 365. Hopefully you can see how this can be useful in your organization. For more tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to our blog!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

It’s All Relative: How to Relate an SLA Directly to a Case in CRM 2016

SLAs (Service Level Agreements) were introduced in Microsoft Dynamics 2013 SP1 (6.1). This robust feature lets you manage response and resolution commitments for your customers. CRM 2015 enhanced SLAs even further by providing the functionality to pause a case based on its status, and for recently released Dynamics CRM, you can now relate an SLA directly to a case. In today's blog we will show you how to do this, so let's get started!

Enhancements in CRM 2015 also included the ability to create new SLA KPIs in addition to "Respond By" and "Resolve By." Scenarios might include a second response or determine how quickly a case is picked from a queue. Through all this, however, we were required to use Entitlements in order to create the relationship of a Case to its SLA. Entitlements provide significant functionality similar to legacy service contracts and, although robust, perhaps not always necessary.

In CRM 2016, we now have a direct relationship between Cases and SLAs. This allows for applying an SLA directly to a case via the new out-of-the-box relationship:

SLA

Now we can dynamically change the SLA based on metadata, related records, or changes to the case itself.

For example, if the case was escalated, we could change the SLA workflow, the Case creation details, routing rules, or business rules! The SLA could also be manually updated by a customer care user or manager.

Simply create a workflow to respond to the case change and update the SLA.

SLA

Note: An additional step may be required to update the related SLA KPI records.

SLA

With this enhancement, we are able to more efficiently handle changes in SLA requirements.

Check out some other new CRM 2016 features and remember to subscribe to the blog to receive daily updates about the world of CRM!

Happy CRM'ing!

Timer Tuesday: Managing Long Duration SLA KPI Instances

The Service Level Agreement functionality in Dynamics CRM offers many options for managing the initial response and resolution for cases out-of-the-box. One particularly useful option is that you can configure the timer that counts down how long you have to respond and resolve the case with font changes that indicate whether or not you are nearing the deadline or have surpassed it.


This is incredibly helpful for users because they can prioritize which cases to work on and when. However, there is one problem that arises when you configure the SLA KPI Instance Failure and Warning times. In today's blog, we will show you the steps needed to correct this problem.

Let's say you have a business process that necessitates a one business week turn-around time for the initial response, and a two business week turn-around time for cases to be resolved.

Out-of-the-box, this would appear as though the functionality would not be manageable. When selecting the duration of the SLA KPI Instance, three days is the longest option that is available in the drop down menu.

What may not be so apparent, is while the drop down option set does provide a list of values that can be used, this field is also a free form, so additional values can be entered as well. Simply type them into the field to be able to manage longer durations.


After completing your changes to the SLA KPI Instance, make sure you Save, Activate, and set the SLA as the default. From here on out, you can enjoy the benefits of longer durations for your SLAs!

That's all for our blog today! If you would like more information about Service Level Agreements, check out our CRM Book! The CRM Book is a comprehensive online guide to working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It's intended to help users of different backgrounds and experience levels understand core concepts, make good choices, and know where to go for more information on a given topic. You can just consider it your ultimate CRM resource!

Happy CRM'ing!

SLA Enhancements for Dynamics CRM 2015

There are many great new features and some major changes that come with the Dynamics CRM 2015 release. A big enhancement to SLA has many Dynamics users very excited! While the standard SLA functionality is still available, here is a list of the enhancements that are being released:

While the standard SLA functionality is still available, here is a list of the enhancements that are being released:

SLA Pause Resume:

You'll notice in the screenshot below that the Failure Time and Warning Times are now stored on the related SLA/KPI entity (displayed in a sub-form) rather than the Case Record.

SLA Enhancements for Dynamics CRM 2015

Stay tuned for additional details on this exciting new functionality. You can also find additional information on the CRM 2015 release via our Dynamics CRM blog. You'll also find other 2015 topics such as "Dynamics CRM 2015 to Feature Improved Search Capabilities" or our very popular "Top 10 New Features in Dynamics CRM 2015." As always, if you need additional assistance please don't hesitate to reach out to PowerObjects!

Happy CRM'ing!

 


Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

For those out there wondering how to ensure that your Service Level Agreement (SLA) is not affected by a holiday that your organization recognizes, Spring '14 Wave has an update for you! There is a new feature called Holiday Schedule that will be available to those who have installed the new updates to Dynamics CRM 2013. When a holiday schedule is created and a holiday is specified, the SLA will recognize that and will only be in effect within the days your organization operates. If a situation arises and a customer tries to schedule a resource on a designated holiday, that SLA won't start until the end of that holiday. Holiday Schedule is a very simple, yet powerful tool. Below you'll find the steps to take to create a holiday schedule.

Creating a Holiday Schedule

First, log into your CRM. Then do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Service Management.

    Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

2. Under the Service Management page, click on Holiday Schedule under the Service Terms section.

Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

 3. From here, select "New" in the command bar to create a new holiday schedule.

Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

4. A popup will show up, and you will need to give the Holiday Schedule a name – the description is optional. Once you're done typing in the information, click "Create."

Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

5. Once it is created, it will bring you to a list view of all the Holiday Schedules. Select the one that has just been created.

Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

6. Now from here, this is where you add in the dates of each holiday that your service organization recognizes. Click on New and a popup screen will show the details to populate such as the name of the holiday, the dates, and the duration. The duration of a holiday is a maximum of 3 days. If you're a lucky organization and recognizes a holiday that honors 3 days, then you are able to do that! Once you are satisfied with all the information, select OK.

(You can also see in the yellow message bar that it says that the SLA time calculation will not occur during the holiday that is specified)

Spring '14 Wave Update: How to Create Holiday Scheduling in Dynamics CRM

7. If you want to add multiple holidays to the Holiday Schedule, simply repeat step 6. In certain circumstances, the holiday schedule does not need to be specifically just for holidays. If your organization attends a yearly conference for 2 days, which would entail that no resources would be available, you can utilize Holiday Scheduling for that.

That is all the steps you need to create a Holiday Schedule. If you are wondering how to incorporate this holiday schedule into a service schedule, it can be found in this blog. The blog will also go in depth on the creation of customer service schedules. Remember to check out our full Spring '14 Wave page for the latest in blogs and education.

Happy CRM'ing!