What’s new with SLAs?

Another new feature offered with the latest release of Dynamics CRM is the ability to attach Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to additional system entities and to any custom entity.  From the online documentation:

Previously, you could only create SLAs for case records. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Service Pack 1, you can now enable any of these entities for SLA:

  • Account
  • Contact
  • Order
  • Invoice
  • Quote
  • Opportunity
  • Lead

All activity entities like email, phone, and appointment, except recurring appointment and its instances.
SLAs can also be enabled for custom entities and custom activities.

As stated, SLAs could previously only be defined for Cases in your solution. This usually means tracking handling time for a Case both against response time to customers and the Case resolution. Behind the scenes, CRM leverages existing Case date fields for tracking, configures workflows to trigger on SLA success or failure, and provide tracking of detailed key performance indicators (KPIs).  Overall, this offers your customers a very robust Case management system with SLA support!

With the latest release and the new SLA capabilities, you can now apply these features to many other situations. What kinds of possibilities does this offer your team?

System entity possibilities?

Now that you can apply SLAs to system entities, I am sure that many already have loads of ideas for their Sales teams. How about an SLA for follow-up time on a new Opportunity?  Maybe an SLA that tracks response time to a new Lead that has been entered from the web portal?  Or set up an SLA that tracks how your team performs in responding to incoming customer Call activities or follow ups on customer Meeting activities?

Some sales teams have goals set up to track call counts using the Goals system within Dynamics CRM. A sales manager may want to leverage SLAs attached to phone call or meeting activities in addition to Goals metrics to ensure your team is responsive to customers. So a sales team member could meet their Goals in terms of call volume but if they are frequently slow to respond to customers, the sales manager can follow up with additional training for the team member.

Custom entity possibilities?

With custom entities, your team has the option of creating any number of different line of business applications. This is the xRM world!  With new solutions, your team may face requirements that include SLA like functionality.

For example, in a patient care system, once a patient is discharged, the health care system has a requirement for a follow-up call to check in on their patient. This could range from asking how they are feeling, to scheduling a follow-up, or ensuring that the patient is taking their medication. Follow up care like this can be critical in a health system that aims to curb readmission. With your custom entities and the new SLA capabilities, you now have the option of setting up an SLA against the patient follow-up. For example, you can set up an SLA on the discharge event of a patient’s admission record that gives the clinicians or administrators one week for a follow-up call. Additional SLAs could be attached to different types of admissions, such as a surgery follow-up vs a recurring visit for a chronic condition.

An additional scenario might be attached to an approval process. For example, you create an application includes features for checking out large equipment for use within a facility.  For certain equipment, because it may be REALLY expensive, you might require sign off by several levels of management.  In order to avoid bottlenecks in the process, you might leverage SLAs to ensure sign off or rejection within a certain amount of time. The timer control on the form will serve as a great indicator that the approving user should not just sit on this request!

I am only scratching the surface of current and updated SLA functionality and your team likely has many ideas for these new capabilities, so I would love to hear about them.

Please drop a note with comments, suggestions, and of course, ant corrections!

Further reading

Here are a few links that will get you started using the new features:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Help & Training – Enable entities for service level agreements (SLAs)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Help & Training – Define service level agreements (SLAs)

MSDN, Dynamics CRM – Apply SLAs to entities

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