Appointments included in resource scheduling

Organizations often use appointments in Dynamics 365. Typical examples are a salesperson using appointments to meet with potential customers or a customer service rep creating a service appointment to help a customer with an issue. Other examples may include organizations creating appointments because of integrations with other systems.

Dynamics 365 Appointments (Microsoft Dataverse appointments) can be displayed on the Field Service schedule board alongside bookings and can be considered during scheduling to understand if a frontline worker or bookable resource is available.

Screenshot of the schedule board with appointments.

By including appointments on the schedule board and during the scheduling process, dispatchers can have an accurate view of availability in one place and don't have to switch between multiple tools such as Outlook, service calendar, and Field Service's new schedule board. This view increases scheduler productivity and reduces avoidable scheduling errors. Additionally, admins no longer need to create bookings based on appointments.

For a guided walkthrough, check out the following video.

Prerequisites

  • Field Service 8.8.40.x+ (April Wave 1 2021)
  • Resource Scheduling Optimization 3.3.0.108+, only if there is a requirement for appointments to be supported in optimization-related scheduling operations.

Step 1: Enable setting to include appointments in resource scheduling

At the organization level

  1. Go to Resource Scheduling > Settings > Administration > Scheduling Parameters and set Include Appointments to Yes.

Screenshot of organization level setting.

  1. An informational dialog will appear. Select Got it. Let’s enable. Then Save and close.

Screenshot of dialog.

All resources are automatically opted-in the first time you enable the feature. You may opt out resources using the resource level setting, which is visible only if the organization level setting is set to Yes.

At the resource level

The resource level setting will only show if the organization level setting is enabled - that is, if Include Appointments in Resource Scheduling > Settings > Administration > Scheduling Parameters is set to Yes.

To control individual resources, go to the Scheduling tab on the resource form and change the Include Appointments field.

Screenshot of resource level setting.

Step 2: Create an appointment

You can create Dataverse appointments in Dynamics 365 apps like in

Dataverse appointments can also originate in Outlook, and be synced to Dynamics 365 if server-side synchronization has been set up. An Outlook appointment must be manually assigned the special Tracked to Dynamics 365 category so it appears as a Dataverse appointment record.

Step 3: View appointments on the schedule board

Appointments will be visible on the new schedule board for the required attendees and the owner, as long as they are set up as bookable resources.

Screenshot of the schedule board with appointments.

Some more key points:

  • Appointments will show as read-only on the new schedule board and cannot be moved.
  • Appointments are supported in all views of the new schedule board - namely the hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly views.
  • Hovering on an appointment shows more details in a card.
  • The legend shows the colors for various appointment statuses.

Customize appointment colors on the schedule board

The new schedule board uses the colors defined in Dataverse appointment metadata. Customizing the Color metadata of each of the StatusCode option set values will change the appointment colors that show on the new schedule board.

Hide canceled appointments on the schedule board

If you do not wish to see canceled appointments on the new schedule board, the Hide Canceled tab-level setting accessible from the old schedule board will hide both canceled bookings and canceled appointments on the new schedule board.

Go to the old schedule board using the toggle in the top-right. Open the tab and select the gear icon in the top-right of the schedule board. Check the Hide Canceled checkbox, and toggle back to the new schedule board.

Screenshot of hide canceled tab setting in old schedule board.

Appointments marked private in Outlook will not show their subject on the schedule board

As of Field Service 8.8.41.28+, appointments that are marked Private in Outlook and synced to Dynamics 365 using server-side synchronization will not show their subject on the schedule board. If the subject is synced to the Dataverse appointment record, it will be visible there, but the schedule board will show Private instead of the subject on the appointment and on the card that shows when hovering on an appointment.

The schedule board with an appointment that was marked "Private" in Outlook

Step 4: Respect appointments when scheduling

For customers with Resource Scheduling Optimization, appointments will be respected in both non-interactive and interactive optimizations.

  • Non-interactive optimizations are triggered when an optimization schedule is run.
  • Interactive optimizations are triggered from the new schedule board, from Optimize Schedule (by right-clicking on a resource), the Suggest resources (Preview), and Book resources (Preview) buttons that appear when a requirement is selected in the bottom grid.

Appointments with statuses Busy and Completed will be considered as unavailable by scheduling operations.

For customers without Resource Scheduling Optimization, the schedule assistant is planned to consider appointments in a future release.

Meanwhile, developers can use the schedule assistant APIs for both requirements and requirement groups for:

  • Custom web apps
  • A Dynamics 365 portal
  • Power Apps canvas apps to support appointment scheduling scenarios.

Some more key points:

  • Scheduling operations will consider appointments as location-agnostic.
  • If an appointment had related bookings, those bookings will not be shown and will not be considered in scheduling operations.

Architecture diagram

Screenshot of appointments added as a data source.

Deprecation note

Including appointments turns off the deprecated configuration to automatically create bookings when an appointment is created.

If your organization was configured to automatically create bookings when an appointment is created, the informational dialog will let you know that the system will be turning off this setting, as appointments will be included directly in resource scheduling, without needing related bookings. Only enable the feature if you do not have custom actions or workflows on the related bookings.

You may further verify that the deprecated configuration has been turned off, by going to Settings > Administration > System Settings > Calendar and checking that Scheduling Engine is set to (Default) Scheduling Engine.

Screenshot to verify deprecated configuration has been turned off.

Previously, the schedule board and scheduling operations used only bookings as a data source. If you wanted to show appointments on the schedule board or respect them in resource availability, you would first need to create corresponding bookings. This functionality created issues when changes in bookings did not reflect in appointments and vice versa. This April 2021 Wave 1 feature adds Microsoft Dataverse appointments as another data source for resource scheduling.

Now Microsoft Dataverse appointments are included directly in resource scheduling, so there is no longer any need to have bookings automatically created for appointments and to face the issue of changes in one not reflecting in the other.