Explaining Prospect-to-Cash With Dual Write

Prospect-to-cash with dual write introduces workflows that share data between Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations applications and Customer Engagement applications. These workflows streamline the prospect-to-cash process from lead creation to receipt of payment.

Andrew Newman

Andrew Newman

One of the highest priorities of almost all businesses is converting leads and prospects into paying customers. While this is a simple and obvious statement, the processes that go on in the background from an operational and technical perspective can be less straightforward. For businesses that leverage software on the customer engagement and financial sides, it needs to be considered how these systems communicate. It is essential to ensure customer-facing, finance, and operations-focused areas of the business have all the necessary data for an efficient and complication-free prospect-to-cash process. To address this need, Microsoft released a dual write integration that allows their Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations applications to share data real-time with their Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications through Dataverse. A dual write integration in Dynamics 365 allows for bidirectional data flow between these applications, giving all necessary parties access to the information they need. Through proper utilization of dual write, your business can streamline the prospect-to-cash process.

What is Dual Write?

Dual write is a Microsoft integration that connects Dynamics 365 applications to Dataverse creating near real-time data sharing between finance and operations and customer engagement applications.

What is Prospect-to-Cash?

The prospect-to-cash process involves multiple steps from users in Dynamics 365 Sales as well as, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations users. In this process, key responsibilities of Dynamics 365 Sales users include managing leads and opportunities in the system, creating accounts and contacts as well as the creation of quotes and orders in the system. However, information from Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations must be available during this process and once an order is created, there are additional actions that must be completed on the Finance and Supply Chain side. Consequently, these two platforms must be able to communicate and share information and this can be done by enabling prospect-to-cash with dual write. For example, pricing and discounts are typically determined in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain and should be accepted as the source of truth. Furthermore, order fulfillment will occur through Dynamics 365 Supply Chain. For further explanation of this process, review the graphic below:

Dual write prospect to cash infographic

As the graphic shows, there are numerous activities that occur involving both Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations applications starting at the creation of a lead and ending with the product being released to the customer after payment is received. 

 

Beginning with a lead, the marketing team acquires and reviews a lead to then be qualified by the sales team. Once a lead is qualified, an opportunity is created in Dynamics 365 Sales, as well as a contact and customer record. Consequently, a contact and customer record are also created in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations where a credit check occurs. Trade and sales agreements are maintained on the Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations side but quotes and orders flow bidirectionally with Dynamics 365 Sales because of the dual write integration. Orders are then confirmed and completed in the Finance and Operations applications.

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Why is Prospect-to-Cash Important?

The prospect-to-cash process is important to understanding data flow and sharing rules between Dynamics 365 applications through a dual write integration. The flow of data is detailed in the diagram below:

Data flow and directions with dual write

It is important to be aware of how changes made in either Dynamics 365 Sales or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations are reflected in the other system. Flow is bidirectional in most cases during the prospect-to-cash process except for certain scenarios where Finance and Operations is the single source of truth. That would be the case for details around products including pricing and product categories, as well as for invoicing. Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is where all invoicing occurs and because it is the single version of truth, the flow will not be bidirectional. Invoices are created in Finance and Operations and are read only in Dynamics 365 Sales. This protects your business from sales personnel editing invoices and but still gives them full awareness of their details. Security and the mitigation of human error through limiting editing ability while also increasing visibility through real time data sharing across departments is the main purpose of integrating prospect-to-cash with dual write.

 

This article will now take a deeper look into specific aspects of the prospect-to-cash process with dual write.

Accounts, Customers, and Contacts

Accounts, customer, and contact relationships using dual write prospect-to-cash
Second line in boxes indicates table name in Dynamics 365. Blue=Dynamics 365 Sales and Purple=Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

This graphic looks more closely at how customers, contacts, and accounts are defined between Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations applications. Flow between Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is not triggered until an account is created. This is an important distinction because it prevents cluttering of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations with contacts that are not relevant from a financial standpoint and therefore of no use for Finance and Operations users.

Dual write data flow between model driven apps using dataverse and finance and operations

Customers can either be organizations or individuals. In Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations they will both appear in a single table called “CustTable.” However, there will be further differentiation based on the “Type” attribute; either “Person” or “Organization.” In Dataverse this information is identified differently, with commercial or organizational customers being stored in the “Account” table. For this type of customer, “RelationshipType” must be set to “Customer.” The contact person in an organization will be stored along with B2C contacts in the “Contact” table. For clear differentiation between B2C and B2B contacts in the table, a Boolean flag called “Sellable” is used. If “Sellable”=true, then they are a B2C contact and if it’s false, the contact is the point of contact within an organization. “Sellable” will be switched to true if a non-sellable contact participates in an order or quotation process and will remain sellable. For more information on this, learn more about the Integrated Customer Master.

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How Dual Write Leverages Products Models in Dynamics 365

Product models are defined differently in Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Sales has a simple model that defines product families, relationships, properties, units, and unit groups. However, the product model is far more complicated Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, taking into many factors such as bill of materials (BOM), information on product dimensions, specific product attributes, and much more. This article will not go into the granular details of the Unified Product Experience using dual write, as it warrants its own article, however Microsoft resources cover it thoroughly. For products, information flows in one direction from Finance and Operations to Sales. A dual-write integration synchronizes this information so that there is a single version of the truth for product details and Dynamics 365 Sales users have all the information they need without going into the depth necessary in the ERP system. Here are some examples of how product information flows from Finance and Operations into Sales using dual write:

Product subtype finance and operations to sales flow
How product master subtype flows from finance and operations to sales
Product categories flow from Dynamics 365 finance and operations to dynamics 365 sales

As can be seen on the left side of these diagrams, all product creation and designation of variants, hierarchy, and configuration occurs only in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain and details are pushed in one direction into Dynamics 365 Sales.

Quotes, Orders, and Invoices

Quotes

The actions relating to quotes occur almost exclusively in Dynamics 365 Sales. Here is the standard process leveraging dual write:

Quotes diagram flow in Dynamics 365 Sales

As the diagram shows, once a quote is activated, it becomes read-only in Sales. However, if revisions to the quote are needed, the quote becomes editable in Sales again. In the scenario of quotes, there is a bidirectional sync between Sales and Finance and Operations, meaning the entire process can be completed in either system.

Orders

As the diagram shows, once a quote is activated, it becomes read-only in Sales. However, if revisions to the quote are needed, the quote becomes editable in Sales again. In the scenario of quotes, there is a bidirectional sync between Sales and Finance and Operations, meaning the entire process can be completed in either system.

Orders using dual-write prospect-to-cash

As with quotes, there is a bidirectional sync between sales order headers and lines in Finance and Operations with orders and order lines in Sales. The only exception to this is the “processing status” that is pushed from Finance and Operations that provides updates on the order after confirmation. This process is illustrated through the diagram below that shows the workflow and single direction information sync come from Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Additionally, orders cannot be cancelled in Sales, only Finance and Operations. Additionally, it should be noted that all quotes and sales orders can only include products that originate in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain.

Order workflow prospect-to-cash with dual write

Invoices

Invoicing is a single direction sync originating in Dynamics 365 Finance. Invoice headers and lines are pushed to Dynamics 365 Sales so that invoices and invoice lines can be viewed in that system using dual write. This means that they cannot be edited once they are pushed to Sales, as this information would not be reflected in Finance and Operations, which is always going to be the source of truth for invoicing.

Inventory On-Hand

Another key component as part of the dual write prospect to cash process is the ability to view inventory on-hand in Sales from Supply Chain. This is useful for Sales personnel to prevent the from over-selling past their available inventory for a given product. This can be activated through enabling the entity maps, “inventory on-hand entries” and “inventory on-hand requests.” This information will then be available on product, quote, and order pages.

Available to Promise (ATP) Inventory

Expanding upon inventory on-hand there is also the concept of inventory that is available to promise (ATP) on a certain date. Using the same maps as needed to determine inventory on-hand and factoring in uncommitted inventory, planned receipts, lead times, and potential issues, Sales personnel will be able to determine inventory that is ATP. This can be accessed through the Quotes and Orders pages using the new “ATP Information” button.

Key Takeaways

Enabling prospect-to-cash with dual write allows your Dynamics 365 Sales users and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations users work with all the data they need to perform their duties in the most efficient manner. Prospect-to-cash with dual write introduces logic to push information where it needs to be without compromising security or leaving your business vulnerable to human error. Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations will still serve as the source of truth, with finance and supply chain information often flowing in a single direction to Sales to prevent unwanted edits to official documents such as invoices, but providing that visibility for Sales users. To learn more about dual write, our blog has more resources around licensing and integrating dual write.  

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