Help understanding service activities and how best to extend them / customise them

Hi, we're new to dynamics CRM. We have a process owner who is very keen to use dynamics for scheduling jobs. The job entity will be very different from the case structure in CRM.

The owner likes the functionality that he has seen in the service activities, with scheduling, etc.

The requirement is to have a "job" entity setup that can be scheduled using the Dynamics CRM scheduling. What is the best approach to achieve this?

can you use custom entities in the scheduling or do you need to use the existing service activity?

the job entity is also very different from the service request. longer term there are other activities that are quite different to the jobs entity for insepections, so just editing the existing service activity entity does not seem like the best solution.

ideally we will need a new entity that is based onteh service activity. can this be done?

alternatively, can we have a "job" entity that has related service activities ie - one job can have one or more service activities (appointments basically) and pre populate the required fields for the service activity with the job details via a business rule?

thanks in advance
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Feridun KadirPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Scheduling in CRM can only be applied to Services and Service activities so you can't use perform scheduling on custom entities.

Service activities (like other activities such as tasks, appointments and so on) can be regarded to custom entities (if you select activities on the definition of the custom entity).

Depending on your requirements you might find waiting a bit worthwhile. Microsoft recently acquired FieldOne and plan to make it part of the CRM offering. I can't tell whether this is what you need but have a look in case it is.
PatrickK_WAuthor Commented:
Hi, thanks for the reply. Unfortunalty we can't wait!

Would the approach of having a customer job entity with a relationship to the service activity entity work?
Feridun KadirPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
I can't say without examining your requirements in detail.  Why not try it and see if it meets your needs. If you enable activities on the custom entity CRM makes all the necessary relationships to activities including service activity, you don't (shouldn't) add it explicitly.

In CRM scheduling is all about reserving time on a service activity for when specified resources (defined in a service) are all free. You will still need to set up Services so I'm not convinced things will work as you want.

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PatrickK_WAuthor Commented:
the reason I thought I had to link it manually was because on a new custom entity, I can see the activities tab, but the options are add phone call, add task, then from the elipse, email or appointment. there is no option for service activity
PatrickK_WAuthor Commented:
I added a sub grid which shows service activities related to my entity. if I add an entity from the sub grid this does work. it also shows the service activity in the normal activities grid. i'll close this question as you have given an answer to it. if you know how to make the add service activity option appear for the normal activity grid that would be super, but i'll dig around forums.

thanks for your help!
PatrickK_WAuthor Commented:
gave me the information I needed to investigate further. thanks!
Feridun KadirPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Thanks for the closing comments and points.  I don't think there is a way to customize what is shown in the social pane ( (notes, activities, posts), is that what you meant by the normal activities grid?
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