Full Sail Partners Blog

Amanda Roussel

Recent Posts

Deltek Vantagepoint – New Year's Resolutions for Project-based Firms

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Jan 13, 2021 @ 11:35 AM

new-year-resolution

A new year often brings new goals to set and work toward and doing so helps you focus and improve behaviors to better yourself. Personal goals are a must – health, organization, time, etc. – the list can go on and on. However, professional goals have great importance as well. There are always areas we can work to improve upon in the workplace. These can be personal, for a team, or even for the firm as a whole. Let’s take a look at some new year’s resolutions that project-based firms may consider in 2021.

New Year’s Resolutions for Professionals

1. Use technology more efficiently

Firms may have numerous software options available, various calendars, and maybe a plethora of tracking files. Try consolidating and mastering a different resource, one at a time. Master it, share with your team, and promote a wider usage for consistency. By focusing on one new tool each quarter, four cleaner processes may be established by one employee alone!

2. Make technology accessible by all

The last year has taught us the value of being able to work from anywhere. Some IT groups were ready to roll, and others had to pull together additional resources to get employees the access needed for business continuity. If your firm has not invested in accessibility, this is the time.

There are numerous cloud options that firms can consider to be more accessible by all. There may have been IT projects put on hold, but perhaps moving forward with them will see a greater outcome once complete.

3. Be adaptable

There may have been some frustrating moments in 2020 when plans suddenly had to change. With many scenarios out of our individual control, our reactions make a huge impact on the future. Therefore, being adaptable and open to change can actually lead to great things for firms. It allows us to change the narrative instead of using the workplace curse words of, “This is how we’ve always done it.” I never liked hearing those words anyway.

Being adaptable allows employees to have a quicker rebound, with less downtime as they try to figure out each little detail. Modifications can be made along the way as needed. Also, try to see things from another’s perspective. We all have our own challenges and can work together for effective solutions.

4. Promote employee growth

Don’t forget about training, mentoring, and collaborating. Executives, managers, and employees alike should have opportunities for learning and growth regardless of what the office looks like. Employees can still be paired with a more senior position to continue learning, executives can collaborate and check in on teams, and managers can continue training on a virtual platform. This goal will always be important for a firm’s success.

5. Support local communities

Communities need each other. Find ways to use local businesses and support community-based organizations. By doing this, more money can stay within the community and help other small businesses and families directly in your area.

6. Adopt a new habit as a team

There are many tools at our fingertips that can help teams communicate and collaborate. As new information or details emerge about opportunities or projects, do yourself and your colleagues a favor and record them properly. Think of the new information as a shared company resource and use technology to make it accessible to others. I encourage you to collaborate with your colleagues to modify some professional processes for a more streamlined workday. New year = new technology habits.

7. Time management

Be intentional with how your time is spent. We can all get caught up in mundane tasks but identifying important professional tasks can keep us on track. Block time off on your calendar for various projects to ensure chunks of time are available to focus on independent work. This helps protect your own work time while working efficiently for clients too.

8. Keep learning and add value

Let’s face it – we know a lot, but we do not know everything. Even an expert in a particular field has more to learn and room to grow. Step out of your comfort zone and dive into something new. It can be a new hobby, a new skill, or sharpening and fine tuning a skill you are already promoting. There are ways to add value to your life and to your work. Allow yourself to be inspired and empower others to learn and grow. Personal development expands your horizons and what you have to offer!

Keep Pressing On

A new year does not necessarily equal a new you. Instead, it welcomes the opportunity for improvements over time. Our work is never complete and that’s part of the fun. Our personal and professional lives can be so intertwined. Improvements in one area may bring success to the other as well. Best of luck with your resolutions – you can do this!

Reach Full Sail Partners

Topics: Tips, ERP, Professional Services

Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Oct 28, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Transition Copy Scirpts

Are you thinking about your Deltek Vantagepoint upgrade and what steps are required? If you haven't already, we recommend you take a look at Full Sail Partners’ 3-step process. An important fact to know is that Deltek has provided a conversion tool to allow all of your data to move over. No migration necessary. Does that mean I can move tomorrow? No, we do not recommend that. Just like with any upgrade, you need to make sure updates haven’t impacted your processes. This upgrade is a bit more extensive but rest assured Full Sail Partners has tools to make the process easier and more efficient. One of those tools is our Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts.

During the testing process, firms will need to address some key areas including workflows, saved searches, reports and configuration settings before moving forward with a production environment. Our Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts are a valuable resource to ensure the work you put into addressing issues doesn’t require rework when you move from test to test environment or to your final production environment. Let’s take a look at how this tool can help you with the upgrade process. 

Vantagepoint Preview Environment

Now that clean-up efforts have been identified and prioritized with the Vantagepoint Readiness Report, and clean-up efforts are nearing completion, it may be time to request a preview environment. Many firms are finding the upgrade process to be an opportune time to tidy-up data and fields that have been collected in Deltek Vision over the years. Here is the chance to get Vantagepoint started with best practices and processes.

Upon accessing a firm’s preview environment, you may notice that things look different. The data moves over from Vision to Vantagepoint, but some big areas are consolidated. For example, opportunities get consolidated into projects, and clients and vendors consolidate into the firm hub. As this takes place, you will see some field duplication. Fields may also be organized differently.

Vantagepoint Preview becomes Testing Environment

There are many changes that can be made in the testing environment. It’s important to know that any changes made - screen design properties, saved searches, reports, dashboard/dashparts, and more - will reset upon a preview refresh as well as go live. Full Sail Partners understands that this can be a burden on firms as they track and recreate each of the changes. Full Sail Partners' Transition Copy Scripts allow firms to retain these changes and eliminate redundancy and rework between each test upgrade and your your final conversion.

Below is a list of the available scripts in the transition copy script bundle:

Screen Designer:

  • Design layout location for User Defined Fields
  • Properties including: Hidden, Locked, Required Fields, Tool Tips
  • Resource Planning Configuration

Security:

  • Security user role for each employee
  • Security options for each user role
  • Email Configuration
Saved Searches
  • Private and Shared search options

Reports/Templates:

  • Private and Shared reports with options and selection criteria
  • Proposal templates
Dashboards/Dashparts:
  • Dashboard layout
  • Dashpart widgets
  • Dashpart calculations

Workflows:
  • Hub Workflows
  • Approval Engine Workflows

Newly Created Components and Values:

  • Standard field values and labels
  • Custom fields and labels
  • Custom grids and labels
  • Custom files
  • Custom tabs
  • Custom hubs
  • Navigation tree

Benefits of Using Transition Copy Scripts

Some firms may have a manageable list of changes to address on their own, but we understand that firms with more complex data spend measurable resources getting the test environment just as needed. Below are some of the many reasons to use this impactful tool:

Work efficiently and save time. Adjust fields right where you want them, build dashboards, and configure to meet your firm’s needs. No need to track every change made. These settings will be applied with transition copy scripts.
Test, test, test. Searches, reports, and workflows will need to be recreated and tested. Do so knowing that efforts will not be erased.
Train staff before going live. Once the test environment meets your firm’s needs, you can train staff prior to going live. This can give staff the confidence of using the cohesive system and promote a smoother adoption after going live.
Count on Full Sail Partners. Our Deltek experts are here to cheer, guide, or lead you along your Deltek journey. Our custom team works closely with you to apply the appropriate transition copy scripts

Utilize Your Resources

We understand that there are many other responsibilities needing to be addressed throughout the workday. Full Sail Partners' Transition Copy Scripts can alleviate the redundancy of Vantagepoint refreshes and live environment and spend your time more effectively.  

Wherever you may be in your Deltek journey, Full Sail Partners has additional resources to assist with the Vantagepoint upgrade. Let us help you get there the right way!

New call-to-action

Topics: Support, Technology Solutions, Deltek Vantagepoint

Marketing Plays Well with Others

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Marketing can integrate

Those in marketing for professional services have a level of knowledge they had to build, likely for a field they did not pursue, and use that knowledge of services to build a brand. In doing so, marketers paint a picture of the firm that they promote. Usually marketing professionals find themselves helping many departments throughout the firm. Not only is collateral client-facing, but marketers often have a responsibility to market to the firm internally. Over the years, I have found many marketers to be integrators in a firm so let’s check out how marketing plays well with others:

Know the Brand

The brand is more than the firm’s identity and reputation. According to an SMPS article, “…strong branding is viewed through three lenses: overall firm branding, personal branding, and employer branding. All three are crucial to a strong brand foundation—and all three are connected in important ways that contribute directly to your firm’s success.”

Marketing has the fun responsibility of viewing the firm with a broader lens and shining the best light on firm strengths. As marketers believe in the services the firm can provide, they can use various channels to get the right message to the right audience. Therefore, knowing internal teams is just as integral as knowing clients.

A lot can change in a firm, whether it be people, services, or goals, and marketers need to be in the know of company happenings to properly communicate the appropriate message. After all, the only constant is change. Marketers find themselves having to be very flexible with messaging as well as keeping up with the dynamic structure of the firm.

Master the Service Lineup

Professional services firms typically have printed material, a digital footprint, and many proposals created for specific clients. Marketers must have knowledge of the firm’s services and a strong bond with technical staff to collaborate and create content. While a majority of technical staff has vast knowledge of what services its group offers, it’s important to educate everyone on all of the firm’s offerings, even if at a very high level. This can lead to more aware project managers as well as cross selling. All marketers should take advantage of education opportunities.

Knowing that many marketers have a great understanding of the firm’s services, they can become integrators within the firm, matching up employees that can benefit from bigger discussions. Collaborations do not stop with technical departments.

Recruit Like a Pro

Great minds come together for the greater good when human resources and marketing collaborate. Recruiting can be quite time-consuming; however, attracting top talent can tighten the candidate funnel. Pulling together human resources’ knowledge, the firm’s brand, and creatively crafting the right message can yield strong new recruits for consideration.

To that note, a firm’s digital footprint can play a huge role in a candidate’s interest. Using social media as a recruiting strategy can have phenomenal results. According to harver.com, 92% of recruiters use social media in their efforts. It is a way to engage passive candidates and employees, make connections, and share quality content.

Naturally, recruits or potential candidates google the firm and can be quick to judge on initial findings. It is imperative that a firm’s brand stand out on social media, such as LinkedIn, and on the firm’s website and network.

Set Standards from the Start

After an offer is accepted, it is also beneficial to include marketing in onboarding efforts to educate the new hire on the following, at a minimum:

  • Branding guidelines (colors, logos, firm names, and more)
  • Branded swag
  • Proposal resume building
  • Email signature
  • Collateral that covers all firm services

As marketers share branding guidelines and set brand expectations from the start, new hires are immediately in the know when it comes to firm resources that are client-facing.

Own that Hat Closet

Marketers may notice that they wear many hats as time passes at a professional services firm. Each hat will give different insight into the firm and potentially challenge the “norm.” There are conversations with all roles of the firm, from C-suite to staff level. All of these collaborations help build the firm’s message that is distributed through email campaigns, mailers, proposals, onboarding, and both digital and social content. With each hat that is worn, many areas are weaved together for a more cohesive firm and a stronger brand.  

Talent Management

Topics: Marketing, Professional Services, HR

Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Readiness Report

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Sep 02, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Right direction

As the launchpad to Deltek Vantagepoint, the Full Sail Partners’ Vantagepoint Readiness Report can be used as a guide for your firm’s cleanup efforts and next steps. This valuable resource is such a strong starting point for firms as they consider when and how to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint.

How to Get There

Many AEC and professional services firms have buckled down on Deltek Vantagepoint conversations this year. We hear and understand the excitement, as well as the hesitation around the upgrade. Therefore, Full Sail Partners has developed beneficial solutions to help ease the transition from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint. As consultants, we have received questions, such as:

          “What do I need to do prior to the upgrade?”

          “When should we do the upgrade?”

          “How will the upgrade impact our business?”

In all honesty, it all depends on your Deltek environment and the data it holds.

Start with a High Impact Tool

As a Deltek Partner for more than two decades, our consultants have assisted and led many upgrades, implementations, conversions, migrations, etc. Some firms have started the process on their own by viewing our Preparing for Deltek Vantagepoint webinar series, accessing the Deltek Readiness Portal and participating in the Client Assistance Program (CAP). These are all useful resources. However, to truly understand the state of your database, we are encouraging Deltek Vision users to start with the Vantagepoint Readiness Report to assess what needs to be addressed and managed. Below are some of the many reasons to use this impactful tool:

  • Alleviate anxiety. The report provides a plan on the areas that need to be addressed and cleaned up. We know you have other responsibilities. Gain insight on your entire database to know where and how to start.
  • Quick and easy inventory of your database. Deltek administrators can spend countless hours sifting through data to find potential duplicates or inapplicable records. The Vantagepoint Readiness Report can highlight this data in 30 minutes or less. After all, time is money.
  • Consulting time is included with the report. The report can be overwhelming for many firms. Therefore, one of our consultants will spend an hour with your upgrade lead or team digesting the report findings and identifying next steps.
  • Eliminate some of the manual steps. In the time saved using an automatic inventory script, teams can better spend their time preparing data and the firm’s preview environment, rather than digging for the starting point.
  • View details specific to your Deltek environment. Many resources can guide firms to run their own analysis, but this one does the work for you.
  • Reveal the unknowns. Firms are treating Deltek Vantagepoint as a fresh start. There may be hidden data that administrators were not aware of that should be cleaned up prior to the upgrade. The Vantagepoint Readiness Report can unveil this “hidden” data that may have been collected in previously used modules.
  • Outlining next steps. No two firms use their system in the same manner, so the plan of action varies. Once completing the Vantagepoint Readiness Report, our consultants can help identify and prioritize your next steps in the upgrade process.
  • Count on Full Sail Partners. Our Deltek experts are here to cheer, guide, or lead you along your Deltek journey.

Benefit from the Results

The Vantagepoint Readiness Report identifies the areas that will need attention or discussion before upgrading. In fact, it is even better to run this before getting your preview environment. The simple process runs a script and produces an excel file for review. Below are some of the details this report provides:  

  • Identifies potential duplicate vendors and clients

  • Produces a list of all your workflows

  • Compiles a list of all your user defined fields and grids

  • Identifies custom report files in use

  • Identifies duplicate columns across vendors and clients and across leads and contacts

  • Displays all the key formats for various info centers

  • Shows labor cross charge; overhead allocation and revenue generation settings for all companies

  • Displays the database table size

  • Identifies unposted transactions; timesheets, expense reports, transaction center files

  • Identifies plans which do not comply with Vantagepoint (iAccess) requirements

  • Identifies info center numbering that differs from your key formats

Use Your Resources

We learn throughout our careers that we should use our resources to ease the burden of some projects and spend time more effectively elsewhere. This is one of those scenarios. Firms can eliminate a long list of questions and tasks by starting with the Vantagepoint Readiness Report. The turnaround time for the Vantagepoint Readiness Report has typically been two weeks, depending on how schedules line up.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, let the report do the magic and review the results. You will then have the next steps identified and prioritized as you move forward with the upgrade to Vantagepoint. And it doesn’t stop there! Full Sail Partners has additional resources to assist with the Vantagepoint upgrade. Let us know when you are ready to get started!

New call-to-action

Topics: Support, Technology Solutions, Deltek Vantagepoint

Look Forward to the New Deltek Virtual Insight Experience

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Deltek Insight

As a Deltek Partner, Full Sail Partners looks forward to networking, teaching, and learning at Deltek Insight each year. However, due to current circumstances, this year’s Deltek Insight conference will be VIRTUAL and held on September 15th and 16th. Though the conference will look different as a virtual event, we know it will be a success. You may also notice that the dates are slightly earlier in the year than in years past. One benefit to that is having more time to incorporate new initiatives as 2021 nears. Even if your home or office may not look like a Gaylord resort, you will want to participate in all aspects of this FREE virtual experience. Let’s take a look at some of the incredible reasons why you should attend Deltek Insight this year.

Expand Your Understanding

Deltek’s product line up is beneficial to professional services firms. Technology has truly helped firms continue operations and keep business flowing this year. Deltek products have played a vital role in that. The robust systems can streamline processes and increase efficiency for your teams. Conference sessions will help you better understand the many areas of Deltek. In addition, you will learn about many exciting features as firms upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint and as Deltek enhances other products.

You will have ample opportunities to meet with Deltek experts throughout the conference. In addition, our experts at Full Sail Partners will be available at our virtual kiosk. We will have Rick Childs, Scott Seal, Scott Gailhouse and more to answer your questions about the finance side of Deltek; Kevin Hebblethwaite and Lindsay Diven will be online to cover CRM topics; and Rana Blair will have Resource Planning covered! Additionally, if you have questions about the transition from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint, we have that covered as well.

If you need a little more help with a certain area, you can meet with a Deltek expert who can assist you. “Meet the Experts” is a 30-minute 1 on 1 session with a Deltek expert. These meetings are first come first serve and the slots fill up fast. Getting one on one expert advice provides new insight on your products and is another great reason to participate in Deltek Insight. For more information about these sessions click here.

Be Inspired

Deltek has secured some strong keynote speakers. As our business environments shift, you will want to hear the experiences and advice of Dr. Shirley Davis, Mike Robbins, and Mike Corkery. Here is a little about each:

  • Shirley Davis is a diversity & inclusion thought leader who will talk about embracing workplace diversity. She will share tips on how to work effectively in a diverse environment and manage workplace conflict.
  • Mike Robbins, host of this year’s Deltek Insight, will take the reign on navigating attendees through Deltek’s first-ever virtual Insight. He will also share his perspective on managing stress and enhancing mental and emotional well-being.
  • Mike Corkery, President and CEO of Deltek, will speak about persevering through uncertainty. He will share how Deltek has enabled customers to continue their success and address questions from attendees.

Network the 2020 Way

Everyone has had a different business experience than originally planned for 2020. Learn from each other and grow your skillsets as you talk with industry peers. Sponsors will have virtual kiosks so be sure to stop by each one! Be on the lookout for other networking opportunities as Deltek Insight nears.

One way to get some visibility is to shine on Deltek Project Nation’s Got Talent. This attendee participation event gives you the microphone and an opportunity to showcase your skills for a chance to win a $2,500 cash prize plus a $2,500 donation to a Deltek charity of your choice. Bring your talent on this one - singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, and more! Submission deadline is August 21st, so get your acts in!

Register Now for Deltek Insight 2020

There’s so much to look forward to with this year’s virtual Deltek Insight. Be sure to register NOW for this FREE event! You can network with industry users, learn from the experts, collaborate with peers, and get a stronger grip on the Deltek ecosystem.

New call-to-action

Topics: Technology Solutions, Deltek Insight, Deltek Vantagepoint

An Effective and Successful CRM is a Lifestyle Change

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Jun 10, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

CRM lifestyle

There have likely been times where you desired to get healthier and stronger. You cannot just wake up one day, eat well, exercise, and see the results of your efforts instantaneously. You must have the desire to change, recognize the benefits of doing so, keep your WHY at the top of your mind, and identify long-term goals. Just like in your personal life, lifestyle changes are necessary on the business front to see real success, and client relationship management (CRM) is a large part of making that happen.

Professional services firms offer services, and it is all about the knowledge and expertise of a firm’s professionals and trust in the brand. The art of building relationships and earning trust takes time, thought, and coordination within your team. CRM tools keep track of these communications, and consistency is what builds the data. With this data, you can establish long-term goals that you strive to meet. The positive results from choosing to use an effective CRM make it worth your while to change your work lifestyle.  

Accomplish More

The benefits of a personal healthier lifestyle may be having more energy, feeling more confident, and accomplishing goals that have felt distant. Likewise, for businesses, process and habit improvements offer benefits such as boosting productivity, increasing communication with clients, and crushing sales goals. Implementing a CRM helps you work more effectively as a team while adding productivity time back to your schedule. If CRM data is captured timely and correctly, it takes significantly less time to “research” what the latest communications and outcomes were with clients.

Think of employee-client interactions and the information that is gathered as a firm resource. Business resources are meant to be shared efficiently, and that information should be available when others need it. Furthermore, new information is constantly coming in and a CRM tool provides your teams a platform to document and share this information, keeping everyone informed.

Use the Technology at your Fingertips

As new information comes in from various sources, real-time data is crucial. This is achievable with the mobile capabilities of a strong CRM. Therefore, documenting information after each engagement brings consistency and a positive habit. With a firm-wide CRM, you can stay on top of your communications and proactively reach out to clients.

Additionally, as there are web-based apps to track exercise stats, sleep habits, and food intake, there are also apps that streamline business matters. All data from these apps, such as email, can be incorporated and captured into your firm CRM. While technology can help guide us, we are ultimately responsible for holding ourselves accountable for the improvements. 

Use Accountability to Create Consistency 

Just like having an accountability partner in an exercise or health program, employees should be accountable for keeping their colleagues informed. When we have dated action items as a CRM may show, the transparency should drive employees to stay on top of their tasks. However, there needs to be support and enforcement from all levels of leadership to make sure this happens. Consistency is crucial to success.

Get Over the Hurdle

According to the 40th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture Engineering Industry Study, only 14% of firms planned to invest in marketing intel and CRM systems. Is your firm part of that 14%? CRMs have advanced greatly, and the capabilities of an effective CRM support and encourage accountability, teamwork, outreach, and relationships. After some time, your firm will not remember business without an efficient tool like a CRM. These positive habits will stick with the firm for years to come, just like a lifestyle change for a healthier you.

Grow Revenue with a CRM

Topics: Client Relationships, Technology Solutions, CRM

Why NOW is the Time to Move to the Cloud

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, May 13, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Cloud computing

Leadership teams and firm owners have countless business elements to focus on and decisions to make. Some decisions are no-brainers, others are hard, and some just need to wait for the “right time.” There are often firm improvements pitched for consideration that may not make it to the priority list, or that are labeled as a luxury rather than a need. The word “value” can often determine where an initiative may fall on that labeling scale. One initiative that is proving to be a need is moving your firm’s ERP solution like Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision to the cloud. Now is the time, and it should be an easy decision. Let us identify some of the many advantages of moving your ERP solution to the cloud.

Make it Easy for Your Teams

Professional services firms have data… lots of data. Much of this data is centered around your people and projects and should be safely stored and easily accessible. With a device and an internet connection, teams can securely access their solution from anywhere. This allows for great flexibility with office, remote, and field team members. The cloud is not only flexible with location, but it is also flexible with firm size. Growth is a leading driver for many firms, and it is important that systems put in place now allow for scaling up when the time is right. The cloud offering makes it easy for teams to get their work done, providing value for the firm.

Reduce IT Burdens

Another benefit the cloud offers is removing the burden on your IT team, whether internal or external. On-premise hardware requires system maintenance and server upgrades which take time and money. Moving to the cloud, IT resources can be reallocated, and your firm will have confidence knowing that your ERP system is running on enhanced security, using updated hardware and software, and requiring zero maintenance from your IT team. You can also rest assured that a disaster recovery plan has been established and is ready to be deployed, if needed. The value of the cloud ultimately improves firm efficiency because you can now focus on what you do best, providing value to your own clients.

Fixed Costs vs Unexpected Costs

Planning for and managing expenses is a significant part of a firm’s financial health. Opting for a subscription-based fee for cloud services, firms can have confidence in budgeting a fixed cost. Otherwise, a best-guess amount would be budgeted for on-premise hardware needs. Another factor that should be considered is potential downtime. On average, downtime with a traditional IT system can be four times longer than the cloud alternative. Unexpected expenses and downtime can put an unfortunate burden on a firm. Choosing to be in the cloud ensures value with increasing reliability and reducing operating expenses.

Everyone is Invited to the Cloud

Small and large businesses alike have the same access to the cloud. The cloud can give businesses a competitive edge as they use the latest ERP solution like Deltek Vantagepoint for project management, financial management, and other streamlined processes. With proven tools accessed easily from the cloud, project managers, accounting teams, marketing groups, and executives can stay integrated and informed, no matter the firm size. The cloud does not discriminate on who gets value.

Continuity is a Necessity

Now is the time to make the move. Firms should be proactive in protecting their valuable data and seamlessly move it to a safe place. Do not wait until something goes amiss with your traditional IT system. Because cloud solutions are reached via the internet, users have greater flexibility with computer upgrades and mobile devices, too. The cloud is the leading choice for data storage because it is secure, reliable, and always available. With all these benefits, it should be an easy decision that NOW is the time to move to the cloud.

Thinking Out Cloud

Topics: Technology Solutions, Cloud, Communication

Chris Simei Joins Full Sail Partners to Lead Business Intelligence Development

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Tue, May 05, 2020 @ 12:05 PM

Chris Simei

Full Sail Partners hired Senior Consultant, Chris Simei to head up their Blackbox Connector between Informer and Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint. Chris is known as a business intelligence (BI) expert in the Deltek ecosystem and will focus on expanding Full Sail Partners’ BI capabilities including connecting with other solutions. His wealth of knowledge will help ensure Deltek clients maximize the value of their product and reimagine how they use their data to reach optimal efficiency.

Chris is always looking to help clients and leverage creative concepts to drive innovation. Additionally, Chris delivers automated solutions with a well-versed perspective, having been in the A&E industry for over a decade. His work has taken him across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East.

“The landscape of ERP data management is changing swiftly. I collaborate with clients and use Deltek solutions to help firms get to the next level. The solutions are endless and I’m excited to guide firms along their success journey," commented Chris Simei.

Professional services firms are starting to reap the benefits of business intelligence. However, the most effective analytics take some collaboration and preparation. In this role, Chris will help firms get the data they need to make key business decisions by using the Blackbox Connector to integrate Informer, or other business intelligence software, with their Deltek system. Informer is becoming the desired choice among the Deltek community because of its drill down capabilities, ease of use, and ability to combine other data sources. The Blackbox Connector team has made it easy for firms by providing pre-built datasets, visuals and dashboards to every user within the firm.  

“Many firms are looking for ways to streamline their business intelligence data to stay on top of projects and business decisions. Bringing Chris on board allows Full Sail Partners to help more firms get connected with Informer and other solutions. Deltek is a robust, cohesive system, and it takes technical experience to integrate these systems correctly. After connecting the systems, firms can have confidence in their data and have an intuitive system at their fingertips,” stated Scott Seal, Vice President of Consulting.

For more information, please email Full Sail Partners’ Marketing Communications Department.

Topics: Press Release

What Makes a Great Project Information Management System?

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

PIM Puzzle

In this digital age, project information management is crucial to efficiently maintain firm documentation. With projects that may have a duration of five or 10+ years, project files are plentiful, from large drawing files to Word documents and email correspondence. The organization of those files can be challenging for firms of any size. Therefore, established document management practices are necessary to keep projects running smoothly. So, let’s see what a great project information management (PIM) system would look like.

Challenges to Project Information Management

In order to ensure the setup of a great PIM system, let’s first evaluate the project information management challenges faced by firms:

No Two Projects are Alike - Projects are unique. They can be similar, but there will be at least one detail that sets each one apart. Firms need to create and save project files that contain the specific project details for the benefit of all team members and others in the firm that may need to reference a document, such as a contract or correspondence. The numerous drafts and revisions as a project progresses are important and should be saved in one place as well.

Many Hands on a Project - Team size can vary from a small few to over 50. No matter how much time team members spend on a project, they need access to the files that are applicable to their work and their hours should be recorded on a timesheet. It is also no secret that employees come, and employees go, so team members get added and others get shifted. If team members change, how can the project seamlessly be handed off with no interruption in service to the client without proper documentation in an accessible place?

Information Overload can be Overwhelming - We are all familiar with the yellow folders that you can sift through on the network as you hopelessly search for that one email from the client with a very particular request from three months ago. It is somewhere in there amongst the other documents - contracts, correspondence, drawings, scope of work, photos, reports, supporting data, deliverables, etc. While firms do have various ways to save their files, they are usually not saved in one cohesive location. Furthermore, varying naming conventions also create problems regarding files since not all team members have the same naming logic.

Overcoming Documentation Difficulties

Teams can better use their time executing a project rather than searching for the latest version of a file. So, it makes sense that all relevant project documentation should be easily accessible somehow. Now, what document management practices should be set up by firms to ensure all team members have the correct tools in their toolboxes?

Proactively Manage Emails – Email is a universal form of communication in project-centric businesses. It is communication, but it also can be considered important documentation. Therefore, email can be leveraged to improve productivity, and it should be managed in a secure central location with your project information.

Inclusion of all Project Documents – Project drawings, reports, deliverables, and any documents related to the project should be saved in one location. This includes contracts and change orders as well. Having all information in one place improves efficiency and can ultimately keep projects on track.

Tagging for Searchability - Tagging documents with the correct information allows a system’s search feature to retrieve related documents quickly. As a result, this saves you valuable time and allows you to easily find the document you need to continue your work.

Mobility is a Possibility – Project information management needs to happen from anywhere – office, home, or on site. Be certain that your teams can access the data they need no matter where they are. This is a vital component to a great document management system.

Auditability – Just like accounting data, your project documentation should be auditable as well. Allowing tracking helps keep the data safe and always available.

Investing in a Great Project Information Management System

A quality project information management system is a wise investment for the future of your firm. Having best practices in place regarding accurate and easily accessible project information ensures project data is an asset to the firm, rather than a liability. Even more, a well-planned system can boost team communication and collaboration as well as project efficiency, bringing your team to the next level of excellence.Deltek PIM

Topics: Project Management, Technology Solutions, Project Information Management (PIM)

What Metrics are Important for Your Firm to Track?

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Apr 08, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

business metrics

“What gets measured gets done” is a common phrase heard in the business world. This thought process relies on business metrics that can be tracked and focused on within an organization. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical measurements which business leaders pay close attention to consistently. There are many leading and lagging indicators that can be analyzed to gauge a company’s health and employee productivity. So, what are KPIs that leaders and employees use to determine if their firm is operating effectively?  

Leading Indicators Look Forward

Firm leaders must always be looking to the future. New business is crucial to maintain a successful operation of a company. Likewise, appropriate staffing is necessary to ensure employee productivity.

New Business Pipeline – This measures the opportunities in the pipeline throughout the business development or sales process. The process typically covers efforts to attract clients, engage clients, then secure clients. How is a pipeline goal determined? Look at the firm’s hit rate – the ratio of wins to the number of projects pursued – and work backwards to determine the number of calls, meetings, and proposals needed to meet pipeline goals. Other metrics include client touch points, new leads, web visits, blog views, and dollar of proposals submitted, which all feed into the new business pipeline.

Full-Time Equivalent – This number shows if a firm is properly staffed for current and future work. The concept includes hours worked by part-time employees and full-time employees to determine the full-time equivalent (FTE). A firm can look at the total number of hours worked by all staff combined for a given time period and divide it by the number of working hours in that same time period. The FTE metric could trigger human resources to ramp up recruiting efforts or signal to business developers to target work for a specific time to keep utilization where it should be.  

Lagging Indicators Evaluate the Past

To keep a firm running successfully, business leaders must constantly measure results against goals. Were the goals met? Why or why not? There are a number of factors leaders analyze here.

Utilization Rate – Many firms use utilization goals as the benchmark for employee productivity. These goals are usually set by team managers and consider billable time, employee development, and administrative time. Employees can bring their highest value to the firm when they are operating at their optimal billable utilization goal. This metric is widely used at the individual employee level and group level.

Overhead Rate – This measures a firm’s non-billable costs compared to billable costs. Overhead expenses can be monitored and adjusted if this number is higher than desired. Examples of non-billable, or overhead, costs include leases, supplies, and non-billable professional hours, to name a few.

Revenue – This popular metric is the number that sits at the top of the income statement and measures the income a firm generates before subtracting expenses. This can be measured against revenue goals to determine how the company is performing. This number is important, but it should not be the only source of motivation.

Gross Profit Margin – This metric tells the firm’s process efficiency. The higher the number, the more efficiently the work is being completed. This can be measured overall for the firm as well as at the project level.

Revenue Growth – Is your firm on the desired growth path? This comprehensive view shows leaders the growth trajectory year-over-year. If it’s not on the desired path, course corrections can be made to get back on track.

Ongoing Pulse Checks Monitor the Present

It is also important to keep abreast of the general attitude towards your firm by both clients and employees. Both clients and employees contribute to the ultimate success of your firm. Thus, both should be assessed for current satisfaction levels.

Client retention and satisfaction – Repeat clients are vital to a firm’s success and can be tracked against new clients. Keeping clients satisfied helps ensure they will continue using the firm’s services. Tools such as the Client Feedback Tool can be used to gauge how satisfied clients are with the firm’s work and communication. The Client Feedback Tool can also be used to the employee’s advantage, learning where improvements can be made, or assistance requested.  

Employee satisfaction – The employee experience is just as important as the client experience. Satisfied employees are typically more productive, resulting in a stronger bottom line. It is best to keep lines of communication open and engage with, survey, and collaborate with employees regularly.

Using Metrics Ensures Firm Success

There are hundreds of metrics that can be tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. It is key to find the proper balance of metrics that works for your firm type and structure. Knowing how to get the right data is also important. Solutions such as Deltek Vision, Vantagepoint, and Informer can provide business intelligence showing real-time KPIs, giving leadership teams the data necessary for effective decision making and business management. Clear data can be used to identify the most successful areas as well as those that need attention and improvement. This is the most effective way to regularly stay on top of your firm’s performance.

Key Performance Indicators

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services, Business Intelligence