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What You Need to Know About OCR and ICR Technologies

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Feb 17, 2021 @ 02:29 PM

For project-based firms, document management is vital, and with a document management system in place, these firms can organize all relevant information with ease. However, many firms use scanning technologies that only create an image of the document. As a result, the image lacks the metadata contained within the document such as client name, dates, invoice amounts and more unless a firm associate adds this information manually.

Artificial Intelligence

Today, new scanning technologies have been introduced to the market that have the capabilities to “read” a document and collect the pertinent metadata making the file searchable. This technology eliminates the time required by an employee to manually gather and enter that information. Before your firm decides to invest into this technology, it’s important to get a basic understanding of how these technologies work.

What is OCR and ICR?

In short, OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a software that scans text in documents and is usually used for translating long documents into electronic files. ICR, or Intelligent Character Recognition, by comparison, is a software that recognizes fonts and styles of handwriting. With this basic understanding, let’s take a deeper dive into the differences.

It is commonly accepted that OCR technology was first introduced by Emanuel Goldberg in 1914 to read characters and convert them to a telegraph code to help the blind read. During the following decades, OCR capabilities continued to grow to what we have and use today. You may not even realize it, but you probably use OCR technology on a weekly basis. If you travel through an airport, send a letter in the mail, or deposit a check in the ATM, you have used OCR technology. While OCR technology is used regularly and effectively, there is a newer technology emerging as the leader.

In the early 1990’s, ICR technology took OCR capabilities to the next level. Basically, it is a smarter OCR which can focus on details. While OCR is normally used for retrieving typed documents that can be categorized and searched, ICR handles handwriting with more complicated styles than OCR can manage. Even more, ICR is a self-learning technology that teaches itself to recognize new handwriting patterns and improve data capture from scanned documents.

Benefits of ICR

OCR software is generally less expensive than ICR because you get fewer features. For some firms, the advanced features of ICR may not be necessary. However, for the majority of project-based firms, the cost of ICR is worth it as it will save countless hours spent on document management. Since ICR can read handwritten notes, and virtually any font, it can be used to manage many more documents than just OCR alone. Not to mention, the automatic retrieval of this relevant data no matter the handwriting prevents human input error which is a common problem with manual entry.

ICR and Accounting Data

Specifically, when it comes to accounting data, using ICR is extremely beneficial. ICR can be used for scanning various accounting documents such as accounts payable, invoices, purchase orders, onboarding payroll forms, and travel expenses. Larger firms that process hundreds of forms each month will be able to reduce numerous hours spent by team members having to manually enter all that data.

Expense Retrieval on the Go With ICR

Since Deltek is the leading provider of project-based ERP systems, it has already begun adopting ICR technology in Deltek Vantagepoint. Currently, Deltek is utilizing ICR in its mobile expense feature which allows users to take a picture of their receipts which can be read by Vantagepoint. The printed or handwritten text auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint eliminating the manual entry of this information. Accounting can then see where the budgets stand throughout the project lifecycle keeping everyone on track. Stay tuned as Deltek is continuing to test this capability in other capacities to help streamline your business operations!

Watch demos of Deltek Vantagepoint now!

What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jan 20, 2021 @ 02:31 PM

Delivering successful projects requires having the best project management tools available. Luckily for Deltek Vantagepoint users, more features and improved functionality continue to be added in each new version release. And recently, Vantagepoint version 3.5 just rolled out and it includes some incredible enhancements. Here’s a look at what’s new in Vantagepoint.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Dashboard Enhancements

A key feature required to effectively manage projects is having project performance information right at your fingertips. With the Deltek Vantagepoint dashboard enhancements, users can create informative charts, graphs, and lists to easily display your business data. This allows firm staff to quickly make critical business decisions that can positively impact project delivery performance.

In version 3.5, Deltek has taken the dashboards to a new level by allowing users to drill down to detail for hours, labor cost and labor billing on the project dashparts. Additionally, new options for planning data have been added, and the pipeline dashpart now includes the option to show total compensation. If you’re already using Vantagepoint 3.5, make sure to check out these improvements and start visualizing your data in ways you never imagined.

Improved Revenue Forecasting

Revenue forecasting accuracy is essential to delivering a profitable project and Vantagepoint users now have improved insights to ensure a successful project. Firstly, Deltek has now added more accurate and granular views of potential revenue from a project. Additionally, users can create revenue forecasts for individual projects. Deltek also is taking revenue forecasting to the next level by adding a feature that allows users to enter estimated to completion planned revenue at any level and easily update forecasts. With all this new functionality, users can now run reports to show pipeline and forecasted revenue periods.

Project Review Drill Down Capabilities

Project managers need to be empowered to better monitor project details. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, project managers can easily review direct, indirect and reimbursable expenses as well as direct and reimbursable consultant fees. Additionally, all this information is available in a single location making it easier and faster to access.

Accounting and Billing Improvements

Cash flow is essential for any business to be successful and Deltek knows that their project-based clients rely on having easy and accurate billing to ensure they get paid by clients. For this reason, they have streamlined the billing and invoicing process in Vantagepoint 3.5. Now, the accounting department has better visibility of bill-through dates in interactive billing. Also, accounting and project managers have the option to resubmit draft invoices with new dates. Fast and accurate billing is important to any business and Vantagepoint is helping project-based firms streamline this process.

Expenses Simplified

Employee expenses are a cost of doing business, but these shouldn’t be surprises. Deltek recognized that making expense submission easier can speed up the process. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, the mobile expense feature has been greatly enhanced with the addition of an intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology. What this does is allow users to take a picture of a receipt which Vantagepoint can read. The printed and handwritten text information from the receipt auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint. The typical information collected is where the expense occurred, the date and the total amount of the purchase. Therefore, eliminating the manual entry of this information.

Do More with Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Each version of Deltek Vantagepoint will continue to grow upon the previous iterations. While we are only at 3.5, be on the lookout for more enhancements as more versions come out. It is truly exciting to learn and see where Deltek is taking Vantagepoint in the future and how it will make successful project management more intuitive and intelligent.

Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5 Webinar Series

Top Watched Full Sail Partners’ Webinars of 2020!

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jan 06, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Last year kept us busy with all the new developments of Deltek Vantagepoint, not to mention the large number of firms upgrading from Vision to Vantagepoint. However, we planned for this back in 2019 and decided to roll out a series of mini demonstrations focused on specific features and functions available in Vantagepoint.

Webinars

This new format proved to be overwhelmingly successful. Therefore, as you review the top 10 watched webinars of 2020, you will likely notice that many of them are part of our “Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint” mini demonstration series. Enough with the introduction, here are the top 10 webinars you and your peers watched in 2020.

Top 10 Full Sail Partners’ Webinars of 2020

  1. Deltek Vantagepoint – The Best All in One Package – This webinar is an ideal webinar to watch if you are new to or have very little knowledge of Vantagepoint. If you watch this webinar, you will learn what Vantagepoint is, what resources and information are available, and you will learn more about the steps to upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint. Make sure to check this traditional one-hour webinar out to also learn about our favorite new features. Did I mention that this webinar aired live in 2019? It made the 2020 top watched list since the on-demand video was downloaded by so many people.
  2. Powering Project Success with Deltek Talent – Candidate Engagement – Professional services firms are quickly realizing that acquiring and retaining industry top talent is becoming a necessity to stay competitive. Deltek has recognized this need as well and created Deltek Talent to assist firms in automating the employee experience and lifecycle. This mini demo hosted by Joel Slater features Deltek Talent and the specific tools within this human capital management system that support the candidate engagement experience to help attract the future leaders of your firm.
  3. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Update Your Timesheet Using the Deltek Calendar– Billable employees struggling with staying organized with meetings and client appointments will benefit from this mini demo. No one wants to worry about completing the dreaded timesheet. With Vantagepoint, the challenge of keeping up with all your daily tasks has been simplified with the Deltek Calendar. During this mini demo, Nicole Temple will show how the Deltek Calendar helps users keep up with their billable engagements and how this information easily transfers over to a user’s timesheet.
  4. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Quickly Build Project Plans – Maintaining successful projects requires all team members to have the information they need when they need it most. Furthermore, project plans often necessitate adjustments during the life of the project and this must happen quickly and easily. This mini demo is hosted by Rana Blair and shows users how to quickly build project plans and update them in Vantagepoint. This is a must watch for project managers.
  5. Tale of Two Firms: Tackling Business Intelligence –Business intelligence (BI) is booming in all industries as more and more BI tools enter the market. But you don’t have to take our word for it! During this webinar moderated by Sarah Gonnella, two of our clients that represent different firms share how the Informer 5 BI tool has revolutionized their business analytics capabilities. Make sure to watch this webinar on-demand to learn ways your firm can embrace the power of BI.
  6. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint - Mobile CRM – Getting out and talking with existing and prospective clients is a standard part of business development and essential to winning new business. With Vantagepoint’s mobile capabilities, updating touchpoints while on-the-go has never been easier. Watch this mini demo hosted by Kevin Hebblethwaite to see how Vantagepoint streamlines the business development process with mobile functionality.
  7. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Create Flexible Billing Terms – Not all projects are the same, nor are project billing terms. However, this is not a problem for Vantagepoint users. During this mini-demo, Scott Gailhouse shows how simple it is to create unique billing terms for projects in Vantagepoint.
  8. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Streamline and Expedite the Invoice Review Process - In any business, getting paid is the name of the game. However, professional services firms have a lot to track to create accurate invoices that can be sent to clients. With Vantagepoint, the old days of printing invoices and marking them up by hand are long gone. Now project managers can use the invoice review features to streamline the review process. If you are in accounting or project management, you will want to see Rick Childs’ demonstration that is available on-demand.
  9. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Capture Project Information for Proposals – As many of you know, having high quality proposals that address all the requirements contained in an RFP is essential for winning new projects. Even more, proposal teams are usually up against tight timelines to draft and finalize a winning RFP response. With Deltek Vantagepoint, this struggle can be better managed. This webinar is a guided tour by Lindsay Diven to show users the features in Vantagepoint that enable the quick creation of winning proposals.
  10. Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Project Templates and Plan Settings – The most popular webinar of 2020 was part of our Vantagepoint mini demonstration series. During this presentation, Theresa DePew shows users how to quickly create templates that have the correct pre-defined WBS so that entering data into the correct fields is the only task a user has to complete. Watch this outstanding demo to see how Vantagepoint has made planning a new project quick and easy.

What to Expect in 2021?

In 2021, we are planning on hosting a mix of traditional one-hour webinars and continuing to add to the “Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint” mini demonstration series. We will continue to promote these webinars using our newsletter and email notifications. Please make sure to pay attention to the amount of time allotted for a specific live webinar event on the registration page. Mini demonstrations are typically 30 minutes long with the actual demonstration being from 7 to 15 minutes long followed by live QA with the presenter.

We hope to see you at our live virtual events in 2021! In the meantime, catch up on past webinars you may have missed that are available on-demand. Enjoy learning!

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Valerie Kelleher Transitions into a Sales Accountant Position with Full Sail Partners

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Thu, Dec 03, 2020 @ 02:15 PM

Valerie Kelleher

Full Sail Partners, a Deltek Partner and creator of the Blackbox Connector, is honored to announce that Valerie Kelleher has grown into a new role as a Sales Accountant. With over 20 years of accounting and finance experience, Valerie is great fit for the recently created Sales Accountant position.

As the Sales Accountant, Valerie Kelleher will be managing the accounting for software sales, SaaS renewals and maintenance billing. With an increase of clients moving to the cloud, Full Sail Partners wanted to ensure client renewals were managed with consistency. She has previously served as an Account Manager for Full Sail Partners servicing our southwest region clients.

“Over the years many of our firms have preferred the convenience of a cloud subscription and have migrated to the cloud. Valerie’s attention to detail made her the perfect candidate to manage the renewal process,” Wendy Gustafson, General Manager at Full Sail Partners explained. “Even more, I am more than confident that Valerie is the perfect person to fill this new role as we continue to grow as a company.”

Valerie Kelleher has been active in the Deltek community for five years as an Account Manager at Full Sail Partners. Additionally, she has an extensive accounting and finance background that combined with her experience with Deltek clients, gives her the unique skill sets to continue to provide top notch service to our clients.

“I am completely overjoyed with my new opportunity as the Sales Accountant,” stated Valerie Kelleher. “I have learned so much about the value of Deltek products for our clients and this opportunity is going to give more chances to learn more about the Deltek ecosystem.”

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

What is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Just the terms artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can cause some confusion as many relate these with robotics. Based upon common knowledge, this is a rational thought, but in actuality, AI and machine learning technologies are being incorporated into numerous software applications and personal assistant tools such as Siri and Alexa. It is important to note that AI and machine learning have some slight differences. Let’s take a look at how Deltek is using these technologies to improve the experience for Deltek Vantagepoint users.

Artificial Intelligence

Getting Smart with Artificial Intelligence

Simply stated, AI is the principle that machines can make smart decisions and complete tasks using logical intelligence. In theory, this means that machines using AI exhibit cognitive functions like those performed in human minds. AI works by using algorithms, and in many cases, multiple complex algorithms stacked on top of each other. Typically, these algorithms can learn from data enhancing the ability to make smarter decisions.

The late Larry Tesler, a computer scientist who worked for many major corporations, tried to define AI. His theorem stated that “AI is whatever hasn’t been done yet” meaning that intelligence is ever changing. However, once something becomes common, it transitions to machine learning. Tesler’s theorem is often referred to when discussing the difference between AI and machine learning.

Be Efficient with Machine Learning

So, based on Tesler’s theorem, machine learning is a subcategory of AI and focuses more on the idea that machines are able to learn and adapt through experience. Like AI, machine learning uses algorithms to perform tasks without being programmed to, but it achieves goals by learning and figuring things out over time. In machine learning, the commonly accepted approaches are divided into three categories:

  • Reinforcement learning – a computer program navigates a dynamic environment to achieve a goal. For instance, the computer-controlled players on your team when playing a video game.
  • Supervised learning – the program is given inputs and desired outputs and then it creates the connections. An example of this is creating models to predict the weather.
  • Unsupervised learning – As the name suggests, the program is given no pre-existing labels and left to figure out patterns in the data on its own. This technique is often used in marketing to identify clusters of potential customers.

Do More with Deltek Vantagepoint

Now that the difference between AI and machine learning has been clarified, it should help users better understand these types of computer sciences as used in Vantagepoint. Currently, Deltek is adding AI capabilities to Vantagepoint that will be available in later versions. According to Deltek, AI will be able to analyze data across the project lifecycle. As a result, the AI tool will provide unbiased insights into the health of projects addressing any needed changes to ensure project success.

Deltek has also announced plans for machine learning technology. One effort is to simplify the expense submittal process. Deltek has announced that Vantagepoint’s Time and Expense will have an Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) capability. The ICR technology will give users the ability to take a picture of a receipt needed to expense and Vantagepoint will be able to recognize characters no matter the font or if it’s handwritten or typed. The machine learning will recognize groups of data like food cost, taxes and tips, and then it will total those numbers.

It’s Time to Embrace AI and Machine Learning

Identifying and clarifying the difference between AI and machine learning is important since you’ll likely be hearing these terms used interchangeably from now on and far into the future. Even more, you’re likely only to benefit as a Deltek Vantagepoint user if Deltek continues to invest and take real advantage of these technologies. If you use apps on your phone like Lyft and Uber on a daily basis, you actually already do benefit from these technologies!

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Accounting Today’s 2020 VAR 100 List Once Again Includes Full Sail Partners

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 @ 11:45 AM

2020 VAR 100

Accounting Today has recognized Full Sail Partners as one of the top 100 value-added resellers (VARs) for 2020. Being distinguished as a top 100 VAR indicates that Accounting Today is overwhelmingly confident with the firm’s services and knowledge of business accounting principles and the software required to support operations. Each year Accounting Today selects 100 VARs to acknowledge their accomplishments in the accounting software industry. The top VARs are chosen from firms focused on sales and implementation of accounting and enterprise resources planning (ERP) software. Accounting Today uses criteria such as revenue, number of offices, and staff size to generate the list of top VARs. 

According to Accounting Today, VARs on the 2020 list noted that this is the year that has pushed the cloud over the tipping point. Furthermore, the VARs have overwhelmingly echoed each other’s sentiments stating that this year more clients than ever have inquired about cloud and software-as-a-services options. One reason the cloud demand is so high is the peer pressure from others within their industry adopting the cloud. This is a clear example of the benefits and the need to keep up with the competition. For more information about this year’s findings, click here. Also, for the full list of the 100 Top VARs, click here.

“Full Sail Partners is once again pleased to be recognized by Accounting Today as a Top 100 VAR for 2020. Additionally, Full Sail Partners has found that 2020 is the year that the cloud has become a leading topic for our clients. With several of our clients preparing to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint, they have also decided to take advantage of the benefits afforded them by moving their on-premise solution to the cloud,” stated Sarah Gonnella, VP of Sales and Marketing at Full Sail Partners. “We anticipate this trend to continue well past 2021.”

Accounting Today is a leading provider of online business news for the accounting community, offering breaking news, in-depth features, and a host of resources and services. The VAR 100 list is an annual report developed to rank the top technology resellers in the accounting and ERP spaces.  

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

Empower Your Firm with Better Email Management

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, May 20, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Email management

What do you think is the most widespread office tool used amongst your peers and coworkers? If you answered email, you are correct! Employees use email throughout the day to communicate with coworkers, clients, vendors, and the list continues. In fact, a study by McKinsey found that employees spend 28% of their workweek managing their email, the equivalent of 11 hours if we assume that an employee works 40 hours a week. So, how can we help employees more effectively manage their email?

Email Management Pitfalls

Let’s start where most people do when they read and write an email - the subject line. The fact is, there is not a global standard to email subject lines, and most companies don’t establish predetermined subject lines either. As a result, searching for a specific email about a certain topic wastes a lot of time especially if the email is never found leaving some to wonder if the email ever actually existed.

For some savvy email users, they have learned to create a folder system to improve their email organization. According to a study by Microsoft Research, 30% of email users create a folder structure to organize email. However, ironically, 90% of those that create folder structures don’t actually use them.

Here, we just discovered two email mismanagement issues, but if you want to dig deeper, there are many more. There are other simple things like not using reply all so that everyone on the email chain has access to the communications and decisions made based on the email content. Also, not using convenience features such as setting reminders to follow-up or complete an assigned action item. All these examples are things that can be improved, but how does a business get everyone on board with practicing better email management?  

Put the Right Email Management Solution in Place

Email tools such as Gmail and Outlook contain intuitive features and functions that allow users to improve their email management. However, these tools by themselves are not enough to be able to improve firm-wide email management. While these email tools are great for facilitating communication especially for person to person, where they fall short is when emails contain specific details and information about a project that requires multiple people from multiple departments to know about changes and statuses as they happen.

An effective email management solution will have the ability to store uncategorized emails with important information in a database that makes these emails more searchable allowing employees to find the information they need, when they need it, with only a few clicks. Additionally, the emails should be in one centralized location for all relevant staff to be able to access and obtain the pertinent information. An effective email management solution integrates your firm’s email platform tool with the firm’s ERP solution to ensure all data is stored in one place.

Unravel the Email Management Mess

There’s a lot of confusion about email management solutions versus email tools. In layman’s terms, email tools are what you use to create and respond to emails. On the other hand, email management solutions allow you to quickly categorize an email from your email tool that will then add the email to a general database that lets others access the information. Furthermore, email management is more than an individual process and requires an email management system in conjunction with FIRM-WIDE established processes to ensure proper email management success.

Most importantly, email management solutions can change the culture of your company and open up the ways we communicate. They help eliminate inadvertent gatekeepers of information and ensure everyone within your firm has the information needed for client satisfaction. Lastly, they create time savings for your firm by providing easy access to the information your teams need to deliver a great client experience.

Deltek PIM

Improve Project Planning with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 @ 11:35 AM

Project planning tools

For professional services firms, having a reliable project planning tool is critical to ensuring projects are profitable. Therefore, a project planning tool needs to be intuitive for users and must improve project scheduling and resource planning. With Deltek Vantagepoint, project planning has been taken to the next level with a focus on the features and functionality that project managers need. Here are some key features of Vantagepoint that will assist project managers with delivering successful and profitable projects.

Use Project Templates in Deltek Vantagepoint

Before your firm actually starts a project, it must first propose how it will deliver the project for the prospective client. Therefore, a project plan must be created during the project proposal development process. Furthermore, your firm will want to ensure its proposed project plan is aligned with its typical project delivery method. With project templates, firms can quickly create a project plan based on the type of work being requested by the client.

Aside from the ease of creating a project plan, using a project template ensures that project managers are using the correct work breakdown structure (WBS) that aligns with their firm’s project delivery model. In addition to containing all the WBS levels, the plan created from the project template will include all the required pre-defined data fields. In summary, project templates:

  • Save time when you create new project records
  • Guarantee data uniformity in your project records
  • Ensure new projects are set up with the proper WBS

Take Advantage of Labor Codes in Deltek Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint, the ability to plan labor resources down to the labor code on a project is now possible. This additional functionality, which is seldomly seen in other project planning tools, allows project managers to better manage their project labor planning. With this increased level of granularity, firms can more accurately create internal budgets and improve labor tracking by department, service, or staff level.

The benefit of using labor codes is that the same labor codes are used across the board for all projects. As a result, project reports can include additional and meaningful labor detail that can be sorted by labor code. Additionally, firms that use labor codes can allow employees to bill time at multiple rates if they perform different jobs during a project.

Adjust Project Timelines with the Interactive Gannt Chart

Gantt charts are a great visual assistance tool for project managers, and Deltek has gone a step further by making them interactive in Vantagepoint. For those that are unfamiliar with Gantt charts, they use bars to illustrate a project schedule which can also include dependency relationships between activities and their scheduled time. With the project Gantt chart in Vantagepoint, project managers can adjust the project schedule from any level of the project by simply dragging and dropping the timeline bars.

As a result, project managers now have an easier way to adjust dates as changes to the project occur. Additionally, Deltek has included the ability to export the project Gantt chart in various formats. Among the options are PDF and PNG, and all can simply be attached in a project contract or proposal.

Take Control of Your Project with Deltek Vantagepoint 

As you can see, there are several valuable features in Deltek Vantagepoint’s project planning capabilities that other project planning tools are still lacking. From providing project templates, to offering labor codes to the interactive Gannt chart, Vantagepoint is taking project planning and delivery to the next level. Now is the time to step up your project planning and delivery with Deltek Vantagepoint.

Watch demos of Deltek Vantagepoint now!

Being Productive While in COVID-19 Quarantine

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Apr 01, 2020 @ 12:50 PM

Covid-19 2

COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives quite dramatically and suddenly. For many, working from home, also known as working virtually has become a way of life indefinitely. This new concept of full-time remote working presents unique challenges. Even more, for those of us who have worked at home for years are now dealing with distractions we were not previously exposed to such as sharing workspace with family members all the time. With COVID-19 introducing a plethora of daily hurdles to our once normal lives, here are some ideas to help you stay positive and make the most of this quarantine time.

Create a Workspace

The hardest adjustment people have had to make while sheltering in place or quarantining is keeping to a routine. With COVID-19 and the rapidly changing conditions created by the pandemic, daily routines have been upended overnight. It has been easy for both parents and kids to lose track of days and of time. Therefore, to maintain a disciplined routine, it is very important to create a workspace for yourself and for the others in your household. Whether it be the kids doing schoolwork from the kitchen table or everyone working from the dining room table, choose designated workspaces with designated hours. This will help keep you and your entire family focused on getting your daily work done. 

Improve Your Professional Skills

Believe it or not, working from home during a quarantine can make you more productive. Think about it, you’re not wasting time struggling with traffic and getting kids to sports. So, with this spare time, find free resources to help improve your professional skills. Here at Full Sail Partners, we offer whitepapers, webinars, and blogs like the one you’re reading. Furthermore, Deltek and Entrinsik have similar resources that can be useful to you. Be assured that during this time of uncertainty, Full Sail Partners will continue to create and provide our content for your consumption.

Gain Academic Knowledge

Going beyond your professional skills, there are countless opportunities to increase your academic knowledge. For many, when we finish school and start a career, we quickly leave behind academia not related to our profession. Generally, this is a necessity based on our growing needs that are in line with our priorities, like families. However, there are always those courses we enjoyed as electives and wanted to take a deeper dive into, but we just couldn’t seem to find the time.  

Well, now is a perfect opportunity to revisit this as there are numerous resources available on the internet. Here are links to some example of free online academic resources:

Even better, if you’re a parent now having to do at-home schooling on topics with which you’re rusty, most or all these resources have you covered.  

Stay Mindful

COVID-19 has created a health scare, but it is necessary for you and your family to find control in these unprecedented times. Staying mindful of the present is a good way to gain control back. In between work activities, take the time to go outside and reflect on the peacefulness of nature. You can even find short mindfulness videos on the internet to do as a family or on your own when you take a work break. Whatever means you choose, try to stay present and productive in each day and know that this will eventually pass.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

While the current situation is challenging, the reality is that it is our new norm for the near future. In this time of COVID-19 quarantine, we all must focus on the positive rather than the negative. Identify workspaces and be productive, learn something new professionally and otherwise, and above all, establish routine and stay present. Good luck to everyone out there! We will get through this soon!COVID-19 Resources

Common CRM Adoption Challenges for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Mar 04, 2020 @ 01:51 PM

Adopt CRM

For professional services firms to be successful, they need a client relationship management (CRM) system to help them focus their business development strategies to identify prospective projects and to nurture client relationships to ensure they win new projects. Furthermore, an effective CRM system requires firm employees to use the system and this is not just directed to the business development team. This requires the entire firm to be updating client records to ensure the most up-to-date information is available for business development. However, firms that have invested in a CRM system seem to have a common hurdle which is employee adoption. Here are a few things that can negatively impact user adoption at your firm.

The Lack of Defined Processes

Time and time again, firms roll out a new CRM system with the assumption that it’s just requires switching it on, and it’ll take care of itself. However, this is not the case. Firms need to first start off by identifying what goals they want to achieve so they can actually see results. Once they have their goals identified, a formal process needs to be outlined to ensure the CRM system is utilized in a way the benefits firm and aligns with current marketing and business development procedures. Here are some things to consider when defining a process:

  • What is a lead and when does a lead become an opportunity?
  • Who has the information at your firm that needs to be entered about a contact?
  • Who can update contacts and what can they update?
  • What role is responsible for cleaning up the CRM database?
  • What reports are required for different roles?

Misguided Goals

Goal setting for business development teams are far too often focused on dollar amounts and win rates. However, this thought process ignores setting goals that align with the firm’s strategy for achieving their targeted dollar amounts and win rates. For example, the sales cycle to win a project for many professional services firms can be months to years depending on the industry. Therefore, having a goal that helps the business development team keep up with touchpoints helps ensure client relationships are being properly managed. So when considering goals, it’s important to develop goals that align with your firm’s strategic client management process.

Picking the Wrong CRM Solution for Your Firm

There are several things to consider when selecting a CRM solution for your firm. Firstly, not all CRM systems are the same and have different capabilities to support different industries. For instance, having a CRM system that integrates with your firm’s accounting and project management platforms is essential for professional services firms. Especially if you want all your firm’s data in one central location and your desire is for people to utilize the CRM system. An example of this is a firm that uses Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision for their accounting and project management, the obvious CRM system selection is Deltek CRM.

Additionally, system integration is great, but having a CRM system that has a friendly user interface is important as well to increase user adoption. By selecting a system that is intuitive and well designed, implementing a CRM adoption directive will most likely succeed across your firm.

Increase CRM Adoption

Many firms struggle with getting employees to adopt a new system. However, this does not have to be the case. By setting goals and processes for different teams within your organization to encourage use, your employees will be able to see the value of the CRM system. Lastly, make sure to point out the fact that a CRM system will help your firm continue to grow and be successful in the future.   

Grow Revenue with a CRM