Full Sail Partners Blog

2020 Trends in the Professional Services Industry

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Looking for Trends

Firms in the professional services industry must adapt to compete in today’s world. Through acquisitions and other partnerships, many professional services firms have been entering into new markets. These firms now have the need to offer a wider range of services to a larger client base. Additionally, many firms have increased their global presence which affects the way client needs have been handled in the past. Let’s check out the top trends for professional services firms as they deal with evolving client expectations and staying competitive.

On-demand Workforce

As new demands arise with the increasing service offerings by professional services firms to more clients, an on-demand workforce is necessary. This workforce can include contractors, part time staff and temporary workers in addition to full timers to meet staffing needs. Firm leaders will need to learn how to manage this future workforce and cultivate a culture that will be attractive to top talent with the key skill sets to render firm services.

More Flexible Service Rendering

Competition for the professional services industry has increased with rapid globalization. Clients expect professional services firms to support them and deliver high quality services from anywhere in the world. With location not being the priority, client demands can be met with operational and staffing flexibility. It is very important to stay abreast of who would be competent and available for doing the needed work.

Perception as Advisors

Professional services firms are changing the way they price services. There has been a shift from the traditional per-hour revenue model to a more value-oriented model. With value-based pricing, professional services firms are setting their prices primarily on perceived or estimated value of the service to the customer rather than historical prices. This value-based pricing encourages the relationship of a professional services firm being an advisor rather than just a service provider.

Leveraging Automation

With technology changing at such a fast pace, professional services firms are increasing their offerings with the use of automation. Using automation allows firms to simplify complicated and/or difficult processes saving a lot of time while delivering quality services. Automation also makes it easier to find the source of problems and provides the ability to remedy them quickly. Additionally, automation can help reduce errors and eliminate repetitive tasks.

Staying Competitive in Today’s World

Professional services firms must stay competitive in the global world of today. In order to do so, they must keep a pulse on their evolving client needs. Even more, they must be ready to provide a flexible workforce rendering quality services as fast as possible to wherever needed. The use of automation is a necessity for success. Furthermore, professional services firms must focus on satisfying their client expectations to ensure their services continue to be utilized.

Thinking Out Cloud

Topics: Tips, Building Business, Professional Services

Control Your Projects Better with Deltek PIM

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Dec 11, 2019 @ 02:44 PM

Deltek PIMDuring the lifecycle of a project in the professional services industry, there is a lot of information being shared among all the members of the project delivery team. Furthermore, history has shown that there is a larger amount of project related documentation being created as the professional services industry continues to become more digitized. As a result, more information is being shared and there are more decisions and final approvals to be made.

With all this information bouncing back and forth, it can become difficult to track what your other team members have reviewed. Therefore, making timely decisions becomes increasingly harder which can jeopardize the successful delivery of a project. However, Deltek has created Deltek PIM to help firms better manage project documentation to allow project delivery team members quick and easy access to important project related information.  

Easily Track Submittals with Automated Workflows

There are all types of various submittals that have to be tracked and documented during the lifecycle of a project. For many firms, this is still done using spreadsheets and other manual methods. Due to this, tracking change orders becomes a heavily manual process which is time consuming and prone to errors.  

What if there was a way to make this process less time consuming and allows for improved tracking of submittals? With Deltek PIM, firms can take advantage of the workflow functionality to create a formal submittal review process. What makes PIM’s workflow functionality so great is that it allows project team members to track the status of each submittal throughout the entire process. Even more, it allows team members to see who has reviewed the submittal and who still needs to review it to help ensure it gets processed and approved before the deadline. PIM also sends reminder alerts to individuals when a deadline is approaching to ensure they review the change order before the deadline.

Emails Here and Emails There

During the project lifecycle, email is a leading communication method amongst project team members. However, have you ever left someone off an email, or have you not been included on one? If this has ever happened, it is likely that a project team member has been left out of the loop about critical project information. Even worse, a project team member may not receive a crucial document that contains important project information.

The problem with emails is that the sender may not include an important recipient, or the recipient may not open the email in time to make an actionable decision on the information being shared. Thus, the decision-making process can be delayed, and the project timeline can be put in jeopardy. However, Deltek PIM provides a solution to improve project communication.

With PIM’s email management functionality, the entire project team has access to all the conversations that have influenced changes to the design and construction process of the project. Furthermore, PIM’s email management solution allows for the storage of project related communications in one centralized area designated to a specific project. Therefore, you never have to worry about obtaining these communications even if a team member is on vacation, out on leave, or has left the firm. All this information is permanently stored and made easily accessible.

Keep Up with Important Project Documents

A large portion of delivering a successful project requires keeping project documents up-to-date and organized. This means having access to the latest version of a document and being confident that the version you are working on is the most current version. With most document control processes, it’s difficult to know if the version you are working on is the correct and most recent version. Even more challenging, what if someone is trying to make changes to the same document at the same time? As most can agree, document management can be truly challenging and can hinder the success of a project.

The good news is that Deltek PIM makes document management simple. When firms adopt PIM’s document management functionality, they are able to implement standard document management processes and make sure project team members are compliant with them. Even more, PIM ensures one single version is available to all project team members which reduces duplication and provides the team access to the latest version.

Improve Project Collaboration with Deltek PIM

Information here and information there, information is everywhere. Well, this can be great for somethings like researching an item before making a big purchase. However, information everywhere is not so great when trying to deliver a project for a client. With Deltek PIM, all project related information is located in one space making access to it quick and easy for all project team members.  

Deltek PIM

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

Summary of Human Capital Management in 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Dec 04, 2019 @ 11:45 AM

40th Annual AE Clarity Report

Summary of Human Capital Management in 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report

The results of the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report regarding Human Capital Management (HCM) indicate similar trends from the past few years. There continues to be a tight labor market, and firms still struggle with finding qualified candidates. With the talent that they do hire, firms are working to engage their employees especially by offering better career development which ensures retention. Let’s take a look at some of the key findings regarding HCM.

Talent Acquisition Challenges

The top three challenges firms are dealing with regarding talent acquisition are the availability of good candidates in the marketplace, the ability to offer competitive compensation and matching qualified candidates to open positions. Continuously nurturing qualified talent is must in this competitive talent pool. Firms must also take a hard look at their compensation plan to ensure they can recruit the desired staff to fill open positions. Utilizing a talent management software such as Deltek Talent Management will help with these talent acquisition needs.

Issues Regarding Managing Talent

Succession planning, employee engagement and performance management seem to be the primary concerns for firms regarding managing talent. Unfortunately, the report showed that only 45% of participating firms in the survey had succession plans in place. Lower on the priority list for firms were learning and development and recognition. Both of these actually go a long way towards improving employee engagement and should be looked at more closely. Therefore, it is wise to keep in mind that performance management is easily trackable using a talent management software.

Developing Talent

It is clear from the study that firms are in fact encouraging the development of talent that they are able to recruit. 75% of firms reported that coaching and mentoring are used to develop their talent with 54% using external education programs. 80% of firms prioritize professional licenses with 77% making conference attendance a focus. With the addition of 76% endorsing professional certifications and 72% offering continuing education reimbursement, the results show that firms are interested in investing in their talent which is always a plus!

Human Capital Should be Smartly Managed

Having the best talent in place now and a plan for the future is the secret to success for any firm especially project-based firms. With the constant flux in project management, talent needs to be qualified, available and engaged. Additionally, learning and development is crucial to not only keep employees retained but to ensure that projects are run as efficiently as possible. For a more detailed look at the HCM results from the 40th Annual Report available in the link below.New call-to-action

Topics: Professional Services, HR, Deltek Clarity Report

Preparing for 2019 Year-End

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Year End 2019

Year-End is coming! Don’t let year-end bring you down - create a plan and stick to it. A great way to start is by creating a checklist and calendar. Make sure your calendar includes all year-end deadlines: final AP and Expense payment processing, final timesheets due, and final bank reconciliation are all important items to include. Deltek issues a checklist yearly, and this is an excellent starting point to create the plan for your company. Once issued, it will be available on the Support Center site.

Top Items to Consider Adding to Your Year-End Checklist

  • Reconcile all cash accounts – Post all transactions in Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision. Verify your general ledger balances match your bank statements. Make all adjustments as needed.
  • Final Invoicing – Process all client invoices for the fiscal year.
  • Review outstanding Accounts Receivables – Follow-up with clients who have outstanding accounts receivables beyond 30 days. Send past due statements and/or simply give them a call. Enter the results of your collection efforts in the comments section of Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision Invoice Review. Year-end is an excellent time to collect your outstanding receivables. If you determine there is uncollectable AR, be sure to write those invoices off.
  • Review Unbilled detail - Time and expense transactions that cannot be invoiced to clients should be written off at this time.
  • Fixed Assets – Fixed Assets are larger purchases that are made throughout the year (i.e. equipment, automobiles, furniture, computers, etc.). This is the time to make sure all fixed assets are reported on the balance sheet if they are still owned. If not, record the sale or disposal of these fixed assets. Additionally, verify the depreciation on your fixed assets as well and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Employee Expenses and AP - Verify that all accounts payable vouchers have been recorded in Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision. Make your 401(k), SEP IRA, and Simple IRA contributions have been made, if you have not done so. Try and pay all your vendors and employee expense reports by year-end.
  • Notes Payable - Verify notes payable (i.e. loans) amounts on your balance sheet match the statements from your lenders and make all adjustments as needed.
  • W-9s – Order 1099 forms as soon as possible. Furthermore, make sure all W-9s from your vendors and/or contractors that have been paid $600 or more to throughout the year are on file. Don’t forget 1099s should be mailed on January 31st. 1099 forms can be purchased from most office supply stores, or you can order them for free from the IRS.
  • W-2s – If you run payroll in Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision, order W-2 forms. W-2s should be mailed by January 31st. W-2s can be purchased from most office supply stores.
  • Budget for next year - Create your GL budget for 2019.

Communication and Organization is Key to Success

Make sure all in the firm know what their role is for year-end, i.e. when final timesheets and expense reports are due. Put a year-end process in place, create a manual and checklist to use yearly, and you’ll be ahead of the game next year! Please note: Deltek will be issuing year-end updates for Vision 7.6 and Vantagepoint. If you are on 7.5 or older, you must upgrade to a supported version to receive a 2019 year-end update. If you are still on Vision 7.5 or an older version, contact Full Sail Partners if you have questions about upgrading to Vision 7.6.

Deltek Customer Care

Topics: Accounting, Support, Professional Services

Introducing New Features in Deltek Talent 16.0

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Mon, Nov 04, 2019 @ 12:36 PM

red-vector-logo-lo-res

The release of Deltek Talent 16.0 has offered users even better functionality further improving firm workforce productivity. This latest version of Deltek Talent was created with the intention of strengthening strategic partnerships and developing Human Capital Management (HCM) capabilities. Let’s take a look at some of the new features of Deltek Talent 16.0.

Talent Relationship Management (TRM)

Version 16.0’s Deltek Talent Acquisition module introduced Talent Relationship Management which helps firms stay ahead of recruiting. Firms can now create recruitment campaigns to build relationships with top talent and source for openings. This improvement allows firms to fill project positions quickly. The Acquisition module also contains workflow improvements and enhanced on-boarding features.

Core HR

Once talent is hired, the new Core HR module enables firms to more efficiently manage employee records. Project-based businesses are constantly changing and there are shifts in workforce expectations. As part of the 16.0 release, there are newly added fields providing the ability to process hires, rehires, terminations and job changes. Using this automated process, there can be more focus on HCM within projects that helps with strategic planning.

Continuous Goal Management

Employee engagement and retention is always a top concern for firms. With the new continuous goal management feature in 16.0, you can set and manage goals separate from the appraisal process. This change significantly simplifies the goal writing process requiring less time. There is also the option of no score appraisals and comments can be tracked. Giving employees the consistent and frequent ability to meet set goals is important to keep them engaged.

Learning Requirements

Deltek Talent 16.0 incorporates the Learning module which lays out course and curriculum deadlines, recurrences and deadline offset options. There is a new two-level process that replaces CEUs allowing for flexibility on a per course basis. Additionally, Deltek has partnered with Red Vector for e-learning content which elevates performance for project-based businesses. Firms are able to track training and development in one place. There are 130+ courses available covering project management, leadership and HR issues.

Enhance the Whole Employee Life-cycle

Deltek Talent 16.0 offers new features that support the entire employee life-cycle. From sourcing the best talent to tracking human capital per project, to ensuring project managers are always learning and engaged, this new release fits the bill. Ready to see this improved functionality in action?

Deltek Talent

Topics: New Features, Professional Services, Deltek Talent

Project Management Trends Identified in the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

40th Annual AE Clarity Report

How well an engineering and architecture (AE) firm can deliver a project is core to the firm’s success. However, the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study found that AE firms still continue to have trouble with delivering great project management. Let’s take a deeper dive into these findings and identify areas your firm can improve on in regard to project delivery.

Top Project Management Hurdles

Surprisingly, the top three challenges reported by AE firms were the same as last year. We should take note so that these challenges do not repeat themselves in next year’s study. The leading challenge firms reported was the competing priorities of project managers. This entails managing and delivering projects while also being responsible for designing future projects and tasked with business development.

Even more, the second largest challenge AE firms have experienced with project management is staff shortages. If project managers are responsible for the aforementioned competing priorities, then it is clear the firms are understaffed. More allocated staff would balance the workload, so projects can be run more efficiently. In third place, AE firms reported that they are challenged with hiring and retaining experienced project managers with firms stating that inexperienced project managers actually hinder the successful delivery of projects.

Key Area of Need for Improvement

Project status visibility was identified as a key area of need for improvement. AE firms that participated in the study identified four areas to be improved regarding project management visibility. First, cost variance from original expected cost to deliver a project needs to be monitored closer. Secondly, ensuring projects are meeting predetermined KPIs throughout the project’s lifecycle needs to be a priority. Next, schedule variance from the original and proposed plan needs to be carefully watched. Finally, there needs to be a focus on client satisfaction.

If the top three areas are missing the target, then the client is going to have an unsatisfactory experience dealing with your firm. However, client perspective can be better managed if your firm uses the right tools. One tool that can help firms ensure client satisfaction is the Client Feedback Tool. Learn more about the Client Feedback Tool and how it integrates with Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision to give your firm better visibility into its project delivery. 

Projects are Busting Budgets

AE firms reported that 29% of projects ended up being over budget. Even more worrisome, this is a 9% increase from last year’s findings. Looking more into this finding, one might wonder if those responsible for managing projects have the information to keep project budgets on track. And let’s go deeper. Firms are also reporting that 36% of projects were behind schedule and only 58% of firms reported that they are confident in project reporting accuracy. These findings show that keeping to project budgets is a clear area of need for improvement for all AE firms.

Wrapping it All Up

For AE industry employees or executives, it is common knowledge that project management and delivery is the heart of their business. To continue to succeed in an extremely competitive industry, AE firms need to take a hard look at their project management processes. The challenges and areas identified in the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study can be easily addressed if they become a priority for firm leaders. You can check out all the details about project management challenges in the latest Clarity Study.

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Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report

Ways to Improve Office Communication

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Oct 09, 2019 @ 11:12 AM

Connections Employees

In the workplace, communication is vital to success. Leaders must make sure that their team knows what is happening on a constant basis and what is expected from them. Not only does communication keep everyone abreast of the goings on, it also encourages relationship building which leads to a more productive and engaged workforce. So, how can you improve your office communication to make it the most effective?

Have Open Meetings      

Having team meetings in a common, open venue is a great way to encourage communication. It is a receptive environment offering the opportunity to discuss issues that are on team member’s minds. The face to face dialogue of open team meetings allows for matters to be actively addressed and some problem solving to occur. Additionally, all team members can contribute their input which provides various points of view.

Listen and Encourage Feedback

For effective communication to happen, leaders must listen to what their team members have to say. They must keep an open mind and really hear what is being said before following up with the team. They should also encourage feedback from the team to make sure that what they are trying to convey is being accurately digested. With the give and take of all parties, communication will thrive.

Keep Humor

Another trick for improving office communication is making it light and relaxed. When dealing with subjects that can otherwise be intense, keeping humor in the conversation makes the message easier to pass along to the team. This does not mean you have to become a stand-up comedian but just insert some humor into the discussions.

Be Appreciative of Efforts

A necessity for business leaders who want to have improved communication with their teams is to show appreciation for their team efforts. When they attend a meeting and offer feedback, thank them for their time. Being respectful towards your team shows that you care, and in the end, will make them more engaged with your firm.

Update Frequently

Frequent updates are certainly required to improve communication. When communicating more boilerplate information, they can be done in one of two ways - either by email or via an internal newsletter. While emails are good for quick reminders, internal newsletters impart much larger amounts of general information to all team members.

Effective Office Communication Helps with Retention

When firm leaders use effective office communication, they are engaging their teams. Engagement is a big reason that employees choose to stay employed with a firm. So, by improving office communication, you are not only helping with productivity but ultimately staff retention as well.

Talent Management

Topics: Technology Solutions, Professional Services, Office Support, Communication

Why Clear Business Intelligence is Important for Future Success

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 11:35 AM

Business Intelligence

Business leaders cannot run their firms successfully if they don’t have all relevant information at their fingertips. With clear business intelligence, data can be consistently analyzed and interpreted allowing for the creation of actionable goals. KPI dashboards can also be set up by all department heads enabling them to focus on their specific needs. With all departments having the insight to work more efficiently and effectively, there will be an across the board positive impact on the firm. Let’s see how clear business intelligence can ensure firm success.

Ensuring Productivity

By tracking sales or marketing progress in business intelligence dashboards, firm leaders can keep a pulse on their staff’s efficiency. If the numbers are not meeting expectations, managers can meet with teams to recalibrate the strategies to improve them. Firms will operate successfully if inefficiencies are eliminated and sales goals are met in a timely manner. Ultimately, using business intelligence will accelerate the firm’s ROI.

Improving Customer Satisfaction

Business intelligence can be used to improve the firm’s ability to meet customer needs. It can first be used to identify the target audience or the most valuable customers. Then it can track the customer interactions making sure they are receiving the support and resources necessary for them to be satisfied. Pinpointing the proper prospects for growth and ensuring current clients are getting what they need will ensure future success.

Managing Risk

Being able to see data on a constant basis allows those in charge to identify problem areas before they become disastrous for the firm. With graphs and charts in the dashboards showing the significant data in real-time, leaders can evaluate current situations noting any red flags. Being proactive and tracking this information allows for corrective action to be taken before the matter is unmanageable.

Making Smart Decisions

Overall, it is crucial for firms to have a full understanding of the organization’s entire operation in order to make informed decisions. Whether it is to determine long term staffing for a new project or evaluate the efficiency of marketing campaigns, seeing complete data is necessary to make smart firm decisions. Business intelligence allows firms to see all aspects of the operation and make choices leading to firm success.

Blackbox Connector for Informer

Topics: Project Management, Building Business, Professional Services

Improve Business Development with Technology

Posted by Madeline O'Connor on Wed, Sep 25, 2019 @ 01:22 PM

Build Business

Business development can be a challenge especially when firms are already busy with day to day activities. Leaders must figure out what is worth putting effort and money into to get the pay-off they want. Fortunately, Deltek and Full Sail Partners offer many different solutions that are technology forward and can help make business development easier for you. Let’s take a look at some of these and see how they support business development.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Deltek has recently revamped Vision, creating a more powerful and user focused system that is designed for professional services firms. Deltek Vantagepoint can be used to improve productivity, increase profitability and make smarter business decisions. It also allows business development teams to quickly put together proposals that will give them an edge over the competition. So, by using Deltek Vantagepoint, you will have a platform that promotes business development with easy to use tools.

Blackbox Connector

Blackbox Connector provides the opportunity to connect Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint to 3rd party software. For business development purposes, Constant Contact and Mailchimp Blackbox Connectors will help make it easier to nurture relationships with potential new business. What is sent out via Constant Contact or Mailchimp is brought back into Vision or Vantagepoint with the Blackbox Connector making it convenient for you to track your marketing efforts which leads to new business.

Deltek PIM

Efficiency is one of the leading attributes to great business development. Deltek PIM offers your employees one place to access all your files across all aspects of your business. With all emails and documents in one place, it is simple to research and determine where new business might be found saving you a lot of discovery time. This can be an asset when trying to advance your firm’s business development.

Informer

Informer is a business intelligence tool which allows your firm to collect data and analyze it. Business intelligence provides insight you can use to make better business decisions and evaluate areas for business development. Visual options in dashboards can display a variety of charts and graphs which give you vital information. For instance, you can identify which clients have used your services the most and may require further assistance. Informer thus allows you to pinpoint business development potential.

Deltek Learning Zone

Deltek Learning Zone is a great resource to find out more about tools that can help your firm further its business development efforts. DLZ offers virtual live classes, self-paced classes, support videos, infographics, and many more ways to learn. You can find experts that have a lot of knowledge regarding the best way to target business development using Deltek products. This will help your firm plan a course of action for your business development strategy.

Making Business Development Easy

Time is a precious commodity to all firms. With the many offerings from Deltek and Full Sail Partners, your business development efforts can be handled more efficiently and effectively. It is crucial to target business development if you want to set your firm apart from the competition. Use these resources and stay on top of the business development game.

Deltek Vision Workflows

Topics: Tips, Building Business, Professional Services

Business Development Trends Discovered in the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Sep 18, 2019 @ 12:20 PM

40th Annual AE Clarity Report

The 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity study uncovered some interesting trends regarding business development from last year. The results indicated that AE firms still are struggling to find new opportunities early enough to convert them into sales. Additionally, a large number of firms that participated in the study identified the need to be more strategic about which potential projects to pursue. Here’s a quick summary of some business development findings from the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study.

Business Development Challenges

One of the most significant findings in the study is that firms have trouble with prioritizing time to nurture client relationships. More importantly, this is a leading challenge for the second year in a row. The seller-doer model seems to be the go-to business development method for AE firms where not enough attention is given to focusing on potential new business opportunities. If firms stay with this outdated model, this trend will unfortunately continue.

Diving deeper, the number 2 and 3 challenges firms reported are increased competition and identifying new prospects. In regard to competition, this is going to occur in any industry and this challenge sounds more like an excuse. However, identifying new prospects has a direct correlation to firms using the seller-doer model. 61% of firms stated that project managers are almost always responsible for business development. With project managers being tasked to do their core job, delivering projects, they struggle in their efforts to successfully generate new business.

Revenue Growth Forecast Findings 

Less shockingly, net revenue growth remained at 5.1% on average. This is very little change from last year. So, why is this not surprising? The findings that firms lack having a dedicated business development team pinpoint the reason for net revenue growth staying stagnant.

Another notable discovery from the study is that smaller firms continue to pursue small projects that have shorter timelines as opposed to focusing on trying to win larger long-term projects. This business development model is proving to be less effective for generating increased revenue year after year. Smaller firms should take this under consideration when making plans for long term growth.

Key Takeaways from the 40th Annual AE Deltek Clarity Study 

Out of all the firms that participated, less than half of the firms stated that they have a formal business development process. This is astonishing since creating new business is essential for future firm growth. Even more, firms are continuing to use the seller-doer model, and as a result, project managers face the challenge of balancing expectations which can hinder the success of their projects. Learn more by downloading your free copy of the 40th Annual Deltek AE Clarity Study.

  New call-to-action

Topics: Professional Services, Deltek Clarity Report