Full Sail Partners Blog

Deltek PIM Changes the Way Professional Services Firms Manage Information

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Deltek PIM

Firms in the professional services industry often have a difficult time managing the large volumes of information that come with each project. Having access to all project information from emails to drawings to contracts is important and vital for effective project management. With information silos, disorganized yellow folders and different systems per team, there is a greater chance for a less than successful outcome on firm projects. Deltek Project Information Management, or PIM, changes the way professional services firms manage information.

PIM Challenges the Norm

Many professional services firms believe that using yellow folders to store project documentation is the best option. While they are certainly easy to create, these folder structures offer no options for controlling access to the most up to date project information. Critical project data can easily be missed, and uninformed decisions can be made without a central place to view all current documents like offered with PIM. 

Email Communication is Valuable Information

One of the biggest mistakes that project-based businesses make is not considering email communication valuable project information. Emails and their attachments have significant details that help keep track of the project progression. Issues crop up in email correspondence that are essential for project members to see. For the project to run smoothly, these emails must be stored appropriately as PIM provides. 

Benefits of Using Deltek PIM 

  • Organized project files improve efficiency – Users can store, manage, retrieve and share documents in a central hub
  • Better collaboration – Project communication is improved when all team members can see all the relevant information
  • Quickly find critical data – All key project information is available to monitor project progress and make better decisions
  • Protecting the firm – Risk can be reduced with greater visibility into project data
  • Mobile connection – Enables on-the-go field work where photos can be taken, or drawings can be viewed on site
  • Integration with Deltek ERP– Every critical piece of project information is in one location to manage budgets, schedules and resources for every project in Deltek 

Goodbye Yellow Folders, Hello Deltek PIM 

Deltek PIM offers a cohesive information management system which ensures that the correct knowledge is always available to all project team members. By implementing PIM, professional services firms can store, catalog and retrieve all essential project management documents from one place. If your firm is still managing project information using yellow folders or keeping information silos, the best decisions are not being made. PIM can help make better ones.

Deltek PIM  

Topics: Professional Services, HR, Project Information Management (PIM)

Uncovering the Value of Deltek Vision for Project Based Firms: A Short Story

Posted by Michael Kessler, PMP on Wed, Aug 02, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Short Story The following account is a true story. It begins with an AE firm recognizing the need for change in order to support its growth. This firm quickly realized that bringing disparate systems to one integrated platform like Deltek Vision was the fix they needed.

Here’s the firm’s story…

Identifying the Need for Change

Initially to manage its business, this firm was using several different systems that communicated poorly. Specifically, each critical function for the firm used a separate system which had its own unique database:

  • Accounts Receivable – MS Access database
  • Accounts Payable – MS Access and an outdated accounting program
  • Project Management – Internally developed and managed databases, spreadsheets, and online systems
  • Reporting – Internally developed and supported 

Desiring the ability to make better and faster decisions, the firm opted to move to a single enterprise-wide and industry-proven software platform. The move would allow this firm to streamline operations and reduce overhead time/costs by eliminating duplicate efforts and manual operations. The software of choice for this firm was Deltek Vision. 

Implementing Deltek Vision 

The implementation began with the drafting of processes using the project life cycle as a template. It was built to engage project managers earlier and more often throughout the entire process. Additionally, the firm recognized the need to ensure a budget could be developed using Resource Planning (RP). 

Having a budget became a requirement before a project could be initiated. As a result, the contract compensation was directly tied to the budget making routine maintenance integral to the project’s life. Furthermore, time charging, invoicing, and revenue recognition were not allowed without a project budget. 

The firm also sought to embrace the automation capabilities of Deltek Vision. Automation, of course, enabled the streamlining of processes. As an example, they decided to utilize invoice review automation to allow accounting to work in tandem with operations to deliver financial results. 

Most importantly, the philosophy around reporting changed dramatically. The firm now wanted to standardize reporting practices. Originally, employees had created and used their own desired data and had determined not only individual key performance indicators, but how and what those measurements were based upon.  

The Result of Choosing Deltek Vision 

I began working with this firm three years ago, and there is so much success to share: 

  • Reduction of invoicing time
  • Faster and more reliable monthly closes
  • More and better insight into project performance based on standardized reports 

These are just a few of the identified areas where using Deltek Vision has improved this firm’s performance. In the end, using Deltek Vision, the firm has seen its overall financial performance improve. 

Advice for Implementing Deltek Vision 

Here are some tips to help ensure successful Vision implementations:

  • Engage and work closely with a Deltek consulting partner like Full Sail Partners
  • Plan, design and configure based on your firm’s unique requirements
  • Testing, testing and more testing - both transactional and end to end
  • Make necessary changes and continue testing
  • Prepare for go live including preparing your staff with training  

Commonwealth Webinar

Topics: Project Information Management (PIM), Professional Services

Why Architectural and Engineering Firms Need To Properly Manage Their Documents

Posted by Tanya Drake on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 @ 09:49 AM

Document Management

It is interesting to note that most document management systems are designed for the Architectural and Engineering (A&E) world where document management is quite the opposite of most other industries. Whereas typical industry documents are standardized and repeatable, with templates that rarely ever change, those required of the A&E environment are not. Here, every drawing is unique, and workflows require systems specifically designed to meet the needs of the A&E space. Here are some examples of the differences for standard businesses and project-based business.

Standard businesses

  • Documents are standardized and repeatable
  • Minimal revision control with unidirectional workflows
  • Basic transmittals
  • Simple file naming

Architectural & Engineering Firms

  • Every drawing is unique
  • Revision control is crucial due to edit-review-rework flows
  • Transmittals can include documents, drawings, xref images, specs and more
  • Complex naming schemes including: Project & Client Name, Discipline, Floor or Phase of Project, Sheet Category, Drawing # and more

Do You Have More than One Version of the Truth?

Employees can spend hours or days updating a drawing. If an obsolete version is used, then that work must be repeated, costing your firm time and money. Also, using the incorrect version of an engineering document can leave your firm vulnerable to increased corporate risk, failed audits, cost overruns that can extend into the millions of dollars, not to mention significant risks to safety, schedules, and reputation.

Furthermore, manual methods of version control are difficult and prone to error. In most companies, you can find multiple versions of files, one on the server, on a user’s hard drive, in email, and even a paper copy. Using a document management system creates a central point for document access which ensures users across the organization always can obtain the latest version. Document management systems also store previous versions and maintain the historical metadata for auditing the document history.

Are Transmittals Weighing You Down?

Gathering files, ensuring the correct version, attaching xrefs, specs, and any other necessary files are all very time consuming and tedious. Because it is a manual process, there is always a high risk for missing information. Once you include creating, sending, and tracking transmittals, this process becomes a very large, time-intensive process. 

A good A&E document management system provides automatic cover sheet creation and a built-in address book for quickly adding recipients. It also automatically tracks sending, receiving, editing, and routing so you can easily maintain the relationship between the cover sheet and all the files and data you send.

Are Your Naming Conventions Working?

Many companies try to impose naming standards, but without a way to enforce or automate these standards, all it takes is one person choosing to name a document in a way that makes sense to them, and an important file could be irretrievable. When more than one department or branch is involved, or new businesses are acquired, chaos can ensue!

An A&E focused document management system will auto-generate number sequences, include fixed width text place holders for user entered text, predefined data from drop down lists, user entered free texts, and delimiters. In addition, file names would not be the only way to search for files…using metadata either manually tagged to the document or found within it, would be a key part of your file storing and searchability. 

Where Are Your Critical Communication Documents?

Are your firms’ critical communications being housed in email boxes and scattered throughout your organization? What happens when someone is out of the office, or leaves the company? Do you or your staff spend hours trying to locate that critical communication?

A document management system allows you to save emails from Outlook to your projects, contacts and organizations, including version controls, with very few steps. It also saves just one copy of an email and eliminates duplicates to reduce storage and communication that must be sorted through and searched. These emails would then be stored centrally and permanently for audit and legal purposes, essentially preventing them from ever being deleted or lost, especially if a team member leaves the practice.

Why an A&E Document Management System?

A great document management system will provide documentation that is:

  • Accurate, current, and trusted
  • Easily found, even without knowing specific identifying information
  • Under control, using predetermined workflows
  • Easily communicated
  • Fully audited for changes

If users can bypass procedures to access and change files without proper auditing, you aren’t truly managing your documents. Document management software uses database tables to store both data and files and ensure compliance.

Document management systems cut costs. The time needed to locate a document using easy searches and metadata should drop to seconds. No walking, telephoning or emailing is required - just a connected computer. Errors from using incorrect documentation virtually disappear. Only the latest, approved and published versions are used.

Time spent manually moving files and attaching to emails is eliminated with file sharing. Instead, documents are displayed to the user as soon as they are found. Audit reports can be automatically generated. Knowledge recorded in markup is stored in the system, visible to all who need to know, and your staff are more productive when they know information is reliable.

Calculating the Costs of Disorganized Documentation…Are You Scared to Know the Truth?

Do you know how much time your staff spends naming, organizing, and then trying to find documents? Are you, like many, scared to really find out?

  • How much time is spent by users looking for drawings or other documentation?
  • How much time your staff spends helping others find what they need?
  • How much downtime is also a consequence of these delays?
  • How many occasions production has been lost and/or re-working was required due to use of incorrect or outdated documentation?

Multiply these hours by burdened rates and estimate the costs of incidents caused by inaccurate data to extrapolate a typical yearly cost. It appears to be very expensive. Without a good document management system in place, these situations put a true financial strain on your firm.

Are You Ready for a Document Management System?

Using a proper document management system will not only save time, which we know equates to money, but will also prevent the unnecessary headaches of having to constantly forage through numerous files trying to find needed documents. We all know that the A&E industry is a unique and specialized industry which requires organization for project management. It doesn’t need to be so challenging to manage your documents.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Project Information Management (PIM), Professional Services