Full Sail Partners Blog

Setting the Tone for the Candidate Interview Process

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on Wed, Apr 14, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

After the countless interviews I have done over the last twenty years, one of the greatest compliments I’ve received from a hiring manager was, “You bring an energy that makes candidates feel comfortable enough to be themselves.” With every interview opportunity comes the ability to explore a match for a candidate with the position and firm. When candidates are prepared and at ease during an interview, much can be learned about their personalities and potential to fill open positions. As the interviewer, you want to know with confidence that you’ve taken the time to make the whole process positive and done your due diligence when selecting the “right fit,” not just on paper. 

 

Employee Interview

 

Initiate Attraction

The job description for an open position is a very significant piece of the pre-interview process, and if written well, it transitions nicely into the actual interview. Oftentimes, job descriptions get recycled over and over while the job itself has gone through many evolutions. Many factors can impact the scope of a position like change in the size of the team or leadership, new technology, and change in the needs and goals of the company. In the AEC industry, particularly, industry standards and regulations can impact the requirements for certain job titles.

So, in preparation for interviewing for a specific position, the job description must be clearly written to reflect the qualifications expected of top talent. Candidates should then be able to see exactly what is required by the job description in advance and come to the interview able to prove how they match the needs and fit in the overall organizational plan. Interviewers having previously provided what they are looking for in a clear job description will receive candidates that are ready to showcase what they bring to the table and make the interview process flow easily and successfully.

Make a Good First Impression

If candidates are able to come into the office, they should feel not only welcomed but excited about sharing their qualifications with you. Greetings and initial contact in person should be done with polite professionalism such as acknowledging their interview time and offering water or a place to sit and wait for their time slot. The interviewer should come out and walk candidates back to the pre-set-up room and inquire as to any needs they have before the interview begins. For a Zoom or phone call, candidates should still be greeted on time with a positive attitude and made to feel that their time is valuable.

Break the Ice and Establish the Mood

As the interview begins, candidates should be encouraged to relax with some comforting initial conversational questions. Afterwards, they should be reminded to take their time and think through their answers asking for clarity if a question isn’t understood. With most interviews these days being conducted virtually, you want to create an environment that removes the technical barrier and gives the same energy you would if you were in-person. For the interview questions, minimize the predictable, classic, broad questions like “Tell me your strengths and weaknesses,” or “Do you work well with others?”

Remember the goal is to find out who the person is, not just what they think you want to hear. You should ask Behavioral Questions that allow candidates to talk about their past work experiences. Behavioral-based interview questions focus on how they previously handled various work situations such as “Tell me a situation which was challenging and how you handled it?” Especially for highly technical and labor-based industries, like AEC, ensure that the questions are specific to the position and structured to reveal the candidates’ skills, abilities, and thought processes.

Candidates, having reviewed your job description in advance and feeling at ease with the interviewer, should be able to relate to the needs of the open position and provide some good examples of their past experiences. As mentioned before, a well written job description pre-interview should provide top talent the chance to come to the interview prepared for identifying their skills. You should wrap up the interview by allowing the candidates to ask any other questions and give them an overview of the remaining steps in the candidate selection process including the approximate date you have targeted to have the position filled.

Carefully Choose Your Match

When possible, conduct post-interview discussions immediately after the interviews or within a few days so that impressions and thoughts about the candidates are still fresh in the mind. Many companies use a rating system to rank the candidates’ interview performances. Using the ranking system can work in conjunction with post-interview discussions, and it provides measurable data to support the final decision.

After all interviews have been completed, make the selection of your candidate a priority. Efforts to determine who will move to the next step or to choose the final selection should be made within a week to increase the probability that your top choices are still available when you are ready to extend an offer. Every interview that is completed requires a follow-up indicating the status in the selection process or thanking candidates for their time if not chosen.

Keep in mind that those candidates that are not picked for current positions might be good matches for future positions, so it is important to have open communications all the way through to the end. Also, maintaining these connections will ensure good public relations going forward. You never know when a position will open up again so setting the right tone for the entire candidate interview process is a must in order to attract and find the best fit for your firm.

Automate Job Postings

 

Read This Before Deciding to Attend a Virtual Conference

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Apr 07, 2021 @ 11:45 AM

Handshakes, large group lunches, and late nights mingling with strangers that will likely become longtime professional connections and even friends are highlights of attending professional conferences. Ahhhh just remembering those days…excuse me while I reminisce on my past experiences that made attending in-person conferences fun and exciting and not just educational. While I’m sure many of us can relate and probably add to the list of things we love about in-person conferences, many of those perks have disappeared with conferences being forced to move to a virtual or hybrid approach.

Now, reflecting upon my recent experience with the new virtual/hybrid format for conferences, I can say for certain that participating in a virtual conference is a different experience in comparison to the traditional in-person conferences most of us are accustomed to attending. However, by understanding the benefits of attending a virtual conference and applying some best practices, you can ensure your virtual participation is a success.

Man Standing in front of virtual audience

 

The Advantages to Attending Virtual Conferences

We all have a list of things we loath and find extremely annoying. For me, I like traveling to places that require air transportation, but the whole routine of going to the airport, arriving early, waiting in long TSA lines, and walking all over the place just to find a restroom seems to put a damper on the entire trip. The list can go on when you think about the ups and downs of staying in a hotel. So, while there are perks to traveling, nothing beats staying in the comfort of your own home with your family.

By eliminating travel, virtual conferences also provide other benefits. Instead of wasting time hustling around the airport and wandering around hotels, you can spend more time on your actual work which we all know doesn’t complete itself while you’re attending a conference. Even more, since there are no associated travel expenses with virtual conferences, the company would be more willing to approve them over in-person events.

Prepare Yourself for the Virtual Conference

Attending a conference in-person or virtually, you should always take time prior to the conference to review conference schedules, register for educational sessions and other activities, and learn about resources that are available to attendees. Additionally, review the format of the conference as it seems to vary from conference to conference. Last year alone, I attended or participated in numerous virtual conferences. Some were 2 to 3 all-day events and others were a series of half-day events. Others even included ongoing monthly meetings to encourage continued conversations about topics presented at the conference itself. So, make sure you are familiar with the conference format and able to commit time to attending and participating.

Most importantly, update your work calendar. I recommend blocking out your calendar for the entire time you plan on attending the conference. I even take it one-step further by adding the sessions I plan on attending to my calendar with related links included in the body of the appointment. 

Be Seen by Being Present

You may ask, “If it’s virtual, how am I going to be seen?” Great question! First, let your professional network know you are attending by posting to LinkedIn. A simple message with a link to the conference letting people know what you are excited to learn about is a great way to be seen virtually.

During the conference, avoid distractions by closing your email and messaging tools and treat the conference like you are there in-person. If you typically take notes with pen and paper at in-person conferences, do the same while at your desk. Furthermore, virtual conferences that are worth attending will have a great communication platform for attendees and presenters. So, don’t be shy! Be seen by asking engaging questions during sessions, tour the virtual sponsor expo hall and chat with vendors, and participate in conference events and contest like dance-offs, trivia games, or other fun activities. In other words, find ways to network and be camera ready.

Do Your Homework

The conference might be over, but your opportunities to learn and network have just begun! One of my favorite things to do after a conference is send out LinkedIn connection invites to my new contacts. Additionally, I include a note with the connection invite that mentions how we met and a highlight of something we discussed. This is a convenient way to keep track of how you have met people in your LinkedIn network.

It’s also a great idea to follow up with your favorite speakers by sending them a LinkedIn message or an email. Let them know what you liked about their presentation and how it impacted you personally. Then include a question you did not ask during the live session or one you thought of afterwards. Believe it or not, speakers generally and truly enjoy receiving messages from audience members like you.

So, get out there…virtually that is…and attend professional conferences to continue to build your skills and network!

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Change in the Workplace Climate – In Comes the Deltek Cloud

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Beginning in 2020, the workplace environment saw a drastic change when the pandemic shut down nearly all in-person office work. Not expected by many, this dark and looming cloud forever transformed the workplace indefinitely. Zoom and video conferencing became an everyday alternative to face-to-face interactions at the office, and work from home became the only solution and not a privilege.

While many workers had to adjust to this new remote working model, businesses had to quickly adjust to this changing workplace climate. As a result, employers had to quickly adapt to allow this newly created remote workforce to able to get work done from anywhere with an internet connection. As stated in July 2020, Accounting Today’s top VARs of 2020 noted that this is the year that has pushed the cloud over the tipping point largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

cloud data

Now a year later, the forecast for the workplace environment has changed. Many firms accepted this back in 2020, but the businesses that held out hope that normalcy will return are now facing the reality that so many have accepted as the “new normal.” While the Deltek Cloud has emerged as a solution to solving numerous challenges professional services firms faced by becoming a more remote workforce, there are also other benefits to consider when choosing to move to the cloud.

The Difference Between Fog and the Cloud

Cloud computing in itself by name can be confusing. Simply stated, on-premise or hosting your own software means that software and servers that run your Deltek solution are typically hosted within the four walls of your business. In other words, on-premise is similar to fog in that it is on the ground.

On the other hand, the cloud means that the software and servers used to run your Deltek solution are on an external infrastructure like Amazon web services. Additionally, the cloud is also referred to as software as a service (SaaS).

The Brightside to the Deltek Cloud

There are so many misconceptions about the cloud and the entire idea can seem daunting. To put your mind at ease, here are some benefits to taking your Deltek Vision/Vantagepoint system to the Deltek Cloud.

  • Fast and Easy Upgrades – Always have the latest and greatest version of your Deltek solution without the need to tie up valuable IT resources for software and hardware upgrades.
  • Off-Site Data Replication – Protect your data from an unexpected natural disaster with multiple backups in multiple data centers.
  • Secure and Reliable – Data is secured and monitored 24/7 to standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and reported on Service Organization Controls (SOC) audit requirements.
  • Access from Anywhere at Anytime – Workforces are more mobile and remote than ever, give your teams secure access to your Deltek solution from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Easily Grow and Expand – As your company grows, so can your Deltek Vision/Vantagepoint instance by simply adding users to your license, not hardware which tremendously helps during the acquisition and expansion process.
  • Cost Effective – Eliminate costly and time-consuming software and hardware upgrades and ongoing maintenance hassles and the people and time required to support this making future costs predictable.
  • One Subscription Fee – Using the Deltek Cloud allows you to pay one subscription fee that can be easily budgeted for year after year allowing you to use IT budgets for projects that can improve your firm’s productivity and effectiveness.

Should the Deltek Cloud be in Your Firm’s Forecast?

It’s easy for us to assume that since we made it through the crisis created by the pandemic without the Deltek Cloud, then we can continue on with our newly crafted workaround solutions. While this seems logical, there are other reasons to consider the cloud. Take a minute to review the following questions:

  • Does my firm have aging hardware?
  • Do we have plans for growth in the near future?
  • Is our workforce becoming more remote and mobile?
  • Are we getting ready to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint?

Is you said YES to any of these questions, then it’s time to take your Deltek product to the cloud.

No Umbrellas Needed for the Deltek Cloud

When it rains, it pours. Well, with the Deltek Cloud, it pours with even more benefits. For starters, nothing really changes for your firm or employees. The Deltek Cloud offers the same power of Vision/Vantagepoint and the same functionality your teams are accustomed to using on a daily basis. Furthermore, your employees get unlimited access to the Deltek University eLearning content at no extra cost so they can continue to build on their knowledge and improve how your firm uses Vision/Vantagepoint. Lastly, making the move to the Deltek Cloud is simple and can be done in 24 hours or less in most instances. Above all, by choosing the Deltek Cloud, your firm will be resilient to any workplace climate change going forward.

Thinking Out Cloud

Recruiting Top Talent in the New Normal: FACT vs. FICTION

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on Wed, Mar 24, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

The “new normal” is not so new anymore as we are still operating in a different state of existence. There is so much conflicting and confusing information being disseminated out there about the job market and the current state of unemployment that both employers and candidates aren’t sure how to approach meeting their specific needs. Let’s break down common myths about the current market and what’s important to job seekers a year after the pandemic began. Knowing the truth between fact and fiction in the present recruiting climate will help determine what’s really important to top talent and will guide talent acquisition.

questions marks

FICTION: Things should “get back to normal” later this year. 

A quarter of the way, even halfway through 2020, firms were holding on to the thought of being able to pick up where they left off before the pandemic, especially if the firm was operating at its highest level at the pandemic’s onset. At that time, they were viewing any adjustments or changes as a temporary fix to make it through what they hoped would be the end of this catastrophic event. Taking their lead, employees were anticipating the same, even avoiding getting their hopes up of maintaining their virtual work status and the savings racked up from a decrease in spending on gas, lunch, and clothing. Candidates, as well, took a wait and see approach assuming that virtual work would not be the long-term expectation. 

Now, some employers realize there is no such thing as “getting back to normal.” Therefore, they are beginning the process to identify permanent adjustments that need to be made. To make the hiring process for new candidates smoother and more effective, they need to evaluate what would work best going forward virtually. 

FACT: In the AEC industry, employment has been consistent. 

According to data from a monthly supplement to PSMJ’s Quarterly Market Forecast (QMF) survey of AEC firms in the 4th quarter of 2020, the AEC industry has weathered the crisis better than most. The survey also found that less than 5% of responding firms suffered “significant” staff reductions, and under 15% said that their project delays and cancellations were “major” as opposed to moderate or minor. However, the industry must still proceed with caution because the stagnation in construction employment in January may foreshadow further deterioration in the industry as projects that started before the pandemic finish up and companies hold off on awarding new work. Project-based top talent should be kept in the loop as to the status of upcoming projects to ensure availability when needed. 

FICTION: People are so desperate for work they aren’t looking for competitive salaries. 

In the current environment, with so many workers facing lack of income or the threat of losing their current salaries, the assumption may be that candidates will take what they can get. This may give employers the false sense of security that they can offer lower salaries and still obtain top talent. What we are seeing is that job candidates are seeking out firms that provide competitive salaries, and even more importantly, firms that are flexible and truly care about the wellbeing of their staff. Top talent will remember how they were treated during the pandemic.

FACT: It is now easier to find top talent. 

This is partially true. The challenge is that HR professionals may see an increase in applications for some positions making it harder to sift through the resumes and find the right candidate in a timely manner. HR teams that have an automated screening system will be in a better position to filter out unqualified individuals. Furthermore, employers that have established HR processes in place to proactively recruit and nurture candidates will be able to cut through the noise more quickly.

 

FACT: Work from home (WFH) options remain viable. 

The AEC industry will see a mix of in-person and WFH. For the architectural and engineering industries, WFH can be accomplished by the majority of positions. To the contrary, the construction industry will have a significantly smaller portion of its workforce that is able to work remotely. 

Throughout the pandemic, AE firms have found enabling employees to work from home much easier than originally thought. Those that have embraced it wholeheartedly have reaped the benefits. This mindset shift now requires HR professionals to think about moving forward on how they will accommodate both in-person and WFH positions as this becomes more prevalent in the industry. In the end, top talent will be enticed by the work options. 

FACT: Work/Life balance is a critical consideration for all.

Transitioning staff from on site to remote work was a big adjustment for many firms, and some found the balance to be a challenge. As more firms continue to offer WFH positions, HR professionals will need to identify ways to help employers manage employee expectations and become more flexible with schedules. According to Tiger Recruitment Salary and Benefits Review 2021, Work/Life Balance ranks third most important to salary and job security, when it comes to attracting candidates to their next role. 

Human Resources Must Be Front and Center

Today, acquiring top talent means new approaches and viewpoints to ensure firms are staying competitive. Superior candidates will be looking for a virtual means of recruitment and hiring, acceptable salaries and flexible work options. Maintaining a strong firm culture with a fragmented and remote working staff puts the burden on management to mentor, communicate, and collaborate with teams. HR processes must be adjusted and updated to help firms adapt to the changing times, and Human Resources must stand front and center in the firm’s overall business strategy.

Automate Job Postings

Entrinsik Informer Ranks High According to the BI & Analytics Survey 21

Posted by Chris Simei on Wed, Mar 17, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Completed by BARC (Business Application Research Center), the worlds’ most comprehensive survey of business intelligence (BI) end users, the BI & Analytics Survey 21, was conducted from March to June 2020 and included 2591 responders in all. It examined user feedback on BI product choices and use across 36 KPIs. This extremely detailed survey provides great insights into the benefits and drawbacks of a plethora of BI tools.

Not surprisingly, Entrinsik Informer achieved excellent results and customers reported an outstanding user experience. Additionally, Informer received high ratings for its ease of use, ad hoc query capabilities, operational BI, and data preparation. Informer also demonstrated business benefits and business value and received praise for self-service and functionality.

BARC BI Survey logo

Ease of Use 

One of the biggest advantages to Informer for the majority of its customers and a huge strength of the product is its ease of use. The interface is accessible and allows for the creation of personalized dashboards and reports. Even more, the analysis pipeline is simple to use with drill down capabilities on visualizations and simple exploration of data using pivot tables. Therefore, technical professionals are not required anymore.

Ad Hoc Query Capabilities 

The BARC report indicated that ad hoc query is a key function of Informer, and it offers the ideal synergy for report creation. With a drag-and-drop functionality and easy data access, the query process is quite fast and simple. Yet it remains both versatile and scalable with many options for data sources. 

Timely Operational BI Data

Informer has implemented an effective pipeline for using near real-time updates. Initial reports can be sent out that end-users can custom update when needed. This setup creates an agile work environment for all users granting situational awareness all of the time.

Simplified Data Preparation

Informer users appreciate the data preparation and transformation process which happens in the Data Flow interface. Data Flow allows a review of the incoming datasets such as appending incomplete entries and normalization of inconsistent fields. This feature also has options for data governance and security.

Tangible Business Benefits

Users consider Informer to be beneficial to their business development and consider it to be a market leader in the BI software realm. Informer has a solid understanding of market niches and drives insights which provides for a more collaborative effort. Futhermore, value is given by the ability to query and access data across the organization.

Proven Business Value

Which BI tool creates value for your business is a key metric to consider when selecting the right solution. Informer’s good ratings show that the promise to increase reporting productivity does hold up and this core competency has delivered on every level. The value-add comes from accessibility empowering all departments to create their own reports working with real-time insights to make decisions.

Self-service Abilities

Informer enables all users to benefit from the BI tool. Simply put, elaborate SQL knowledge is not required, and it appeals to clients with multiple data structures allowing flexible integration of a variety of data sources. With its easy set-up, all users can generate insights and reports which drive business decisions without having to rely on IT.

Intuitive Functionality 

Client needs are met with the capabilities of Informer with its dashboards, ad hoc query and distribution of reports. Entrinsik continuously looks to improve these core functionalities such as the update in April 2020 including more flexibility with personal alerts and scheduling individual data updates. Informer 5 focused on client concerns and found solutions that are useful to them. 

In the BARC survey, Entrinsik was also rated as a top vendor in customer satisfaction, price-to-value, vendor support and implementer support. Furthermore, Entrinsik recently made major enhancements to Informer with the version 5 which includes visual attractiveness enhancements. Additionally, Informer has an intuitive report creation that is easy to set up and runs directly on databases, flat files or operational business applications. As far as customer base, Informer is mostly used by mid-sized firms between 100 and 2500 employees. Entrinsik’s familiarity with its clients allows them to anticipate and handle their growing needs timely and thoroughly.

Price-to-Value

Based on the survey results, Informer has a lead over the competition with consistency and its delivery at a bargain price. Two-thirds of clients have stated that the price-performance ratio is a main reason for choosing the tool. Many Informer clients like that it follows a subscription-based pricing model so that costs are predictable and flexible based on use.

BI Product Customer Service

BARC’s data shows that around a third of clients said their good relationship with Entrinsik is why they purchased Informer. The responsive support of Informer shows the commitment to clients after the purchase is made. Entrinsik also has an online presence which offers supplemental instruction in the way of tutorials, webinars and manuals.

Product Implementation Support

There is the right balance of individual flexibility and assistance with Entrinsik. Clients are able to rely on implementation specialists for help with integration and installation. Also, the Development Toolkit offers an internal development team to adopt solutions. Everything is targeted at a fast implementation time period so clients can pursue their own business agenda.

Entrinsik Informer is Worth the Investment 

According to BARC, the Entrinsik Informer BI tool is mainly used for reporting based on 97% of its customers who depend on it for reporting and the ad hoc query functionality. 85% of survey participants used the tool to view data insights and two-thirds of users found benefit from using the available dashboards. These functions of Informer make it the perfect self-service tool for IT and BI professionals, and even those not familiar with BI can use Informer to gain insight.

The BARC B&I Analytics Survey 21 download link

Introducing Deltek + ComputerEase for Construction Firms

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Mar 10, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

For more than three decades, the construction industry has trusted ComputerEase Construction Software to help ensure contractors are able to manage their construction projects while adhering to the unique accounting challenges this industry faces. As one of the first construction software developers, ComputerEase has become the industry leader with its evolving and innovative construction and accounting solutions for contractors of all sizes. Additionally, ComputerEase was one of the first to introduce innovative features like dashboard reporting to allow users to make critical decisions based on actual data.

ComputerEase Logo

After 36 years of continued success and growth, ComputerEase caught the attention of Deltek, the leading software solution provider for over 30,000 project-based firms such as architectural and engineering firms, and management consulting firms to name a few. Due to this, Deltek and ComputerEase decided to join forces in August of 2019 to create Deltek + ComputerEase. This new partnership created when Deltek acquired ComputerEase marked the beginning of a new era for the construction management software industry.  

Benefits of the Acquisition

Deltek left in place the previous upper management led by John Meibers who had been the ComputerEase President for 22 years. Therefore, the original company vision and dedication to providing great customer experiences through excellent support and training remain in place. With the addition of Deltek, new strategic positions were added to accelerate product development and innovation, and 24/7 support became available for customers, employees, and partners.

Even more, Deltek is now leveraging technologies it already uses in other software products such as GPS, complex integrations, and access to the internet of things (IoT) to further enhance Deltek + ComputerEase’s existing capabilities. Deltek is also using its experience to develop a product roadmap to deploy new features quickly to address the ever-growing needs of their construction management customers. These new resources will help to continue to drive innovation of their existing product offering which will better serve clients long into the future.

Why Deltek + ComputerEase?

Deltek + ComputerEase is known for being innovative and user-friendly which is why they are the leaders in construction management software. With job cost accounting being the lifeline of the construction management industry, Deltek + ComputerEase integrates project management, purchasing and inventory, subcontracts, HR and payroll, and accounting functions into one system. As a result, firm leaders can easily access advanced and comprehensive reporting tools that allow for them to ensure continued profitability based on accurate firm data.  

Why Full Sail Partners?

Full Sail Partners has been a dedicated and trusted Deltek partner for over two decades, and our staff, collectively, has over 275 years of experience with Deltek products. Our team of accounting, business development and marketing, project management, and technology experts are well versed in the nuances and complexities that project-based firms deal with on a daily basis. As such, expanding our partnership with Deltek to offer construction management clients a software solution designed to meet their unique needs was a no brainer.

Get to Know Deltek + ComputerEase

ComputerEase has embodied the philosophy of putting the customer first, and Deltek + ComputerEase continues with the understanding that strong relationships with clients and partners is what makes great companies thrive. As a team, Deltek + ComputerEase are committed to continuing to improve their software solutions to help their customers increase the profitability of their projects. Make sure to keep up with the future Deltek + ComputerEase innovations that can help your construction management firm become an industry leader.

Link to Deltek + ComputerEase information

Finding Success in Marketing Efforts with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Amanda Roussel on Wed, Mar 03, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Marketing is a necessary function in business, and AEC firms are no exception. First off, there’s general brand awareness, and then there are the marketing campaigns that firms spend resources on to drive quality leads. Marketing efforts cover a variety of outreach methods such as conferences, sponsorships, golf tournaments, and email campaigns. Can you name the projects awarded to your firm as a result of particular marketing efforts? What campaigns would you consider a success based on the efforts and dollars spent? Let’s see how Deltek Vantagepoint marketing campaigns can help you with your marketing efforts.

Marketing Campaign ROI

Organize Marketing Efforts

For each marketing effort, information can be collected and organized in one place inside a Vantagepoint marketing campaign record. The marketing campaign name, its description, associated promotional project used for budget trackingmarketing campaign manager, and marketing manager are all fields that may be useful to planning efforts.

Beyond the marketing campaign record, organizing a marketing plan in the same system as your CRM allows for efficient associations. With Deltek Vantagepoint, teams can associate resulting projects in pursuit and awarded projects to the marketing campaign that led to that effort. Therefore, you have visibility to:

Measure Costs Against Goals

A Revenue Goal can be identified as you begin the campaign. Other monetary fields are populated based on project information in your system. There are fields for Actual Revenue, which recognizes dollars from awarded projects associated back to the campaign, and Potential Revenue, which recognizes dollars from projects in pursuit. A promotional project can also be created for the marketing campaign to track time and expenses. Using the promotional project number, Actual Costs are populated on the marketing campaign. This gives a quick view of the success of the marketing campaign as it relates to resulting projects.

Build Email Lists or Tally Responses

It’s not always about the dollars. For events in which attendee information should be collected, responses can be tracked using contacts in CRM. The responses, or contact list, can be used to create mailing lists or distribute follow up information.

Stay on Target with Activities

With each marketing campaign comes tasks and to-do lists. Those activities can be managed and tracked in the marketing campaign record. This brings all activities together, whether it’s registering for an event, completing sponsorship information, creating marketing materials, or making reservations. Deltek Vantagepoint allows Activities to be assigned to other employees so the appropriate team members will see their Activities as well.

Measure the Effectiveness

Tying actual revenue to a marketing campaign gives firms the opportunity to measure the effectiveness of various marketing efforts. By doing so, firms can determine which efforts to repeat and which ones to modify or discontinue. One example is conferences. Many dollars can be spent on industry conferences, and we simply cannot attend all. Using marketing campaigns, teams can see the return on effort. These metrics can help prioritize event involvement for future years and be an integral part of strategic marketing and business development plans.

Be Smarter with Vantagepoint

As Deltek users, marketers can take advantage of the marketing campaigns in Vantagepoint and discover which marketing efforts work the best. Based on what these marketing campaigns identify, your firm can strategically plan better. Additionally, by using marketing campaigns in Vantagepoint, the marketing department can easily translate their outreach efforts to a monetary value.

Track Marketing Efforts with Deltek Vantagepoint

Why Continuous Performance Management is Better than Annual Reviews

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Feb 24, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Relying on annual performance reviews as the main performance evaluation tool often feels like employees are given one big dose of criticism that has been saved up all year long. This process does a lot more harm than good as it is generally a collection of out-of-context feedback received long after projects have ended, and no improvements can be made. According to a 2019 Workhuman Analytics and Research study, 55 percent of workers believe annual reviews did not improve their performance, and a study from Gallup indicated that nearly 30 percent were so put off by a negative review that they started looking for a new job.

People Meeting

Annual Reviews are Obsolete

In actuality, many HR leaders are dissatisfied with annual performance reviews and find them obsolete. They realize that continuous and supportive feedback with more frequent reviews can help spur employee growth and development. While negative feedback is unavoidable, it should be given in small manageable amounts letting employees digest and make proactive changes. For project-based firms in particular, it is important to let team members know where they are doing well and indicate areas of improvement as the projects are happening rather than waiting until year end when it is too late. Additionally, continuous performance management is much better tailored to meet the needs of the modern workforce.

Reflects How Work Gets Done

Continuous performance management is reflective of how the work really gets done, and it increases employee engagement. Feedback is quite effective when check-ins are frequent, and according to Workhuman, employees who checked in with their manager at least weekly are five times less likely to be disengaged than those who never check-in. With the pandemic and remote working in 2020, the need for consistent feedback became even greater as the virtual nature of business made it harder to connect personally.

Shows Employees Their Value to the Firm

As employees are given continuous input on their performance, they begin to see how they are providing value to their firm. Motivated employees get their work done faster, are more creative and collaborative, and go above and beyond what is expected. Even given areas of improvement, motivated employees will work harder to make sure their goals are met. And when employees are more efficient, there is a positive impact on the firm’s bottom line.

Focuses on Career Development

When having more frequent conversations about performance, employees can be considering their next steps in career development. Talking about performance development is much more forward thinking, positive and employee focused. Doing this shows employees that their work is appreciated and that they are valued. When employees are invested in getting to another level in their career, they are motivated and harder working.

Communicates Expectations Clearly

In the past, employees often did not know what their expectations were, and the annual review was the first time they were able to see the bigger picture. When communication is increased in a continuous fashion, employees are able to understand immediate priorities and the firm’s ultimate goals and plans. These discussions provide a meaningful pathway to success for both employees and the firm as a whole. Therefore, employees feel engaged and are motivated to meet goals.

Offers Timely Feedback

If employees are not aware that something is wrong, they do not know to fix it. Without direct conversations regarding areas that need improvement, employees cannot be held accountable for not making corrections. Especially with projects, team members need to know what aspects of the project could be adjusted more appropriately to meet the firm’s goals. Not addressing these issues until year end does not provide any way to resolve them. As a result, continuous performance management is truly a necessity for project-based firms.

Continuous Performance Management is the Future

The modern project-based workforce demands a performance management system that focuses on autonomy, development, feedback and engagement. Shifting to a continuous performance management system simply requires effective processes and a technology solution that can facilitate them throughout the firm. With an effective talent management solution, your firm can realize project team success while truly engaging your quality talent using continuous performance management.

Continuous Feedback and Goals

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!

Human Capital Management Remotely – No Office Required!

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on Wed, Feb 10, 2021 @ 02:22 PM

Since the spring of 2020, many firms have had to transition to a remote only working environment. Learning to deal with this new operating style was certainly a challenge at first, but hopefully, these same firms are embracing the changes which could help to streamline the whole Human Capital Management (HCM) process. Let’s check out how HCM can be successfully done remotely with no office required based on our own experience at Full Sail Partners.

Human Capital Management

Pre-Hire

First off is the interview process which can still be done face to face, just virtually. Searching for talent is different when you work remotely. The location of potential new hires doesn’t really matter. It is more about skillsets and the fit of the person with the company.

You will also want to ask different types of questions about working from home such as questions towards working autonomously and communication skills. You need to see signs of motivation and the ability to self-motivate with any candidates you interview. Some key questions are “Why would you want to work from home?” and “Can you handle IT issues on your own?”, “Do you have internet?”, and “Do you have a quiet place to work from”. These types of questions will help you determine whether a particular candidate can handle a remote only position.

Onboarding

Once you’ve found the talent that seems to fit your remote work environment and the offer letter has been accepted, it is time to prepare for this new hire. Working remotely, a very important place to start is with the IT aspect. Having a standard online checklist of items that IT should prepare for is super helpful. Deltek Collaboration and Microsoft Teams are great solutions that allow you to copy a template that includes a list of standard tasks or assignments. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you have a new hire. Everyone needs a computer and login info for different types of software. Send that info ahead of time so new hires can be ready day one to start learning more about the company. Also be sure new employees are provided with contacts within the company that can be approached for different needs. Working remotely puts the onus on the new hire to seek out the answers, but they should have a list of resources.

Another significant way to start on good footing remotely involves setting goals. These goals will have details about expectations to accomplish. The goals should focus on steps that are required to be successful. We find establishing 45-day, 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month goals can ensure the employee knows exactly their priorities and allows them to proceed forward with confidence. A supervisor should meet with the employee at the end of each of these time increments to discuss where they are in meeting their goals and determine if further mentoring or training is required.

Retention

Full Sail Partners Team Fun Meeting CallNow that you have the right people for remote work up to speed, think about ways to engage employees and offer professional development. Since you can’t just walk down the hall to see what is happening, you have to trust them and their desire to perform their duties. Continuous feedback and performance discussions are key. It is a good idea to check in to see how things are going in frequent intervals.

Finally, day to day is different in the remote world with no monthly team lunches or birthday cake. However, time can be taken to meet virtually over Zoom, have phone conversations or even text. Just recently, Full Sail Partners had a virtual happy hour to get the gang together with a little bingo time. Being comfortable in a new position at the outset also promotes retention. New hires can learn about the roles of the various company positions through shadowing them. Once employees have shadowed certain firm members, they can then take the lead knowing that there is a built-in safety net still shadowing them. Offering professional development opportunities and trainings is another means to ensure retention. There are plenty of online resources available.

Learn More From Full Sail Partners' Sarah Gonnella

Sarah is interviewed by another Full Sail Partners' Crew Member about the onboarding process at our firm. Watch the video below.

Remote Going Forward?

Full Sail Partners has been a virtual company for more than two decades and has proven that HCM can be done remotely with success. For those firms who have seen the benefits of working remotely, there may not be a return to the way before. Let Full Sail Partners’ experience guide you going forward. If your firm is interested in learning more about remote working, feel free to reach out to an employee to learn more about their experience.

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