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Easily Change Project Plan Dates and Hours with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Rana Blair on May 18, 2022

2022 - Redistribute Planned Hours-01

For professional services firms, projects often don’t go according to the original plan. This forces the project manager to spend time updating the project plan to reflect new project dates, adjusted hours, and resources needed to complete the project. With Deltek Vantagepoint, this doesn’t have to be a burden on the firm’s project managers. These changes are easily and automatically made, allowing the firm to focus on serving clients instead of constantly updating plans.

Typical Project-Based Firm Planning Scenario 

Let’s say the Natural Sciences Building at Northwest project was originally scheduled to take place from January 2021 through September 30, 2021. The phases at the beginning were Master Planning and Project Management. Then the project goes on hold for a few months, which happens often for project-based firms. Now, the project is restarting with a new phase in a new date range. The project manager wishes to set a proper baseline on the original schedule, and then review the new plan against the baseline.  

Let’s walk through each of these steps separately. Then, at the end, learn about how to see this in action.  


Changing Project Plan Dates at Various Project Levels

Changing the plan dates is always the first step. To change the dates at a phase level, click the ‘kabob’ at the far right of the phase and select the Reschedule dialogue. Using this tool, users can shift the entire phase to the left or right or change the duration by dragging it longer or shorter.  

For this example, the new duration for the Sustainability Planning phase will begin on March 1, 2021, and end on July 31, 2021. At this point, Vantagepoint will ask to replace the child dates – those dates of the individual resources beneath the phase. In this case, the answer is yes, replace child dates.  

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Another way to change dates is to go into the Schedule tab. When clicking on the phase to change, put it into edit mode. This will allow the user to simply drag it to the new dates and duration desired. Users can drag the bar right or left and/or hover over to get the bi-directional arrow to expand the duration. Again, the system will ask to replace the child dates or not. 

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Redistributing the Planned Project Hours 

Now that the project dates are correct, it is time to go to the Labor tab to work on the planned hours. Going back to the example, the master planning phase was scheduled to begin on January 28 and end on September 30. Its planned hours are 175, which matches the baseline, so no changes are needed. 

However, on the Sustainability Planning phase, there are some changes needed because there are no baseline hours saved. The planned hours also look low. To look at this further, users can go into their grid settings and turn on different columns such as Contract and Planned Billing. Doing this, the project manager sees 164 hours, the planned value is coming up at $37,980 but the contract value is $65,000. This will be the first place to start changing planned hours. 

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 10.44.17 PM

To do this, go to the phase level and select the ‘kabob’ at the end of the row. Select Redistribute Hours and Change Planned hours. For this example, the project will change those 164 hours to 275. Choose to do this for the entire assignment date range and spread hours evenly over the time period. By choosing to redistribute here, the project manager can now see that the planned hours are 275 and the value is calculated at $63,534 which is closer to the contract value.  

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Setting a New Project Baseline  

Now let’s plan forward or true-up this project plan. In the screenshot above, the master planning phase has a baseline of 175 hours, with 52 hours exhausted but only 77 hours remaining in the Estimate to Complete (ETC). The Estimate at Completion (EAC) hours is settling around 130 hours, and the project manager knows that the project will use most, if not all, of the 175 budgeted hours. So, the hours in the master planning phase will need to be redistributed using the ‘kabob’ at the end of the phase row. This will help push forward the hours and then allow the project manager to fine-tune them as the project progresses.  

In the redistribute planned hours dialogue box, select the option to replace the planned with actual hours and replace those hours in total. Use the hours from the job to date (JTD) range, choose to spread the differences, and choose to spread both the positive and negative differences in the ETC assignment date range. Then choose to spread the hours evenly.  

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The project manager would do this for each phase that changes the duration or timeframe. Also, with this example, the project manager would make the changes for the sustainability and project management phases. Once those changes are made, the EAC billing is $104,000 and the contract value is $124,000, which looks like the project will perform rather well. The last step is to publish the plan and start working on the project.  

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See Project Plan Changes in Action 

While reading about how easy Deltek Vantagepoint makes it for project managers to adjust their project plans, seeing it in action is even better. Click the image below to watch a 16-minute demonstration to understand how Vantagepoint’s Resource Planning makes it very convenient to plan for unplanned project changes. 

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Resource Planning Enhancements in Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Rana Blair on February 23, 2022

Vantagepoint Resource Planning Enhancements Hero Image

Projects are the lifeline for professional services firms. Deltek Vantagepoint provides applications to support the project planning and resource management activities—Project Planning, Resource Management and Plan Reporting. For those firms who are familiar with Deltek Vision planning, you’re in for a real treat with the enhancements added to Vantagepoint.

The enhancements include the ability to Change Planned Hours, select the ETC / JTD basis in system settings, save Resource View searches for roles, and use Spread Variance to push unused plan hours forward. Let’s dig deeper into these improvements.

Set Plan Inclusion System-Wide

Deltek administrators now have the ability from a system-level to set the inclusion of “in pursuit” project plans on some sort of objective basis. The screenshot below shows how these are automatically set based on the pursuit stages. Keep in mind when the project is awarded, it’s included in those calculations. The beautiful part about Vantagepoint is firms have complete visibility into all the plans, even if the project was not included in those utilization calculations and reports.

VPPlanning-InclusionSettings

The administrator can set different options based on the firm’s preferences. Those include:

  • Never – This means that users can plan but the plan won't be included in the calculations.
  • Always – Selecting this option will always include the plans, regardless of the degree of seriousness or clarity that you have.
  • Set by Project – This is not recommended because it relies on the plan creator to remember to mark the plan for inclusion.
  • Automatically Set Based on Selected in Pursuit Stages – This is the recommended option because it leverages the intelligence of the software to determine the stage of the project and then to automatically determine inclusion into those calculations.
  • Automatically Set Based on Probability – This uses the probabilities set up in the system. Preferences can be set to say anything greater than 50% probability, for example, will be included. Vantagepoint provides a lot of flexibility with this, but this flexibility is from the system standpoint and not each individual plan.

Set Estimate to Complete (ETC) and Job to Date (JTD) Basis System-Wide

While the ability to set and/or change the ETC and JTD was available in Deltek Vision Planning, it was often changed for one purpose or another and could be forgotten to be put back. In Vantagepoint, this is a system setting so that every plan is using the same ETC and JTD basis as shown in the screenshot below.

VPPlanning-JTDSettings

Firms can select the system settings and the basis that works best for them. For example, a firm has a JTD basis through Last Week’s End Date, and that is last Saturday. All the JTD is shown through that date and the ETC date starts the next business day. That allows the firm to have certainty about the JTD figures. If the firm customarily has weekly timesheets that are always completed by the end of the week, this may be a great system setting.

Alternatively, firms can use the Last Timesheet Period’s End Date. If the firm lags a little bit on timesheet entries, utilizing this option so that the JTD information being shown in the plan is that of the last timesheet period will most likely work better. Firms can use this option so that the JTD information shown in the plan is as of that last timesheet week. So, for the first few days of the timesheet period, it's not as accurate, but it's more accurate once that timesheet period is posted and closed.

Rescheduling Plans

Vantagepoint Planning is further enhanced with the ability to reschedule plans. The reschedule ability allows users to either shift or change the duration for the labor tab. This is only for the labor tab in Vantagepoint Planning. Users can pick up the entire date range and move the start date or move it to the finish date.

Like Vision Planning, if the duration is the same, the hours can use the same proportions from the time period. When the duration length is increased, it keeps the same pattern. Conversely, when the duration length is decreased, the system can respread it evenly. But, if the duration shrinks, the system will not like it if unplanned hours fall outside the new duration. In Vantagepoint, this becomes very clear with well-written error messages that pop up for the user.

Change Planned Hours

Changing planned hours is a new function in Deltek Vantagepoint. Project managers can use this functionality to update the planned hours in any timeframe. They can choose to spread the hours proportionally or evenly. For example, a user can take all the hours at the project level or work breakdown structure (WBS) level two and change the planned hours from A to B. This can be done in any timeframe. It can also be done backward and forward using the ETC day. There are a lot of options to change planned hours in Vantagepoint Planning.

The screenshot below shows the new Redistribute Hours menu in Vantagepoint where users can change the planned hours.

VPPlanning-RedistributeHours

Replace Planned Hours with Actual Hours

The next enhancement is the ability to replace planned hours with actual hours. This functionality allows users to choose the replacement of hours for a specific date range or across all dates as well as choose to calculate on a weekly, monthly, or total basis. An example is shown below.

VPPlanning-ReplacePlanwithActualHours

Spread Variance

The ability to spread the variance between planned and actual hours can be done in several ways over the time periods selected. It allows the user to control how they spread the differences between actual and planned as well as choose different date ranges. The date range can be a specific date range, an entire date range, or just a short amount of time. The project manager can choose to spread the hours including the negatives or just limit to the positive differences. The variance can be spread evenly or proportionately.

The biggest enhancement is that now this setting is directly available in the plans in Vantagepoint as opposed to another menu or area of the system, providing better visibility, as shown below.

VPPlanning-SpreadVariance

Vantagepoint Planning is Reimagined for Project-Based Firms

With these enhancements to Vantagepoint Planning, project-based firms can not only quickly create project plans but adjust them to the unpredictable nature of the projects. It’s the right project management tool to control project delivery. Do you want to see these Deltek Vantagepoint Planning enhancements in action? Use the button below to see Rana Blair demonstrate each of them.

 

Link to learn the differences between Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint planning

Controlling the Details with Deltek Vantagepoint Planning

Posted by Rana Blair on December 08, 2021

Successful project management requires more than having the right people on the right project. It requires having the right project management tool to control project delivery.

The Deltek Vantagepoint Resource Planning application has been designed to require only the simplest interactions to review and plan on a go-forward basis. The system will display all Job-to-Date (JTD) time through today to direct emphasis on what happens tomorrow. With Estimate to Complete (ETC) planning, the effort is focused on what will be spent in the future. As a result, there is no need to adjust planned hours in the past to understand the forecasted results.

Planning a professional services project

For those who want access to the past to adjust the planned hours or to see the JTD through a less current/more realistic lens, Vantagepoint 4.5 introduces new options and alternatives.

Adjustable Job-to-Date Basis

In Deltek Vantagepoint 4.5, system administrators can now choose the system JTD Date Basis. In previous versions and in Vision, the system assumed today’s date as the basis with the next day as the start for the ETC. This is problematic for firms where timesheet entry is not always as up to date as it should be.

Now firms can choose to show JTD details for Labor as of the end of the last week, the end of the last timesheet period, as of a specific date, or leave it as today. Whatever the choice, the ETC always begins on the next business day following today. This allows for planning in the time periods occurring since the JTD can utilize the date basis setting. Remember the ETC will reflect only those planned hours in the actual future from the date basis.

In the example below, “today” is November 12 and the previous Timesheet period ended on October 31. Using the JTD Date Basis setting, it is reasonable to assume that Heath’s time is complete through October 31 as indicated in the red square in the example below. Therefore, planning can be done based on what we expected since then and what we anticipate going forward.

Vantagepoint Planning 1Spreading the Variance between Planned and Actuals

Another Deltek Vantagepoint Planning feature, Redistribute Hours, has many applications and uses for project planners. Please note that this function can be made available only to selected Security Roles in Settings.

In this use case scenario, the plan below was scheduled with a two-month duration and 30 hours of Emily’s time. However, the project was delayed, and Emily posted 10 hours to the project before it was put on hold. The assignment end date of May 31 is in the past and there are no remaining ETC hours. However, Vantagepoint users do not need to worry.

Vantagepoint Planning 2

One way to correct this is to simply extend the end date with a Duration Change. If this is the chosen method, the resulting options will include respreading all the Planned Hours evenly over the entire Assignment period or not spreading them at all and replanning the remaining hours in the future. The first option will spread the hours backward in time. The second option will have the result of duplicating Planned Hours and muddying the expectations.

A more eloquent solution is to change the Assigned End Date to the new date and use the Redistribute Hours function to control how the remaining Planned Hours are spread. The Redistribute Hours function has many options and uses. The key is the Spread Differences Between Planned and Actual Hours tick box. In this example, the decision was made to spread the variance of 20 hours evenly into the period shown.

Vantagepoint Planning 3The result is now that the unused Planned Hours are spread into future time periods as shown in the following image. Therefore, the integrity of the Planned Hours has been maintained which will support the reliability on Planned Hours in timesheets and other reporting mechanisms.

Vantagepoint Planning 4Gain Project Control with Deltek Vantagepoint

Projects rarely go according to the original plan and being able to adjust for unpredictable changes is a must. Whether it’s looking back at JTD or looking forward with ETC, Deltek Vantagepoint allows project managers to truly control the details of their projects.

Wondering what the differences in Vision Planning and Vantagepoint Planning are? Use the button link below to hear from Rana Blair about how these two systems compare.

Link to learn the differences between Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint planning

The Value of Vantagepoint for Project Managers

Posted by Rana Blair on November 18, 2020

Project management view

Project success is vital to any professional services organization, so project managers must be given every resource to ensure their projects are done on time and within budget. In Deltek Vantagepoint, there are numerous dashboards and ways to view information easily so project managers can access what they need to ensure that projects run smoothly and are on target. Let’s check out the benefits of Vantagepoint for project managers.

Greater Visibility

Deltek Vantagepoint offers enhanced visibility to all users. Vantagepoint provides a major way to engage people with the system, specifically non-accounting users like project managers. With built in dashboards showing important numbers and graphs, plus a more intuitive reporting interface, every role in the project team can participate with the details regarding projects to ensure they are managed efficiently.

Focus on Project Health

The planning application itself is the most efficient tool to review project health and activity. Here, users can review profitability or billing multipliers with instant feedback while updating resource assignments. Additionally, Vantagepoint has detailed reports as well as a variety of standard dashparts to provide relevant information.

Flexible Project Management

Resource forecasting is all in the same house with Vantagepoint. With the resource view, project managers can control the resources for each project. In addition, with the Vantagepoint heat map, utilization of staff can be evaluated, and action can be taken based on those utilizations. Now there is a whole new interface for resource planning, and resources can be added from several different places. For example, resources can be added using the Resource view or the Project view. With these flexible options, project managers can easily see all details and can focus on resources and proper management of those resources.

Future Forward

Resource planning early in the process allows for better forecasts for resource allocation. With Deltek Vantagepoint, project managers can look at resources in line with awarded projects and pursuit projects out six or eight or even ten months. Also, there is a redesigned project review which is easier to read and has KPIs with calculations that make sense. Project managers have a one stop shop where they can see the performance of their projects which can be done in Project View.

Improve Collaboration with Deltek Vantagepoint

Deltek Vantagepoint has been designed to be more approachable, with simplified processes, enhanced visibility, and improved accessibility which has created a new willingness to contribute by all users. With a variety of dashboards and different ways to access important data regarding projects, project managers now have a much easier time keeping an eye on their projects. They can quickly see the results of their contributions to project management and rest assured that their projects will be successful.

Deltek Vantagepoint Visuals

The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report: Project Management Trends

Posted by Rana Blair on September 23, 2020

Deltek Clarity 41st

Projects are the bread and butter of A&E firms and well executed ones are an absolute necessity to remain competitive. Based on the results of the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity Report, A&E firms are aware of the need for project management responsibilities to be more clearly defined. Project information processes must be improved and there should be more investment in project manager (PM) training. Additionally, PMs require more visibility into KPIs to meet performance expectations. Here are some snippets from this year’s report.

Project Management Challenges

The 41st Deltek Clarity Report showed the top three project management challenges facing firms to be the same for the third straight year. Those challenges are inexperienced PMs, staff shortages and competing priorities. PMs are at the center of project management, so they need to be better trained and be knowledgeable of firm and industry wide best practices. For firms to deliver successful projects, PMs across all projects should be keenly aware of their responsibilities. They should also become experts in their practice and to bring in other members that complement the team.

Project Status

According to this year’s report, the number of projects that came in on or under budget is slightly higher than last year. With a six-percentage point increase to 72% for architecture firms and high performers coming in with 75% of projects on target or under budget, project status appears positive. Additionally, two-thirds of projects were recorded as being current or ahead of schedule which is up two percentage points from last year. Visibility into project financials and KPIs plus targeted PM training positively impacts project execution.

Tracked KPIs for Project Management

In the survey, and consistent with last year, most A&E firms track profitability (92%) and net revenue (91%). Next is average collection period (87%) and multipliers (80%). The least-tracked KPIs remained on-time delivery, schedule variance and earned value management. The report again indicated, based on these findings, that there was a need for greater project visibility. Increasing efforts to track those KPIs would in fact improve project success, business performance and client satisfaction. In particular, the failure to track schedule variance would be reflected in the percentage of projects determined to be behind schedule.

Measuring Client Satisfaction

Based on the 41st Deltek Clarity Report, 54% of surveyed firms do measure client satisfaction. The majority of those which are not currently doing so are considering it for the coming year. Engineering firms are more inclined to evaluate client satisfaction, and the larger the business, the more likely it is considered. Of those firms that measure client satisfaction, 58% do so for all projects. Firms use a variety of means such as in person to electronic surveys. While the executive team is usually in charge of contacting clients (50%), large firms rely on the PMs (56%) to monitor client satisfaction. Lastly, firms that do not regularly measure client satisfaction will not be very effective with process improvement.

Well Executed Projects

As seen in the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity Report, A&E firms understand that improving project management training and providing access to KPIs will lead to improved project performance. Additionally, leveraging tools to streamline project delivery and investing in both PMs and the whole project team will make the process much more efficient. When projects are well executed, clients are likely more satisfied, and firms earn repeat business. This ultimately keeps firms competitive in the A&E industry.

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Simplify Project Controls with Deltek iAccess for Vision

Posted by Rana Blair on January 03, 2018

Deltek iAccess for Project Management “Project Controls” are formidable words, ones that are necessary for successful project outcomes. Those of you who have used Deltek Vision for many years may recall that “project controls” remain at the core of the Vision system and are the datacenter for all other Vision applications such as billing, CRM, proposals, resource planning, and time and expense. Fortunately for Vision users, accessing project controls has gotten a lot easier with Deltek iAccess.

What are Project Controls? 

There is no industry jargon in the name project controls. They do exactly what the name implies. They allow you to manage and control your projects. Furthermore, a complete project control system such as Vision, allows users to: 

  • Document project attributes
  • Coordinate project activities
  • Track employee time and expense
  • Apply direct and overhead costs
  • Monitor project progress
  • Generate project reports
  • Maintain project budgets 

Controlling projects requires understanding and making decisions based on the information collected. This can be a challenge if data is not updated in a timely fashion or there is too much information to absorb. So, how can Vision users make these processes simpler? 

Enter Deltek iAccess for Project Management 

With the addition of iAccess for Deltek Vision, visibility into and ease of digesting information has enjoyed a renaissance. The iAccess interface allows firms to proactively manage and track projects from creation through closeout. The real-time connection to Vision, graphical views, and simple interactive tools for planning and managing the budget make quick work of understanding the status of the project. As a result, users can efficiently manage project future costs and review the expected outcomes. 

Gain Better Control of Your Projects with Deltek iAccess 

The ability to drive your projects with a full understanding of the past and predictions for the future is the ultimate control. With iAccess for Deltek Vision, this becomes possible. So, what are you waiting for? Take control of your projects, and extend the capabilities of Vision project controls with iAccess.iAcc

Think Outside the Box with Deltek Vision’s Approval Engine

Posted by Rana Blair on October 04, 2017

Think Outside the BoxAt a recent client meeting, it was brought to light how many of my clients don’t use Deltek Vision’s approval engine capabilities. I thought how crazy that notion was because using the approval engine can save clients so much paper and time. Let me share with you what this firm experienced in dealing with approvals, and let’s see how many of you can think outside the box and see the benefits of Deltek Vision’s approval engine.

Packed with Paper 

Here’s where the story begins. A little time back, I was with a client when a principal walked in with a banker’s box full of papers. He was preparing to leave for vacation and had carefully assembled all the paperwork he needed to take care of while he was away. I asked what was in the box, and he explained that he had to approve the consultant invoices and then review the client invoices. He had packed all the project folders and everything was ready so he could speed through them on vacation and bring them back to accounting when he returned. 

In my mind, I was screaming for several reasons. First, who wants to work on your vacation? Next, so many things could happen to those papers like losing some on the plane or spilling wine when reviewing them. Not to mention, accounting is put on hold until he returns, the consultant’s invoices can’t get entered until billing is processed and how will he really know when he is done. By the way, how does he even keep track of action items using his box and paper system? 

Let’s Think Out of the Box 

Not wanting to overwhelm this principal just hours before he was set to go, I calmed the voices in my head and simply said, “You know, one day I am going to take your box away from you and you won’t miss it.” With a perplexed look, he asked me how. I explained that we could process the consultant invoices electronically. Accounting could scan the invoices, and after being scanned into the system, various parties would then do their part to approve or reject the invoice in Deltek Vision based on the business rules. 

The entire process could be done in the Deltek Vision system, and the status and notes would be visible to everyone along the way. As soon as there was final approval, accounting could continue processing the invoice and post it in Vision. The copy would be attached to the next Invoice and no box would be required. 

Coming into the Light 

Despite my description of the approval engine process, the principal remained unconvinced. He instantly presented a list of objections which I confidently addressed one by one: 

“I need to see project details as I am reviewing.” “No problem, use the project review tool in the approval application.” 

“Sometimes I want the project manager to look at it before I approve it.” “The system is designed so you can delegate or reassign approvals.” 

“There are also times that I need accounting to send the invoice back to the consultant.” “That’s why when you reject it, you must notate why in the dialog box. The system sends the message to accounting for you.” 

“We must have paper copies for taxes and legal things.” “Maybe, but IRS has been accepting electronic copies since 1995.” 

After my most excellent retorts to his arguments, the principal finally realized that using Deltek Vision’s approval engine capabilities was a viable option. I further explained that with his current Vision system, he can use electronic approvals to handle vacation requests, departmental budgets, expense reports and more. Before, he just hadn’t seen the value of thinking outside of his box. Now his box could instead be used for vacation souvenirs. 

Use Deltek Vision’s Approval Engine 

This is a true story, but not at all unique. In the past, there was not a fully integrated system. Many firms had given up on going paperless, and the final handshake always required touching that piece of paper one last time. However, with Deltek Vision’s approval engine, firms can now truly eliminate the need to physically transport documents in their boxes. Rather, thinking outside of their boxes, they can reduce processing times and provide unprecedented visibility into status and condition of their invoices.

Deltek Vision Approvals Engine  

Why Aren’t Project Managers Taking Responsibility for Their Projects?

Posted by Rana Blair on April 12, 2017

iAccess for Project Management It wasn’t long ago that firm management took a “need-to-know” approach with sharing project performance information with staff. Today, most firms have changed their attitude about access to project information. Firm managers want project managers to be engaged with the financial results of their projects and have taken great steps to train them to use the Deltek Vision reporting tools and dashboards. Still, project managers are intimidated and paralyzed by the information they receive.

So why are project managers not taking responsibility for their projects?

  • Budgets are not easy to access or review against actual performance
  • Reports are complex and rely heavily upon the accounting cycle that many project managers don’t understand
  • Too much information in reports makes it difficult to focus on what is important
  • Analyzing data requires pulling information into Excel for What-If scenarios
  • Access to information “on-the-go” is not available 

How Can We Change This? 

Enter iAccess. The tool built for project managers to provide them the information they need at their fingertips to successfully manage projects. Even more, it’s ready to go right out of the box. Sure, that sounds too good to be true and one might wonder what you get with iAccess’ standard configuration. 

Here’s a high-level summary. An iAccess core feature that requires no configuration provides a simple project review tool that allows users to quickly review, analyze, and focus on projects needing attention. Any project accessed will appear with current contract, labor, and expense information in graphical and tabular formats at the project or lower levels. This removes the need of having complicated reports and performing What-If scenarios. 

Can iAccess Do More? 

iAccess, like Deltek Vision has the flexibility to meet the different and complex needs of each individual firm. From simple custom configuration of reports to in-depth configuration of projects, iAccess provides the same information that’s stored within Deltek Vision to project managers from anywhere they have an internet connection.   

With just some minimal configuration, project managers can use iAccess as a comprehensive project management tool from the beginning of the project through closeout by using the planning functionality. Starting with an original budget, project managers can interact with their projects as needed to review actual data and then provide estimates of additional effort required to complete the project. 

Stay Connected with iAccess 

The real-time connection to your Deltek Vision database and the mobile accessibility of the iAccess tool may be the missing link in motivating your project managers to take more control over their project financial management responsibilities. The use of iAccess allows them to absorb data in a friendly format while creating a platform for predictive information entry and sharing across the firm. Stop giving project managers an easy excuse for not taking responsibility.

iAccess for Project Managers Webinar  

Hiring Smarter in a Competitive Workforce Market

Posted by Rana Blair on June 17, 2016

Hiring SmarterFinding and hiring the right talent is a lengthy and administratively burdensome process. The amount of time and money spent announcing job openings and qualifying applicants is barely quantifiable, but we all understand that the price is high. Add in the tasks created by legal requirements and corporate responsibility, and the process becomes crushing for even the most seasoned and organized recruiter. Therefore, hiring smarter in a competitive workforce market is critical to lowering costs of recruiting the top talent.

The Hiring Team

Businesses of all sizes use teams to conduct the hiring cycle. The decision makers on the teams are often professional staff whose primary role is to produce. The cost of time spent by these members can be massive and results in reduced attention to mentorship, production, or development. Having a portal that allows managers to see the progress of the hiring cycle and quickly identify their own action items is an integral to saving time.

The Job

Even if the job announcements are fully standardized, they must still be posted to each site of choice. Each site has its own format and requirements, forcing recruiters to take the same actions multiple times.

Using a tool that allows for automated posting to multiple sites and tracking of non-automated postings is an important time saving device. Having visibility into the applicant pipeline and notification alerts that action is needed helps streamline the requisition process.

The Applicants

There is a shortage of talent. There is no shortage of applicants.

Qualifying applicants and moving them through the hiring process is a time-intensive effort often plagued by manual processes. The mechanics of receiving an application, reviewing the data, and ranking the applicants are most often conducted via email or paper and creates risk legal risks without clear and objective criteria and measurement.

The ability to build a database of applicants who do, may, or do not meet the hiring criteria is highly valuable for this and the next hiring cycle. Hiring smarter requires retaining past applicants’ information so your firm has a deep pool of possible talent for future positions.

The Communications

The hiring process is full of action items for the recruiter. Traditional tools used to communicate with applicants and candidates often force recruiters to create a physical paper trail and allows important communications to slip through the cracks. Scheduling interviews and tracking the stage of candidates as well as memorializing the results, can become overwhelming in a multiple interview process. Leveraging the use of the database, automation, and tacking abilities, including bulk letter submissions, allows recruiters to save time and provides a reference for later use.

Hiring Smarter With the Right Tool

Every role in a firm is best served by having the right tools in place. Hiring smarter requires investing in a tool designed for the recruiting function that allows for not only time savings, but also optimization of the process, risk reduction, and increased satisfaction by hiring team members and applicants alike.

AE Firm

 

 

Topics:  
HR

Why Project-Based Firms Should Utilize the Deltek Vision Contract Management Feature

Posted by Rana Blair on May 06, 2015

contract managementI don’t know of a single Professional Service firm without a formal contract management process. Firms spend significant dollars purchasing contract templates and some even retain legal counsel for review. Everyone knows that the contract is an important document in any project undertaking.

Nevertheless, those same firms often begin work without getting the document signed!

Does the importance of the document cease once work has begun? Of course not. But what happens is that the production machine must and does begin before the administration machine can catch up. The contract seems to be subjugated to more pressing needs and the team begins operating on ‘Good Faith’.

External stakeholders have a vested interest in the firm’s contract habits. Professional Liability Insurance applications have at least a few questions relating to whether or not a contract is required, how much work is performed without a contract, and so on. Even the bank wants to know about the status of firm’s contracts and the processes employed. Banks analyze aging or large Accounts Receivable (AR) and next ask about the project’s contracts status. Both want to assess the risk inherent in providing their products to the firm.

It’s All About the Risk

Business is risky. There is no way to eliminate it, only to reduce. Written contracts certainly mitigate risks. Signed ones reduce it further.

Having a signed contract doesn’t guarantee against litigation. There are always competing interpretations of the language after the fact. Better contracts decrease collection time and reduce disputes.

Not having a signed contract does not mean that the firm will not be paid. As long as it is clear that money was to be exchanged for services, there will be some value exchanged. However, the firm might have to perform more work than intended for the stated amount. Additionally, it might mean considerable expense or time attempting to get those dollars.

The truth is, all Professional Services firms have a tendency to do some work without a contract. How much, how often, and with whom is important information that should be assembled and available for review by stakeholders to stay informed about the risks of the firm.

Leveraging the Deltek Vision Contract Management Feature

The Contract Management feature included in Deltek Vision’s Finance Core is one such tool that can be used to assist in accumulating information on this risk factor in the firm. The tool and system are designed specifically with project-based firms in mind. Let’s take a look at how this feature can help:

Track It

Deltek Vision Contract Management allows users to track multiple contract documents, their origination and approval dates, status, and fees requested per document. Because the information is entered on each project, it makes a variety of reports and workflows available allowing for efficient and integrated contract tracking. Optionally, information can be extended neatly into the Project’s Work Breakdown Structure which will allow users to easily see which documents created and amended the fee on each level.

Identify It

By using the Contract Management area of the Project Info Center, users can add the information to reports already in use. Both the Project Summary and Office Earnings allow the Contract Management fields to be selected as columns to appear along-side the existing data on firm reports. Contract statistical data can also be used as a filter on other reports.

Manage It

Integrating project contract information into Deltek Vision allows users to employ the powerful workflow engine in the software. Vision Workflows enables Contract Management users to automate the reporting and informing process around Contracts.

Consider these workflows:

    • Notify Project Manager and/or Principal when a contract has been marked as Approved
    • Remind a user of special handling when a contract exceeding $XXX,XXX has been created
    • Update a column on the Project record when a contract record has been inserted

Use It

Deltek Vision Contract Management users can leverage the information about contract status in other organizational processes. The Contract Management fields are available as filters on any project-based report. This allows the contract status to become a part of the firm’s management process.

Consider using Contract Management data and filters in these activities:

    • Client Management – Create a Project List report for active projects and sorted by Client. Include Contract creation date and status as columns to get the most from the client check-in call.
    • Collections Management – Create a scheduled report for outstanding AR where contract documents are in ‘Pending’ status. Create an AR alert for projects with certain contract status’.
    • Employee Management – Use the Optional Sales Credit feature to measure employees’ participation on specific contract documents. Use in reviews or statistical reporting.

Know the Risk and Accept It

None of us live in a perfect world where a single project meeting hasn’t been had until the contract is signed. However, our focus should turn to understanding and measuring the risk that will be taken on. Firm management should be well informed of the status of the firm’s contracts and have the necessary information on hand should they need to intervene. To support this, contract tracking and management should be integrated with the projects to which they relate. Your Vision software is already well equipped to assist you in the mechanics.

To get started today you can:

  • Review our technical webinar on the Contract Management feature
  • Enter a test contract or two to understand how the feature works
Later you can:
  • Identify how your current process can improve with automation, integration and reporting
  • Backfill existing contract data
  • Contact a Full Sail Partners consultant for more advanced training to customize menus, write workflows and complex reports.
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