Full Sail Partners Blog | Sarah Gonnella

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Full Sail Partners is Celebrating its Silver Anniversary

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on May 11, 2022

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For the last decade, Full Sail Partners has been a recognized project-based technology leader in the Deltek professional services ecosystem. We have much to celebrate and we attribute that success to our company culture -- fun, fast-paced, flexible and collaborative. Our team members comment every day how they feel privileged to call many of their co-workers true friends and even family.  

Since our inception, the number of employees has expanded 131%, and over our 10-year history, revenue has increased 145% while completing over 4000+ projects. The firm launched its Blackbox Connector product in 2015 increasing the team’s integration capabilities by being able to connect clients to outside solutions. Deltek and other industry leaders have recognized our firm with 15 awards over its history because of our relentless commitment to cultivating strong customer loyalty and focusing on the customer experience. We accomplished this and more all while being 100% remote, before it became popular.  

We plan to recognize this huge milestone with our clients at Deltek’s Annual Conference, ProjectCon, in November in Nashville, TN. Additionally, as part of our continuing 10-year anniversary celebration, Full Sail Partners will be selling a cookbook filled with recipes from its employees. Each employee that submits a recipe will be nominating a charity of his/her choice. Any funds raised will be then given to the charity that is voted upon by Full Sail Partners’ clients.  

While viewing our accomplishments, you can truly experience the fun side of our culture. We would love to hear from you, our clients, about any experience that stands out over the years in the comments or on social media. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of our journey. We are excited to continue this celebration and enjoy the moment while looking forward to our next milestone accomplishment. Cheers! 

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Review our recent press release to learn more about our firm and our accomplishments over the past decade. 

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Empowering Your Team with Deltek Vantagepoint Connect Add-in for Outlook

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on March 23, 2022

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The Vantagepoint Connect add-in with Vantagepoint CRM provides two-way synchronization of your contacts and calendar items within your Outlook email application. Outlook Connect empowers users across the firm to help nurture client relationships and collaborate with your team. While in Outlook, users can pin the context pane, so it remains visible. This allows the ability to view contacts and firms in the context of the active email addresses to provide quick insight to contact and firm information along with activity, pursuits, projects, and marketing campaigns. This visibility provides the entire team with valuable information while emailing and scheduling meetings. Let's take a look at how Deltek Vantagepoint Connect empowers users at your firm. 

Executives Seeking to Unify Their Team 

Sharing critical data easily across the firm is a key objective, yet a challenge for every executive. Managing and sharing data across the organization increases the ability to make crucial decisions across the business. Accessing data in a tool, like Outlook, that the firm uses on a daily basis eliminates roadblocks and redundancies for users across the company. With Deltek Vantagepoint Connect, Outlook allows users to search for and view information entered in Vantagepoint for any firm, contact, or project while in the tool. 


Increasing Client Communication Tracking for Marketing & Sales Teams 

When different departments approach tracking data in different ways, it adds barriers for marketing and sales to attain a holistic view across the firm. Identifying how to provide quick access to users entering and pursuing business across the firm ensures marketing and sales are able to provide meaningful reporting about the firm’s efforts. While using Outlook, team members now have the ability to create firms, contacts, pursuits, projects and activities within Vantagepoint as they are responding or sending emails. Having client data at your fingertips promotes transparency across the firm and improves communication to ensure departments are no longer working in silos. Outlook Connect integration is a vital tool to connect to your ERP to help marketing and sales strengthen collaboration across the company.    

Improving Project Management Productivity 

Project Managers live by tasks and schedules. During a project, a task is much more than just a to-do. It is also the way project-based firms bill for their time. Project Managers additionally need the ability to schedule and synchronize internal calendars and meetings. With the Vantagepoint Outlook Connect, users can now synchronize calendar items between Outlook and Vantagepoint. This eliminates the need to enter data twice.  

Outlook Connect also streamlines the process of scheduling meetings through the Scheduling Assistant. Through the Scheduling Assistant, clients can see the team's availability and choose a time to meet that works with both of their schedules. The client only sees available times and does not see any other details or appointments on your calendar. Alternatively, project managers can also provide specific times that are available for the entire team and provide defined time slots to the client. Once they choose a time, all internal team members will receive an invitation on their calendar. Lastly, when a calendar event is shared with Vantagepoint, users can log that time to their timesheet. Talk about improving productivity! 

Accessing Financial and Project Client Communication History   

Many times, firms may overlook finance’s need to access client data from Outlook. Finance always seems to be in the ERP system working on billing, AR and financial reports. However, Outlook is something they also use on a daily basis. One key way finance may find value from Outlook Connect is its ability to log email or correspondence related to billing. Outstanding AR, project contract documentation and contract changes should all be logged in your ERP related to the client, contact and project. Documenting correspondence and keeping client communication up to date guarantees all team members have access to the latest client communication history.   

Enable Your Professional Services Team 

Data has the potential to transform professional services firms' business when users share information across their entire company. No matter what role you are in, getting helpful data into the hands of your users enables them to make informed, data-driven decisions. Check out our past mini-demonstrations to see how Deltek Vantagepoint + Outlook is changing the way CRM is managed by professional services firms. 


Click the image below to learn how Full Sail Partners can help you Synchronize Your Business Outlook Calendar with Deltek Vantagepoint. 

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A Walk Down Memory Lane as Full Sail Partners Celebrates 10 Years!

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on January 05, 2022

We are excited to celebrate our 10-year anniversary! Clients, partners, employees, and family have all embarked on this journey with us, and in so many ways, we have grown together. For this reason, we plan to recognize this big accomplishment and continue to make great strides together in 2022! Cheers to another amazing year full of fantastic projects and collaboration! We invite you to be the first to see our new 10-year anniversary logo and check out our new resource pages providing you content by role.

Full Sail Partners 10 Year Anniversary Logo

Since the creation of Full Sail Partners in 2012, the number of our employees has expanded 131% allowing us to become the technology provider when it comes to project-based solutions. Over those 10 years, our viewership has expanded 785% and we have received almost 23k website submissions. We have shared more than 540 blog articles, 293 web pages, and 132 webinars. So, in celebration, we are listing the top content based on viewership. Enjoy!

Most Viewed Thought Leadership Blog 

>>>7 Ways to Overcome Obstacles<<<

Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that the most viewed thought leadership blog was about overcoming obstacles? These past several years brought many challenges to our work and personal lives. When faced with adversity, it sometimes can be hard to breakdown how to handle it. In this blog, we discussed 7 tips to overcome obstacles.

Most Downloaded Whitepaper 

>>>Deltek AE Clarity Report<<<

As a Deltek Platinum Partner, we promote Deltek’s annual survey focused on the Architecture and Engineering (A&E) industry. The report is one of the world’s most sought-after A&E research findings each year providing in-depth analysis about the industry’s financial condition and market outlook. 

Most Webinar Submissions 

>>>Things We Love About Deltek Vantagepoint So Far<<<

Our webinar with the most submissions was a presentation back in 2019. This webinar is still getting a lot of attention! Firms were excited about the release of Deltek Vantagepoint, and this still holds true today. During the webinar, we covered the Top 10 Features along with some honorable mentions. The webinar was so well attended, we were asked to do an updated version a year later: Deltek Vantagepoint: The Best All In One.

Webinar with the Largest Attendance 

>>>The Project Lifecycle of Deltek Vantagepoint<<<

Professional services firms need a system that takes them through the entire project lifecycle from lead identification to pursuit and final project execution. So, it makes sense that this webinar had the largest attendance in our 10-year history, especially with the enthusiasm surrounding Deltek Vantagepoint. The webinar took firms from beginning to end and compared the similarities and differences between Vantagepoint and Vision. 

Most Viewed Webpage 

>>>Our Crew<<<

Other than our home page, our most viewed webpage is about our crew. Just like with every professional services firm, our employees are the heart and soul of our company. More than 31,000 people have checked out our staff, which averages out to about 7 people a day. Everyone at our company believes we are the best at what we do! We have an amazing, collaborative, and talented team that also makes work fun. This is best illustrated by our professional and fun photos showing another side to our team.

Most Requested Blackbox Connector Solution

>>>Quick Insight to Maintain Contacts<<<

Everyone loves FREE stuff, which probably explains why our newest solution on our Blackbox Connector page sky rocketed to become our most requested page. Full Sail Partners presented on a contact and email management tool for Deltek Vantagepoint in December, 2021, to help firms clean-up their data. The tool searches for duplicate email addresses, duplicate names, and emails with bad formatting to help users target records needing clean-up. The best part is this tool can be used whether you have Vantagepoint CRM or not!

Most Time Spent on a Blog 

>>>Exception Reporting<<<

Research shows the average time spent on a website page is about 45 seconds. So, when you have a blog that users are spending on average 7.4 minutes reviewing, you know you have content worth reading. It might seem ironic that the blog that had the most time spent on it was about how to spend less time analyzing data. However, that doesn’t come as a revelation to us. The most common complaint amongst professionals is they don’t have time to analyze the data, since they need to just get the job done. If you haven’t checked it out yet, learn more about how exception reporting can save firm leaders and their employee’s valuable time.

Blog with the Most Social Media Shares

>>>9 Ways to Connect with Employees<<<

Each employee has different needs from a job and an employer. Sometimes those needs are in alignment with their employer and sometimes they aren’t. How can employers best connect and create a culture that empowers their employees? In this article, we discussed 9 ways to connect with employees to ensure they feel valued and enthusiastic about their position.

We hope you enjoyed being taken down memory lane or even discovered content that you may have missed. From the inception of Full Sail Partners, our goals were to ensure we had a passionate, dedicated, and collaborative team and to be known for valuable content amongst the project-based industry. Based on comments from our employees and clients, we think we have lived up to those goals. Thank you for joining us on our journey, and we look forward to continuing our endeavor with you and to see what the future holds.

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Take a Deep Breathe: 5 Tips for a Calm Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint Upgrade

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on November 17, 2021

Full Sail Partners has worked with 200+ firms related to their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade process in different capacities over the past two years. Full Sail Partners’ goal is to help our clients gain more insight on how to have a smooth and successful upgrade. From the experience and insight gleamed from helping these firms, these five tips have been developed to keep your firm calm.

However, there are two big caveats to consider before diving into the tips for a calm upgrade process.

Person working on Deltek Vantagepoint upgrade

One of the biggest challenges faced when working with clients is misinformation. It’s like the game telephone. Someone whispers something to the person next to them and it keeps going down the line. By the time it gets to the end person, the information is completely different. This is happening with information regarding Deltek Vantagepoint. Full Sail Partners strongly encourages firms to get their information from the source. Ask Deltek, Full Sail Partners, or another approved Deltek partner.

Next, is to take a deep breath. Some of our clients come to us in a complete panic. Some clients are concerned about how they will get through the Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade process. Some other clients are worried non-stop. So, let’s all take a deep breath. Understand that firms are not alone. Remember, Full Sail Partners is here to help as a trusted partner.

To quote Martha Lira with Impact Sciences that upgraded from Vision to Vantagepoint. “It was easier than I thought. It was smoother than I thought.”

Tip #1 – This is an Upgrade, Not a Migration

One thing to remember is this is an upgrade not a migration. This is a key point to understand and communicate to the rest of the company. Misinformation can come from anywhere. It’s important that the company’s primary contact is communicating to others within the organization.

Furthermore, there is an installer that allows the company to push every single Vision field over to Vantagepoint. This even includes custom field, tabs, and user defined info centers. There is work involved, but significantly less than there is when starting from scratch for a migration.

For finance the processes are very similar. There might be some things that are moved around and there are added enhancements to make it easier, but the learning curve is minimal for finance.

For project managers and CRM users, Deltek has been listening. All the things you have been asking for over the years are being answered. Items like:

  • Streamlined flow for project managers,
  • Improved usability,
  • User-friendly, modern look and feel,
  • Improved Outlook integration; and
  • AI capabilities with Hey Deltek! to make doing tasks easier.

Tip #2 – Take Advantage of All the Resources Available

Deltek and Full Sail Partners have many resources, most of them free. If you haven’t viewed any resources, you are doing yourself and team a disservice. Share the resources to all departments of your company. These resources include:

  • Deltek’s Vantagepoint Readiness Portal | Firms can access this through their customer care login. Inside there is an upgrade checklist along with training videos by role and Vantagepoint updates.
  • Preparing for the Upgrade Series by Full Sail Partners | This is a webinar series that provides clients with the answers and clarification on how the upgrade will impact their firm.
  • Client Assistance Program (CAP) Program | This program, hosted by Deltek, reviews the upgrade checklists found in the readiness portal. Over several weeks, it covers each area of Vantagepoint and how to prepare in moving from Vision to Vantagepoint.
  • Powering Project Success Mini Demonstrations created by Full Sail Partners | Not only has Deltek provided videos available on the readiness portal, but Full Sail Partners has taken it a step further. Mini demonstration videos range from four to 21 minutes and show different areas of the system and how different users would utilize those areas. The videos focus on sharing new features and functions.
  • Vantagepoint Upgrade page | Visit this page to find all the resources in on place including those mentioned above and to schedule a consultation with a member of the Full Sail Partners Crew.

Tip #3 - Engage All User Groups

This is the opportunity to become the “hero” of collaboration by bringing in other departments and users. This is done by understanding that the upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint is less technical and more about inclusion. Vantagepoint is a complete ERP and ERP is about the company, so every role needs to participate to have a calm upgrade process.

Engage with them by sharing the resources in Tip #2 that are related to their responsibilities. Require users in all departments to view and engage with those resources. Take time to understand how each team member will be part of the project lifecycle. Some may be at the beginning. Some at the middle or others at the end. Making sure each of them understands how their information and actions impact others–from marketing to project managers to accounting.

This is a great opportunity to get new employees and people not previously involved with Vision to become ‘bought-in’ and advocates for Vantagepoint.

Tip #4 – Trust the Process

In assisting 200+ firms in their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrades over the past two years, Full Sail Partners has fine tuned the upgrade process for firms. While each client’s process is specific for them, Full Sail Partners has worked hard to remove the mystery to create a transparent process. This process includes:

  1. Personalized Readiness Report - Readiness Report – This is a tool run against Vision and reports the specific things that the firm needs to address. Every firm is different. The report shows exactly what to clean up. Firms have found this priceless.
  2. Train the Team and Make Adjustments – Get your system in gear and refine the team’s knowledge of managing Vantagepoint for a seamless transition.
  3. Make the Shift to Full Production – Leverage transition copy scripts to automate the conversion process from preview environment to production.

Tip #5 – Manage Attitudes and Messaging

With every process, change management is always important to plan for. A big part of change management is attitude. The attitude impacts the success or failure of the change. And, when firm leaderships approaches change negatively, the team will pick up on that attitude. If leadership approaches it positively, the team will feel more confident about the change. Success is impacted by the attitude displayed when approaching the change. Promote this change positively because it’s really a good change. Get others excited. The only ways things can be successful is excitement, positivity and getting people to understand benefits they get that will help them in their role. Deltek has been listening, and these changes with Vantagepoint are happening because of feedback from firms like yours.

Next is to prepare the internal teams. Communicate to them that it’s important to understand that this isn’t a month-long process. Take a deep breath and remove the worry first by taking the time to know what needs to be tackled as part of the upgrade process. Use the Readiness Report to know the areas to be addressed and outline the steps required. Identify team members responsible and a target date of completion. Then start working on cleaning up data, as needed. It’s always better to tackle dirty data sooner rather than later. With the upgrade, firms can clean up data before or after the upgrade, but Full Sail Partners has found it better to do it before. Don’t forget to outline training and remember this is a great time to take time to make your processes even better.

Make sure to celebrate milestones and the end success. This can be done by letting others in the firm know about those accomplishments and be sure to thank those that dedicated their time and effort along the way.

Keep Calm and Just Breathe

Often, users tend to build up unnecessary worry and think things are going to be worse than they really are. The best way to tackle worry is to write down the challenge and then break it down into smaller steps. Hopefully using these five tips will show the way to a calm Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade.

Image button link to Tips from Your Peers video on YouTube

Reduce Data Analysis Time: Exception Reporting for Exceptional Professional Services Firms

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on June 30, 2021

In the professional services industry, reporting is key. The common complaint amongst professionals is they don’t have time to analyze the data, since they need to just get the job done. Time is always of the essence, but true efficiency incorporates being proactive and taking the time to evaluate the data and determine what to pay attention to or worry about. This is where exception reporting comes into play. 

Many times, though, professionals aren’t really aware of the robust capabilities of exception reporting and how it can save firm leaders and employees valuable time. Oddly, there seems to be some disconnect about the real benefits of exception reporting to their firm’s bottom line.

Reports and Graphs

What is Exception Reporting?

Simply put, exception reporting can indicate a red flag to a business. Within the professional services industry, it is especially important to receive exception reporting related to projects and people. An exception report can be a report, alert and/or dashpart that notifies a user, department, or business about data that is outside of a defined expectation of what is typically acceptable. This notification indicates action should be taken. With an ERP or business intelligence system, exception reporting can be programmed to highlight parameters of values that appear outside of a defined criteria range. 

Why Use Exception Reporting?

With growing professional services firms, the more projects a firm wins, and the more employees hired, means managing more projects and employees. Anyone in the professional services industry knows that there is no such thing as a perfect project. Whether managing projects or employees, it’s important to know what needs closer attention and when to adjust a project or processes. With the ebb and flow of projects and availability of resources, those adjustments can come at any time. When done right, exception reporting can ensure a firm is addressing potential problems or weaknesses before they wreak havoc on the bottom line. 

What Are Examples of Exception Reporting for Professional Services Firms?

Exception reporting can be simple or more in-depth for professional services firms. Below are some examples of the most commonly used exception reports along with some that are less common, but highly effective within the professional services industry.

Identify Unsubmitted Timesheets with Ease

Having timesheets completed on time allows for timely billing and improved cash flow. Additionally, having the ability to list the staff who have worked less than expected hours for a selected time period lets managers know who to focus their efforts on and helps avoid mass emails to the entire company. Below is an example within Deltek Vantagepoint. Managers can identify which of their employees need to receive notifications or reminders and can quickly send one. Accounting and principals will also find it helpful to know which managers are underperforming. Additionally, business intelligence tools, like Entrinsik Informer, can provide insight in a visual way to alert those department managers who have the most employees slacking on their timesheet.

Deltek Vantagepoint Unsubmitted Timesheets - Floor Check

Draw Attention to Accounts Receivable (AR) at Risk

Accounts receivable “at risk” refers to the likelihood that a client or project is beyond the expected timeframe. For some firms, this may be 45 days and others may deem more than 60 days as being unacceptable. The longer the DSO (days sales outstanding) cycle, the more likely a business is offering credit to its clients. The longer the bill goes unpaid, the more likely a firm may not collect 100 percent of what is owed. Providing accounting, project managers and principals a list of “at risk” accounts allows a firm to focus just on those that are beyond the normal threshold. 

A project manager might be managing 50 projects. With an exception report, the PM can quickly see that they have 10 projects that need attention related to AR. For accounting and principals, an exception report may be one showing which project managers, principals or divisions have the most AR “at risk” to narrow down individuals or groups that need further attention.  

Entrinsik Informer At Risk AR

Resource Allocation Balancing

Another example of an exception report is one providing management information to demand the resources they need. With a resource allocation report for a project-based business, it outlines competing priorities required to execute on projects. It provides those overseeing projects the ability to determine who is over and underutilized allowing them to readjust those out of balance to maximize the effectiveness of the firm’s resources.

Deltek Vantagepoint Resource Allocation ReassignmentSpotting Projects in Trouble

A projects in trouble report is another exception report that identifies variances from the plan or project data. This type of report identifies the reason(s) a project may potentially be in trouble. The Blackbox Connector for Entrinsik Informer has an out-of-the-box BI reporting solution that can report on common reasons a project may be in trouble and includes:

  • Over budget or approaching budget
  • Low gross margin ratio percentage
  • AR is at risk or getting old
  • Percentage of time used is beyond expected days
  • Actual hours exceed budget
  • Low expected revenue
  • Project past expected completion date
  • No current activity

4 Entrinsik Informer PMs with Potential Projects In TroubleProject Feedback to Manage Expectations

Listening to feedback from clients about a project is essential to ensure project success. Projects require adjustments along the way and the best way to ensure a project is meeting client expectations is to provide a method for clients to provide quick feedback. The most effective method for professional services firms we have seen is the Client Feedback Tool by Client Savvy. This electronic feedback is quick, effective, and provides indicators when someone records a low score. As a result, an exception report alerts the team and leaders that follow-up is required, and potential mentoring of their employees is needed.

Client Feedback Tool Surveys Needing Follow-upReduce Employee Turnover with a Burnout Report

In professional services firms, a commonly used phrase is “our employees are our greatest asset.” This is true for so many reasons as they are often the primary contact with our clients. They also have the project knowledge as well as the technical skills required for project success. Having to replace an employee on a project costs time and money and can potentially result in a poor product or project delays. Ensuring that employees are maintaining a work life balance goes a long way to keeping productive staff. Providing executives and managers an exception report on identifying employees that may potentially be burnt out can help reduce turnover. In a burnout report, criteria might include employees that have:

  • Not taken PTO in the past 6 months
  • No PTO scheduled for the next 6 months
  • Consistently working more than 8 hours a day

Entrinsik Informer Employee Burnout IndicatorBeing Proactive with Exception Reporting Adds to Bottom Line

Training project managers, principals and teams on project details to look for across the board is essential. Exception reporting is a great way to quickly identify variances between what is expected and what is happening to help identify potential issues sooner. Utilizing business intelligence like exception reports offers firms the chance to proactively make adjustments and reduce data analysis time. Exception reporting can be a positive thing to help achieve better processes or avoid costly issues and should be a part of professional services firms’ operational strategies.

Key Performance Indicators

Human Capital Management Remotely – No Office Required!

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on February 10, 2021

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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Deltek Vantagepoint – A New Era for Project-based Professional Services Firms

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on December 30, 2020

As 2020 draws closer to the end, we reflect on the past and think about the future. A two-decade era of Deltek Vision is winding down. As a result, we are encouraging firms to make the move to Vantagepoint when it's right for them. Additionally, Deltek will continue to support Vision beyond 2023, with no end of life yet determined by Deltek. Its legacy will continue under a new name - Deltek Vantagepoint. Just like Vision, Vantagepoint will continue to help your people manage your projects from start to finish, but with a reimagined, intuitive interface focused on efficiency. Throughout 2020, our firm has communicated with more than 250 firms about their plans to upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint. In 2021, we look forward to continuing the conversation with many more firms and demonstrating why Deltek Vantagepoint is the gold standard for project-based firms.

Deltek Vantagepoint-2

Available Resources at Your Fingertips

As the Deltek Vision product continues to evolve to Deltek Vantagepoint, clients are looking for answers and clarification on how the change will impact them. The foundation of this new solution is based on Vision with enhanced features and capabilities that users should be aware of before they upgrade. Full Sail Partners has dedicated two years to providing firms with resources to help answer questions and simplify the upgrade process. If you are just starting this journey, be sure to review these resources:

In 2021, we plan to continue educating firms about the latest features as new versions are released. Be sure to sign-up for two webinars focused on the latest release of version 3.5. Both of these webinars will be an hour long and experts will be available to answer your questions.

Preparing for Success

For firms that are ready to jump into 2021 with a plan in hand, we recommend checking out our webinar Preparing for a Successful Move from Vision to Vantagepoint and our Vantagepoint Transition Services to learn more about our 3-step process. Full Sail Partners is helping firms navigate through the upgrade process to deliver a smoother result. Our process reveals the “sins” over the years that might need to be addressed and helps answer the questions of where to start. We have dedicated resources ready to help you outline a plan, train your staff on new features, and make the process more efficient.

Bringing Everything and Everyone Together

Deltek Vantagepoint is designed for the needs of everyone throughout the project lifecycle. The solution was built specifically for professional services firms to improve productivity, boost collaboration, and increase profitability. Suffice to say it was purpose-built with people and projects in mind, bringing all critical business processes into one unified platform. Deltek Vantagepoint brings value to all roles within your firm:

The Future is Deltek Vantagepoint

We understand there are other products that your firm may consider, but we suspect none of them will match the superior levels of project intelligence, management and collaboration needed to grow your business. In 2021, we look forward to helping existing and new project-based businesses better understand the power of Deltek Vantagepoint. Wherever you may be in your Deltek journey, let Full Sail Partners help you navigate your way!

Vantagepoint Transition Services Webinar

The Value of Vantagepoint for Executives

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on November 04, 2020

Vantagepoint Value  for Executives

As an Executive, we carry a lot on our minds and plates these days to ensure our companies are running smoothly. Unifying our teams and simplifying our business processes is a key challenge all executives are looking to resolve. When searching for tools to help staff, it is important to find systems that will grow with your business. This is why thousands of firms rely on Deltek products. For professional services firms, executives are turning to Deltek Vantagepoint to track growth, performance, and profits throughout the project lifecycle. Let’s explore the value of Vantagepoint for executives.

Creating Value for Your Team

Deltek Vantagepoint provides 360-degree visibility into your projects to drive business success. Creating value is not done magically. It requires thinking about the end users’ experience and understanding their business. With Deltek Vantagepoint, much of that work has been done for you. Deltek Vantagepoint was designed by thinking about how each person within your firm will interact within their role and creating efficiency around their interaction with the solution.

Some of the key benefits important to executives include:  

  • Sharing mission-critical data easily across your team while eliminating roadblocks and redundancies
  • Creating a collaborative systematic business process to ensure teams are able to quickly share information across the company
  • Visibility into your team resources company-wide to determine how best to avoid missed milestones
  • Driving home accountability to help maximize productivity and improve efficiency
  • Streamlining cash flow management by capturing timely expenses and captured billable hours with targeted alerts and accurate invoices
  • Simplifying and protecting work in the cloud with a secure, sophisticated infrastructure

Perfect Fit for All Sizes of Project-Based Firms

Deltek Vantagepoint is perfect for project-based firms of all sizes. Interestingly, the majority of firms Full Sail Partners serves are under 50 employees (57%) which coincides with the typical size of project-based firms across the United States. So, as your firm continues to grow, the solution should grow with you. What is most important is choosing a solution that fits your staff’s needs and provides leaders the information necessary to make business decisions about your firm’s growth plans. For firms that have more complex needs, the solution also includes robust features like multi-currency, multi-company, multi-language capabilities and much more that can be enabled.

Modern, Intuitive and User Friendly

Vantagepoint is an intuitive, powerful solution that puts your people and projects at the center of your business. It is designed to help you manage the entire project lifecycle better than before. One of the focal points when the solution was created was to ensure the interface was modern, intuitive and user friendly. It is purpose-built to allow firms to access the solution from any device or browser. As Deltek looks to add new features, they include finding ways for users to utilize the solution more easily. Here are a handful of the cool, modern features within Deltek Vantagepoint:

  • Role-based Dashboards – Quickly access pre-built dashboards designed specifically for the different roles which users are involved in within the company.
  • Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) – Provides users the ability to translate text from handwritten or typed format back into the solution. For example, taking a picture of a receipt and auto filling an expense report.
  • Outlook Add-in – Proactively manage client relationships from within Outlook and synchronize data between both solutions.
  • Calendar Synchronization – Synchronize your personal calendar to easily create touchpoints and timesheet entries.
  • Hey Deltek – Use a personal assistant to help locate, open or create new records.

Built for All Users

In addition to providing executives an at-a-glance look at the health of their business, Vantagepoint is also focused on each role within the firm down to individual employees. The solution was designed with the needs of every employee in mind which ultimately helps executives manage the company. The role Vantagepoint plays in other roles will be discussed in future blogs. Suffice it to say that Deltek Vantagepoint can do it all.

Bringing Everything and Everyone Together

Not only does the solution encourage a collaborative environment, but it brings all your firm’s critical business processes into one unified platform to ensure executives get value from their investment. All employees from project managers to finance to marketing and business development can benefit using Deltek Vantagepoint. Be sure to check out our entire Deltek Vantagepoint mini-series to see how the product can help your employees and firm.

Deltek Vantagepoint Visuals

The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report: Business Development Trends

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on September 09, 2020

Deltek Clarity 41st

“The only constant in life is change.” In the business development world, truer words have never been spoken. The 41st Annual A&E Deltek Clarity Report was conducted at the beginning of 2020 and shows how companies performed during the 2019 fiscal year. Since then, much has changed in the world. The United States is officially in a recession - defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. Recessions in the A&E industry have proven to be a high-pressure exercise in change management. So, what can we learn from the Clarity report and also from previous recessions in the A&E industry?

Business Development Trend Challenges

The Clarity report showed that challenges from a few years ago remain the same. Time is always a challenge, especially finding time to nurture client relationships. Competition for work continues to get tighter and many firms still struggle to identify new prospects. The A&E industry is overall accustomed to in-person interactions. That dynamic has changed drastically in 2020, requiring firms to identify new ways to develop connections and build relationships.

Getting into Position

Firms that participated in the study were asked to share in which markets they expect their firm’s position to grow, tread, or decline. Over the next 18 months, the transportation market takes the lead at 67% of firms expecting to grow there. Next up is the water/wastewater/stormwater market, followed by the health care market. Firms can remain flexible and be ready for a market shift given the election year and the global pandemic. Market research is always important, and now proves this notion even more.

Tracking the Hit Rate

The Clarity report shows that there’s room for improvement in how firms can use hit rate as a valuable metric. The six-year trend has varied from a 40% - 50% hit rate. Recently, more small and medium-sized firms have formalized a go/no go process, but consistency may be the biggest challenge. Formalizing the system can streamline processes, dedicate resources effectively, and drive the hit rate up. Firms should push business development teams to focus on quality of pursuits, rather than quantity. This is even more important when resources are limited to avoid burnout.

Bringing in the Work

As seen in the 41st Annual Deltek Clarity report, most roles within a firm have some level of responsibility for business development. Executive teams take the lead on the responsibility along with business development staff if that is an option. Marketing groups seem to lead some efforts and the seller/doer model is common in A&E firms. Regardless of who is bringing in the business, only 41% of firms have a formal business development process. Streamlined processes could ensure teams are working efficiently and communicating effectively.

As part of broader marketing efforts, the study asked about marketing techniques for the first time. The survey showed social media posts are the primary marketing technique used by 87% of firms. Traditional trade shows and exhibits are a primary technique for 65% of firms. From there, thought leadership and content marketing are of importance as this showcases the industry experts. This will be a good one to track year after year to see where the trends take us. The survey also asked about the importance of these techniques over the next five years. Social media remains at the top, followed by thought leadership. Trade shows and exhibits surprisingly bump down to the number four spot. In today’s marketing, focusing on your online presence is even more critical.

The Outlook for Business Development

Change brings opportunities. Now more than ever, business development teams should concentrate on strategic planning to narrow in on how to refocus existing business opportunities and develop new business prospects. Firms focused on being flexible and adaptable will continue to flourish in our ever-changing world.

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Technology Tips and Tricks to Help Your Kids with Digital Learning Series: Presentations in Google Slides

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on August 26, 2020

Google Slides

Many students started the new school year with digital learning. As parents navigate the most efficient way to support their children during the school day, we have launched a digital learning series to help both parents and students. Follow along for technology tips and tricks as families adapt to this new environment. This addition to our series features Google Slides. 

Creating Presentations in Google Slides

Many students across various grade levels are tasked with creating presentations as part of their assignments. There are several programs to choose from, but two of the more popular ones are Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides. Google Slides is gaining popularity within school systems. Check out this video to learn about time savers, such as master slides, as well as some tips that can improve the presentation creation experience.

 

Get Prepared for Digital Learning

We hope you found this vlog in our series helpful. Templates and shortcuts can make better use of time when creating Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations. Therefore, this automation can be beneficial for both students and parents. If you have a technology topic you would like to see covered in the digital learning series, let us know.

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