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Setting the Tone for the Candidate Interview Process

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

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

 

Employee Interview

 

Initiate Attraction

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

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

Make a Good First Impression

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

Break the Ice and Establish the Mood

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

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

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

Carefully Choose Your Match

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

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

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

Automate Job Postings

 

Read This Before Deciding to Attend a Virtual Conference

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

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

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

Man Standing in front of virtual audience

 

The Advantages to Attending Virtual Conferences

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

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

Prepare Yourself for the Virtual Conference

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

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

Be Seen by Being Present

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

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

Do Your Homework

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

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

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

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Change in the Workplace Climate – In Comes the Deltek Cloud

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

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

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

cloud data

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

The Difference Between Fog and the Cloud

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

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

The Brightside to the Deltek Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Umbrellas Needed for the Deltek Cloud

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

Thinking Out Cloud

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

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

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

questions marks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACT: It is now easier to find top talent. 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Human Resources Must Be Front and Center

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

Automate Job Postings

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

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

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

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

BARC BI Survey logo

Ease of Use 

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

Ad Hoc Query Capabilities 

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

Timely Operational BI Data

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

Simplified Data Preparation

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

Tangible Business Benefits

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

Proven Business Value

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

Self-service Abilities

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

Intuitive Functionality 

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

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

Price-to-Value

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

BI Product Customer Service

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

Product Implementation Support

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

Entrinsik Informer is Worth the Investment 

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

The BARC B&I Analytics Survey 21 download link

Introducing Deltek + ComputerEase for Construction Firms

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

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

ComputerEase Logo

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

Benefits of the Acquisition

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

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

Why Deltek + ComputerEase?

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

Why Full Sail Partners?

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

Get to Know Deltek + ComputerEase

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

Link to Deltek + ComputerEase information

Why Continuous Performance Management is Better than Annual Reviews

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

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

People Meeting

Annual Reviews are Obsolete

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

Reflects How Work Gets Done

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

Shows Employees Their Value to the Firm

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

Focuses on Career Development

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

Communicates Expectations Clearly

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

Offers Timely Feedback

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

Continuous Performance Management is the Future

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

Continuous Feedback and Goals

The Best Business Intelligence (BI) Tool for Deltek Vantagepoint Users

Posted by Chris Simei on Wed, Feb 03, 2021 @ 11:35 AM

One of the topics that keeps arising from the Deltek user base is utilizing business intelligence (BI) tools. Firms are seeking out BI tools for different reasons, but all are seeking to provide further analysis and visibility to employees within the firm. Some of the key products firms are investigating include Power BI to Tableau to Informer. So, what is the best BI tool for Deltek Vantagepoint users? Let’s dive in and discuss why firms are seeking out BI tools and discuss what we have found to be the best solution.

BI info 2

Clients Want More

The Deltek Vantagepoint product is robust and provides many out-of-the-box visuals and dashboards, but there are some further capabilities that require users to turn to a BI tool. Some of the most common features include:

  • Report upon any table or field not just pre-selected datasets
  • Create visuals combining different hubs or tables (For example, Project and GL Reports)
  • Drilldown capabilities from a visual
  • Combine outside data from payroll, marketing solutions, etc.
  • Track against goals, KPIs, and industry benchmarks

Why Informer Stands Out Amongst Other Business Intelligence Solutions

  1. Cloud Compatible – Deltek users in the cloud need not worry. A benefit of Informer is that it is Deltek cloud compatible. The API is pre-configured, and the data connection is already established. For your technology team, this is an important point since this would require a significant effort to establish.

  2. Ease Burden on IT – Deploying a BI tool can be cumbersome for technology teams. Our streamlined approach to deploy a BI solution saves time and resources. Most tools require in-depth data base programming skillsets, such as SQL. One of the key benefits of Informer is its intuitive and user-friendly capabilities, including dataset and visual design.

  3. Integrated Security with Deltek Vantagepoint – Informer utilizes the same security protocols utilized with your Deltek product streamlining the login process. A key advantage is user data is synchronized so you can mirror security preferences used in Deltek. As an example, when users are disabled within your Deltek product, they are also disabled within Informer.

  4. Combine Outside Data – Users can combine multiple outside data sources. For example, firms can bring in payroll data or other third-party solution data for further analysis.

  5. Out-of-the-Box Standards – No more starting from scratch and spending months and even years building out something that could be available to you day one. Our team has built what we call the gold standard, a starting point for project-based firms. On the first meeting, our team will show you how your data looks in our out-of-the-box datasets, visuals and dashboards. We will then work with your team to tweak datasets to your definitions and work with you to validate the data. Our gold standard includes visuals from the Executive down to the Employee and every role in between.

  6. Drilldown Capabilities is Built-in – Informer offers built-in drilldowns to transactional data on visuals. The drilldowns are automatically configured on visuals. In other BI tools it is just another thing you have to design, but not in Informer.

  7. Send Reports and Alerts Based on Conditions – Informer allows users to tap into their data and email certain filtered views to internal or external recipients. Emails and alerts can be scheduled on any conditional criteria. For example, as Project Managers utilize 80% of their budget, an email can be sent with a link to their dashboard and a breakdown of time on their project.

  8. Schedule Data Updates On-Demand – Users can schedule data to be refreshed on-demand or at specific time intervals. Datasets can also be scheduled on separate intervals. Some BI tools lack this flexibility, and all data is refreshed at one time. For example, opportunities may be updated every two hours, projects updated nightly, and income statements updated monthly after postings.

  9. Mobile Accessibility – Dashboards can be viewed on-the-go on any mobile device. One of the key differentiators between Informer and other BI tools is its drilldown capability. Informer content is automatically configured for mobile viewing without any additional development.

See Informer in Action

If you are ready to see more, we recommend checking out this previously presented demonstration webinar to see highlights of the capabilities of the product. Firms that have moved to Informer are finding tremendous benefits. Check out this case story to see how two firms moved from clunky and time consuming methods to up-to-date data with the click of a button. If these two webinars don’t provide you enough information, please feel free to email info@blackboxconnector.com to schedule a demonstration or discuss your specific needs.

Learn More

Power BI, Tableau, and Informer each offers unique features, but our clients believe Deltek users will find Informer to be the best business intelligence tool option. Be sure to join our upcoming webinar providing a more in-depth analysis of the capabilities of each of these products and learn what the future holds for BI tools.

Webinar: Informer - BI

Top 10 Blogs From 2020

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jan 27, 2021 @ 11:27 AM

Full Sail Partners works very hard to provide our clients with the most up to date, valuable and interesting content relevant to the professional services industry. One convenient avenue for disseminating information is through our weekly blogs. We know that with everyone’s busy schedule, not everything in the inbox can be read upon receipt. With that in mind, we make our content accessible online so it can be reviewed and digested on the client’s timeline. So, in case you missed them and to pique interest for further discovery, here is a quick summary of the top 10 blogs of 2020.Top 10

2020 Trends in the Professional Services Industry

Firms in the professional services industry must adapt to compete in today’s world. Through acquisitions and other partnerships, many professional services firms have been entering into new markets and now have the need to offer a wider range of services to a larger client base. What are the top trends as they deal with evolving client expectations and staying competitive?

  • On Demand Workforce
  • More Flexible Service Rendering
  • Perception as Advisors
  • Leveraging Automation

>>>Click here to learn more!

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

A two-decade era of Deltek Vision is winding down, but it will continue to be supported through at least January 2023. Its legacy continues 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.

  • Available Resources at Your Fingertips
  • Preparing for Success
  • Bring Everything and Everyone Together

>>>Find out what you need to know abut Vantagepoint! 

The Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Readiness Report

As the launchpad to Deltek Vantagepoint, the Full Sail Partners’ Vantagepoint Readiness Report can be used as a guide for your firm’s cleanup efforts and next steps. This valuable resource is such a strong starting point for firms as they consider when and how to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint.

  • How to Get There
  • Start with a High Impact Tool
  • Benefit from the Results

>>>Be more prepared to may the upgrade to Vantagepoint!

The Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts

During the Vantagepoint testing process, firms will need to address some key areas including workflows, saved searches, reports and configuration settings before moving forward with a production environment. Our Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts are a valuable resource to ensure the work you put into addressing issues does not require rework when you move from test-to-test environment or to your final production environment.

  • Vantagepoint Preview Environment
  • Vantagepoint Preview Becomes Testing Environment
  • Benefits of Using Transition Copy Scripts

>>>Learn how copy scripts help ensure a seamless upgrade!

Improve Project Planning with Deltek Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint, project planning has been taken to the next level with a focus on the features and functionality that project managers need. Here are some key features of Vantagepoint that will assist project managers with delivering successful and profitable projects.

  • Use Project Templates
  • Take Advantage of Labor Codes
  • Adjust Project Timelines with the Interactive Gannt Chart

>>>Learn about the features in Vantagepoint that improve project delivery!

Easily Capture Project Information Using Deltek Vantagepoint

Gathering accurate project details in a timely manner is a nearly everyday challenge of marketing and proposal managers at project-based firms. Fortunately, with Deltek Vantagepoint, teams can easily capture project information and reference it quickly when it matters most– during proposal crunch time. 

  • Identify Key Project Information
  • Capture Information While Pursuing the Project
  • Move from Pursuit to Billable Project without Losing Key Information
  • Access Data You Need When You Need it

>>>Tracking critical project information has never been easier! 

The Value of Vantagepoint for Business Development

When firms can successfully manage interactions, identify projects that add to our pipeline, and collect the right information to position our firm better than our competitors, we win more projects, improve client satisfaction, and increase loyalty. The abilities of Deltek Vantagepoint CRM can provide business developers, project managers, marketing staff, and executives with real-time information on client touchpoints, project pipelines, marketing and service efforts.

  • Record Interactions On-the-Fly
  • Easily Uncover Client and Contact Relationships
  • Support the Entire BD and Project Lifecycle

>>>When more business with Vantagepoint!

The Value of Deltek Talent for Human Resources Professionals

More and more professional services firms are finding value in having a methodical human capital management (HCM) practice in place. Deltek, the leading software solution provider for professional services firms, noticed that this specific market vertical has unique needs and released Deltek Talent, an HCM designed for professional services.

  • Recruit and Hire Top Industry Talent
  • Provide Development and Advancement Opportunities
  • Performance Management
  • Seamless Integration with Deltek Vantagepoint

>>>Improve the employee experience with Deltek Talent! 

Creating the Intentional Client Experience

When it comes to your clients, building strong long-term relationships is priority, and the quality of these relationships can make or break your business. Most importantly, clients desire an overall exceptional experience, and the intentional client experience benefits your company.

  • Begins with a Plan
  • Takes Being Client Centric
  • Leads to Efficiency
  • Ensures Positive Client Feedback

>>>Learn to create an experience that will delight your clients!

Key Findings from the Annual Deltek AE Clarity Report

The 41st Deltek AE Clarity Report provided a comprehensive assessment of the 2019 performance of AE firms. This year’s study collected responses from more than 415 firms of all sizes within the AE industry and provided a summary of trends in:

  • Technology
  • Financial statements
  • Business Development
  • Project Management
  • Human Capital Management

>>>See how your firm measures up against your peers! 

We’ve Got You Covered

Into 2021, we have all sorts of interesting ideas for relevant industry content just bubbling out of our experts’ heads. So, while you’re trying to stay afloat with your responsibilities at your firm, please know that Full Sail Partners is working to make your job easier. In the months to come, keep an eye out for future blogs on what is new and exciting for professional services firms. And, as always, feel free to check out our content online.

Access all our blogs using this button

What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Posted by Ryan Felkel on Wed, Jan 20, 2021 @ 02:31 PM

Delivering successful projects requires having the best project management tools available. Luckily for Deltek Vantagepoint users, more features and improved functionality continue to be added in each new version release. And recently, Vantagepoint version 3.5 just rolled out and it includes some incredible enhancements. Here’s a look at what’s new in Vantagepoint.

Deltek Vantagepoint

Dashboard Enhancements

A key feature required to effectively manage projects is having project performance information right at your fingertips. With the Deltek Vantagepoint dashboard enhancements, users can create informative charts, graphs, and lists to easily display your business data. This allows firm staff to quickly make critical business decisions that can positively impact project delivery performance.

In version 3.5, Deltek has taken the dashboards to a new level by allowing users to drill down to detail for hours, labor cost and labor billing on the project dashparts. Additionally, new options for planning data have been added, and the pipeline dashpart now includes the option to show total compensation. If you’re already using Vantagepoint 3.5, make sure to check out these improvements and start visualizing your data in ways you never imagined.

Improved Revenue Forecasting

Revenue forecasting accuracy is essential to delivering a profitable project and Vantagepoint users now have improved insights to ensure a successful project. Firstly, Deltek has now added more accurate and granular views of potential revenue from a project. Additionally, users can create revenue forecasts for individual projects. Deltek also is taking revenue forecasting to the next level by adding a feature that allows users to enter estimated to completion planned revenue at any level and easily update forecasts. With all this new functionality, users can now run reports to show pipeline and forecasted revenue periods.

Project Review Drill Down Capabilities

Project managers need to be empowered to better monitor project details. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, project managers can easily review direct, indirect and reimbursable expenses as well as direct and reimbursable consultant fees. Additionally, all this information is available in a single location making it easier and faster to access.

Accounting and Billing Improvements

Cash flow is essential for any business to be successful and Deltek knows that their project-based clients rely on having easy and accurate billing to ensure they get paid by clients. For this reason, they have streamlined the billing and invoicing process in Vantagepoint 3.5. Now, the accounting department has better visibility of bill-through dates in interactive billing. Also, accounting and project managers have the option to resubmit draft invoices with new dates. Fast and accurate billing is important to any business and Vantagepoint is helping project-based firms streamline this process.

Expenses Simplified

Employee expenses are a cost of doing business, but these shouldn’t be surprises. Deltek recognized that making expense submission easier can speed up the process. Now in Vantagepoint 3.5, the mobile expense feature has been greatly enhanced with the addition of an intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology. What this does is allow users to take a picture of a receipt which Vantagepoint can read. The printed and handwritten text information from the receipt auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint. The typical information collected is where the expense occurred, the date and the total amount of the purchase. Therefore, eliminating the manual entry of this information.

Do More with Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5

Each version of Deltek Vantagepoint will continue to grow upon the previous iterations. While we are only at 3.5, be on the lookout for more enhancements as more versions come out. It is truly exciting to learn and see where Deltek is taking Vantagepoint in the future and how it will make successful project management more intuitive and intelligent.

Deltek Vantagepoint 3.5 Webinar Series

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