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New Features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5

Posted by Cate Phillips on November 30, 2022

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The new features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 enhance usability, increase personalization for individual users and streamline project management and accounting workflows. It’s easier than ever for professional services firms to access the right information and complete common tasks quickly. Here’s an overview of what’s new.

Schedule Dependencies

Users with the Resource Planning Module can create dependencies in the Gantt chart and manage a project’s critical path. Project managers can quickly visualize and modify the project schedule, work breakdown structure elements and the relationship between those elements. When an update is made at one level, all of the dependent levels are automatically updated.

Dependencies are also accessible in the Project Planning report. Users can view information about dependency relationships between work breakdown structure elements, projects and associated labor codes.

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Drill-Down Paths

Help users access the right information quickly with drill-down paths. Users can determine which information is shown when they drill down into key summary metrics on a chart or table. For example, when a user clicks on a column displaying outstanding accounts receivable data, Deltek Vantagepoint can be configured to show them a dashpart with AR invoice detail.

DVP55_BlogScreenshots_2Personal Dashboards

Users can now create their own personalized dashboards without engaging an administrator or manager. This added flexibility will help expand adoption and free up administrator time since users can customize more of their experience with Deltek Vantagepoint.

Update Percent Complete from the Dashboard

With Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5, project managers can easily manage percent complete with fewer clicks, ultimately improving reporting and billing accuracy. There are new columns in the project dashpart base for Weighted Percent Complete and Weighted Percent Complete Cost. Users can see and modify the percentage of completion per project billing or cost amount right from the dashboard.

DVP55_BlogScreenshots_4Streamlined Purchasing

Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 enables staff to perform purchase requisitions and process approvals within any browser. Purchasing Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Items and Items Master are now accessible in the navigation pane of the browser application.

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Other Purchasing Updates

Additional purchasing updates in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 include: 

  • New layout for suggested vendors
  • Ability to add a vendor on the fly
  • Ability to attach documents of any status
  • Ability to view purchasing reports
  • Redesigned interface for the purchase requisition form

Accounting Updates

Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 offers several new features that streamline accounting processes. Users can now post cash receipts that were created in bank reconciliation. This option is available for those that have rights granted to their role in the Accounting tab from Settings >Security> Role. The Transaction Center Approval option must also be set to “No” in Settings and Accounting Transactions.

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Other Accounting Updates

The other accounting updates in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 include: 

  • Expanded reporting in timesheets and billing
  • Print capability for Billing Category Rate Table reports
  • New overtime premium calculation that uses the cost rate in the Billing Labor Override Table instead of the Cost Rate in the Employee Hub for the employee

Email Templates

To help support digital payment processes, Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 allows users to use email templates when sending electronic payment remittances by email. Templates can be configured to reuse standard information, such as regular text or database fields. Email templates are available in the Vendor Payments, Employee Payments and Payroll Payments applications. Users can save templates for personal use, for all users with the same role, or for all users within the firm.

DVP55_BlogScreenshots_7Approval Center Updates

Users can restart approvals for timesheets and expense reports. This process removes all approved history and comments that are associated with the record and begins the process from the first step, no matter where the record is in the approval process.

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General Usability Updates

Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 also comes with a number of usability updates:

  • See notifications immediately instead of every five minutes with real-time alerts.
  • See all users viewing a record.
  • Set favorites in navigation to find commonly viewed applications with ease.
  • Set minimum/maximum and default values for standard numeric fields.
  • Use predefined searches within Advanced Search.
  • Print timesheet reports from the Floor Check dialogue box.
  • Access Labor Planning videos in Online Help.

Learn More About the New Features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5

This is just a high-level overview of the many new features in Vantagepoint 5.5. To learn more about what Vantagepoint has to offer, watch What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.5 on demand.

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Top Technology Trends from the 43rd Deltek A&E Clarity Study

Posted by Heath Harris on November 16, 2022

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The net revenue growth forecast for A&E firms is the highest it’s been in 10 years. Based on the findings from the 43rd Deltek A&E Clarity Study, the industry has rebounded from the pandemic with full pipelines and an optimistic future outlook. Meeting that demand comes with serious challenges, with labor shortages and rising costs being most prominent.    

Firms are turning to technology to empower their teams and improve project delivery. They’re prioritizing the right investments over simply purchasing the newest technology. Here are the top insights from the study and some guidance for ensuring that technology investments deliver positive ROI. 

Top Technology Challenges for A&E Firms 

The top technology challenge professional services firms are facing is the inability to invest time in learning. With full project pipelines, firms are dedicating resources to completing client work, limiting the time they can spend on learning new technologies. Small firms struggle with this issue the most, though it’s a prominent issue for medium and large firms as well.  

Technology costs, which topped the list in last year’s report, was the second most commonly cited challenge. Firms are also struggling with prioritizing which trends apply to their organization. With so much technology to choose from, many firms are understandably unsure which trends to pursue. Finding the right fit, whether it be data science tools or digital twins—for the firm and for their client base—isn’t easy.  

Other challenges include educating employees and clients about trends, lack of champions to drive technology adoption and limited corporate openness to emerging technologies.  

A&E Firms Are Focused on Getting it Right 

Firms are honing in on the initiatives that enable them to take a pragmatic approach to technology adoption and integration.   

When asked about their top three technology initiatives:  

  • 64% said creating strategic technology implementation plans.  
  • 47% said educating staff on technology trends. 
  • 46% said identifying and developing technology subject matter experts. 

This pragmatic approach is a good way to enter into digital transformation. However, firm leaders should be careful not to get stuck in a cycle of endless planning. One way to cautiously approach technology is to look for ways to expand usage of current tools. This can provide quick wins and competitive advantages without requiring significant investment or onboarding time.  

Internal Champions Can Take on Challenges and Lead Key Initiatives 

To take on technology challenges in the short term, firms should engage tech-savvy employees as internal technology champions. Technology champions can help improve the ROI of technology in the following ways:  

  • Fill current skill gaps by leading the charge to incorporate technology into project execution.  
  • Promote and expand adoption of existing technologies throughout the business.  
  • Identify the most viable technology investments and trends for the firm.  

Only 36% of firms ranked this as one of their top three initiatives, meaning that many are missing an opportunity to address current gaps in technology planning and adoption.  

Which Technologies Should A&E Firms Focus On? 

To help guide technology planning, A&E firms should look at technology as falling into two buckets. Technology that supports project delivery, such as smart infrastructure and digital twins help firms remain competitive and address common challenges in the building process. Business-optimizing technologies, like data science and next-level project management tools can be used to automate repetitive tasks, empower workers to make more informed decisions, and ultimately improve client satisfaction.  

For more insight into which technology areas A&E firms should focus on, watch the webinar 

Focusing on these areas will enable firms to address some of their biggest concerns: 

  • Attract and retain talent by appealing to the next generation of employees, who want to work with companies that give them access to the latest technology.  
  • Prepare for disruption. As innovation continues to transform the A&E industry, the right technology will help firms future proof their businesses.  
  • Increase revenue streams by identifying the ideal services and delivery methods that lead to competitive advantages and higher profits.  

Dive Deeper Into the Technology Insights from the Deltek Clarity Study 

Firms aren’t investing in technology for technology’s sake. They’re focused on making the right investments that will enable them to increase productivity and compete for projects and talent. With the right guidance, they can take on the opportunities and challenges ahead. For more technology insights, download the full report.  

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"Keeping Up with the Contracts" Using Deltek Vantagepoint's Contract Management

Posted by Cate Phillips on November 09, 2022

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I have to admit that I have never once watched an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” nor really any reality TV shows except my one-time foray into one of those “Housewives” shows while I was in a hospital recouping from a surgery. I would categorize these types of shows as guilty pleasures. There are people I know and respect that watch reality TV, and I too have my own guilty pleasure - I like to read People magazine, and occasionally I’ll even dip into a US Magazine in the check-out line. However, despite my interest in what’s happening in the world of celebrities, my biggest concern with reality TV is my general disgust for the million-dollar contracts involved. Yet contracts are necessities, right?   

Making a strange leap from reality TV to contract management in the architecture and engineering (A&E) industry, let’s talk more about the necessity of managing contracts. Contracts and agreements are imperative in almost all business interactions, even the simplest things these days. For those of us in the A&E industry, there could be any variety of risks that are mitigated by a contract. Not only are some of the A&E contracts protective in nature, helping to ensure compliance, safety, etc., but there are also project-related contracts that dictate important financial amounts related to the lifecycle of the project itself. 

First Off, Deltek Vantagepoint Drives Efficiencies 

The good news here is that Deltek Vantagepoint, out of the box, helps you manage contracts directly in the Projects hub. In fact, the Deltek Vantagepoint knowledge base states: “The primary overall benefits of the contract management feature in Vantagepoint are that it helps you coordinate the contract process, keep everyone up to date on its current status, and ensure that the compensation amounts that will be billed and received as you execute the project are in sync with the amounts spelled out in the contract.”  

This is such a valuable piece of functionality that Full Sail Partners’ Principal Consultant, Rana Blair, has done two different mini demos on the subject. In an introductory mini-demo, Rana shares an overview of contract management - it covers configuration considerations, contract document columns and entry, and the use of the 'Synchronize Contracts to Fees' feature. One of the main takeaways from this important twelve-minute video is that firms that leverage the Project hub tool Contract Management can enjoy benefits in the measurement of revenue and backlog as well as identify risks.  

Contract Management is Integral to Successful Projects 

A big part of why reality TV is so darn successful is pure drama. Whether it’s learning “secrets” or seeing inside the lives of others, at the root of it all is transparency. The exact same is true for projects and their contracts. If you can’t determine the health and status of your project, how can you predict the financials of your firm? Project based firms must rely on exposing the differences between contract amounts and expected compensation. Deltek Vantagepoint can help you control these amounts (both the contracted total and the compensation amounts) as well as how they matter to the project work breakdown structure. This type of transparency, at any point in the life cycle of a project, sets your firm up to avoid surprises. 

Solid Contract Management is Story Telling 

Yes, reality TV shows tell stories. Are their stories worth the thousands and millions of dollar contracts? I personally don’t think so, but I know many of our clients’ contracts are indeed worth that much. A good story not only conveys a message that needs to be told, but it also usually has a happy ending. Despite reality TV, in the real world of projects, mutually beneficial success derived from all parties feeling they received value is the happily ever after. Using Deltek Vantagepoint Contract Management, these happy endings can be ensured. 

All About the Money 

Deltek Vantagepoint’s Contract Management reporting capabilities can help your firm not only stay informed on the status of a project, but you can also adjust upward or downward (but let’s be real, most of the time it’s add-on work) as the scope changes. This helps firms scope better in the future. Contract management can even help salespeople and seller doers get their credit or reward for winning the deal. Just like how a reality TV show can spin out one small situation into a million different possibilities for viewer consumption, Deltek Vantagepoint allows you to audit your own contracts by a variety of filters such as Type, Status, or Date. 

What About the People?  

Reality TV about famous people like the Kardashians pulls in the revenue. Similarly, a People Magazine story about Brad and Angelina most likely would catch my eye. It’s all about the people, and project-based firms’ client projects at their core are all about the people involved. 

Contract Management inside of Deltek Vantagepoint allows for workflows to be arranged so that stakeholders and project managers can be alerted when important contract-related events happen. Vantagepoint can even automatically fill in fields based on the stages of a particular contract.  

Learn More about Advanced Features 

While Contract Management in Deltek Vantagepoint may not have the pizzaz as some of the weird stuff on TV or in the magazines in the check-out line, to those of us in the AEC industry, I think it might warrant a little bit of “geeking out” because of the great benefits to project-based firms. Taking what we have learned about reality TV, let’s leverage terrific tools for the AEC industry to bring in even more revenue by telling real stories of real projects in real time through the power of Deltek Vantagepoint. For more about the Advanced Features of Deltek Vantagepoint Contract Management, check out Rana Blair’s second min-demo on Contract Management. This one goes a little deeper than the introductory one.  

 

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Deltek Vision and Vantagepoint Year-End 2022

Posted by Scott Gailhouse on November 02, 2022

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Year-end is the final accounting process to close “the books” at the end of each year. With 2023 just around the corner, it is never too early to plan for your year-end close. Planning and organization on your part can make the year-end process less challenging for the entire accounting staff.   

Take the Time to Document and Get Organized 

As always, you should take the time to document your year-end procedures. Not only the tasks performed in Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision, but all accounting tasks you perform should be documented so that you have a comprehensive guide that you can refer to every year. It is also vital that you create an accounting calendar.  

The accounting calendar is not just for year-end, but for month-end and quarter-end tasks as well. This calendar is a schedule of anticipated dates for financial activities. You should also develop a year-end checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. One other tip to make this process go smoothly is to make sure that you are performing your month end reconciliations on a timely basis. 

Common Year-End Tasks 

Some of the more common year-end tasks for most companies are: 

  • Reconcile All Cash Accounts - Verify all transactions have been posted into Deltek Vantagepoint/Vision to ensure your general ledger balances match your bank statements. Make adjustments as required. 
  • Credit Card Reconciliations – In order to ensure all credit card transactions are captured, make sure all expense reports are entered and posted. 
  • File Reconciliation Report – This report should be run at month-end and at year-end. This report identifies discrepancies between the GL and the subledger reports. 
  • Final Invoicing – Process all client invoices for the fiscal year. 
  • Review Outstanding Accounts Receivables - Follow up with clients who have outstanding accounts receivable beyond 30 days. Send past due statements and/or simply give them a call. Enter the results of your collection efforts in the comments section of Vision Invoice Review. Year-end is an excellent time to collect your outstanding receivables. If you determine there is uncollectable AR, be sure to write those invoices off. 
  • Review Unbilled Detail - Time and expense transactions that cannot be invoiced to clients should be written off at this time. 
  • Fixed Assets – Fixed Assets are larger purchases that are made throughout the year (i.e., equipment, automobiles, furniture, computers, etc.). Check to see if all fixed assets reported on the balance sheet are still owned. If not, record the sale or disposal of these fixed assets. Verify the depreciation on your fixed assets as well. Then make any necessary adjustments. 
  • Employee Expenses and Accounts Payable - Verify that all accounts payable vouchers have been recorded in Deltek Vision/Vantagepoint. Make your 401(k), SEP IRA, and Simple IRA contributions, if you have not done so. Try and pay all your vendors and employee expense reports by year-end. 
  • Notes Payable - Verify notes payable (i.e., loans) amounts on your balance sheet match the statements from your lenders. Then make adjustments if necessary. 
  • 1099 Forms – Order 1099 forms. Make sure all W-9 forms from your vendors and/or contractors that are paid $600 or more throughout the year are on file in the Firms Hub in Vantagepoint or the Vendor Info Center. Don’t forget 1099s should be mailed by January 31st. 
  • W-2s – Order W-2 forms if you run payroll in Vantagepoint/Vision. W-2s should be mailed by January 31st. 
  • Budget for Next Year - Create your GL budget for the new year. 

Be Prepared to Close Out the Year 

In Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision, opening the 1st period of your fiscal year also opens the new fiscal year. Depending on your security rights, you can still process in the prior fiscal year if needed. 

There are several initialization utilities that need to be performed. For example, Open New Period (fiscal year), Open New Benefit Year, 1099 Initialization and Open a New W-2 Quarter/year if you are using the payroll module. Deltek Vantagepoint and Vision will generate a posting log for the initialization utilities. If your Vantagepoint or Vision database is configured for Multicompany, the initialization utilities need to be run in each company. The only exception is the Open New Period utility, which opens for all companies at once. 

Deltek will issue a Year-End update at the end of December containing tax updates for payroll users. Also, be on the lookout for Deltek’s Vision and Vantagepoint Year-End guide for more detailed information on year-end closing. 

 

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Uncovering Top Trends in Financial Management

Posted by Scott Seal on October 26, 2022

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The data from the 43rd Deltek A&E Clarity Study shows that the opportunity outlook for A&E firms is bright. However, there are significant challenges to seizing that growth. Although net revenue growth is forecasted to grow to 17.6%, operating profit on net revenue is down by 6%. Recruiting and retention challenges loom large over firms, undermining their ability to meet demand and extract profits.  

Here are the top takeaways from the study, along with guidance for navigating the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Labor Challenges and Growing Pains Are Top Stressors 

Labor challenges are front and center for A&E firms, as finding and retaining qualified staff ranked as the top financial challenge. Forty-four percent of respondents said it was their top challenge, a sharp increase from last year. In this highly competitive job market, A&E firms have more open positions, and the cost to acquire new employees has increased. To win over candidates who have plenty of options to choose from, firms are offering increasingly attractive (and often costly) compensation packages.  

Managing growth was the second most commonly cited challenge. Demand is high, leading to an 18% growth in estimated net revenues. But with rising demand comes new challenges. Professional services firms are challenged with bidding competitively and ensuring the timely completion of work. Labor issues are a contributor to this challenge since firms need to fulfill staffing needs to meet current and future demands. 

With inflation and labor costs cutting into profit margins, A&E firms also said increasing profitability is a top concern. Collection periods increased by nearly two weeks this year, and many firms must work diligently to complete work on time, invoice quickly and collect payment as soon as possible. Encountering delays at any point in the process threatens profits and their ability to grow.  

Staffing Challenges Impact Key Metrics 

Persistent staffing challenges aren’t just keeping firm leaders up at night—they’re impacting financial performance. Here are some of the most notable metrics: 

  • Operating profit on net revenue dropped to 12.8%, a level last seen in 2015.

  • Overhead rates increased to 160%, a 14% increase. 

  • Utilization rates dropped to 58.5%, the lowest level of the last 10 years. 

After rising steadily over the past 10 years, operating profit on net revenue dropped significantly. This is largely driven by an increase in overhead rates. As firms face longer project ramp times and non-billable periods while backfilling roles, overhead rates rise. Higher employee turnover is also a contributing factor to lower utilization rates.  

Performing the Backlog Balancing Act 

Backlogs increased by more than three weeks year-over-year. It’s an indication that, while firms are in demand, they need to perform a delicate balancing act to complete projects on time. Bidding, scheduling, and labor planning must be precise, otherwise, increased activity can hinder project delivery, which only reduces client satisfaction in the long run. Firms that can effectively manage expectations will be able to reduce their backlog to sustainable levels. 

Growing backlogs are influencing the average collection period, which increased by 13 days. Firms wait for nearly 77 days, on average, to receive payments on accounts receivable. This is a return to the average collection period seen in 2012 and 2013. Back then, firms were able to lower this rate in the following years. To reduce the average collection period now, they may want to look at returning to those previous strategies.  

For a deeper dive into the key financial metrics from the study, watch the webinar 

Looking Ahead 

Financial leaders of A&E firms are focused on meeting day-to-day challenges. When asked about their financial priorities for next year, firms selected training project managers on financial management and improving business processes as their top two choices. This is in line with the results from last year. Notably, firms are less concerned with better forecasting, better growth management, and organizational changes and realignment than they were last year. This indicates that they’re focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of daily processes. 

The most successful firms will position themselves for success by also focusing on the HR challenges they face. Unconventional benefits, loyalty rewards, and engagement programs can help companies attract and retain the employees they need for the years ahead. Forty-one percent of firms said that they plan to make talent acquisition and retention investments one of their top priorities next year. Those that make the right decisions will stand out from the pack.  

Get More Financial Management Insights 

Despite the challenges A&E firms face, it’s possible to seize the opportunities ahead. By looking back to previously proven strategies and preparing for future demand, financial leaders can make the most of the market. For more financial management insights, click below to download the full report.  

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The Secret Sauce to Retrieve Deltek Vantagepoint Information - Searches

Posted by Amanda Roussel on September 28, 2022

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Half of organizations say it’s difficult to find internal information, and business professionals spend nearly a quarter of their time searching for the data and files they need to do their work. Centralized databases help make information more accessible—but only if users can find the right information quickly. Retrieving project data in Deltek Vantagepoint is like tapping an “easy” button. With the right know-how, users can quickly find projects and contacts based on complex criteria and easily create more insightful dashboards and reports. Here’s how professional services firms can use searches more effectively in Vantagepoint. 

The Basics 

Navigating to the Search field on the Vantagepoint screen reveals the Saved Searches menu, which allows for quick access to commonly used searches. 

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The menu includes Vantagepoint Standard Searches: Active, All, My Active, Project Manager and My Company. These commonly used search options appear in different hubs throughout Vantagepoint. My Searches contains each user’s personally generated custom searches.  

Shared searches are typically created by Vantagepoint administrators or other power users. These global searches are displayed based on each user’s role and permissions.  

How to Navigate Saved Searches  

It’s easy to navigate and preview the searches accessible from the Saved Searches menu. By clicking on an existing search, a preview box of the results appears. Within the preview, users can scan the results or search for the particular record they need.  

Navigate Saved Searches

Users can also select multiple results and click “Done” to see those results. After clicking “Done,” search results are shown in a record-by-record view.  

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At the top of the screen, it shows the total number of records. Each one has its own page, and users can toggle through each record using the arrows next to the record numbers. Users can also see the records in List View by clicking the List icon.  

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List View shows all the selected records in a sortable, filterable format. They can also be edited or modified from the List View table.  

Creating Custom Searches 

Custom searches are easy to use and allow Vantagepoint users to find the precise information they need.  

Basic Custom Search 

In the Contacts Hub, click the New Search button, and the new search window will appear over the current screen.  

 Custom Searches Basic 

By default, it is auto-populated with “Active” in the Contact Status field. Beneath Contact Status, there are three columns. These columns are used to define the criteria for the search:  

  • Field Lookup: Look up fields available within the Hub (in this case, Contacts). 
  • Operator: The operator options tell Vantagepoint how to look for information. For example, if the Field Type is “Firm Name,” the operator options include options like “Contains” or “Is Empty.” Date-based fields include terms like “Is Today.” 
  • Value: This is the “what” that the search engine is looking for, such as “ABC Company” or “March 1, 2021.” 

Vantagepoint automatically generates results below the search bar. The ability to quickly preview search results allows users to tweak the search criteria until they find exactly what they need without having to open a new search each time.  

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From here, users can click “Apply All” to be taken to the record-by-record view of their search results.  

Advanced Custom Searches 

Since Contact searches are usually fairly simple, the Projects Hub is a good place to explore more advanced search features.   

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By default, the Project Status in the top row is set as Active. To view dormant or inactive projects, users can click the “X” next to the status and make another selection.  

 To perform a more advanced search, such as all the projects assigned to a certain project manager within a certain industry, users can combine search criteria.   

  • In the second row, enter “Project Type” as the Field, “equals” as the Operator and “Educational/Educational Facilities” as the Value.  
  • Add a new row. Enter “Project Manager” as the Field and “equals” as the Operator. Enter the project managers’ name(s) as the Value.   

 

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Note that, based on this field type, the available options for Value will appear in the dropdown box. Results that don’t match the query will appear as well but are shown as grayed out.  

Advanced Search Settings 

The Advanced Settings feature, which can be toggled on from the top right corner of the search box, allows for even more flexibility. This allows users to search for the selected criteria on Any level, or on a Project, Phase or Task level.  

Custom Searches 06In this case, if the project managers had been assigned to specific tasks or phases of projects, that would show up here, in addition to project-level assignments. 

Get More Power Search Tips 

With these search tips, professional services firms can take full advantage of the centralized data access that Vantagepoint offers. And there’s more to explore. These tips are highlights from a recent mini-demo covering the full spectrum of search features in Deltek Vantagepoint. To learn more about how your project-based firm can use the search feature for faster, more effective results, watch the full mini-demo: 


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