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Project-Based Firms and Deltek Collaborate Through the Deltek Idea Portals

Posted by Scott Seal on August 03, 2022

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How many users have brainstormed good ideas regarding their Deltek Vantagepoint system that they wanted to share but didn’t know how? What about any suggestions for product enhancements that these same users would want to offer? Fortunately for these users, Deltek has recently launched the Deltek Idea Portals, a new online tool for submitting and promoting ideas to Deltek product management directly. Let’s check out how it works, the reasoning behind it and what Full Sail Partners’ consultants have to say about it. 

Using the Idea Portals 

The process for using the Idea Portals is that first, the Deltek Authorized Support Contacts (ASCs) at the firm would access the link for the Idea Portals within the Deltek Support Center (DSC). To determine a firm’s designated ASC, contact the firm’s Customer Success Manager. Next, the ASC would click on ‘Share Your Ideas’ and be taken to the links for certain Deltek products. For instance, users from Full Sail Partners’ clients which are project-based firms would choose the Vantagepoint/Vision idea portal. Once inside, ASCs can share ideas about their specific products, can vote and add insight on other ideas that have been presented. ASCs can subscribe to the item to receive status updates when those ideas move from being considered to planned and then released.  

Here is a quick screenshot of what users see when they go into the DSC. For more information, users can review the Idea Portals quick start guide. 

 

Promoting a Cooperative Effort  

From extensive research, Deltek learned that products developed without input from users are not successful when delivered in the end. So, the thought behind creating the Idea Portals was to provide one standard cooperative way for presenting ideas on Deltek products. This updated and convenient process promotes a two-way communication between project-based firms and the product management team at Deltek while ideas are vetted and prioritized. Not only can users see how their ideas are being received and processed by Deltek, but others interested in the subject matter can provide additional suggestions and input. 

 

Feedback from Full Sail Partners’ Consultants  

Full Sail Partners’ consultants have recently been visiting the Vantagepoint/Vision Deltek Idea Portal and offered the following feedback. 

One Full Sail Partners’ consultant really liked the focus on the statuses that Deltek is using to communicate where the idea offered was in the process. In particular, the statuses of “Likely to Implement” or “Planned” were interesting as was the status of “Released.” Below are some screenshots that this consultant took experimenting in the Idea Portals. From these images, Deltek users can catch a glimpse at what ideas are being considered and which statuses those ideas are being given.  

In this initial screenshot, on the right side in the highlight, there is “Filter by Status” where users can see what the available options are for statuses of idea consideration. Look at the 2090 ideas for future consideration. That is certainly a lot of ideas coming from project-based firms. 

In these other screenshots, Deltek users can see the types of ideas that are being offered, how many people voted on those ideas and the status that the idea was given by Deltek product management. 

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Here is an example of what users will receive when they subscribe, and an idea is voted on. In this case, the idea was “Update the PTO Plan when an absence request is approved.” Look in the comments section to see where other users can make their contributions to help these ideas move forward with product development. 

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Another Full Sail Partners’ consultant has gone even further in really utilizing the Vantagepoint/Vision Idea Portal. She decided that when interesting and relevant topics come up with her clients, she takes them directly to the idea portal if they have never been before. Then she teaches them how to search for what ideas they are interested in offering to Deltek product management and how to enter their ideas if they are new. This is a screenshot of where users add their ideas for consideration. 

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With her observations and discovery, she has learned that many of her and her client’s desired items are already there, and it would be a great idea to create an email to Deltek at VantagepointIdeasPortal@deltek.com documenting the cases that seem the same. For example, as she searched for specific ideas and voted on ones already in the portal, she found duplicates like “credit card reconciliation update to make it more dynamic for payments” which was found twice or “controlling how to create a project” which appeared similar to three other user’s ideas. From what this consultant was told, Deltek is combining them when they are found. 

This same consultant also indicated that when she voted on an idea in the Vantagepoint/Vision portal, in her case it was for the “ability to update scheduled reports without having to unschedule, update the report and reschedule,” she received a survey from Deltek. This survey asked her about use cases and the most needed reasons for updating etc. This showed her that Deltek was really listening and trying to make effective changes. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work 

With time and collaboration, these Idea Portals should ensure that a plethora of ideas are heard and evaluated by Deltek product management, and from these suggestions, users should be provided with many of their needed solutions. Any good idea, no matter how small, should be offered to Deltek using this process. Remember, “you can’t win, if you don’t play.” 

 

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Creating the Right Content to Attract Ideal A/E/C Clients

Posted by Lindsay Diven on January 19, 2022

Creating content that attracts the ideal client is a crucial part of a digital marketing program. This content educates the potential client through the process and highlights the firm as the best choice for the project.

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Through the “Driving Growth with Digital Marketing” series, we’ve learned about creating personas (ideal client), setting goals, and outlining a content strategy. Now it’s time to create new content to fill in the gaps from the previously completed Content Audit.

Brainstorming with an Inbound Focus

Marketers may already have a sense of what type of topics to cover in their new content development. These ideas might have been thought of in proposal or presentation preparation, interactions with business developers or project managers, or observing industry trends.

However, take these ideas a few steps further by brainstorming with an inbound focus. Identifying what would attract an ideal client to the content draws them into the digital platforms like the firm’s website or social media channels. During the brainstorming sessions, ask the following questions when evaluating topic ideas:

  • Who will be reading the content? For how many audiences will you be creating content? This goes back to the persona development and creating content that appeals to the persona(s).
  • What problem will you be solving for the ideal client(s)? Ideally, your firm provides services to solve the clients’ challenges. The marketing content should educate this same audience as they begin to pinpoint and address their issues. Refer to the decision-making funnel to identify the questions for each step in the funnel.
  • What makes your firm or point of view unique? How is your firm different from the other A/E/C firms in town? Do you have a unique offering, specialist, technology, or brand voice? Maybe it’s how or why your firm approaches a design challenge a certain way? If it’s difficult to decide what makes your firm unique, try taking a piece of industry news or trend then applying your firm’s point of view or opinion about it. This combines trending content, while allowing the firm to stand out.
  • What content formats will be the focus? It’s not about what content format your firm WANTS to create but meeting the audience (ideal clients) where they are. That’s why the persona development work is so important. For example, marketers may be tempted to create a firm podcast, but learn that the targeted persona prefers to read. Knowing this before launching the podcast may save the firm time and resources.
  • What channels will be used to share the content? Just like the content formats mentioned above, determining the social media channels should be based on where the ideal clients are, not where your firm wants to be.

This focused brainstorming technique will result in the content development plan.

Writing a Content Development Plan

Once the list of topics for new content is developed, now it’s time to get to work. Writing a content development plan and treating it just like any project or proposal plan is the best way to ensure it gets done.

Items to outline in a content development plan include:

  • Who’s creating what piece?
  • Who’s contributing to the piece (the subject matter expert)?
  • What additional resources or skillsets are needed?
  • What type of graphics or media is needed?
  • Where is it going to be published?
  • When it’s going live?

In smaller firms, this may all be completed by one or two people. In larger firms, this might be managed by an entire department. Either way, it eventually gets put into a plan and publishing schedule.

Keeping SEO in Mind

There is so much information about search-engine optimization (SEO). In fact, a future article in this series is going to be dedicated to SEO. But it’s worth thinking about SEO while brainstorming and creating new content.

One method for brainstorming new content ideas is to do keyword research. Ideal clients are most likely searching for answers on search engines, like Google. And those search engines along with tools like Moz and Semrush can provide marketers with keywords to help with new content ideas.

As the new content is being developed, make sure that those keywords and phrases are used in the content titles, body, images, etc. when it’s published.

Getting Started

Hopefully, you now have some ideas on how to create the right content to attract ideal A/E/C clients. You know how to brainstorm new content ideas, write a content development plan, and keep SEO in mind as new content is created. It can feel overwhelming, but firms don’t need to create a lot of content, just high-quality content that helps the ideal client move through the decision-making funnel. Focus on creating the amount of content your firm has the resources for. In the next installment of the “Driving Growth with Digital Marketing” series, you’ll learn ways to repurpose that content to extend its life. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

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Level Up Your AE Firm’s Business

Posted by Ryan Felkel on January 12, 2022

For all businesses, earning a nice profit is the expected goal. Yet for some AE firms, stagnant earnings, increasing costs and expenses, low new client acquisition, and deteriorating workplace culture may have become the new normal. What was once a business bursting at the seams and barely able to take on more work, has now become complacent and satisfied with mediocrity. However, there is something that can be done to change the current course. Take a quick read through the following tips to help create ideas for ways to get started.

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Create and Stick to a Plan

Get SMART and create a strategic business plan that provides clear direction and expected results. For some AE firms, this may be as simple as reviewing the existing plan and making updates to meet current business needs. In other cases, it may be best to scrap the existing plan and start over from scratch. Either way, a solid business plan needs to be reinforced with SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. To create SMART goals, begin by thinking about the entire firm and decide how to designate areas of responsibility and determine expected results. It is likely easiest to start at the department level and then work down from there. Additionally, goals need to focus on the desired result and need to be high level while remaining specific. If there seems to be an excessive number of goals, it is likely that they are too granular and focused on task level items and not the desired result. Lastly, goals need to be measurable and incorporated with time-based milestones.

Get Friendly with the Firm Numbers

It’s time to stop avoiding that uncomfortable relationship people seem to have with numbers. We are not all accountants. However, numbers can tell the ugly truth even when someone doesn’t want to hear it. Like that one friend we all keep around that inevitably reminds us of what we are trying to avoid in an effort to minimize the realities of a situation. So, what numbers are important? All of them.

A good place to start is with cash flow. There’s no way around it, businesses with limited cash reserves and low cash flow will inevitably shut down. Also, get friendly with the firm’s overall net profit and the profit performance of the firm’s projects. Keep in mind that great profits don’t always equate to positive cash flow which is required to bill overhead expenses and salaries. Lastly, check the firm’s credit score to make sure the firm can get a loan with favorable terms if cash flow becomes a temporary issue or new assets need to be purchased. Many firms are finding that a solid business intelligence solution provides the best insights into numbers. Learn more in this past webinar.

Embrace the Multi-Generation Workforce

Move over generation MTV, the kids are entering the workforce. Seriously, there are now four generations in the modern workforce. To put this into perspective, there are employees that remember sharing work computers, and there are employees that got their first personal computer at eight years old. To say the least, there are some differences in expectations when it comes to the way work gets done.

Sure, it’s easiest to just say conform to our ways or else. But the reality is that the members of the younger generations are the leaders of the future. Therefore, it’s important for firms to start adjusting to accommodate these differences. For help, check out this white paper.

Engage and Interact with Clients in More Ways

Welcome to the 21st century, where that must-have fancy technology is out of date before most of the world even knows that it exists. We are now in the digital era which has transformed the way we communicate and consume information. Now, we have personal computers in the form of mobile phones that mostly fit in our pockets. As a result, people have become accustomed to receiving notifications and obtaining information using these digital formats.

A lot, if not all AE firms, have websites, but some of these websites were created and last updated over a decade ago. Furthermore, even those firms that have a modern website still likely only have a small digital footprint. Therefore, AE firms need to evaluate their current digital marketing efforts to decide which areas need improvement. To help AE firms, Full Sail Partners is publishing a blog series titled “Driving Growth with Digital Marketing” that is specifically geared towards AEC companies. Find a listing for all the articles and signup for notifications about new articles and other content here.  

Take Your AE Firm to the Next Level

Ready to improve your AE firm? Putting SMART Goals in place, confronting the inevitable numbers, accommodating workplace differences, and engaging in the digital era will move firms from stagnant to reinvigorated. These efforts will result in a visible positive impact. Additionally, Full Sail Partners can aid in identifying areas of opportunity for improvement via a Navigational Analysis. Use the link button below to contact us to learn more.

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Common CRM Adoption Challenges for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Ryan Felkel on January 06, 2022

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For professional services firms to be successful, they need a client relationship management (CRM) system to help them focus their business development strategies to identify prospective projects and to nurture client relationships to ensure they win new projects. Furthermore, an effective CRM system requires firm employees to use the system and this is not just directed to the business development team. This requires the entire firm to be updating client records to ensure the most up-to-date information is available for business development. However, firms that have invested in a CRM system seem to have a common hurdle which is employee adoption. Here are a few things that can negatively impact user adoption at your firm.

 

The Lack of Defined Processes

Time and time again, firms roll out a new CRM system with the assumption that it’s just requires switching it on, and it’ll take care of itself. However, this is not the case. Firms need to first start off by identifying what goals they want to achieve so they can actually see results. Once they have their goals identified, a formal process needs to be outlined to ensure the CRM system is utilized in a way the benefits firm and aligns with current marketing and business development procedures. Here are some things to consider when defining a process:

  • What is a lead and when does a lead become an opportunity?
  • Who has the information at your firm that needs to be entered about a contact?
  • Who can update contacts and what can they update?
  • What role is responsible for cleaning up the CRM database?
  • What reports are required for different roles?

Misguided Goals

Goal setting for business development teams are far too often focused on dollar amounts and win rates. However, this thought process ignores setting goals that align with the firm’s strategy for achieving their targeted dollar amounts and win rates. For example, the sales cycle to win a project for many professional services firms can be months to years depending on the industry. Therefore, having a goal that helps the business development team keep up with touchpoints helps ensure client relationships are being properly managed. So when considering goals, it’s important to develop goals that align with your firm’s strategic client management process.

Picking the Wrong CRM Solution for Your Firm

There are several things to consider when selecting a CRM solution for your firm. Firstly, not all CRM systems are the same and have different capabilities to support different industries. For instance, having a CRM system that integrates with your firm’s accounting and project management platforms is essential for professional services firms. Especially if you want all your firm’s data in one central location and your desire is for people to utilize the CRM system. An example of this is a firm that uses Deltek Vantagepoint or Vision for their accounting and project management, the obvious CRM system selection is Deltek CRM.

Additionally, system integration is great, but having a CRM system that has a friendly user interface is important as well to increase user adoption. By selecting a system that is intuitive and well designed, implementing a CRM adoption directive will most likely succeed across your firm.

Increase CRM Adoption

Many firms struggle with getting employees to adopt a new system. However, this does not have to be the case. By setting goals and processes for different teams within your organization to encourage use, your employees will be able to see the value of the CRM system. Lastly, make sure to point out the fact that a CRM system will help your firm continue to grow and be successful in the future.   

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Change in the Workplace Climate – In Comes the Deltek Cloud

Posted by Ryan Felkel on March 31, 2021

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.

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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, software as a service (SaaS) is a component of the cloud.

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

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

Posted by Chris Simei on March 17, 2021

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.

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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

Why Continuous Performance Management is Better than Annual Reviews

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on February 24, 2021

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

People Meeting

Annual Reviews are Obsolete

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

Reflects How Work Gets Done

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

Shows Employees Their Value to the Firm

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

Focuses on Career Development

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

Communicates Expectations Clearly

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

Offers Timely Feedback

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

Continuous Performance Management is the Future

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

Continuous Feedback and Goals

What You Need to Know About OCR and ICR Technologies

Posted by Ryan Felkel on February 17, 2021

For project-based firms, document management is vital, and with a document management system in place, these firms can organize all relevant information with ease. However, many firms use scanning technologies that only create an image of the document. As a result, the image lacks the metadata contained within the document such as client name, dates, invoice amounts and more unless a firm associate adds this information manually.

Artificial Intelligence

Today, new scanning technologies have been introduced to the market that have the capabilities to “read” a document and collect the pertinent metadata making the file searchable. This technology eliminates the time required by an employee to manually gather and enter that information. Before your firm decides to invest into this technology, it’s important to get a basic understanding of how these technologies work.

What is OCR and ICR?

In short, OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a software that scans text in documents and is usually used for translating long documents into electronic files. ICR, or Intelligent Character Recognition, by comparison, is a software that recognizes fonts and styles of handwriting. With this basic understanding, let’s take a deeper dive into the differences.

It is commonly accepted that OCR technology was first introduced by Emanuel Goldberg in 1914 to read characters and convert them to a telegraph code to help the blind read. During the following decades, OCR capabilities continued to grow to what we have and use today. You may not even realize it, but you probably use OCR technology on a weekly basis. If you travel through an airport, send a letter in the mail, or deposit a check in the ATM, you have used OCR technology. While OCR technology is used regularly and effectively, there is a newer technology emerging as the leader.

In the early 1990’s, ICR technology took OCR capabilities to the next level. Basically, it is a smarter OCR which can focus on details. While OCR is normally used for retrieving typed documents that can be categorized and searched, ICR handles handwriting with more complicated styles than OCR can manage. Even more, ICR is a self-learning technology that teaches itself to recognize new handwriting patterns and improve data capture from scanned documents.

Benefits of ICR

OCR software is generally less expensive than ICR because you get fewer features. For some firms, the advanced features of ICR may not be necessary. However, for the majority of project-based firms, the cost of ICR is worth it as it will save countless hours spent on document management. Since ICR can read handwritten notes, and virtually any font, it can be used to manage many more documents than just OCR alone. Not to mention, the automatic retrieval of this relevant data no matter the handwriting prevents human input error which is a common problem with manual entry.

ICR and Accounting Data

Specifically, when it comes to accounting data, using ICR is extremely beneficial. ICR can be used for scanning various accounting documents such as accounts payable, invoices, purchase orders, onboarding payroll forms, and travel expenses. Larger firms that process hundreds of forms each month will be able to reduce numerous hours spent by team members having to manually enter all that data.

Expense Retrieval on the Go With ICR

Since Deltek is the leading provider of project-based ERP systems, it has already begun adopting ICR technology in Deltek Vantagepoint. Currently, Deltek is utilizing ICR in its mobile expense feature which allows users to take a picture of their receipts which can be read by Vantagepoint. The printed or handwritten text auto populates into the fields in Vantagepoint eliminating the manual entry of this information. Accounting can then see where the budgets stand throughout the project lifecycle keeping everyone on track. Stay tuned as Deltek is continuing to test this capability in other capacities to help streamline your business operations!

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The Value of Vantagepoint for IT Departments

Posted by Wes Renfroe on December 16, 2020

For professional services firms, IT departments seem to have limited resources with one or a few people managing the entire technology infrastructure for the firm. This is a lot of work and can be very stressful for the IT person or team. However, you can alleviate a major burden for the IT department if your firm has a purpose-built ERP solution to support all of your business functions.

Value of Vantagepoint - IT

Deltek Vantagepoint offers a robust, comprehensive system that has been specifically designed for project-based firms. The Vantagepoint solution provides flexibility, scalability, and accessibility to everyone at any time and from anywhere. With Vantagepoint, several of the common burdens IT departments face can easily be eliminated. Here are some of the ways IT departments benefit from Vantagepoint.

Robust Modern Architecture

Having a robust IT infrastructure ensures information can easily flow between all the systems that support a business. Deltek Vantagepoint is one of the most modern, feature-rich, and high performing systems being deployed for project-based firms. With Vantagepoint, IT can rest assured that every department will have access to what they need when they need it. With ease of use for all users, the work of the IT department will be greatly simplified, and priorities can be reevaluated and reestablished.

Scalable Framework

IT departments are quite experienced with sudden personnel changes and growth due to mergers and acquisitions. They are also keenly aware of the importance of having a system that can grow with the firm. Deltek Vantagepoint is a solution with an evolving and scalable framework. No matter the ebb and flow of users, IT will be able to accommodate technology needs appropriately with this flexible, fully integrated system.

Cloud Flexibility

Cloud technology does more than allow for real-time access of data and systems which supports a more mobile workforce. Leveraging the cloud also reduces the burden on the IT department and decreases overall business costs while ensuring reliability. With the cloud, hot fixes, patches and other upgrades are performed seamlessly and uptime is essentially ensured. Solutions like Full Sail Partners’ Blackbox Connector, which fully integrates Deltek Vantagepoint and other third-party software,  are also provided in the cloud.

Be More Strategic with Deltek Vantagepoint

With Deltek Vantagepoint in place, IT departments at project-based firms will have the chance to focus on the future and strategically plan technology resources accordingly. With easy user adoption and a scalable framework, IT can make well informed technology decisions rather than having to constantly put out fires. Additionally, with reliable cloud offerings and Blackbox Connectors in play, there will be more efficient business processes and reduced downtime increasing productivity.

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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

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