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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.

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

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.

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

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!

Watch demos of Deltek Vantagepoint now!

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

Value of the Deltek Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts

Posted by Amanda Roussel on October 28, 2020

Transition Copy Scirpts

Are you thinking about your Deltek Vantagepoint upgrade and what steps are required? If you haven't already, we recommend you take a look at Full Sail Partners’ 3-step process. An important fact to know is that Deltek has provided a conversion tool to allow all of your data to move over. No migration necessary. Does that mean I can move tomorrow? No, we do not recommend that. Just like with any upgrade, you need to make sure updates haven’t impacted your processes. This upgrade is a bit more extensive but rest assured Full Sail Partners has tools to make the process easier and more efficient. One of those tools is our Vantagepoint Transition Copy Scripts.

During the 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 doesn’t require rework when you move from test to test environment or to your final production environment. Let’s take a look at how this tool can help you with the upgrade process. 

Vantagepoint Preview Environment

Now that clean-up efforts have been identified and prioritized with the Vantagepoint Readiness Report, and clean-up efforts are nearing completion, it may be time to request a preview environment. Many firms are finding the upgrade process to be an opportune time to tidy-up data and fields that have been collected in Deltek Vision over the years. Here is the chance to get Vantagepoint started with best practices and processes.

Upon accessing a firm’s preview environment, you may notice that things look different. The data moves over from Vision to Vantagepoint, but some big areas are consolidated. For example, opportunities get consolidated into projects, and clients and vendors consolidate into the firm hub. As this takes place, you will see some field duplication. Fields may also be organized differently.

Vantagepoint Preview becomes Testing Environment

There are many changes that can be made in the testing environment. It’s important to know that any changes made - screen design properties, saved searches, reports, dashboard/dashparts, and more - will reset upon a preview refresh as well as go live. Full Sail Partners understands that this can be a burden on firms as they track and recreate each of the changes. Full Sail Partners' Transition Copy Scripts allow firms to retain these changes and eliminate redundancy and rework between each test upgrade and your your final conversion.

Below is a list of the available scripts in the transition copy script bundle:

Screen Designer:

  • Design layout location for User Defined Fields
  • Properties including: Hidden, Locked, Required Fields, Tool Tips
  • Resource Planning Configuration

Security:

  • Security user role for each employee
  • Security options for each user role
  • Email Configuration
Saved Searches
  • Private and Shared search options

Reports/Templates:

  • Private and Shared reports with options and selection criteria
  • Proposal templates
Dashboards/Dashparts:
  • Dashboard layout
  • Dashpart widgets
  • Dashpart calculations

Workflows:
  • Hub Workflows
  • Approval Engine Workflows

Newly Created Components and Values:

  • Standard field values and labels
  • Custom fields and labels
  • Custom grids and labels
  • Custom files
  • Custom tabs
  • Custom hubs
  • Navigation tree

Benefits of Using Transition Copy Scripts

Some firms may have a manageable list of changes to address on their own, but we understand that firms with more complex data spend measurable resources getting the test environment just as needed. Below are some of the many reasons to use this impactful tool:

Work efficiently and save time. Adjust fields right where you want them, build dashboards, and configure to meet your firm’s needs. No need to track every change made. These settings will be applied with transition copy scripts.
Test, test, test. Searches, reports, and workflows will need to be recreated and tested. Do so knowing that efforts will not be erased.
Train staff before going live. Once the test environment meets your firm’s needs, you can train staff prior to going live. This can give staff the confidence of using the cohesive system and promote a smoother adoption after going live.
Count on Full Sail Partners. Our Deltek experts are here to cheer, guide, or lead you along your Deltek journey. Our custom team works closely with you to apply the appropriate transition copy scripts

Utilize Your Resources

We understand that there are many other responsibilities needing to be addressed throughout the workday. Full Sail Partners' Transition Copy Scripts can alleviate the redundancy of Vantagepoint refreshes and live environment and spend your time more effectively.  

Wherever you may be in your Deltek journey, Full Sail Partners has additional resources to assist with the Vantagepoint upgrade. Let us help you get there the right way!

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What is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

Posted by Ryan Felkel on September 30, 2020

Just the terms artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can cause some confusion as many relate these with robotics. Based upon common knowledge, this is a rational thought, but in actuality, AI and machine learning technologies are being incorporated into numerous software applications and personal assistant tools such as Siri and Alexa. It is important to note that AI and machine learning have some slight differences. Let’s take a look at how Deltek is using these technologies to improve the experience for Deltek Vantagepoint users.

Artificial Intelligence

Getting Smart with Artificial Intelligence

Simply stated, AI is the principle that machines can make smart decisions and complete tasks using logical intelligence. In theory, this means that machines using AI exhibit cognitive functions like those performed in human minds. AI works by using algorithms, and in many cases, multiple complex algorithms stacked on top of each other. Typically, these algorithms can learn from data enhancing the ability to make smarter decisions.

The late Larry Tesler, a computer scientist who worked for many major corporations, tried to define AI. His theorem stated that “AI is whatever hasn’t been done yet” meaning that intelligence is ever changing. However, once something becomes common, it transitions to machine learning. Tesler’s theorem is often referred to when discussing the difference between AI and machine learning.

Be Efficient with Machine Learning

So, based on Tesler’s theorem, machine learning is a subcategory of AI and focuses more on the idea that machines are able to learn and adapt through experience. Like AI, machine learning uses algorithms to perform tasks without being programmed to, but it achieves goals by learning and figuring things out over time. In machine learning, the commonly accepted approaches are divided into three categories:

  • Reinforcement learning – a computer program navigates a dynamic environment to achieve a goal. For instance, the computer-controlled players on your team when playing a video game.
  • Supervised learning – the program is given inputs and desired outputs and then it creates the connections. An example of this is creating models to predict the weather.
  • Unsupervised learning – As the name suggests, the program is given no pre-existing labels and left to figure out patterns in the data on its own. This technique is often used in marketing to identify clusters of potential customers.

Do More with Deltek Vantagepoint

Now that the difference between AI and machine learning has been clarified, it should help users better understand these types of computer sciences as used in Vantagepoint. Currently, Deltek is adding AI capabilities to Vantagepoint that will be available in later versions. According to Deltek, AI will be able to analyze data across the project lifecycle. As a result, the AI tool will provide unbiased insights into the health of projects addressing any needed changes to ensure project success.

Deltek has also announced plans for machine learning technology. One effort is to simplify the expense submittal process. Deltek has announced that Vantagepoint’s Time and Expense will have an Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) capability. The ICR technology will give users the ability to take a picture of a receipt needed to expense and Vantagepoint will be able to recognize characters no matter the font or if it’s handwritten or typed. The machine learning will recognize groups of data like food cost, taxes and tips, and then it will total those numbers.

It’s Time to Embrace AI and Machine Learning

Identifying and clarifying the difference between AI and machine learning is important since you’ll likely be hearing these terms used interchangeably from now on and far into the future. Even more, you’re likely only to benefit as a Deltek Vantagepoint user if Deltek continues to invest and take real advantage of these technologies. If you use apps on your phone like Lyft and Uber on a daily basis, you actually already do benefit from these technologies!

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Technology Tips and Tricks to Help Your Kids with Digital Learning Series: Staying Organized

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on September 16, 2020

Time management

Many students started the new school year online, and parents continue to navigate this new way of learning with their children. Across grade levels, many students are still struggling with the challenges of learning remotely. Without direct guidance and reinforcement from teachers face to face, it often becomes overwhelming to manage the expectations of classwork. In this installment of our series, we will address how parents can help their kids stay organized in the digital learning environment.

Non-Distracting Workspace

Children should have a designated workspace that has minimal distractions. Parents should not pick the bedroom for schoolwork because kids can be tempted to do their work on their beds which can reduce productivity. Having a room outside of the bedroom designated for school work is the better option. Dining tables have been a popular choice when spare rooms aren't an option. Phones, televisions and other sources of entertainment provide further disruption opportunities so should be removed from the workspace. When taking a break, kids can go back and enjoy the amenities of their bedroom.

Time Management

Regardless of which class management tool is used, staying organized is now a bit easier than in the past since assignment due dates can be tracked online. However, procrastination remains a real problem for many students which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. The best way for parents to help kids manage time is to make sure there is a set schedule and daily routine. Daily tasks should be written down and crossed off when completed. All work can be prioritized and chunked so that assignments can be accomplished several days in advance of due dates.

Protect School Work

One of the biggest frustrations with online learning is technology failures. After spending hours on an assignment, no one wants to risk losing that work. Parents can make sure this doesn’t happen by having kids do their work in the cloud using Google docs or another cloud service. If the computer shuts down, the work will still be accessible when it reboots. Additionally, besides using a flash drive, other methods of saving work include sending the work to another location via email, like parents’ email. This is a great option for assignments that use Microsoft Word or Excel. Always have a backup source so assignments can be submitted on time.

Ask for Help

Another means of staying organized is for parents to encourage their children to ask for help. One benefit of online learning is connectivity to teachers through tools like Canvas and school email like Microsoft Outlook. Rather than waste a lot of time being confused or worried about something, just email the teacher for clarification. While teachers may not be able to respond immediately, they usually will within the day. Once the request has been sent off, make sure kids move on to another question or assignment. It is often hard to wait for an answer, but without asking teachers, there will be no resolution which ends up causing more stress.

Stay Prepared with Digital Learning

Parents should use these recommendations to stay organized with digital learning. It is hard to balance “real” jobs and the extra responsibility of managing students’ work, but with these measures in place, routines will be well established, and it will all get done. Another reason to keep those kids organized is to make room for a little “me” time. Good luck!

Reach Full Sail Partners

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

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on September 09, 2020

Deltek Clarity 41st

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

Business Development Trend Challenges

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

Getting into Position

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

Tracking the Hit Rate

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

Bringing in the Work

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

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

The Outlook for Business Development

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

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