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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
New Vision 5 Software for Project-Focused Firms
by Susan Smith
Without an enterprise software solution, many firms face budget over runs and poor utilization of staff across their projects. Project managers need a way to develop project plans where they can make changes across projects and resource assignments and put the right staff on the right projects.
Deltek Insight 2007 was held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this past week. Dave Marvin, VP, Product Marketing for Deltek, took time out from the conference to talk about their Deltek Vision release 5 for project focused firms, announced at the show.
Deltek promotes the Deltek Vision as follows: “Vision brings together all the critical business processes for the successful operation of the project focused firm.” The majority of the company’s clients are in the architectural and engineering field. A growing subset of customers is in the IT services and consulting market, which are also project focused firms. They have time and experiences they need to track against a variety of contractual arrangements and project activities.
Vision 5 addresses:
-Time expense management
-Management of projects and resources and documents
-Proposal and marketing automation
These capabilities are all integrated into one, totally web based solution.
What’s new in Vision 5:
The Resource Planning module. Vision is a modular product, which allows users to add on to a core of accounting, billing and time. Resource Planning helps organizations develop project plans where they show variables to depict their project activities and then assign resources to those activities.
With the help of beta uses and usability consultants, Deltek came up with a number of ways to improve the product. High on the list was the need for a way to view resources, their commitment across the entire organization and manage those commitments so we achieve a very high level of staff and utilization.
“We’ve added a number of new capabilities to help project managers understand the utilization of resources and make sure that utilization is as high as possible,” explained Marvin. “In a project driven firm, they develop their income stream, both top line and bottom line, through the way they bill their resources.”
According to Marvin, Vision enabled the increase of utilization of staff in a 60-employee firm with 60 billable resources each billed at $85/hour, to increasing the bottom line by nearly $200,000. In an Aberdeen Group study some years ago, it was determined that firms that used products such as Deltek Vision can increase their utilization an average of 8%.
“We can help them see the impact of their decisions on staff utilization throughout all their project portfolio, and we can give them real time insight and billing rates, labor charges, and also help them understand that project opportunities that they’re pursuing will affect the utilization of resources out in the future along with the utilization impact of currently booked projects,” Marvin said.
The Vision team wanted to be able to see across the entire organization to see all projects and how resources were being utilized. They had the idea of a desktop or workbench within which they could reassign resources to different activities and make sure the utilization targets were being met. “We came up with this new screen which uses some new technology and an entirely new interface which allows you to see the assignment of resources and the utilization percentages. It allows you to assign a utilization goal,” said Marvin. “We use colors to depict areas of concern or areas where everything is just fine. So red indicates that we have someone not utilized up to the utilization goal or we use another color to depict someone is way over utilization goal. Then we have to either hire additional resources or move resources around to get that person back to a reasonable target.”
The colors are new to this release and the assemblage of information across all projects is also new, which gives users a view across their entire project portfolio.
Also enhanced in release 5 is the ability to do a skill search in the organization to find the right people who match the requirements for each project contract. The Vision database contains all the employees and subcontractors with all their relevant information and particular skill. With Vision 5, the search is enhanced so users can identify those resources that will meet a particular need. “We may have someone who specializes in a particular type of suspension bridge, for example, and we want to know someone with that kind of experience and then populate this view with personnel that meet those requirements.”
Significant strides have been made in the Visualization add on module, a technology used initially in the financial arena to analyze investment portfolios using colors and shapes to depict areas of over or underperforming investments. For the manager, it condenses reams of information into a one-page online view so they have streamlined focus on issues of great importance, and it saves them a lot of time.
The shapes can depict the size of the project, and depict whether or not those projects are profitable or not profitable. Red means unprofitable. A manager can drill down and learn more about the unprofitable projects.
Visualization has a number of different views such as accounts receivable, estimated complete compared to budgeted complete, project size and project type.
Vision 5 is designed so that the manager can get to the information much easier when they want to view it differently. “We have slides on the screen as onscreen controls so you can look at only your unprofitable projects, for example,” noted Marvin. “You can slide the color bar to the red, and then they will be shown. If managers want to identify trends, they may want to dissect data by project manager, or they might dissect it by industry type, or by division in the company.”
Other features of the new release include
- inventory management capability which serves clients who sell product as well as services. These might be interior designers or IT services companies that sell hardware and software.
- expanded Earned Value Reporting capability for the privately focused project driven firm.
- New international capabilities for UK clients, enhanced usability, and the product has been updated to be Windows Vista compliant and also compliant with Office 2007.
- SmartClient technology is in this release, which enables the usability changes made in resource planning and visualization.
In 2007, Vision had 1500 project focused firms as customers. “We achieved nearly 50% growth rate in our client base,” Marvin added.
There is also a special Vision Small Business targeted at the firm of under 50 employees. By adding modules or features, the Vision product scales well to accommodate large or small customers.
Vision has built into it a time tracking system, which will accept information from accounting and billing systems. As you are entering project information into Vision, you can prepare an accurate financial statement, as the information becomes immediately available in your accounting system. When you have an accounts payable invoice come in from the vendor, you can get it assigned to the project activity, so time and expense information is entered by project over a variety of activities. That information is captured by the accounting system that gets your billing out, and those billings reflect time and expense by project activity.
Deltek products are positioned for any business that is primarily English speaking. The company has clients in Canada, UK, S Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico.
Downloads of product will begin on May 18.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that it has acquired TDV GmbH of Austria, a leading provider of structural modeling, analysis, and design software for bridge engineering serving engineers, designers, and owners since 1970.
TDV's industry-leading RM 2006 product for static and dynamic design and analysis of steel, concrete, and composite structures is used by hundreds of bridge design firms worldwide.
Information and media company Access Intelligence, LLC, announced this week the acquisition of the world-leading daratechPLANT Conference from Daratech, Inc., strengthening its presence in the energy and IT markets.
daratechPLANT, held every January in Houston, Texas, is a leading event aimed at suppliers and users of IT solutions for designing, engineering, building and maintaining industrial plants. Each year, it attracts a unique audience of more than 900 executive-level delegates and 30 exhibitors, drawn from owner-operator companies, engineering and procurement firms, and IT solutions providers.
Previous owner, Daratech, Inc., headed by well-known industry figure, Charles Foundyller, is selling the event to concentrate on its consulting business in this sector, but will remain involved in the event as a consultant.
CAE announced that it has closed the agreement with Parallax Capital Partners, LLC and others to acquire MultiGen-Paradigm Inc., for US$16 million (C$18 million) in cash.
The agreement, announced on April 20, was subject to U.S. government approvals, which have been obtained.
This acquisition of MultiGen-Paradigm, the past acquisition of TERREX, and the recent acquisition of control of Engenuity will be combined with some of CAE's internal resources to create a single, integrated, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software business, growing the Company's modeling and simulation abilities.
Primavera(R) Evolve, the resource and project portfolio management software division of Primavera Systems, Inc., announced a strategic alliance with Hitachi Consulting, the global consulting company of Hitachi, Ltd., to help companies manage special projects with the right resources needed to achieve the right results. Primavera Evolve will provide project portfolio management (PPM) software. Hitachi Consulting will provide project management guidance and implementation services.
Leading experts from the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) technology sector announced the formation of a new company Envista Corporation. Envista CEO Rick Fiery, former Infrasoft CEO and Bentley Systems Vice President of Global Finance, has joined forces with founder and executive Vice President Marc Fagan, the former President and co-founder of Vanderweil Facility Advisors (VFA). Also joining the Envista management team are Martha Bednarz, Director of Marketing, and Tom Bergeron, Director of Sales. The company's global headquarters is located at 900 Cummings Center in Beverly, MA.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that registration is open at the BE website for BE Conference Europe, being held June 10-14 at the Hilton London Metropole in the United Kingdom. Those registering by May 18 will receive an early bird discount that reduces the Learning Program fee by GBP 145 - from GBP 710 to GBP 565.
Avatech Solutions, Inc., nationwide technology experts for design, engineering, and facilities management, announced that George M. Davis has been named President and Chief Executive Officer. George Davis, age 51, who most recently served as Executive Vice Chairman, succeeds Scotty Walsh, age 70, who, as previously disclosed, is retiring. Both George Davis and Scotty Walsh will continue to serve on Avatech's Board of Directors.
CMMI, a leading hospitality industry architecture and interior design firm, announces the promotions of Michael R. Melugin, AIA, and David L. Sullivan, AIA, to Associates. In their new positions, Mr. Melugin and Mr. Sullivan are integral to the leadership of the studios directed by Robert Meaders, AIA, ASID, Principal, and James Culpepper, AIA, Principal.
New ProductsDeltek announced Costpoint 6, the latest edition of its industry leading enterprise applications software designed specifically for project-focused government contracting and commercial organizations. Costpoint 6 now offers new billing, forecasting and cash management capabilities critical to the project-focused businesses. With Costpoint 6, businesses can improve data accuracy, comply with government contracting requirements and improve cash flow.
Primavera Systems, Inc., announced the immediate availability of Primavera Inspire, a solution that enables the easy exchange of information between Primavera and SAP. Primavera acquired the underlying technology, which is built on SAP's current NetWeaver platform and uses SAP's Exchange Infrastructure for data transition, from Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI), one of the world's leading SAP integrators.
The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), the developer of IntelliCAD core technology, announced the New IntelliCAD.
The New IntelliCAD represents a complete redesign of the widely used IntelliCAD engine, an open platform upon which hundreds of engineering applications have been based. The new IntelliCAD will offer greater speed and wider functionality, and is based on DWGdirect, a non-proprietary design format compatible with ARX and Autodesk-related systems available from the Open Design Alliance.
Around the Web
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|Intergraph 2007 International Users Conference|
|Date:||May 21 - 24, 2007|
|"2007 Spring FLUG Conference"|
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