May 18, 2009
Deltek – Vision and Stimulus and Beyond
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Deltek – Vision and Stimulus and Beyond
By Susan Smith
Patrick Smith, director, Public Relations and Analyst Relations for Deltek, talked recently in an interview with AECWeekly about the company’s focus and release of their new Vision product, Vision 6.
Deltek also hosted a “meeting of the minds” of government and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) experts last week in Orlando, FL at Deltek’s Insight 2009 conference. This national event, dubbed “The Stimulus & Beyond: Navigating the Brave New World” aimed to give government contractors and AEC firms real answers on what is happening with the stimulus plan to prepare them to win business in this new era of government spending.
For Deltek, architecture and engineering are core businesses, with half of their professional services business taken up with A/E. They also sell to a lot of government contractors, according to Smith.
Project based solutions are the focus of the business. Vision 6 encompasses customer resource management, powering marketing and sales processes, project and resource planning, tracking all project costs and back office accounting, plus time and expenses. The basic idea of taking data and turning it into knowledge is what drives the product, utilizing Microsoft Smart Client technology embedded in the software, that allows users to have a rich interface to sort data the way they want it, creating dashboards in Vision 6 that allow people see when they log in exactly the information they want, through a browser.
Smith believes the release addresses the economic climate, as businesses want to see who is available, and what projects are and are not profitable. “Vision 6 allows you to drill into that information and understand how your business is faring at any moment,” said Smith. “Microsoft has always been the basic platform for Vision but in this release we’ve taken it to the next level with their technology. For instance, Microsoft Communicator is an IM system, so if you’re in the application, you’re in the resource screen and you see all the different resources working on projects. You see someone is overloaded, you would see a little ball there inside
Deltek saying a person is available. So you fire off an IM and start a chat explaining how you are doing on this project.” Since A/E firms use other suppliers, it’s possible to add those suppliers to the system and communicate with them.
As projects change, Vision has resources assigned to each task, making it possible to extend the project an extra month. A button allows users to shift the project length to however long it will be and automatically recalculate what the resource dependencies are and the workloads of the individuals. “This way, you can see if you have a problem with this project moving out, then you can readjust your resources, etc.,” explained Smith. “It’s very good technology around understanding what’s happening in your business. You can quickly do a search on what everyone is working on across the organization and determine what projects you’re winning and
In Vision it’s possible to get a clear view of every project ever done from a profitability standpoint. In addition to just running the business and getting a build out the door, Smith said customers like the fact that Vision lets them see what parts of their business are healthy and what are not. The CRM feature which is enhanced in Vision 6 allows users to do document management posting of resumes, and look at project histories. This information can be used to make the best business decisions.
Outside of the U.S., Deltek sells to some of the largest A/E firms in the world. “We have multi-company functionality which allows you to understand your financials across the business, not just in one geography,” said Smith. “So as you have worldwide resources, you can come up with a consolidated financial plan for your entire company. The multi-company capabilities we have coming out in Vision 6 are around multi-currency, exchange rate calculations, and accounting rules in various countries. You can use a lot of information and configuration around these accounting rules and multi-currency calculations, so you know at any one moment how your business is doing.”
Deltek views Vision 6 as a “launching point” to get on the continent more, with its multi-currency accounting capabilities. Currently the company is exploring language translations. Only 5% of Deltek’s revenue comes from outside the U.S. Most overseas business is in the A/E world and comprised of earned value management for construction AEC firms for keeping projects on time and on budget.
Besides having rules-based dashboards, Vision 6 will also have pre-defined roles for project managers, the CFO, and others on the business development side so they can see how their projects are doing each day. “We can really start having people getting away from rote tasks and doing a lot of value add analysis on top of what the application does already,” Smith said.
Vision 6 employs the same architecture as in previous releases of Vision, as well as the same user interface paradigm. There may be a small amount of training around configuring dashboards, but the interface remains unchanged. Some companies employ Deltek to come and do some implementation, but even new adopters may not need to have additional help.
Vision has “several thousand” existing customers and there are customers on legacy Deltek products who have moved over to Vision. Smith said approximately 2,000 of the current Vision customers have been conversion customers.
At the Deltek Insight Conference, a day and a half was devoted to addressing how to navigate the Stimulus Plan. Politicians, government contracting experts, former Congressmen, and industry economists made some sense of the new order and how it will affect the A/E world.
“Deltek sits at the intersection of government and the government contracting world because we’re the standard for assuring compliance in the government contracting world,” concluded Smith. “They have our project accounting software, and then the A/E customer base is also a big Deltek constituent.”
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Autodesk announced that it will offer five new industry-oriented software suites to help students learn core design and engineering skills. The suites contain extensive 2D and 3D Autodesk software used by professionals worldwide. The new bundled packages encourage a multidisciplinary educational approach, enabling faculty to teach key concepts to prepare students for rewarding architecture, engineering and design careers. These suites, to be offered globally, will be available in English as well as more than 10 other languages.
Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.
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