Welcome to AECWeekly! Deltek has been in the news quite a bit lately, what with their , a web based interface to Costpoint, this month, and the recent news stating that 73 percent of A/E firms use Deltek's ERP solutions. Read what Executive Vice President of Deltek, Rick Lowrey, has to say about the company's highly focused product road map for project-based businesses in this week's Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Focusing on the Product Road Map
By Susan Smith
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Executive Vice President of Deltek, Rick Lowrey, stated in an interview with AECWeekly this week, “We believe Deltek is the number one player in project-based ERP solutions for companies that range in size and complexity, from a vertical perspective.” Project-based businesses include architectural firms, engineering firms, construction firms, firms that do business with the federal government, IT services businesses, management consulting firms, program-based non-profit businesses. We offer a full suite of solutions including web based solutions, like Costpoint Web, but also solutions within client relationship management (CRM), both vertically focused to point toward construction and government contractors. We also offer other solutions like workforce automation, enabling businesses and employees to be more efficient and self-fulfilling in terms of what they do on a daily basis such as time and expense recording, and project management. Lastly we deliver what the market refers to as 'performance management solutions.'”
Performance management solutions are typically defined as planning and forecasting solutions, that tie the strategy of the business to operational metrics. “Our offering does include dashboards that drive key performance indicators (KPIs) that are role-based, so a project manager can see key performance indicators about his project on a real time basis,” suggested Lowrey. “When things change within the project, alerts are sent, that allow employees to manage the business. Thus the aggregation of the projects tie into a strategic goal that could demonstrate, for instance, that lines of businesses grow 20% in profit in the next year.” Deltek stays very close to those vertical industries and businesses that are very project based.
CostPoint Smart Business Applications (commonly known as Costpoint Web) essentially is a web-native application, meaning it was programmed, designed and built for use and deployment over internet connections in addition to WANs, as well as its being a client/server product. The need for a web-native environment arose from customers who did not want a totally new system to provide that functionality. They wanted to maintain what they had and add a web-native environment. To satisfy that requirement, “We maintained the financial, project and organizational architectures within the Costpoint ERP system,” explained Lowrey, “and so it's just a deployment of the business solution in a distributed environment. It brings several very key tangible ROIs to the marketplace and to our customers because it's the only web-enabled or web-based ERP system designed for project-based businesses.” Costpoint Web allows for the ability to create reports and archive them, email them around the world and create PDF files of them.
Because of the inherent web-based architecture, the ability to access the project information 'anywhere, anytime' provides a critical benefit to the management of financial or project data. When a construction business is in the last part of a critical path, they need to rely on their ERP systems to get them real-time information of cost, schedule or other things associated with that project. Another benefit of the web-based architecture is the concept of 'zero client install' which means there is no footprint on the workstation. It allows for IT infrastructures to deploy Costpoint Web to every machine in a company across an internet connection and not have to worry about version control and upgrade paths. As long as their web server is kept up to date with the latest and greatest products, it's a one-install, everybody-have- access concept. The feature function set is built on web native architecture that supports the reality of a global workforce.
With Costpoint Web, the entire process - the execution of a project from project set-up, delivery, cost allocations, recognition of revenue through billing and collection - is all one process flow of the entire project and distributed in a global environment.
The feature set is very similar to what is in the client/server package, yet the client server package doesn't have the global view. “We handle the complexities of the businesses around the process and deliver this in the web native environment,” noted Lowrey. “Secondly, Costpoint Web delivers the reporting features and ability to generate real-time status reports and archive those for both historical review as well as using past information to develop proposals within the CRM system. The third feature is the technology foundation. Most enterprise applications are delivered through file servers that have to be installed in various locations. Costpoint Web can be installed in one area and now our key businesses have the ability to deploy it across the distributed workforce, in field offices, home offices, and international offices. The global complexities of the IT world now get simplified because there can be one version of the product for anybody.”
Before the product is released to the general market, Lowrey said, and even in the design phase of the project, Deltek uses user groups and current clients from across the industry to test the usability of the design. In Phase Two of the project, as they go through product development, they continue to have those user groups give feedback. Next they deliver the product to the marketplace in a beta version, which has completed development and testing. Essentially at that stage, it is ready for “prime time” but they want to deploy it in some real life scenarios. Costpoint Web was tested for six and a half months and delivered to the general market in June. “Several of those customers are now adopting it in the live environment,” said Lowrey. “They're now in the project plan phase and can go live in the next few weeks.”
With just Costpoint Web alone, Deltek has 8,000 plus customers. Their middle market has revenues of between $50 - $750 million. They also have lots of users that are below $50 million and many who are above $750 million.
What Deltek has done is deliver a technology solution with the same financial and project ROIs that customers have in their existing Costpoint solution with Costpoint Web. You can literally install a web server, install the applications on a robust midde tier, and you don't have to re-implement anything. For existing users who have had Costpoint for a year or 10 years, all you're doing is creating a new way to access that industry rich feature function set, according to Lowrey. “And that was really the last requirement the client put on the product road map that we delivered with Costpoint Web.”
ArchVision and Bionatics announced they have entered into an agreement to jointly develop and promote advanced 3D tree and plant solutions for the design visualization market. ArchVision will market and sell natFX®, EASYnat® and RPC Tree & Plant products exclusively for the design visualization market through its recently launched VisMasters VM Store initiative . VM Stores can currently be found at VisMasters.com, CGarchitect.com and Vizdepot.com.