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Clearview and Unanet Combine to Accelerate Development of InFocus

by Lucas Hayden A/E, GovCon, Professional Services, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News

Oct 17, 2019

Unanet, a leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, has acquired Clearview Software to continue and accelerate the development of InFocus as the leading project-ERP software for Architects & Engineers. Why Unanet? This is a strategic decision that included many factors. We have had no shortage of interested investors over the years, and while past opportunities presented to us meant potentially losing our culture and control of the direction of our product, with Unanet we are able to maintain our focus with additional resources. Additionally, what separated Unanet from the rest was our similarity in our culture and goals. Both we and Unanet have been bootstrapped, founder-owned and operated companies, and we are walking through this door together as we look to maximize our potential. Will InFocus continue to be supported and developed? Absolutely. We’re very excited about the opportunity to put more energy and effort into further developing InFocus. It was one of the major factors in choosing Unanet. We also just released a major InFocus update to all of our customers who received new features at no additional cost. We have more releases already scheduled for next year and are continuing our commitment to product development and support. Will Clearview be shifting its focus away from A/E? Absolutely not. We were looking for a partner that would help us serve more of the A/E market. By combining our resources with Unanet, we will be able to compete with legacy vendors in our market more effectively. There’s a lot of work to do here, and we’re very excited about that. What if I just bought InFocus? You made the right decision and your investment just appreciated in value. We strongly believe that our partnership with Unanet will drive InFocus forward in ways that would have been more difficult otherwise. Who do I contact for support now that Clearview is part of Unanet? Is my account manager changing? Nothing has changed on that front, and all Clearview staff members remain in place. Our current and future customers will continue to reach us at all of our previous contact methods and you will have all the same contact personnel as before. We are dedicated to continuing our excellence in customer service and have increased our support and sales staff in the recent weeks to support our planned growth. What does the future look like for Clearview? The future is bright! Clearview will now have access to more resources to develop and support our software than ever before. We plan to continue adding staff, features and support tools to help our customers run their firms on the best ERP software in the A/E industry.

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Why is a Timely Month End Close Important For Your Project Based Business?

by Kim Koster Professional Services

Oct 11, 2019

Finance and accounting professionals are always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and they can’t find it until month end close. They are not the only folks in the organization looking for the gold—the CEO, CFO, and COO are, too! You may be thinking to yourself, “Why is it so dang important to close the books quickly?” Let’s explore a couple of reasons below: Vital decision-making information is derived from accurate financial information. Being able to concentrate on certain KPIs that drive business strategies is a huge advantage for the company. So, if the data is slow, there is no chance to get those metrics quickly, course correct and avert a crisis.  A slow close also is an indicator that your process is cumbersome (chaos: manual and lots of spreadsheets) and therefore it is likely you are using more labor than necessary. Bottom line, a slow close will increase G&A expenditures. “We have always done it this way, why change?” We hear this over and over and it is just not a vibe of continuous improvement. This stance will hold the finance and accounting teams back and ultimately hold back the overall business. If the close is slow, your underlying functions may also be very slow, like billing, cashflow, accounts payable. Cash is the life blood of every business and you want to make sure all or your accounting functions are performing as well as possible. It is all about People, Processes, and Tools!   Steps to a Faster Month End Close The organization must all agree that there is a problem. Once you admit you have one, it is time to make a case for change. Now that you have admitted there is an issue and you have made a case to fix it, it is time for the executives to make the decision to accelerate the accounting close. They say GO, so it is time to get started. Form a tiger team with the vital stakeholders and explore ideas for continuous improvement. If you are not familiar with a tiger team, it is a diversified group of experts brought together for a need. They are usually assigned to investigate, solve, build, or recommend possible solutions to unique situations or problems. Just like with any project, there needs to be an established plan. The project will need a detailed plan to help coordinate the moving parts and cross functional tasks. What are we going to do? Who is assigned to do it? and When will it be completed? I suggest having a meeting cadence with the team as well as the sponsors or execs. The scope of the overall project will dictate the meeting and coordination needs. Create policies and procedures that fit your business. If you are not sure of the difference of a policy and a procedure, here are the definitions. A procedure is the series of steps to be followed as a consistent and repetitive approach to accomplish a particular end-result. A policy is a guiding principle used to set direction in an organization or department. The documentation of the procedure is the policy. Selecting the right tool for your organization is critical. Selecting the wrong tool can be very costly to implement and—even worse—costly to maintain. A tool won’t necessarily solve your problems, but it is an enabler to maintain process adherence. You will have more success if you pick a tool that is truly integrated. Benchmark other “like” companies to see how long their accounting close is taking. Are you in line with them? Is there an opportunity to gain a competitive edge if we are more efficient? Just because you have policies and procedures does not mean they are applicable to your organization today or that people are using them. Now that you have new shiny policies/procedures and a tool that fits your needs, it is time to enable your people. A training plan must be a part of the ongoing activities to make your finance and accounting team a gold standard for your organization. Since this comes at the end, it is easy to want to skimp on this and save money but trust me, it will cost you down the road. Make sure you have the right people in the right jobs. If there are changes that need to be made, make them. You may have a very talented engineer doing accounting. Maybe he is not so great at debits and credits, but he is a wonderful designer. MOVE HIM! Assess where there are talent gaps and look to make those strategic hires. Source: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey Establish standard KPIs for the accounting close and other financial functions. This will help everyone understand the contribution that the finance and accounting team is making to the overall business goals. Source: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey Continuous improvement Knowledge – what to and why to Skills – how to Desire – want to The intersection of these three is the formulation of habits…in this case, the habit will be to follow the business rules to make the finance and accounting team valued by the entire business. Just say NO to spreadsheet chaos! Reduce Your Month End Close with Unanet! The finance and accounting team are considered back office but the work they do and the information they provide is the BACKBONE for the entire organization. Unanet can help. Unanet provides general ledger, accounts payable, cost pools, PO 2-way or 3-way match, and more accounting features in one single source of truth, allowing you to eliminate spreadsheet chaos once and for all. Many Unanet customers have greatly reduced their month end close cycle and allowed them to increase efficiency and focus on other aspects of their business. Read Phase One Consulting Group’s success story to learn how they reduced their invoicing process from 20 to 7 days. Want to dive deeper? Check out our white paper, “Project Accounting – The Basics!”

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Functions of a Project Management Office

by Kim Koster Professional Services

Oct 07, 2019

Is Your Project Management Office (PMO) a Vital Part of Your Organization? The Project Management Office’s (PMO) mission is to make projects successful by providing the structure needed for an excellent project management approach. There are two types of PMOs: centralized and decentralized. Centralized PMOs are enterprise-wide and decentralized PMOs focus on a program or project. Regardless of PMO type, the major function is to provide decision support information for projects. The Project Management Institute (PMI) Program Management Office Community of Practice describes the PMO as a strategic driver for organizational excellence, which seeks to enhance the practices of execution management, organizational governance, and strategic change leadership. According to recent studies, organizations that have a PMO function are more likely to have project success, which has led to a rise in PMOs. Primary Functions of a PMO: The major function of the PMO is to help project teams manage and execute their projects successfully! Whether starting a new PMO or reviving an old one, the first step is to create a mission statement and a vision. Example PMO Mission Statement: “The Unanet Project Management Office (PMO) supports an effective project management methodology, empowering our enterprise to deliver projects on-time, on-budget, and with the highest possible quality meeting and exceeding our customers expectations.” Example PMO Vision: “To make Unanet a recognized leader in delivering projects that exceed customer expectations and improve our profitability and efficiency.” To fulfill that mission and vision, the PMO will need to perform the following functions: Create and maintain policies and procedures Policies should establish best practices for your organization Assure that the policies and procedures help the teams be successful Provide standardization across the enterprise (Level 3 Maturity) Have a repository giving all stakeholders access to current documents Create a feedback loop to check for adherence Have a self-audit plan and corrective actions Embrace project management maturity – Since project management depends on the strategic alignment of people, processes, and tools, it only makes sense to concentrate on the level of competency of each of these attributes throughout your capability evolution. Engineering and professional services organizations are all on different journeys as it pertains to capability evolution. Increase in maturity equals increase in successful and predictable outcomes. Resource Management – People are a company’s biggest investment and in turn it is the largest revenue generator for service-based companies. Resources should be managed during the entire project lifecycle: starting a proposal, project initiation, execution, and closeout. Enabling projects and programs to measure the utilization and demand of resources is critical. Below are a couple of questions you should be able to answer during the resource management process. A PMO that supports a strong resource management discipline will be a major differentiator for winning new business and executing existing projects. What utilization do you need to be profitable? What utilization should you aim for to avoid burnout? Understanding billable and non-billable utilization? Project probability in people forecasting to more accurately understand both billable revenue and utilization KPIs and reporting for the projects and the enterprise at large – KPIs measure activity that reveals how a business is performing against its goals. KPIs measured against a specific target or benchmark is an indicator of good or bad performance. If a measurement of activity does not directly influence the goals of the business, then it is not a KPI, it is a metric. The business may want to measure many metrics but not all metrics are Key. A KPI is only as valuable as the action it inspires. The PMO should assist the business in defining KPIs that drive the success of projects, programs, and portfolios. The PMO can also be a major player in the communication of the KPIs through standard dashboards and reports. Communication is extremely important as succinct, clear, and relevant (current) information is much more likely to be absorbed and acted upon. One way to evaluate the relevance of a KPI is to use the SMART criteria. The letters stand for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound. A proactive PMO will help establish SMART KPIs for the teams and executives. Role-based training on policies, procedures, and tools is a critical activity for the entire project team. Understanding the basics of the policies and procedures as well as the impact on other teams helps stakeholders understand their role as well as what other groups are doing. Project management discipline and competency training is necessary and PMOs/Organizations that recognize this will reap great rewards. Project management is a mix of learned skills, experience, and basic leadership capabilities. Project managers that are exposed to skills and role-based training are more likely to have successful project outcomes. Organizations will attract great project managers if they recognize the importance of the project management discipline and have a training program, provide a career path, and have established project management processes and procedures. Align with Corporate Goals – The PMO, must embrace the overall culture and corporate strategy to gain traction in the organization. Effective PMOs break down silos and help organizations execute with a common purpose enabling project teams, functional organizations, and executives to be in complete alignment. The goals and mission of the PMO should be aligned with corporate goals. The more successful the PMO, the more influence it will have. As the PMO takes on the role of “trusted advisor” and “project execution specialist” the more support they will gain from the C Suite. The more support they get, the more likely your PMO will help shape strategy and become “best in class.” To learn more, download our white paper, “Benefits of Maturing Your Project Management Discipline.”

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Unanet 19.1 Release Includes Expanded Capabilities for Purchasing and Reporting

by Lucas Hayden Accounting, GovCon, Press Releases, Unanet News

Oct 04, 2019

Unanet 19.1 Release Includes Expanded Capabilities for Purchasing and Reporting Dulles, VA, October 4, 2019 – Unanet, the leading project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, has announced the availability of Unanet 19.1 for On Premise customers. Cloud customers will be migrated on October 19. More than 1,200 project-driven organizations rely on Unanet to manage their projects, people, and financials. The latest release of Unanet includes expanded capabilities for purchasing and reporting, including the ability to create a Vendor Invoice for each Purchase Order with matched transactions, Purchase Order export and import, Vendor Invoice Export, the ability to attach documents to a bank account reconciliation, added approval status for Purchase Requisitions, Purchase Orders, and Vendor Invoices, and more. “This latest Unanet release continues our investment in product enhancements driven by customer input. Unanet has unique capabilities to help professional services organizations optimize their purchasing processes. This release includes very popular requests from our customers that will help accelerate subcontractor management with new features for approval reporting, alerts, and automating labor intensive processes,” commented Richard Hayden, Unanet’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. About Unanet Over 1,200 professional services organizations trust Unanet’s ERP platform to scale their businesses while drastically reducing G&A in a “Single Source of Truth”. Unanet delivers resource scheduling, budgeting & planning, time & expense reporting, billing & revenue recognition, real-time project management analytics and dashboards, GL, AP, AR, purchasing, cost pool calculations, and indirect allocations, in one integrated system. www.unanet.com Media contact: Richard Hayden Senior Vice President of Marketing, Unanet 703-689-9581 rhayden@exportunanet.wpengine.com

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Building a Strong Opportunity Pipeline

by Kim Koster GovCon

Sep 21, 2019

Why Should You Manage Your Pipeline? Pipeline = Strength of the Business Pipeline = Growth or Velocity of the Business Pipeline = Direction of the Business Pipeline = Financial Health of the Business Let’s start off by level-setting on the definition of an opportunity pipeline. For a project-based business like yours, it is the visualization and/or measurement of contracts or projects that you will attempt to win over time. The time horizon can be “time now” to 10+ years into the future depending on the planning needs of your business or the length of your sales cycle. An opportunity pipeline is the incubator for your business growth and it should reflect your company’s overall business strategy. Potential opportunities in the pipeline will be in different stages as defined by your company’s business development processes. Often pipeline is depicted with a funnel. The top of the funnel is wide and it is taking in potential opportunities for new and exciting projects. The opportunity will then move through the business development decision gates (down the funnel and will either continue through the gates or be eliminated through the process) defined by your company until it reaches the Request-For-Proposal (RFP) Stage. Out of the tip of the funnel will come projects that you have won and that you must now execute. Also important are the losses and understanding why you lost. Keeping a set of lessons learned will make sure you don’t make the same strategic mistakes again. Having a gated and structured BD process will assure you are bidding on the right opportunities and making the most out of your bid and proposal budgets. Pwin = Probability that your company will with the business based on discriminators, competition, or other factors. Pgo = Probability that the customer will fund the project. Pwin x Pgo = Probablity of Award (POA) With structured tracking, valuable reports and KPIs will be available to help make those critical business decisions. You will be able to analyze what is happening to opportunities throughout the process, look for patterns, see which portfolios are the most profitable, forecast your labor demands, and project the trajectory of your business (funded vs. unfunded backlog for example). A structured process will also improve the chances of pursuing the right opportunities and closing more deals. Pipeline Management is the Starting Point for the Project Lifecycle Unanet is a powerful project-based ERP solution that can truly help your business manage the lifecycle of the project from pipeline to closeout. It is the only project-based ERP system today that provides one system for projects, people, and financials. What do You Need From a Tool to Manage Your Pipeline? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – track your customer interactions Contact categorization for easy reference (decision maker, geographic location, golf buddy, etc.) Workflow optimization assigning tasks and providing notification Opportunity tracking by phase Easy to use reporting, dashboards, and metrics to direct business decisions Real-time data Project notes and code fields for unparalleled analytics Resource demand planning with both current and TBD resources Ability to shift forecasts to the right or left Ability to make POA adjustments as opportunities moves through the funnel One-click transformations from proposal project to an executable project Cloud based system so there is 24/7/365 access to your information What are the Results of Better Managing Your Pipeline? Better pipeline management has a variety of positive outcomes. You will be able to experience higher win rates as you have gained more visibility and control over your entire BD process. You will be better able to evaluate opportunities and will spend your valuable time bidding on the right opportunities at the right time for your company. And finally, you will be able to maximize your bid and proposal expenses.

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Craig Halliday Joins Unanet as CEO to Lead Next Phase of Growth

by Kim Koster Press Releases, Unanet News

Sep 17, 2019

Craig Halliday Joins Unanet as CEO to Lead Next Phase of Growth Dulles, VA – September 17, 2019 – Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, announced today that it has appointed Craig Halliday as Chief Executive Officer.  Halliday’s priorities include leading Unanet in its next stage of growth and expanding Unanet’s leadership position with professional services firms serving the Federal Government, architecture and engineering, and other sectors, representing a greater than $1B opportunity. Halliday’s proven leadership experience in growing enterprise software companies in the ERP and finance fields, will help ensure that Unanet continues to deliver on its promise to customers and employees. Halliday previously has been CEO with Intelex Technologies, EMS Software and eServGlobal, and held executive leadership positions with RPM, Mincom, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. “I am delighted to join the Unanet team, which has an unparalleled reputation for customer satisfaction and product quality,” said Halliday. “Unanet’s employees are dedicated to helping customers succeed. The Unanet team, led by Fran Craig and Chris Craig have built an incredible company. We will rely on Fran and Chris’s guidance going forward as board members and investors.” Halliday’s appointment follows accelerated growth of 30% annually at Unanet since the release of its ERP offering in summer of 2015, recognition on the Inc 5000 list in 2018 and 2019, exceptionally high Net Promoter Score relative to industry competitors, and a significant growth equity investment by JMI Equity in June of this year. “Craig Halliday’s appointment is exciting news for Unanet customers, employees and partners,” said Chris Craig, Board Director, Unanet. “His dynamic leadership and experience will ensure our customers’ investment in Unanet will continue to deliver competitive advantages by integrating information across their business. We are thrilled Craig has joined the Unanet team.” About Unanet: Over 1,200 professional services organizations trust Unanet’s ERP platform to scale their businesses while drastically reducing G&A in a “Single Source of Truth”. Unanet delivers resource scheduling, budgeting & planning, time & expense reporting, billing & revenue recognition, real-time project management analytics and dashboards, GL, AP, AR, purchasing, cost pool calculations, and indirect allocations, in one integrated system. www.unanet.com   Media Contact: Richard Hayden Unanet 703-689-9581 rhayden@exportunanet.wpengine.com