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Helping A/E Firms Get a Better Grip on Project Cost, Profit

by Lucas HaydenA/E, Project Management

Sep 17, 2020

Newly published article by Unanet’s Lucas Hayden details how firms are realizing new efficiencies by gaining a clearer picture of overhead and job costing. As timely and helpful as government aid has been for many architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms during the COVID-19 crisis, our firsthand work with these firms tells us that firm leaders are well aware they won’t be able to rely on stopgap government programs forever, and thus must find sustainable ways to manage their businesses and their resources more efficiently. With the right ERP and analytics capabilities, uncovering and capturing meaningful new operational efficiencies is well within reach for AEC firms, Unanet’s Lucas Hayden explains in an article published in August on the PSMJ website. In particular, the right ERP and analytic tools can help firms gain a better handle on key factors like overhead and job costing so they can more accurately track and predict the profitability/financial performance of specific projects. That, in turn, enables firms to more efficiently manage their resources and plan for the future. In the article, Hayden details three capabilities that are proving particularly valuable to AEC firms in today’s volatile business environment: Integrated ERP tools that give firms flexibility in how to capture job cost.The ability to quickly and accurately track overhead by project is more critical today than ever before. The job cost rate/burdened pay approach and the overhead allocation approach are the two main methodologies for doing so. In the article, Hayden explains how each approach works, and how to determine which is best for your firm. Analytics to glean deeper data insight. Advanced analytics capabilities can elevate the depth and timeliness of the insight a firm gains from its data. Instead of basing decisions on outdated information and only using analytics to look at the past, the latest breed of analytics tools give firms a clearer picture of the future for forecasting, planning and the like. Interactive dashboards to make analytics insight more digestible and actionable.  When a firm can package data from across the organization in interactive analytics dashboards, they gain the power to see key project costing information and other important data from various perspectives to uncover insights, anomalies and nuances they may not otherwise find. Hayden details some of the interactive dashboard features and functionalities that can maximize the insight gained from overhead data. To read the full PSMJ article, click here.

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Optimize Your Business with Crucial Technology & Benchmarking Insights | The 2020 GAUGE Report

by Kim KosterGovCon, Government Compliance

Sep 17, 2020

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, CMMC compliance, and social unrest—not to mention the usual myriad of unique industry challenges—2020 has been an unprecedented, arduous year for the GovCon industry and beyond. With so much change and so many surprises, many contractors are left with their heads spinning, wondering where to turn. One thing is clear during this tumultuous period: one of the best sources of advice for GovCons is each other. There’s great benefit in learning how other government contractors are confronting challenges and opportunities similar to yours. Unanet and CohnReznick’s fourth annual GAUGE Report can provide this guidance. This report is a collection of survey results from over 1,450 contributors in the GovCon sphere and provides performance metrics and business practices that are shaping this current volatile government contracting landscape. “The year 2020 continues to be a season of reckoning,” the report authors observe, “as government contractors are either reaping the rewards of having laid a sound business and technology foundation, or paying the price of playing catch-up.” Technology is the theme of this year’s GAUGE and the report explores how GovCon leaders need to leverage technology to best position their companies not only during this season of remote work but for the next five years. Some major takeaways from the report include: Optimism impacted: Prior to the pandemic in early March, 84% of survey respondents reported that they were either very or cautiously optimistic about their business outlook. Near the end of March, the percentage of respondents reporting this optimism dropped to 68%. Project and resource success: 59% of respondents reported that 76%-100% of their projects are on or under budget, and 55% of respondents rated their resource management at a high level of maturity, an improvement over previous years. Slowly adapting new technology: 53% of surveyed contractors use a project-based ERP system, while 18% use an entry-level system and 29% rely on other generic ERP tools. With the focus on technology in this year’s report, it is clear that GovCons’ success going forward depends on them “empowering teams to be productive in any setting and adapting quickly to new ways of operating” through the use of technology. You can get your own copy of the GAUGE Report here and begin leveraging crucial industry information and best practices. We’re excited to hear how the report helps your organization establish and refine company goals in 2020 and beyond.

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Our engine now runs even better.

by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM, Security

Sep 16, 2020

When you invest in a software platform to drive your firm forward, this guiding principal should simplify the partnership each side enters: “do the right thing” – one of the core values that Unanet embodies for each other, Unanet CRM by Cosential, and our customers. That’s why it should come as no shock that over the past weekend we overhauled our entire system in upgrading our SQL Server – all within the blink of an eye, and with no disruption to our customers.   What’s happening below the surface matters.  You can’t always see enhancements or upgrades made to infrastructure – but I promise you will be able to feel them. The decision to upgrade our infrastructure aimed to make us even more secure and up-level our reliability in a proactive manner.   This milestone is an important moment to celebrate.  It enables us. Upgrading Unanet CRM’s infrastructure means improved database performance and better data insights – which allows us to make product decisions faster and ultimately pass those benefits directly to our customers.   It protects you. Unanet just proactively improved the reliability and security of the platform you run your business on. This SQL provides a powerful level of encryption and dynamic data masking that clamps down at even the sheer possibility of an intruder benefiting from any type of breach.   Better Performance meets best-in-class security: underneath the hood, Unanet CRM for AEC now has a much better engine, and we’re excited for the continued path of innovation this will have us pave with the best in the AEC industry.    

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Contact Management just got smarter.

by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM

Sep 15, 2020

You dedicate a significant portion of time to managing your contacts through follow–up emails, e-introductions, and even surfacing new contacts discovered throughout your pursuit of the next big project. Due to this, it’s safe to say the business contacts you’ve developed throughout the timespan at your firm has likely grown exponentially when you factor in your Outlook inbox. In fact, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day is forecasted to grow to over 347 billion by the end of 2023 (Radicati Group).   What happens when one of those contacts moves firms, introduces you to someone in a different region, or you find yourself needing to reach them on their direct line and not the conference number where you were introduced? You’ve likely heard the old adage “work smarter – not harder”, it just became a no-brainer to take advantage of the business data that’s in your email with Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook’s latest Contact Management feature; now helping you grow contacts and stay up-to-date with absolutely no effort.    Your Contact Management feature in Unanet CRM for Outlook is now fueled with machine learning to take the heavy lifting from manually creating new business contacts to keep you driving forward with project pursuits. Unanet CRM  works in the background while you’re in your inbox to smartly surface new contacts on your behalf and accurately identify information changes to existing key contacts straight from the email signature. In one single click you’re now notified that a Contact is being created and added to an existing or new Company in Unanet CRM. That’s right – one click, and you’re done.   “I like to think of Unanet CRM for Outlook’s latest feature enhancement as an ‘Easy Button’ for user adoption. There is no downside to this – it really is delightful.  If you have users new to CRM that don’t like entering data, or you are trying to excite your colleagues about your new CRM– this is for you. Unanet CRM can help you get meaningful data into your system of record easily without leaving your inbox.” Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet Unanet CRM for Outlook allows you to manage your contacts in one place and jumpstart growth by feeding your system of record up-to-date, accurate, information seamlessly– all within the context of your inbox. Never sweat the details again, ensure your contact data is up to date with these new smart contact management features working for you:  Grow contacts with a single-click by automatically populating record details across email signatures and social media.   Surface key contact details and auto-associations straight from email through machine learning.   Plus, auto-update Contact records with changes while you work.    Learn how easy it is to leverage Outlook and Unanet together to instantly access meaningful contact and pursuit data at your fingertips.   Download the  Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook Overview.  

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You Can Now Do Even More With Your Pipeline

by Kellye KingAEC, Business Development & Growth, CRM

Aug 14, 2020

As a Business Developer, you need a platform that makes it easy to breathe strategic insights throughout the entire lifecycle of your project pursuits — but where does that happen during the key juncture when a casual business connection you’ve been exchanging communication with develops into a full-blown opportunity for your firm?   No surprises here, it’s likely your inbox. Email is a way of life. It’s so ingrained into daily habits that it’s hard to imagine how to nurture relationships and close business without it. The great thing is, with Unanet CRM by Cosential, you don’t have to.  Since the recent debut of The New Business Development Experience – introducing entirely new ways to drive forward with business pursuits – we haven’t stopped meeting Business Developers in areas where their daily habits already thrive.   “This is helpful. I’m an engineer, so this would be where I’m mostly involved. When you talk about the business development team… everyone who is an Engineer is in [Business]Development, so, in a sense we need to get a license for everyone here. [Unanet CRM for Outlook] tracks Leads and submittals that are related to Me.”–Strategy & BD Principal, at an award-winning geotechnical engineering firm. Unanet CRM for Outlook allows you to maintain your pipeline in one place and jumpstart growth by feeding your system of record up-to-date, accurate, information seamlessly– all within the context of your inbox. With over 15 dedicated enhancements to our Opportunity Management features, you can now do even more in your pipeline without ever leaving your email, including these new stand-out capabilities:  Easily drag and drop Opportunities to closed stages to streamline your pipeline view. Quickly identify which pursuit needs your attention and create Call Logs bringing key stats straight to the Opportunity card. Bundle up critical connection insights by linking Opportunity, Client Owner, and Company details to Call Logs straight from an Opportunity card within Pipeline view. Learn how easy it is to leverage Outlook and Cosential together to instantly access meaningful contact and pursuit data at your fingertips.  Download the Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook Overview.