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Alvine Engineering Innovates with Unanet A/E

by Lucas Hayden A/E

Jan 29, 2020

  We recently had the chance to visit with one of our innovative clients, Alvine Engineering, at their home office in Omaha, Nebraska. Alvine was founded in 1961 as a mechanical and electrical systems design and consulting firm. They are a family-owned company with two generations of expertise in fire protection engineering, architectural lighting design, building commissioning services, technology systems design, and life support systems engineering. Alvine’s philosophy states that the best engineering involves equal parts science, art, and business. Unanet A/E powered by Clearview is honored to be a part of that mix. We are committed to partnering with them to continue enhancing their skills in project management, data analytics and accounting with our modern and flexible, project-based ERP. Here are a few words Alvine’s COO had on the importance of having a powerful platform to run their business: “I’m Brant Yantzer with Alvine Engineering. I’m the chief operations officer and oversee all daily operations of the firm, from the operational, technology and technical perspective. Alvine Engineering currently has 140 employees with 4 offices and licensed in 49 states across the country with active projects in 36. A robust ERP system is vital to the success of any professional services and design firm in the architecture engineering industry. Access to information about the clients, the design, the technical details, the communications, in a realtime fashion through multiple platforms and devices, is something that we require. This is due to the mobility that is required in order to meet our clients needs, project needs, and to close things out in a method that is clear, crisp, and concise for all parties involved. One of the things that drew us to the Unanet A/E platform was that of their Organizational Nervous System which we feel is imperative to our success. Not only does their software provide the necessary components that most businesses need, but also allows for the flexibility to move in areas to collect data and information and bring it into the system to transform it into information we require to make better business decision, satisfy our clients, and deliver our technical services. We feel Unanet A/E’s platform offers us the opportunity to enhance the experience of not only what we’re trying to accomplish, but meet the needs of our clients and design professionals alike.” Unanet A/E is proud to partner with Alvine Engineering on the future of project-based ERP. Their vision for project management and financial excellence as well as efficient training matches our passion for delivering a product that will help them reach these goals.

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Could Your Small Business Benefit Big from Runway Rules for Government Contracts?

by Kim Koster Business Development & Growth, GovCon

Jan 15, 2020

Recent initiatives adopted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to act on 2018 legislation are expected to open the door for more small businesses to vie for federal government contracts. Enacted by SBA in January 2020, the long-awaited rules implement provisions of the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018. As detailed in a 2019 Unanet-sponsored webinar on recent legislative and regulatory developments impacting small businesses, the law extends the look-back period for calculating the size of a business (based on annual revenue using receipts-based size standards) from three fiscal years to five fiscal years. Here at Unanet, we expect this “runway” extension will be a positive for small businesses by essentially enabling more companies to stay within the small business size standard for the purposes of competing for federal contracts. In particular, it may enable companies that have experienced a recent surge in annual revenue to retain their small business status and thus their eligibility for small business set-asides. For more on the law and the new rules that implement it, check out this article in Government Executive. Want to tap into Unanet’s expertise in small business government contracting for a deeper understanding of the new rules and how your company may benefit from them? Get in touch! We’re here to help!

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In Pursuit of ZERO Training

by Lucas Hayden A/E, Project Management

Jan 13, 2020

In my previous posts, I have tried to unpack a bit of our ‘untold story’ related to how powerful the Unanet A/E powered by Clearview engine is. Now let’s shift a bit to the end-user experience. We have learned so much from the many transitions we have done for clients moving from Deltek and BST. With this knowledge, we have created some amazing tools to speed up the migration and adoption process. In our initial meetings with firms – what we call our ‘Strategic Planning Summit’ – it was increasingly clear that firms had struggled with user adoption with previous software amongst their teams.In particular, those outside of accounting (think business development, project managers, and executives) just never really embraced their past systems. No matter how many box lunch training sessions took place, the legacy systems just weren’t intuitive. The “just go down to the project area, then to the 9th tab, then to the 24th field, then enter…..” learning model was just not working. Add to that the fact that these team members may only perform that one task occasionally, and frustration came quick (both for the end-user and indeed, the folks tasked with training everyone). Listening to that story over and over really led us to develop what we call ‘Interactive Actions’. What does that mean? Let me give you a few examples that may bring that point home: In pursuit of zero training: Recently, an engineering firm told us they wanted “Turbo Tax for Engineers”. They had used Deltek Vision for more than a decade and wanted something that would allow their end-users to interact with the system without learning database terminology. They wanted all of the complex logic and business rules of their business hidden behind easy, English based questions and responses that could be understood by even the newest member of their team. We worked with them to develop a feature that we eventually named “Interactive Actions”. We always had what we called Actions in Unanet A/E – wizard-like tools for quickly adding projects, clients and the like. With Interactive Actions, we took that to a whole new level and the user response has been overwhelming. Ask end-users simple questions and, based upon their responses, lead them down a path of questions and/or actions that are specific to their responses. Reduce the noise: Keep your end users laser-focused on the task at hand and don’t make them wade through screens and fields that don’t apply – or that don’t apply right now for the task they are trying to accomplish. For instance, maybe you ask a project manager that is creating a project a few basic questions and, when they select a particular market sector like Higher Education, you then ask them specific questions related to Higher Education and not another market sector. Maybe users are required to enter the number of students served, square footage, and/or put in additional information if the project is over a dollar threshold. The options are endless. That said, since we primarily work with professional services firms – and particularly, architecture and engineering firms – we see commonalities and continue to add those Interactive Actions to our ‘Starter Kit’ that we can deploy when we first migrate a firm off of one of the legacy systems in the industry. You can always adjust or add to what we provide as well and the personalizing of your Interactive Actions seamlessly moves forward with updates/releases too. Better Software. Better Company. The world increasingly works from a mobile construct and having your end users wait until they get back to the office to kick start a task/process just slows things down. In a worst-case scenario, they may completely forget about the task/process they wanted to finish or kick-off. You can leverage Interactive Actions from a mobile phone and/or tablet while out on the go. Remove the hurdles and barriers getting in your way. Increase your velocity and responsiveness. Better Software. Better Company. So now that you have made your end-users life easier, what’s in it for the administrator and operations team? A whole lot! Interactive Actions has the potential of drastically reducing your security settings (ie lots of security roles, options, and ongoing maintenance). Add to that the fact that data quality increases dramatically so you don’t have to constantly check and re-check whether the data was entered properly. If you have the right Interactive Action, the end-user can’t make a mistake. They win. You win. Better Software. Better Company. Give me a call and I would be glad to show you how Interactive Actions can revolutionize your business. There is a real sea of change happening. We would be honored to earn your business and have you join our rapidly growing list of customers. Thanks for your time and consideration.