How a Project CRM Helps You Better Understand the Customer Journey
by Kim Koster A/E, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
How’s your opportunity pipeline looking? What about the satisfaction levels of your current customers? Attracting new customers begins with understanding the needs of customers and improving their experience. The best way to do that is to establish a discipline for tracking and documenting customer touches and to have a method to analyze the data. This is where a project CRM comes in. What is CRM? Customer relationship management is a discipline for managing how you interact with both current and potential customers. These days, there are so many ways to get in front of or hear from customers: in-person meetings, blogs, social media, phone calls, webinars, emails, and so on. Project CRM software wrestles all of this information into one organized place and helps you better understand not only the roles and titles of who is buying your service or product, but the customer journey as well. Some of the benefits of a project CRM include: You gain instant access to prospects and customers in one central place.You can track the customer journey through the entire project lifecycle.You can gain insights into market trends and customer pain points and use this data to make better business decisions.You gain a better understanding of future revenue potential and resource forecasts.You can access a weighted forecast based on probability percentages. Our new ebook, The Business of Projects, is a guide to how ERP software can enable project success. Among the topics in this eBook is an introduction into CRM and the benefits of a project CRM solution. Download your copy of the ebook here and learn how ERP opens the door to capturing and winning more contracts.
For Third Consecutive Year, Unanet Earns Spot on Inc. 5000
by Carrie Mahon A/E, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
When you do right by your customers, your employees, and the communities you serve; deliver quality products; support those products with strong service; and do all this on a consistent basis; you get noticed. That’s the case for Unanet, which in August was named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row. This year, Unanet ranks no. 4,189 on the publication’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Earlier this year, Inc. also placed Unanet in the top 10% of fastest-growing private companies in the D.C. metro region. Consistently landing among the nation’s strongest private companies is largely the result of recent customer growth in the government contractor (GovCon) space, as well as the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries. Unanet has been particularly successful at attracting customers that are seeking a more service-oriented ERP platform. “One-third of Unanet’s customers have switched to us from a competitive product, and this trend is increasing,” said Greg Guelcher, Chief Financial Officer, Unanet. “Our growth is a result of the steady investments we’ve made in our software and our team, all due to collaboration with and feedback from our customers. Our customer-first, people-oriented strategy is paying off.” “The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 come from nearly every realm of business,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.” Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.
Helping A/E Firms Get a Better Grip on Project Cost, Profit
by Lucas Hayden A/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.
How ERP Software Drives Business Forward in the Era of Remote Work
by Kim Koster A/E, ERP Software Best Practices, GovCon
Sep 17, 2020
As executives fight to maintain efficiency in the remote-working environment driven by the COVID-19 crisis, one thing is becoming clearer: silos of information are a significant hindrance to business, particularly in this environment. Business leaders are increasingly worried about maintaining collaboration and visibility in their organization. ERP tools help enable that collaboration and visibility that businesses need, so there is one primary repository of up-to-date, meaningful information. Stacy Critzer, Unanet’s Chief Human Resources Officer, and Kim Koster, GovCon Expert and Unanet’s Vice President of Product Marketing, wrote an insightful article for Strategic HR Review about how ERP software fits into the context of the current remote work climate and how to banish silos, maximize resources, and improve outcomes. In the article, Kim and Stacy also review a case study of a healthcare operation in New York City that has been able to eliminate silos and enable collaboration even in the wake of COVID-19, a shining example of what other organizations can achieve. If you subscribe to Strategic HR Review, you can read the article here. Or, click here.
Bring the Parts of the Project Lifecycle Together With a Project-Based ERP
by Kim Koster A/E, GovCon, Project Management
Aug 03, 2020
For too many organizations, the various parts of the project lifecycle are not treated as being part of one single system and data is kept in individual silos. This is a recipe for project failure. Before we discuss these crucial parts of the project lifecycle that your organization must learn to incorporate together, let’s level-set on what exactly a project is. A project is a planned piece of work that provides either a good or service and has a scope, schedule, and cost. Each project has a lifecycle, a series of elements that contribute to a project’s completion. These elements include: CRM Opportunity pipeline Resource management Budgeting, planning, and forecasting Time and expense Project accounting Billing and revenue recognition Financials Payroll Purchasing Real-time reporting, analytics, and dashboards So, how do you get the parts of the project lifecycle to flow together and increase your chance of project success? Utilize the power of a project-based ERP. A project-based ERP is the ultimate project management control center. It places all the necessary information into the project manager’s hands and brings together every part of the project lifecycle. Our new ebook, The Business of Projects, is a guide to how ERP software can enable project success. This eBook spells out in detail the nature of project-based work, the concept of enterprise resource management, and how organizations capture new business. Download your copy of the ebook here and learn how ERP opens the door to better planning, execution, and financial management through more robust project data.
New Unanet A/E Release Includes Features to Drive Efficiencies for Business Development, HR and Accounting
by Lucas Hayden A/E, Product Releases
Jul 27, 2020
A fresh update to Unanet A/E powered by Clearview, the flexible project-based ERP software purpose-built for the architecture and engineering (A/E) industries, includes new features designed to help A/E firms on the HR, accounting and sales sides of their business. Announced in late July, the software release includes three notable new features and functionalities that are simple to use and immediately impactful: Enhanced CRM. This web-accessible, mobile-friendly feature is designed to streamline how A/E firms track sales and nurture customer relationships, enabling them to prioritize high-value opportunities in their pipeline. It also gives them new tools to help manage job cost, visualize and track opportunity updates, and manage the entire lifecycle of an opportunity on any device. Line-item web approvals. We’ve added a new web feature to help firms ensure more accurate time and expense entry and readily catch errors prior to billing. The enhancement makes approvals intuitive and natural for managers. And again, it’s accessible from any device. Secure payroll integration. This new feature gives our customers robust integrations with trusted payroll vendors, enabling them to seamlessly transfer data bi-directionally in order to more efficiently run, automate and manage payroll and employee information, reducing HR costs and labor. “These new features were developed and integrated into Unanet A/E based on customer input,” said Assad Jarrahian, Unanet’s chief product officer. “We are committing to ongoing collaboration with our valued customers so they have the industry’s best tools for managing their businesses at their fingertips.” The Unanet development team is busy working on additional enhancements to the initial Unanet A/E software release unveiled earlier this year. So keep the feedback coming and stay tuned, because you’ll be the first to know about additional releases as soon as they become available. In the meantime, find out more about Unanet A/E’s latest feature release here.
How ERP Software Can Unlock Better Project Data, Insights, & Growth
by Kim Koster A/E, GovCon, Professional Services, Project Management
Jul 17, 2020
Do you have a complete picture of your project data? If your organization is stuck with multiple silos of project data, it’s difficult to access vital decision-making intelligence. Achieving project excellence takes strategic alignment of people, processes, and tools, which is no easy task. The most successful project-based organizations have learned to harness their project data by putting it into one place: the project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool. Our new ebook, The Business of Projects, is a guide to how ERP software can enable project success. This eBook spells out in detail the nature of project-based work, the concept of enterprise resource management, and how organizations capture new business. Each chapter contains an overview of a key part of the business of projects and how, with the help of an ERP solution, you can open the door to more complete project data, insightful analytics, and greater decision-making. The basics of a project-based ERP Capturing and winning contracts Project management, planning, execution, and analytics Financials tracking Considerations for compliance for government contractors Download your copy of the ebook here and learn how ERP opens the door to better planning, execution, and financial management through more robust project data.
One-Third of Unanet’s Customers Made the Switch From a Competitor. Here’s Why.
by Carrie Mahon A/E, GovCon
May 22, 2020
One of the questions we get frequently from customers and prospects alike is, “Why Unanet instead of Deltek?” We welcome this question each and every time because it gives us a chance to explain why one-third of Unanet’s customers made the switch from Deltek. They tried the competition’s solution, and for some compelling reason, decided our solution would better meet their needs. The most glaring difference between Unanet and other ERP solutions is that Unanet GovCon was built specifically from the ground, up, for government contractors. Likewise, Unanet A/E was purpose-built for architecture and engineering firms. This means there are no bolt-ons, incompatible features, or awkward forcing of disparate solutions, which is rampant among competitive products. Designing purpose-built software requires an extra level of understanding of customer needs, along with a commitment to developing and refining solutions that actually enable customers to address their business challenges through smart engineering and elegant design. In short, it’s about walking in our customers’ shoes to understand exactly what they want from an ERP solution. As one customer, Frontier Technology Inc., learned after making the switch to Unanet from Deltek, purpose-built means their new ERP is more capable at handling business needs and growth. “I have done a lot of enterprise data work, and I can see that the architecture of the Unanet system was done correctly to handle a company like ours with rapid growth,” said Tom Batty, Director of Corporate Staff Operations, Frontier Technology Inc. Another common reason customers switch to Unanet is the real-time data management and access it offers. Too often solutions that were cobbled together take extra steps, additional credentials, and even require two different systems to find one specific data point. Information doesn’t flow through from one point to another. Unanet’s GovCon and A/E solutions deliver real-time information that’s been completely synthesized automatically, giving companies one single source of truth. This creates incredible efficiencies and saves customers time. Just ask Chantelle Miner, Financial Controller for Magnolia River, who, after her firm made the move to Unanet from Deltek, said, “Having the real-time data makes us so much more efficient. The time that we have saved on invoicing alone has been dramatic.” Purpose-built software with real-time data are two critical reasons customers made the switch to Unanet, but the third is probably the reason we hear the most: Unanet’s service. The people of Unanet are dedicated to serving our customers. From your first interaction, to implementation, to training, to ongoing maintenance and updates, Unanet prides itself on treating our customers with friendly, knowledgeable service. Through Unanet University, we provide highly relevant training, market insight, and expertise to keep customers apprised of what’s happening in their industries that may affect things like their financial management, regulations, and human resources. We treat our customers with respect each and every time, and add value in every interaction. David Baker, President of the Rehancement Group, another company that made the switch to Unanet from Deltek, said, “We are no longer at odds with our software provider. We have a true partner who is there to ensure our success.” Bigger doesn’t mean better…it just means bigger. And in many cases bigger means bloated, unnecessarily complex, and not always attuned to customers. Unanet is 100% dedicated to our customers’ success, with purpose-built software that provides real-time accuracy and insight. Want to learn more about making the switch to Unanet? Read about these companies that switched from Deltek to Unanet: Frontier Technology Magnolia River Semper Fortis Relyant Global The Rehancement Group WBB To learn more about switching your ERP software to Unanet, please contact our sales team.
Timely Guidance for Architecture/Engineering Firms Pursuing COVID-19 Relief
by Lucas Hayden A/E
May 13, 2020
As welcome as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, and other federal programs have been to companies seeking a financial lifeline during the global health crisis, by accepting government COVID-19 relief, architecture and engineering firms in most cases also must accept the additional tracking and reporting requirements that come with that aid. An article written by Unanet Senior Vice President of Product Matthew Pantana and published in Construction Executive provides architecture and engineering firms with timely guidance to help them meet the unfamiliar and sometimes nebulous compliance requirements of PPP, the CARES Act and other of Uncle Sam’s relief programs. Pantana, a veteran of the A&E business, offers an in-depth look at the accounting, audit, and reporting capabilities that firms need to meet the compliance requirements associated with these new programs. In the article, he provides guidance on the following: The data that firms must track to support claims for CARES Act workforce retention credits The documentation required to support PPP loans The data firms must provide to comply with paid leave requirements and to claim any credits for the paid leave they provide to employees. To read the full article in Construction Executive, click here.
What You Should Know About SF1408
by Kim Koster A/E
Mar 29, 2020
Overview of the Pre-Award Survey & Manual When becoming a government contractor there are many new things to think about, including the DCAA pre award survey. You are introduced to what feels like over 1,000 acronyms, audit after audit, and project management requirements. If you are a prospective government contractor with an award looming that has cost type work, your first encounter with DCAA will most likely be the Pre-Award Survey (SF1408). In this section, we will provide an overview of the SF1408 survey and audit. Before that, however, let’s do a quick review of DCAA Manual No 7641.90: Information for Contractors, which is a great resource for new and prospective contractors. DCAA Manual No 7641.90: Information for Contractors Believe it or not, the DCAA doesn’t just loom over contractors with audits; they provide a lot of helpful resources for contractors to understand the various audits they may undergo and how to prepare! DCAA Manual No. 7641.90 provides an introduction to the DCAA and explains several audits including price proposals, incurred cost proposals, Pre-Award Survey, and more. This document is a must-read for anyone new to government contracting. Enclosure 2 of the document focuses on the Pre-Award Survey. If you are just getting started in the government contracting world, access the DCAA Information for Contractors. The DCAA Pre Award Survey and Audit Overview The pre award survey is not an audit. It is an evaluation typically made by your contract administration office of your ability to perform a proposed contract. DCAA may be requested to provide information regarding the adequacy of your accounting system to accumulate the type of cost information required by the contract. Before the contracting officer (CO) requests a DCAA audit of your accounting system, the CO will ask you to complete the “Pre-award Survey of Prospective Accounting System Checklist.” You can find that checklist by going to the dcaa.mil website, specifically the link below. The checklist provides documentation to the auditor on how your accounting system meets the criteria in the SF 1408. The CO will give the checklist to DCAA when they request an audit of your accounting system. To download the checklist, visit the DCAA website. The SF1408 or pre-award accounting system survey is an examination before contract award to determine the acceptability of your accounting system for accumulating costs for your prospective government contract. The audit scope is limited to obtaining an understanding of the design of the prospective accounting system so as to appropriately complete the SF1408 “Pre-award Survey of Prospective Contractor Accounting System,” and procedures essential to reach an informed opinion as to whether or not the design of the prospective accounting system is acceptable for accumulating costs and can generate the specific cost information that is required to execute a government contract. Organizations that are looking to get their first government contract may not want or need to install a new, more detailed accounting system unless awarded a contract. In this case, if the potential government contractor anticipates a contract award, it must have developed and designed a system that is operable, though not necessarily in use. You need to be in position to demonstrate the new system to the auditor and ready to implement the system prior to incurring any costs on the government contract. Sometimes the auditor may not think the system is acceptable. You and your CO will receive notification and typically will give you suggestions on needed corrections. Once you have incorporated the corrective actions, a follow up audit will be completed and hopefully the CO and DCAA will be satisfied. Once you have won the contract, you may be subject to an accounting system audit. The basic objective of this audit is to assure your accounting system is adequate for accumulating cost and passing those costs on through invoices presented to the government. This audit is requested by the CO when there is follow-up recommended from the pre-award survey or if no pre-award survey was done. Is There Such a Thing as DCAA Approved Software? Just to be clear, there is no such thing as DCAA Compliant Software! It is your organization and procedures that will be assessed for compliance. That said, software such as Unanet, that is purpose-built for government contractors can significantly help you with achieving compliance. DCAA compliance requires that your accounting and related business processes which collectively including policies, manual procedures and tools be compliant. Software alone is not audited for DCAA compliance or certified, nor approved as DCAA compliant. However, Unanet software has been reviewed by DCAA auditors at more than one thousand customer sites and, along with the customer policies and procedures, approved as supporting DCAA requirements. What the DCAA is Looking for in the SF1408 Segregation of direct and indirect costs Identification and accumulation of direct costs by contract Consistent allocation method for indirect costs to intermediate and final cost objectives Accumulation of cost under general ledger control A time keeping system that identifies employees’ labor by intermediate or final cost objectives A labor distribution system that charges direct and indirect labor to the final cost objectives Interim determination of costs charged to a contract through routine posting of books of account Exclusion from costs charged to the government contracts of amounts that are not allowable Identification of costs by contract line item and units Segregation of preproduction costs from production costs Far 31.202 defines Direct Cost FAR 31.203 defines Indirect Cost For the system to get an acceptable, all items above must be checked Yes or Not Applicable. Utilizing Unanet, you can be confident that you will meet the standards in FAR 53.209-I(f). Unanet Success Story With Unanet, Array successfully completed a DCAA audit that stated that their accounting system design complies in all material respects with the criteria contained in FAR 53.209-l(f), Standard Form 1408 (SF1408). “Unanet shone during our DCAA audit” – Bob Deegan, Senior Vice President and CFO Read the full success story The Importance of Using a Timekeeping System to Maintain Compliance One of the most important aspects of government contracting is maintaining compliance with a timekeeping system. As we touched on above and reviewed in our “DCAA compliant software” blog, remember that timekeeping software alone is not enough to ensure compliance. DCAA requires that the timekeeping process itself—collectively including policies, manual procedures, and tools—be compliant; timesheet software alone is not audited for compliance or certified, nor approved as DCAA compliant. However, timesheet software like Unanet has been reviewed by auditors at hundreds of customer sites and, along with the customer policies and procedures, approved as supporting DCAA timekeeping requirements. That said, let’s dive into the timekeeping requirements and what auditors are looking for. Keeping Track of Your Time Timekeeping procedures and controls on labor charges are areas are of critical concern for government contractors. The key to accuracy in labor charging is your employees. Training, training, and more training is critical so that employees understand the organizations policies and procedures and abide by them. Establishing a culture that understands the criticality of accurate and timely labor charging will encourage employees to get it right the first time. Timekeeping systems must meet the following requirements: There should be a segregation of responsibilities for labor-related activities. Internal controls must be established. An example would be that the responsibility for timekeeping and payroll should be separated. Policies and procedures must be crystal clear Controls must be monitored, and violations dealt with swiftly A culture emphasizing to employees the importance of accurate and timely timesheets. Reminders and training plans will help reinforce proper time charging. Employees need to have training and detailed instructions on completion of the timesheet: Record time daily Record time on the timesheet Time should be recorded by identifier (project, contract name, etc.). Employees should be able to access the description of the identifiers and their descriptions in the work authorization system. Documented process to change time sheet if needed Record all hours worked Certification that the number of hours worked and on what tasks are correct at the end of each period. A policy for timekeeping must be in place that includes the following: The supervisor should approve and cosign all timesheets The supervisor is prohibited from completing an employee’s timesheet unless the employee is absent for a prolonged period on some form of authorized leave. If the employee is on travel status, the supervisor for the employee may prepare a timesheet. Upon his or her return, the employee should turn in his/her timesheet and attach it to the one prepared by the supervisor. The guidance should state that the nature of the work determines the proper distribution of time, not availability of funding, type of contract, or other factors. The company policy should state that the accurate and complete preparation of timesheet are the employee’s responsibility. Careless or improper preparation may lead to disciplinary actions under company policies, as well as applicable Federal statutes. Unanet Success Story Burns & McDonell was able to gain greater project visibility with Unanet’s time keeping solution and the flexibility that they gained allowed them to establish more best practices around their business rules and processes. After implementing, Burns & McDonnell: Achieved a quick and ongoing return on their software investment Has more accurate entry of time that led to better visibility into project issues and an enhanced ability to forecast true costs to complete projects Is able to be compliant with DCAA requirements through an improved annual process Maintains ad hoc reporting tools directly in the hands of their project management team Experiences better control over timesheet review and approval without undue administrative overhead Read the full success story Why Unanet for Government Compliance? Unanet is purpose-built with the project or contract in mind. It is uniquely designed for government contractors and has been battle-tested for compliance rules and regulations. Our compliance features are built into the tool, making compliance part of the fabric of your business. Unanet currently has over 2,000 clients using and trusting the system. Unanet supports compliant accumulation and allocation of costs utilizing time keeping, expense accounting, cost pools, indirect rates, revenue recognition, and project management all in one truly integrated system. Whether you are a small new or a seasoned larger GovCon, you can count on Unanet for your compliance needs. Unanet is recognized by the audit agencies as being “compliant ready,” giving you an immediate advantage in the audit process. Make sure you’re prepared for a pre-award survey and an accounting audit. Learn more about SF1408 in our white paper, “SF1408 & Timekeeping,” or register for a demo to see how Unanet helps smooth the path to compliance.
Timekeeping Insights In The Palm of Your Hand
by Lucas Hayden A/E, Press Releases, Product Releases, Time & Expense, Unanet A/E News
Mar 26, 2020
Timekeeping Insights In The Palm of Your Hand Introducing Unanet A/E powered by Clearview 2020.1 Providing the real-time insight, efficiency, and accuracy to drive business forward. For architecture and engineering firms, time entry to billing is a critical process that must be efficient and intuitive. To maximize revenue and cash flow, many A/E firms are turning to integrated solutions that facilitate access and streamline the invoicing and payment processes. Accelerate your business with a user-friendly mobile web application. REDUCE ANNUAL REVENUE LOSS Make sure each billable charge is accounted for with on-the-go time and expense access. You can enter and approve from wherever you are, with added features such as geolocation to make it as effortless as possible. DECREASE IMPLEMENTATION AND TRAINING TIME Enjoy direct access to workflows and processes, with setup wizards for easy configuration of complex flows. GAIN INSIGHT INTO IMPORTANT BUSINESS METRICS Get quick and easy access to web-based dashboards with meaningful information on the fly, helping you manage your business with the utmost visibility and timeliness. Improve cash flow with enhanced invoice delivery and payment facilitation. STREAMLINE INVOICE DELIVERY AND TRACKING Save time and shorten your billing cycle with insight into invoice statuses from delivery to payment and automated due date reminders that let you focus your attention where it matters most. COLLECT PAYMENTS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY Get paid faster by enabling secure, compliant invoice payments directly within the system, accounting for every transaction seamlessly and easing reconciliation efforts. Unanet A/E 2020.1 delivers crucial visibility into transactions, projects, and time. Unwavering Commitment This release is an example of our unwavering commitment to our customers and our continued laser-like focus on building efficient and innovative technology purposefully designed with customers’ needs in mind. Of all the attributes that Unanet embodies, customer-centric and purpose-built are the ones customers value the most. From software design to new features, everything we do is purposefully geared to the specific needs of professional service companies and based on direct customer feedback.
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.
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.
On-site Project-Based ERP Training with Dunham
by Lucas Hayden A/E, Project Management
Jan 09, 2020
I have had the great privilege of watching more than 2,000 Architectural/Engineering firms operate over the past 25 years. In that time, I have gained great respect for firms that have the culture, discipline, and indeed, passion, to ‘walk the last mile’ and put in detailed project budgets, schedules and manage resources. Dunham, out of Minneapolis, is one of those firms in constant pursuit of project management excellence. At the same time, they recognize the need to not distract everyone with busy work and keep the project delivery and client satisfaction in focus at all times. Recently, Dunham wanted to give their project managers access to our VP of Services, Jason Bivens. Jason not only manages our support and services team he works daily in the project management and resource scheduling tools as we manage our projects with our own system. Jason provided tips on best practices and how to use our task dependency features to easily move out entire project schedules with ease. When a task start date slides out six weeks, simply click the taskbar and drag it to extend. All schedule resources are automatically moved with it. For critical path you can set and view task dependencies. We love showing how our software can dramatically increase your end-user adoption with low or zero training interfaces that make daily life easier for everybody. We always look forward to working with A/E firms who have a passion for excellence in project management, accounting, and of course architecture and engineering. Clients like Dunham help us move the ball forward and are continuously helping us identify ways to innovate our software and business overall. We enjoy meeting with our clients and hearing about how they utilize our software to build amazing projects around the world.
The Unanet A/E Engine: A Modern, Flexible ERP
by Lucas Hayden A/E
Dec 02, 2019
In a previous post, I reflected a bit on my first year and how thrilled I am to be here. I unpacked a bit around how well customers are supported and how fair our pricing and policies are as compared to other products in our space. I also hinted at how exciting it was to find a ‘Super Car’ engine under the hood when I got here. In my prior life at a large consulting practice, we prided ourselves on filling gaps and extending what was really a clunky engine in a legacy system that hailed from the late 1900’s. It could get the basics done – but it was just never built to run fast in a modern way. To be fair to the historical ERP vendors in the Architectural/Engineering/Professional Services space, part of the issue is having to migrate legacy firms forward that may have customized things around the edges and inside the product that wouldn’t port forward in an elegant way. It is hard to take a fresh approach with a clean canvas. Unanet A/E powered by Clearview was fortunate that they could really build their engine correctly from the ground up in an elegant fashion that allows us to run fast and play well in a modern world. Plus, customizations port forward the way our system was built. Engines matter. In fact, their quality will matter more and more in the coming years. You can add or change interfaces to look nicer and appear more modern. However, not having a solid engine that integrates well will eventually restrict your growth prospects. I know, I know, saying something like “built correctly” and “in an elegant fashion” sounds like marketing-speak. So, let me give just a few examples that may help you get a glimpse of the tangible aspects of that elegance: Unanet A/E supports an unlimited project work breakdown structure with an unlimited length alpha-numeric number/name. Granted, you don’t want to have a 12 level work breakdown structure (WBS) if you can avoid it – but it is nice to have if and when you need a 4th or 5th etc. level. We can also have multiple profit centers or companies share/split a node of a project without the need for you to add another level just to break out revenue/cost assignments. So, we can help you keep a simple/tight project structure while also having incredible flexibility where and when you need it. Better Software. Better Company.Adding to that first bullet, from day one, our opportunities and projects have been in the same table. Other vendors are just now catching up to the fact that you need to have them in one table so you can look at projected revenue across both under contract projects and potential projects. You need to be able to put time and expenses against an opportunity and plan/budget the project prior to it getting awarded. We have also always had client and vendor contacts in one table so you can look across the relationships you have. Better Software. Better Company.Our system is real-time. I am not talking about just labor here. Our analytic dashboards show what is happening right now, not pulled from a stored database or cube of data from last night or two hours ago. If your current system relies on stored data from the past it is a sign that it doesn’t have the structure or horsepower to perform. Better Software. Better Company.If you created a custom invoice or report in version 1 of our software back in 2008 it would still run fine in version 47 today, eleven years later! In fact, it is really more like ‘personalizing’ your system. This makes updates seamless. No re-implementations or having to stay on an old release to keep something working. We build enterprise, solid, stable software so you can worry and focus on other things in your business. Better Software. Better Company. Everybody claims that they have great technology. The ‘proof is in the pudding’ and eventually your engine will reveal its’ weakness. Give me a call and I would be glad to show you the difference. There is a real sea change happening in the industry. We would be honored to earn your business and have you join our rapidly growing list of customers. Thanks for your time and consideration. Steve McTavish 866-553-0330 ext 225
2/3 of Unanet A/E Users Migrated from Deltek
by Lucas Hayden A/E
Nov 07, 2019
Practice makes perfect and we have LOTS of practice migrating firms from Deltek to Unanet A/E powered by Clearview. Our implementation team is composed of experts from the Architecture/Engineering industry who have themselves traveled down the path of transitioning from Deltek to Unanet A/E at their previous firms or in their consulting career. They know their stuff – both the system you are coming from and the possibilities to ‘move the ball forward’ with Unanet A/E. Our team of project based accounting specialists can hold your hand throughout the process and work with you to get up and running quickly so that you can begin utilizing Unanet A/E’s tools like real time dashboards, project planning, CRM, time and expense entries and others to manage your business in a new and exciting way. We have had so many users migrate from Deltek to Unanet A/E over the years – and indeed, an increasing number recently that have chosen Unanet A/E over updating to Deltek Vantagepoint – that we have developed data migration utilities that automate a large part of the data transfer. In fact, our utilities can typically bring transactional level, detailed history over from Deltek Vision with greater than 90% accuracy on the first rough cut pass. The last 10% gap closes quickly once we meet with you and your team and gain an appreciation for the user defined fields and the like that you want to bring over as well. We are hearing more and more often that Deltek customers are being pushed to Vantage Point when the features they need to run their firms aren’t ready for prime time. Due to the increased demand for a more modern and flexible project based ERP, Unanet A/E has added multiple support specialists, developers and implementation staff and partners in the recent months. Once you are up and running, we aren’t going anywhere. Unanet A/E offers unlimited, U.S. based support to help you get the most out of our technology. Our project based ERP with forecasting, planning, time and expense and other business administration modules are designed to keep architecture and engineering firms running quickly and efficiently so that you can focus your time and energy on the work that you love while keeping a close eye on the day to day projects, costs, sales and operations of your Architecture and Engineering business. We would love to talk with you about our cost saving software that allows you to do more. Reach out to us through the form at the bottom of the page, or read a little more about a 250 person firm that joined us after leaving Deltek HERE.
Unanet Expands Solutions for Architecture & Engineering Firms with Acquisition of Clearview Software
by Lucas Hayden A/E, Press Releases, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News
Oct 24, 2019
Unanet Expands Solutions for Architecture & Engineering Firms with Acquisition of Clearview Software DULLES and LYNCHBURG, Va., Oct. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Addresses Demand from Professional Services Firms Seeking Alternatives to Legacy ERP Vendors Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider, announced today that it has acquired Clearview Software–a leader in project-based ERP software for Architects & Engineers. The combined organization will serve nearly 2,000 Professional Services firms, particularly those in the Government Services, and Architecture and Engineering (AE) sectors. “Unanet has always been focused on meeting the unique needs of customers in the professional services market, and we are excited to welcome Clearview to the team,” said Craig Halliday, CEO of Unanet. “Clearview’s leadership in the AE market combined with Unanet’s resources accelerate our ability to deliver on the next phase of growth. There is tremendous appetite in the market for an alternative to legacy ERP vendors. And, Unanet and Clearview’s proven software coupled with our exceptional customer service, provide the ideal choice for organizations seeking a better option.” “This is a fantastic opportunity for two leaders in Project-Based ERP to join forces and help professional services firms achieve better project outcomes for their customers,” said Matt Pantana, President and CEO of Clearview. “Our team of talented employees bring many years of experience in the AE sector and we look forward to joining Unanet.” Clearview will operate as a division of Unanet based in its present location in Lynchburg, VA. Clearview’s Matt Pantana will remain in his current position joining the Unanet management team. All employees will continue in their existing roles. 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. https://exportunanet.wpengine.com About Clearview: Clearview Software is the developer of InFocus, a comprehensive ERP system built for AE firms. InFocus offers time and expense entry, billing, project management, business analytics, and full project-based accounting. InFocus delivers unmatched ROI by automating key business workflows and aggregating timely information necessary for critical business decisions. To learn more, visit https://www.clearviewsoftware.com. Media contact: Richard Hayden Senior Vice President of Marketing, Unanet 703-689-9581 firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE Unanet
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.