Deltek Insight 2012

Dave was featured in an interview with Deltek TV.

Deltek Insight 2012 comes at a very interesting, uncertain, time in the market. Looming elections in the US could significantly alter the role of both government and business in terms of navigating through a difficult economic period. Deltek, a leader in providing business solutions to (both commercial and government) project and service-driven organizations, came to the conference to show how it could help improve organizational performance, regardless of which political party is in power.

SPI Research follows only the Deltek solutions sold to professional services organizations, and therefore not the solutions sold to government contractors (Costpoint, GCS, GovWin, etc.), an industry in which Deltek has been a market leader for some time.

Deltek Insight 2012 began almost one-and-a-half years after Deltek Insight 2011, meaning there was a year-plus of development leading up to this conference. The results are significant. Deltek emphasized three areas where they have made significant strides in delivering leading-edge solutions to their customer base, which will be analyzed in later sections:

  1. Movement to the cloud
  2. Kona and Navigator
  3. Significant new capabilities in both Vision and Maconomy

Deltek’s Financial Position

Normally SPI Research does not spend too much time evaluating a technology providers company’s financial position, unless it could undermine development efforts. Earlier this year, Deltek was acquired by an investor group led by Thoma Bravo, LLC. All indications are Deltek is positioned for continued development as its new owners work to build greater depth in its solution portfolio. This commitment is critical given the growing need of professional services organizations (PSOs) to broaden their use of information technology.

DELTEK’S MOVE TO THE CLOUD

2012 marks a significant time in information technology, as no longer are PSOs considering the move to software-as-a-service (SaaS) based solutions – that time has come and gone and the market is overwhelmingly accepting SaaS. Deltek's move to the cloud enables smaller professional services organizations to utilize much of the functionality contained within their solutions portfolio to better operate their organization, without all of the cost and overhead. Given the increased complexity regarding financial regulations, many smaller organizations have difficulty with compliance. Now, because of the movement to SaaS, these same organizations can operate and report with higher levels of confidence, a major benefit that was formerly available only to larger firms that purchased Deltek on-premise.

KONA & NAVIGATOR

Deltek recently introduced Kona, a social collaboration platform specifically targeted toward improving project communication and innovation in project driven organizations. This tool is free for anyone, whether or not they use Deltek solutions. What makes Kona so intriguing is its ease and simplicity to deploy and use. Anyone can create project workspaces or can concurrently work on a single file, thereby reducing the time it takes to create documents for sales proposals, project updates and other important documents. Kona can also be used for personal projects.

Deltek also introduced Navigator, a tool designed to help project managers better manage projects with all of the information available from the core Vision solution. The complexity found in some ERP systems leaves many project managers hesitant to access data. With Navigator, front-line managers can more easily attain critical project data, which helps them and their team meet project goals. Navigator contains a number of project metrics and graphs, which offer greater visibility.

SOLIDIFYING ITS POSITION AS AN APPLICATION LEADER IN PROJECT-DRIVEN ORGANIZATIONS

Deltek continued its development efforts for commercial professional services originations. Both Vision (architecture and engineering firms) and Maconomy (other independent PS providers) received significant upgrades over the past year.

Maconomy 2.0 – More sophisticated than its release number would suggest

Maconomy’s ERP solutions have been around for a few decades. Prior to its acquisition by Deltek the vendor was one of the few companies that only targeted PSOs. Its solutions were always developed with services in mind rather than other markets such as manufacturing or distribution. Deltek incorporated a new version numbering system for Maconomy, and now Maconomy 2.0 represents a significant milestone following its acquisition by Deltek.

People Planner Improvements

It has been several years since Maconomy introduced its “People Planner” resource and project planning solution, as well as employee scheduling solution, to the market. People Planner has significantly improved a PSO’s ability to ensure higher levels of employee utilization, with the right employees on the right projects. The concept sounds simple, but the benefits can be enormous for professional services organizations.

When the solution was originally developed, it was part of an independent Maconomy. Now, after its acquisition by Deltek, People Planner also has direct integration with other Deltek solutions (Vision and Costpoint), providing high levels of resource visibility to already leading solutions. Unfortunately, People Planner has fewer than 150 customers, and SPI Research believes Deltek should do more in demonstrating its value to Deltek’s customer base.

Business Performance Management (BPM) – Analytics gone wild

SPI Research was particularly impressed with the Maconomy Business Performance Management (BPM) application. BPM is more than a name change from it “Analytics” predecessor. The solution offers three tiers of reporting capabilities, beginning with standard reporting, as one might see in many ERP solutions. The second level is an analysis layer consisting of a data warehouse, which enables PSOs “slice-and-dice” information to better understand operational issues. This data warehouse can be updated as frequently or infrequently as the PSO desires.

The final layer is interesting given its dashboard display, which offers users a variety of ways to analyze information based on the data warehouse. While standard reporting, data warehouses and dashboards have been around for some time with other ERP solutions, including Deltek Maconomy, Deltek's capabilities to easily and efficiently analyze and disseminate information to relevant decision- makers of all levels, makes it unique in the ERP market. Also, with BPM’s “Live Office” edition, PSOs can more easily take information from the solution and automatically add tables into the Microsoft Office suite, making it much more efficient and accurate for custom reports required by executives. efficient and accurate for custom reports required by executives.

DELTEK VISION

Deltek Vision 7.0 builds on over a decade of development into the leading solution for architecture and engineering firms. SPI Research noticed a much cleaner user interface, with a layout making it much easier to operate. The solution also enables customers to more easily customize their solution to ensure greater visibility into company information.

There were the normal updates, such as better navigation, greater use of user-defined fields, enhanced security and other detailed information, but what was most notable to SPI Research was Deltek’s broadening of the solution to meet a more global workforce, as well as offer greater insight to those individuals working at client sites.

CONCLUSIONS

Insight attendees came to this conference with the realization that a potentially global altering election was less than one month away. Therefore, despite everyone's best intentions, uncertainty as to the direction of the United States, which ultimately impacts the direction of the global economy, stared each attendee in the face.

Attendees have faced these seminal moments before, and of course will face many more again. Because of this uncertainty PSOs must be prepared and flexible to make the necessary changes to continue on their path toward success. Deltek and its partner community came to the conference with the same understanding and showed their customers how the efficient use of information can ultimately propel them to success, regardless of the current and upcoming political winds.

Deltek as a company still lacks the market visibility outside of government contracting and architecture/engineering it rightfully deserves. As one of a handful of end-to-end solution providers for the professional services marketplace, Deltek should have much higher market saturation. It has a very loyal and dedicated user base and has worked closely with these customers to continually enhance and improve its solution offerings.

Deltek is very successful at delivering robust business solutions for project- and services-driven organizations, because that is precisely the charter of the company. Deltek's development budget is only targeted at those companies whose work revolves around delivering projects. Therefore, all of the emphasis on building better products begins with helping individuals innovate, collaborate and execute more efficiently and effectively. And with some of its new products, such as Kona and Navigator, Deltek has been able to leverage its development efforts across the entire product family, enabling organizations of all types to become more successful.