New Partnership for Deltek Vision and Deltek Professional Services consulting

I am excited to announce the official launch of Version X Solutions!

Version X Solutions is a new partnership that brings together a combined 30 years of Deltek Vision knowledge and experience under one umbrella.

We offer a wide and practical range of products and services including custom modules, custom reports, and even a cloud hosting service.

We’ve put together the beginnings of an inventory, and will continue to add to it as we come up with new ideas and do more interesting work for clients. If you have an extension we need, we’d love to hear about it!

Of course we still offer hourly consulting for nebulous or “figure it out as we go” projects.

You can read more about us and our current offering here.

What does this mean for existing customers?

Our new partnership will not adversely affect the existing relationships I have built with you over the years.

You will continue to get the same great friendly, responsive and most importantly, knowledgeable consulting services you have come to rely on from me.

Thank you for your continued business and I look forward to working with you in the near future.

From now on, please refer to the Version X Solutions site for information about products and services offered.

 

 

 

Loren… what are you doing? Why haven’t you been writing more blog entries lately?

Happy Holidays!

I have been a bit remiss with this blog. I apologize. My excuse is being busy with the following projects:

CALIFORNIA:
1. Automating labor rates in Deltek Vision with an outside platform being the system of record. This includes automation of prevailing wage rate schedules, dealing with differentials and changing benefits elections. I will be using lots of workflows and webservices to pull in employee pay rates, benefits selections and related data to reside in Vision.  Then more workflows to automate maintenance of labor cost tables based upon employee selections of day/night shift, labor category (staff type) and reg, ovt, or double time.   I will be making extensive use of Vision’s new custom infocenter features.

This project should be completed some time in the spring.  If you’re suffering from prevailing wage rates and schedules maintenance in your own organization let me know and maybe I can help.
NEW YORK:
2. A client has been using Deltek Vision for a few years but they do not feel they are getting everything out of it that they can.  Thus, this is kind of a re-implementation project.  They previously converted from Advantage and need help making the conceptual and practical transition from a pure accounting system to a project accounting system.  They have yet to implement timesheets, expense reports and workable methods for project Work Breakdown Structure.

Both of these projects require a lot of work just scoping and defining what needs to be done. It’s very challenging!

It’s much more challenging than just building a custom report or a small workflow process with a relatively narrow set of requirements and small set of users. This is essentially taking a set of ad-hoc defined business process, and designing a proper automated solution to manage the operational data of that process (or those processes). This normally requires the integration of existing applications or solutions, importing or incorporating historical data, transforming historical data when data architecture corrections are made, and designing new processes, policies and procedures for using the new tools we put in place.

Lastly, training and documentation will be required to make sure that the processes and tools put in place actually get used!

Luckily most of the work can be done off site, thus keeping down travel costs and allowing me to work in relative isolation so I can concentrate!

If you’re ever in down town Austin, TX give me a call and I can show you my office and some cool stuff!

 

 

A basic rule of thumb to consider when looking at business automation

I’ve just kicked off a rather large project with a well established engineering firm based out of Ohio.

In reviewing their business processes and the day to day operations of some of their accounting and project management functions, I have come up with a good rule of thumb for looking for inefficiencies in any business using Deltek Vision.

Here it is:

Anything you’re using excel for right now, should probably be looked at as a process that needs to be properly automated.

I’ve seen lots of companies taking data out of Vision, putting it in excel so they can sort and manipulate it, perform calculations and generate reports.

The problem with doing this is… just off the top of my head:

1. how do you know you did it right? Who is vetting your work?

2. how do you know you just did it exactly the same way you did it last time?

3. did it take you longer than 1 minute? If it did, that was too long.

4. are you trying to do calculations that your ERP platform is supposed to be able to do? examples: overhead allocation, revenue generation, WIP, AR aging, Payroll or other journal entry “adjustments”, “truing up the accounts” etc. etc. If so, then you’ve wasted money and time on a platform that is not living up to expectations, and time being wasted on work arounds.

5. Version control

etc.

Can you think of more reasons to not use excel? Go ahead and leave comments… or drop me a line.

 

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Credit card transaction import module finished

I have been remiss on posting to my site/blog. I have been swamped, buried in work.

The credit card import module has been completed and running now for 1 week in a production environment with no bugs yet.

Here are the basic functions of the module..

1. User downloads credit card transaction detail from Chase as a CSV file, then drops file into designated directory. User can name file whatever they want.

2. Module imports csv data, archives file and renames it. All imported data is linked back to that specific file so user can look up individual transactions with ease, all the way back to original csv data. If user imports the same file several times or if there are duplicate transactions the process cleans it up.

3. Module processes imported transactions into employee expense reports, adding transactions to appropriate open expense report or creating a new one if needed. Transactions will be added to either the appropriate report based on transaction date, or in current expense report if the appropriate one has been submitted.

4. Employees open their automagically created expense reports and add project number information as well as account for each detail, adding descriptions if needed.

5. User runs a report which shows any import errors, employee expense entry errors or missed imported transactions.

6. When expense reports have been completed, they are posted using normal Vision procedures.

7. When a payment is made to the credit card company, user locates payment serial number in imported data (all transactions are imported, even chargebacks and payments) and processes that payment using a workflow. The workflow creates journal entry files to allocate the cash effect to all projects based upon which details were paid by that payment, and where the employees assigned them. This shows cash flow on a per project basis when that credit card payment is made.

8. Journal entry file can then be posted through normal Vision procedures.

If you would like more information about this module please contact me.

Deltek Insight 2012 presentation

Deltek Insight was relatively successful this year.

Some promising functionality is being put out by Deltek, like the Navigator, and the mobile time app.  Although, I found the mobile time app interface to be quite clunky in the demo. I actually took the Navigator usability test/survey in the lab at Insight.  This was pretty interesting.  They have made some good improvements to the planning module by putting a different presentation on top, one that actually appears like it will be readable when you have a plan in place.

For anyone who attended my presentation, what follows is my slide deck, with some clarification.

Regarding work breakdown structure, the example converted work breakdown structure should look like this instead:

0001 GW and Lysimeter Sampling Report
01 Sampling
02 Reporting

0002 SPCC Plan
01 Draft
02 Revise
03 Review/Comments

0003 Drinking Water Sampling Report
01 Draft
02 Revise
03 Review/Comments

Looking at the first phase “0001”: When developing a proper WBS for a project, you may find that you want to divide up certain amounts of effort into either their physical parts (like building 1, building 2, building 3) or into their process steps (get samples, write report, review and submit to client). It all depends on how you want to present the proposals, costs and fees. Either way, you should be able to put a price on the WBS element.

In the case above, phase 0001 has been divided into type of effort to deliver the plan/report, keeping in mind that it is possible to put a price on each task. The labor codes that would be used under task 01 might be travel time, sampling, sample plan (meaning planning out the number and location of samples), sample prep, lab tests.  Then under 02 Reporting you might have report writing, report reviewing, administrative (collating, binding, copying) and delivery expenses. Again, it is possible to assign an estimate of cost and thus a price to both tasks, so even though they have “ing” at the end, they are ok as WBS elements.

If you have any other questions regarding my presentation, mission critical data path for Deltek Vision, the correct way to store certain types of data in Vision or any business automation questions in general, please get in touch.  Even better, post a question on this post in the form of a comment and I will answer it in a follow up post.

Thank you for your time and attention!

Loren

here is the presentation in pdf format. I suggest right clicking on the link below and choosing “save as”:
==> PS-80 Storing Data in the right Place <==

P.S. I noticed there was a healthy stack of evaluation forms filled out and submitted after the presentation. Thank you very much!

The question you should ask of all your consultants…

I get this question every once in while… “do you write code?” or “do you know… abc technology”?

Here is the short answer:

Yes. I’ve been writing code since I was 10, when my parents bought me my first computer and I stayed up late at night trying to write my own word based adventure games… often referred to as “zorg” games. You may or may not know about them. I wrote my first professional business application when I was 15, for a hospital in France. I was an exchange student at the time and earned an entire week’s worth of skiing in Switzerland for that app. It was a database that kept track of patients and the drugs they were trying for clinical trials.

I write code about every day… sometimes it’s in javascript, visual basic (excel, microsoft access etc), or html but most of the time it’s in T-sql or what’s officially called “transact SQL”. This particular language is a procedural language (hence the name “stored procedure”) that allows you to do lots of cool stuff at the database level. The advantage in this case, is that Deltek Vision has an open database so you can do almost anything to it using T-SQL.

However… the real question that people should ask of me and their consultants is:

“Can you determine what is the thing we need created to automate our business… and can you determine if we should build or buy it… and can you design it, then build it or implement it?”

and

“Do you understand our business and are you interested in providing service and making us buy technology to enhance our bottom line and make our business more efficient as opposed to a lot of other consultants who are only interested in making a quick buck and not really being thorough with what we need and not really developing and meeting a well thought out list of requirements?”

Now THAT is the question you should ask me.

Go ahead… I dare you.

CREDIT CARD TRANSACTION IMPORT AUTOMATION – PART 3

Ok I’ve made a lot of progress over the past two weeks. This is quite a complex project actually… but it’s about finished.

The final results look basically like this:

1. use SSIS (Sql Server Integration Services) to grab the csv files from designated directory and import them into a raw data table.

2. move any transactions from raw import data to the processing table… exclude any transactions that have already been imported.

3. using some data transformations in the form of user defined functions (UDF), make the data look like expense detail transactions

4. insert the expense detail transactions into the expense reports for the corresponding employees

5. allow employees to edit their expense transaction details in their pre-populated expense report

6. show the entirety of credit card expense transactions in a report… that shows the imported data, next to the matching expense detail records in Vision, allowing employees to accurately fill out details on their expenses, and make sure that everything has been accounted for.

7. for the payment to the credit card company, assign the cash disbursement to the different project, phase and tasks reflected in the expense detail transactions so that projects show the cash out for those expenses.

So I’ve completed everything except step 7, which I will complete over the next day or two.

Some really cool things this does:
– puts the CSV files in an archive folder and assigns a unique, logical name to them so you don’t have to worry about losing raw data history

– allows you to compare imported data from the CSV file to the actual data in expense reports by employee and expense report

– allows you to trace any imported transaction back to the actual CSV file it came from… it shows you the file name on the report

– reconciles the amounts imported vs. the amounts in the employee’s expense report so you can make sure you didn’t miss anything

– shows data that was imported into the processing section, but didn’t actually make it into an employee expense report

In a couple weeks I will provide more details on how it actually works with some screen shots of the results.

In the mean time, here is a snapshot of the entire process looked up wrapped up in an elegant diagram in SSIS. Of course, this doesn’t show any details or code… just the big picture logic of it. It’s interesting all the same.

Have an excellent day!

I’ll be at Deltek Insight in a couple weeks, and will be teaching a break out session:
PS-80 Putting Data in the Right Place

If you happen to be at Insight feel free to come say “hello” and give me some feedback on my blog!

Cheers!