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.

 

 

 

Deltek Vision Adjust Salaried Job Cost – advanced module (upgraded)

I recently upgraded the ASJC Log, a report developed to go alongside the custom module built to replace the standard ASJC module in Deltek Vision.  If you’re not sure you completely understand ASJC, go ahead and read this article first: Old ASJC Article

Here is what often baffled me about the standard ASJC:
questions about ASJC

To learn more about my custom ASJC Module, which is basically a more advanced and robust version that does the same and more, and even better, read this article: Deltek Vision ASJC Module (custom)

Yesterday I upgraded the log report so you can see exactly which projects had their costs adjusted. In this example the employee names have been changed to protect sensitive data.  Here is a screenshot:
asjc log

Contact me to add this module to your implementation.

 

The “next” version of Deltek Vision – Deltek Professional Services

There has been a lot of discussion lately around the current iAccess platform and Deltek’s new offering coming up titled “Deltek Professional Services” or DPS. Some of that discussion has been concern about what will or not be available in the new platform, what will need to be upgraded or dropped entirely, and if the platform will be “better” than the current Vision 7.6 (Deltek’s latest and apparently last version).

Deltek Professional Services is the “next major upgrade” for Deltek Vision. That means in the next 5 years, you will need to upgrade if you want to continue getting official support for your ERP platform.

I attended a webinar yesterday with many of the same questions you probably have and came away with these important answers to my questions:

Question: What is DPS generally? Is it just a Vision 8.0, or is it iAccess or what?
Answer1: DPS is a much needed overhaul of some features of Vision, while preserving many core back office functionality. From what I saw, there is a major focus on re-imagining and re-designing most front office user experiences and ways of managing information. From what I gather, “front office” users are all the people not in the accounting department.  Keep in mind that for the longest time, Vision’s strongest functional set has been in accounting. Now the focus is on better crm, project management and executive tools.
Answer 2: DPS also brings us browser agnostic functionality. I’m pretty sure this means you can use it on a Mac OS based device as well. This is great news for your marketing and design teams who tend to prefer Mac based products.

Question: Do we HAVE to move to the cloud? Can we still have an on premise version? This question is especially important for large firms with lots of integrations with other systems and customizations of Deltek Vision.
Answer: NO you don’t have to move to the cloud. An on premise version will be made available later in 2018

Question: What about all the money we’ve invested in custom reports, workflows, user defined infocenters and other components? Will we be required to re-write all the SSRS reports we have like when Vision reporting moved from Actuate to SSRS? (remember that? yuck!)
Answer: All your customizations (I read that as “most”) will port over just fine. From what I can tell, the things that will suffer or have to be replaced entirely are any cubes-based functionality, heavy outlook integrations, proposals and the VPM module. At least that’s for version 1.0 (yes, they’re starting new versioning since it’s been renamed).  I can’t say what’ exactly will happen with later versions.

Question: What if we are already on the cloud version (hosted by Deltek)? What will happen and when?
Answer: According to Deltek, “All Vision cloud customers will get DPS as a part of their annual subscription.”
I read this as – you’re going to get migrated to DPS whether you like it or not if you’re on Deltek’s cloud version.  It’s just a matter of when. This is one of the reasons I advise my customers against moving to Deltek’s cloud provided version.  If you are tired of maintaining servers and a staff to maintain Vision (especially smaller firms), stay tuned for an alternative cloud offering coming up next week that allows you control, access to the database, and no forcing of upgrades or major changes to your current licensing agreement.

Question: What should we be doing to prepare our firm for this upgrade?
Answer: According to Deltek you should be doing the following:
1. Check out the DPS portal (you should have received a link to it in an email if you’re a customer who’s kept up with licensing and maintenance fees)
2. Deploy and get used to iAccess (it’s free with all versions 7.X)
3. If you are in the cloud, request a preview (testing) environment.
4. Call me for help. No, of course they didn’t say that, but if you’re looking for an independent expert without obligation to sell you stuff, then you should.

Questions: Why does Deltek want us to move to their cloud offering so bad?
Answer: Call me for a frank discussion on this.
(contact page here)

 

Deltek Vision Custom Invoice grouped by Team instead of by Project, Phase, Task

Here’s an interesting take on a Deltek Vision custom invoice I just completed for a client headquartered in Houston, TX.

They needed Labor, Units and Expenses grouped by the Team Supervisor instead of project element (project, phase, task), and only when there was a Team Supervisor on the project.

For these types of projects needing this new format, the team could post to multiple places on the project itself, so the grouping by project, phase and task had to be hidden or circumvented.

Lastly, a project might not show team data exclusively.  Meaning, that some of the invoice items needed to be in the standard format with standard groupings.  Thus, on the same invoice you might have billing items that were grouped and displayed in the “old” format, as well as data displayed in the “new” team based format.

Since the invoice in Deltek Vision is basically a giant SSRS report with 25+ sub reports, it took a bit of work to do this one.

First, I had to create a new sub report that displayed Labor, Units and Expense data using team supervisor groupings instead of Project, Phase and Task.

Then, it required modifying the queries of all the sub reports so the standard invoice format wouldn’t show the team data, but would still show the non-team data if there were both types on the same invoice.

The summarized items report required queries that pull data differently from the invoice than the normal Vision standard report does.

Here’s a screenshot from an example print out of just the team data after exporting to Excel… names and other elements have been changed to protect sensitive information:

Ensite Invoice w Callouts

If the Billing Invoice Template editor in Deltek Vision isn’t meeting your needs, contact me to discuss what can be done about it.

Looking forward to working with you.

 

 

Missing Timesheets 2.0 for Deltek Vision v 7

I posted this one a week or two ago, with a solution for missing timesheet reporting…
Missing timesheet days for Deltek Vision

I’ll admit that it bothered me. The report wasn’t very good. It didn’t show if an entire timesheet was missing, nor if the total number of hours still met expectations when there were timesheet days missing.

So I upgraded the report. Now you can run this report in Deltek Vision 7.1 through 7.6 (and Deltek Professional Services as well) which will show you missing timesheets for all employees.  The report has the following features:

  1. Run the report for any period of time by entering a start and end date.
  2. Filter the report by any subset of employees if needed.
  3. Show missing timesheets.
  4. Show missing timesheet days.
  5. Show cases where the number of hours is less than the expected amount for any day or timesheet period even if all days have timesheet entries.
  6. The report is deployed to your existing Deltek Vision implementation, cloud or self hosted, inside of your regular standard reporting interface. This means it uses all the same security settings, favorites and saved searches. You can also export this report to PDF, Word or Excel like any other Deltek Vision report!

Price: $2,500 USD
Maintenance: $500/year

Note: This report will adapt to whatever timesheet periods you have established in Deltek Vision.

Here is a quick guide for how it works:

Missing Timesheets Report

A massive report in Project Planning

Recently, Deltek contacted me to develop a custom report for the Planning module.
To the customer, it seemed simple enough at first, merely a graph that showed planned vs. actual amounts in the same space, with revised planned amounts going forward from the report date.  In the original specifications, the example looked like this:

spec-capture
Keeping in mind that the data provided to develop the report against was pilot data (it looks kind of weird) here is what it’s shaping up to look like:

result-capture

You can also see the chart of hours if you wish (you can turn on and off lines with check boxes on the same graph)

result-hours

While there are still some refinements needed to this report, it’s 95% complete.

It’s actually a report that Deltek Vision does not provide out of the box because of its complexity. If you’re interested in getting this report for your implementation let me know.

If you’re interested in knowing some of the challenges faced in developing this report (part of the reason it’s not available as a standard item) read on…

Simple enough in concept, very challenging in practice. Here’s why:

  1. The implementation is in the cloud, not hosted on the client’s own servers. This means that all SQL underlying the report had to be resident in the report itself. No ability to add functions, store procedures, custom tables or anything else of that nature. Once I got the hang of Deltek’s cloud strategy for custom reports though it was conceptually easy to do.
  2. Different time scales for planned items inside the plan:
    Deltek Vision allows you to create plans that span multiple time scales in the same plan. This means you could have an entry that was something like this:
    John Sellers, Inspector | Start Date 1/1/2016, End Date 12/31/2017, Cost: $300,000  Bill: $600,00 – expressed in months.
    Then in the same plane you might have something like this:
    Susan Waller, Project Mgr | Start Date 1/1/2016, End Date 7/31/2016, Cost: $75,000 Bill: $150,000 – expressed in weeks.
  3. Different time scales for cost items:
    You will have JTD Cost and bill items on the projects attached to the plans expressed in accounting periods from the summary tables. Easy enough if you want to graph everything by month AND the accounting periods line up with calendar months (in this case they do not).  However, if like in this case the accounting periods do not line up with the plan, then you have to somehow spread out the actual costs over a timescale by day so you can graph both planned and actual items in the same space.
  4. Planned revenue on fixed fee projects is going to be a formula based upon planned percent compete, and each phase in a project can fall on either side of the fixed fee vs. time and materials (or cost plus) billing terms.

This required a gathering all the JTD cost and all the planned items (past and future) then somehow getting them all to translate to a per day cost or planned item, as well as make sure I kept the phase information on projects since this affected planned revenue.

Once I had everything to the right scale, then I had to put it all on a time series (a calendar) that included every day from start to finish of the planned and actuals for the project (since the data is represented in a cumulative fashion, you have to start from the beginning). Lastly, after spreading out actual items and plan items over the time series, making sure that months that were heavy on holidays and weekends were properly assigned the relevant amounts required incorporating the holiday calendars as well as weekends etc.

Then of course there is the difficulty with SSRS graphing tools. They’re a bit wonky and finicky.

But, got the job done.

If you’re interested in having a similar report for your Deltek Vision implementation, get in touch with me.

Deltek Vision product: iAccess (version 7.4 and up)

Today I attended Deltek’s webinar for presenting their Navigator replacement called “iAccess”.

My bottom line conclusions from today’s event are as follows:

  • They are segmenting their user audience into 3 groups; back office (Deltek Vision Core), mid-range users (Deltek Vision iAccess) and road warriors and lite users (Deltek Vision Touch – for smart phones).
  • Deltek has re-discovered the value in purely web-based platforms and has made the iAccess functionality available through most recent browsers of any device with a large screen. It’s not designed for phones, but supports any screen size 1024×768 nicely.
  • The core product of Deltek Vision has changed very little, while their iAccess product is well developed with intuitive, interactive interface elements like list filters, info bubbles and informative graphics. Thus, it seems that most of their product development resources have been allocated here lately. I recommend spending your company’s resources on getting used to this product.
  • They continue (for better or worse) to leverage the ideas that are in the market and meld them into their product feature set. Thus, the collaboration and business development components of iAccess look quite similar to some other Vision add-ons we’ve seen before.

Here are some details (screen shots) from the presentation and my thoughts. (all images are from the presentation and are thus property of Deltek, Inc.)

Deltek is considering the fact that there are different levels of Vision users with different sets of needs. Thus, they’ve divided it up into 3 camps as follows:
overall

Time and expense modules are available. With nicer interfaces. This is a good example of a better way to display the WBS.

WBS

Some interface elements serve to clarify where data is being entered, like when you enter hours for timesheets:
time entry… and you can upload receipts to expense line items directly if you’re using an iPad. Very nice.
receipt

It looks like some common sense renaming is taking place. For example, CRM is now being called “Business Development”. Another noteworthy item; I always recommend that my clients change the infocenter “Clients” to “Companies”.  Looks like these guys finally caught on:
clients to companies

iAccess is a truly multi-tabbed, browser-based app now. No more silverlite!!! Yay!  You can have multiple sessions of Vision iAccess open in a browser, making it way easier to manage data in multiple areas.
multitab

You have interactive list reports available right there (not in a separate window). Some great features include changing parameters on the fly, filtering and sorting, and clickable items that allow you to navigate to other portions of your data inside the same app window.

list reporting in iaccess - cool

Wow! Live project health indicators in your project list if you’re a project manager… this is nice.
niceeac values in list

All underlined links in iAccess provide more info, including some explanation about what the numbers mean. This is helpful for sure.
formula behind numbers

I found the planning interface to be much easier to read and sensible.
labor plan edit

Last but not least, something VERY interesting they’re unleashing (not sure how it works yet or how well it works yet).  accounts receivable review and Invoice approvals right here in iAccess for use by PM’s. This is an invaluable tool and will save a lot of trees as well as round trip times for invoicing.
invoice approvals

Good job Deltek!

p.s. I have not personally tested any of this functionality. However, I will be helping clients implement most of this functionality in the coming months. If you would like help with your Vision implemenation, please contact me now to schedule time for later this year.