We’ve seen hints of proper automation between the Opportunities infocenter (hub) and the Projects infocenter, with “mapped fields” and “create project from opportunity” functionality built in to the standard Deltek Vision platform. However, these two small features don’t quite get us where we need to be when it comes to fully featured automation between Opportunities, Proposal Projects, and Regular Projects.

Let’s review how Vision is intended to work with the project creation process:
1. Vision expects you to create an Opportunity record when an opportunity is recognized, whether or not that opportunity will be pursued.

2. The next step would be to create a Proposal or Promotional type project if your firm decides to respond to the RFP, or spend any effort winning a regular project. This Promotional project (which is an overhead project) is used to track time and materials used in the pursuit of the regular billable project.

3. Once the project is awarded or authorized, the next step is to generate a Regular Project from the Promotional Project so that your firm can begin billing for the work.

4. The last step would be to transfer any chargeable labor or materials out of the Promotional Project to the Regular Project so that those labor and materials can be billed to the client along with the rest.

Most firms need administrative staff or the accounting department to drive or execute the majority of this process.

Not only is this not scalable, it costs your firm more time, money, morale, and headaches:
In most firms, the accounting department is heavily involved in this process. Things like “Project Number Request Form” come into the picture, as well as “Project Won, Project Setup Form” or “Labor Transfer Request” or “Project Conversion Request”. This results in entire departments not being able record their billable time correctly when the accounting department is “out sick”, backed up, or generally unavailable for project creations or “conversions”.

This also frustrates the rank and file engineers, project managers and the like, degrading confidence in both back office operations and the Deltek Vision platform, reducing adoption, increasing timesheet and billing errors and the siloing of data and business processes to work around administrative bottle necks and keep up the pace. Whew! That’s a long sentence! It’s also a huge headache and major weak point in most firms’ business critical process, making their business not scalable for growth.

There is a solution – Automation:
All this pain can be diminished by automating the entire process from Initial Promotional Project creation, Project Numbering, Regular Project creation, new Project notifications and even the Labor Transfer process from the Promotional Project to the Regular Project. Keep reading to discover how we automated the entire process for a firm in New York City, allowing the people in the firm who bring in projects to bring them in and execute them without being hampered by administrative processes or paperwork.

From Opportunity to Promotional (Proposal) project to Regular Project complete with complex project numbering and labor transfers without the accounting department involvement:
DeSimone Consulting Engineers, Inc. (www.de-simone.com) needed to automate this process because the accounting department was the bottleneck and holding back moving forward on projects. Here is general outline of how we solved the problem:

  1. Make the Opportunity Infocenter the “Container” and the start of every project.
  2. Autonumber Promotional projects and allow users to create with click of button.
  3. Restrict conversion of Proposal project to Regular project using workflows for condition testing, but allow Project Managers and Practice Directors to do it.
  4. Autonumber Regular projects and allow authorized users to create with click of button once setup and contract requirements are met.
  5. Email notifications at important points where action is needed and smart error messaging on the interface without interrupting workflow.

Please refer to the following diagrams for a little more detail on how our automation works:

1. Generating the opportunity.

2. Creating a Promotional Project using workflow.

3. Requirements for recording the awarded project in Opportunities

4. Project awarded, showing in Opportunities

The benefits of proper automation:
1. Scalable business critical processes allow your business to grow and actually have economies of scale
2. Smoothing out business processes provides uninterrupted productivity and allows professionals to do what they’re hired to do
3. Proper automation provides historical record and transaction logging
4. Proper data handling means clean data, data integrity, standardization and continuity
5. Proper automation and interface refinement means user friendly applications

Need a small or major business process automated in Vision ?

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