Deltek Remains the Master of Its Selected Few Domains Part Three: Company Background and Market Strategy

Event Summary

Deltek Systems, Inc. ( ), the leading provider of enterprise software and solutions for project-based businesses and professional services firms, remains committed to a potentially unique, high level of investment in product development as compared to other software companies. According to Kenneth E. deLaski, Deltek President and CEO, the average public software company only invests approximately 14.5 percent of its revenue in product development and, at 24 percent, Deltek customers should take this as a strong sign that the vendor is deeply committed to continued investment and improvement of each of its product suites for project businesses and professional services firms. Deltek also announced that, once again, it achieved strong profitability and cash flow for fiscal 2002, which reportedly marked the 18th consecutive year of profitability for the company. In addition, the company added more than 300 new customers during the year in a variety of industries including aerospace, construction, engineering, IT services, consulting, architecture, and project-based manufacturing.

This is Part Three of a six-part note.

Parts One and Two covered product announcements for 2003 and 2002. Part Four will detail Deltek's differentiators.

Part Five will discuss major Deltek's product lines.

Part Six will present challenges and make user recommendations.

Company Background

While the 2000s have indisputably been the most exciting, product rejuvenating years for Deltek, the vendor's entire lifetime is a far cry from being bland. Incorporated in 1983 in McLean, Virginia (its headquarters were recently moved to Herndon, Virginia), and founded by the father-son team of Donald and Kenneth deLaski, Deltek started as a small accounting firm that developed accounting solutions for firms contracted by the American Federal government. In order to meet stringent government contract requirements, in 1985, Deltek introduced what became its initial flagship. System1 was a Microsoft DOS-based product that became one of the first government contracting solutions (GCS). Since then, Deltek's founders have continued to manage the company with great success by expanding its client-focus into the commercial sector during the late 1980s. In 1991, Deltek reached its 1000th customer on System1, and with its revenue being approximately $15 million (USD), it began to configure its software for larger customers.

Subsequently, in 1995, Deltek released Costpoint, a more comprehensive ERP application for large or complex firms. Costpoint took advantage of the previous ten years of project accounting experience, and has recently become part of Deltek Enterprise software suite. In that same year, Deltek released ET Enterprise (now named Deltek Time Collection), a fully automated timekeeping and collection system. By the time Kenneth deLaski took over in 1996, Deltek's revenue had grown to more than $30 million (USD) and the company had more than 300 employees. In 1997, Deltek joined the fray of software companies in the going-public frenzy which began in the late 1990s, helping it to gain some visibility and allowing it to make a number of astute acquisitions.

The first acquisition took place in May 1998, when Deltek acquired Harper and Shuman, Inc., a leading provider of accounting software for architectural, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) firms. The acquisition of Harper and Shuman, which included the Advantage and CFMS product lines, added 2,800 firms to Deltek's install base, and was a major step in supporting Deltek's strategy of providing comprehensive business solutions to firms in the A/E/C industries.

Deltek next released its successor to System1,GCS Premier in February 2000, which was a Windows-based accounting solution designed for small to mid-sized government contractors. In April 2000, Deltek formally unveiled its vision and launched its initiative to become the vendor of choice in the emerging market of professional service automation (PSA) software. Consequently, Deltek acquired essentially all of the assets of A/E Management Services, Inc., including its RFP GenTrak product line, a marketing, proposal and opportunity tracking automation system for architectural, engineering and construction companies. Shortly thereafter, Deltek reached an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Necho Systems, Inc. to add that vendor's travel expense automation system to the Deltek front office product suite. Both of these areas are fundamental pieces in Deltek's overall product strategy. Deltek is currently developing its own expense management system with the beta release slated for mid-2004. Accordingly, it will be terminating its OEM agreement with Necho but will still continue to support the current Necho offering.

In May 2000, Deltek unveiled the Enterprise Planner product suite, the first results of Deltek's partnership with Adaytum Software (now part of Cognos), originally announced in October 1999. Deltek next announced the expansion of its consulting services in June 2000, encompassing six additional practice management areas in accounting and finance; business intelligence (BI); human resources (HR) and payroll; government contracting; information technologies; and, project management. The company formed these practice areas to build on the success of its implementation consulting services and to better utilize the expertise of the company's systems consultants. Since then, the company has been aggressively pursuing a product development and partnering program designed to extend its leadership beyond its traditional back-office expertise to the PSA market for front-office and collaborative e-business software. In August 2000, Deltek acquired Semaphore, Inc., a major developer and distributor of advanced financial and project management software and services for over 2,000 A/E/C and other professional services firms. The acquisition doubled Deltek's market share of the A/E/C industry, and gave it 72 percent of the firms listed in Engineering News Record's Top 500 Design Firms.

Deltek Strategy

In hindsight, the most recent achievements depicted in the Parts One and Two could be regarded as the materialization of Deltek's blueprint created at the beginning of 2001, which charted and summarized the company's future target markets, growth strategies and key product development initiatives. Deltek then decided to continue to market its products to serve the needs of project-oriented businesses and professional services firms. Specific application solutions and markets that Deltek has targeted since 2001 have been

  • Advanced, highly scaleable, back- and front-office solutions for medium to large project businesses in specialized industries such as IT services; construction; research and development;, biotechnology; systems integration (SI); and, project manufacturing.

  • Integrated, end-to-end solutions for professional services firms including architecture and design; engineering and environmental; IT and management consulting; accounting and legal; and, marketing and communications.

  • Front- and back-office software applications and solutions for all types and sizes of government contractors.

  • CRM and proposal automation solutions exclusively designed for project-oriented businesses and professional services firms.

  • Advanced, highly scaleable solutions for employee T&E collection in professional services organizations.

Since 2001, a key growth strategy for Deltek has been providing additional front-office software applications to its existing clients which numbered approximately 7,500 in 2001 and has currently grown to over 8,000. Logically, the targeted front-office solutions have been CRM; employee T&E; employee self-service; project and resource planning; budgeting, and e-business. At the time, the centerpiece of Deltek's front-office strategy was the Deltek CRM & Deltek Proposals product. Introduced in late 2000, this new application delivers feature-rich applications for sales force automation (SFA) and CRM; proposal generation; and, tracking automation. To facilitate these growth strategies, the company has expanded its sales force by nearly 30 percent in 2001. Additionally, Deltek has been judiciously expanding its indirect distribution channel and increasing its sales and marketing efforts internationally.

International Business Strategy

With a roster of international clients including pharmaceutical company Kendle International (Germany) and General Dynamics (Saudi Arabia), Deltek has achieved a certain presence in international markets. However, as seen in the recent hiring of partnering expert Yousef Bayou as Director of International Business, Deltek's international business strategy is being refocused from targeting users to marketing and selling its solutions through value-added reseller (VARs) channels. The company will also continue to support its relationship with its existing overseas clients in markets that include Europe, the Middle East, India, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa. As a result, Deltek has locally-based partners that can offer responsive customer support and are knowledgeable about the relevant laws and tax regulations. Ultimately channel efforts will initially be focused on Europe, with additional markets being targeted at a later date. Deltek is already in discussions with a number of potential reseller partners.

This concludes Part Three of a six-part note.

Parts One and Two covered product announcements for 2003 and 2002.

Part Four will detail Deltek's differentiators.

Part Five will discuss major Deltek's product lines.

Part Six will present challenges and make user recommendations.

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