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Deltek Remains the Master of Its Selected Few Domains Part Two: Product Announcements 2002

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: January 8 2004

Event Summary

Deltek Systems, Inc. (www.deltek.com ), 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 Two of a six-part note.

Part One covered product announcements for 2003.

Part Three will provide the company background and discuss market strategy.

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.

Product Announcements—2002

The above achievements have not happened overnight. They follow on several notable milestones reached in 2002, which would include

1) Transition from a publicly traded company to a privately held company on May 31, 2002. According to deLaski, the time and energy management spent on being a public company has since been directed toward taking customer service and product developments to new plateaus. As a private company Deltek is no longer required to make audited financial data available to the public in the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, the company will continue to make such data available to customers on an "as requested" basis. However, Deltek now feels free to make strategic decisions without worrying about the volatile stock market, or rash reform legislation created after the recent high-profile corporate scandals.

2) Introductory release of Deltek Vision 1, a web-based and fully integrated professional services automation (PSA) solution, in September 2002. Since its release over 400 customers have purchased Deltek Vision, and the product is currently live at over 100 client sites. The solution was designed from the ground up for professional services firms enabling them to attain a seamless and real-time 360-degree view of people, projects, clients, resources and business in action. Developed in close collaboration with Deltek's professional services clients, Deltek Vision consolidates and automates core business functions within a single modular solution for many business aspects. These range from client relationship management (CRM) proposal development, resource and project planning, employee time and expense (T&E), to billing and accounting. Deltek believes the product offers an exceptional business fit for professional services firms in a wide range of vertical markets, including A/E/C; accounting; consulting and planning; IT services; software and integration; research and development (R&D); public relations (PR) and advertising; and legal services. The product's web-based n-tier architecture is scalable and its open foundation allows for rapid deployment as stand-alone modules or a tightly integrated end-to-end solution.

With its new Interactive Web Architecture (IWA), Deltek Vision delivered a highly interactive, rich-user-interface web application, and thanks to the product's zero client install, users can enjoy universal access in a secure environment. Deltek deliberately opted-out of a mere HTML-based client application because each interaction with the application requires the server to regenerate the HTML page and send it back to the browser as a refreshed page. These screen flashes are very inefficient and time-consuming, particularly for tasks such as logging the details of a phone conversation into the CRM system. By using advanced client-side technologies like DHTML, XML, JavaScript and DOM (Document Object Model), IWA provides a rich, interactive, real time user experience.

3) Beta release phase of Deltek Costpoint 5. The beta release of Deltek Costpoint 5 which initially incorporated approximately 170 enhancements throughout the software, is a fully integrated ERP solution developed specifically for complex, medium to large-sized project-based businesses. It delivers deep functionality in project and financial organizational accounting, people administration, billing, materials management and reporting tools. In addition to traditional accounting features, it tracks the true costs and revenue associated with the performance of any project or activity, in part or in whole. The beta release followed what was tauted as the next generation of Internet-driven back office automation solutions. Deltek Costpoint 4i for the Web, provided an n-tiered, scalable, flexible, and solid Java-based thin client architecture. Deltek Costpoint 4i was never officially released because during development it became apparent that a better alternative to fully web-enable Deltek Costpoint was to web-develop the entire software at one time using Mphasis as the on-site/off-shore development partner. The fully web-based Deltek Costpoint version is expected in general release in 2004 and is now referred to as The Next Generation of Costpoint (NGC), or Deltek Costpoint Version 6.

While Deltek Costpoint version 4 and version 5 have traditional client/server architectures, The next generation of Costpoint, or Deltek Costpoint version 6 is being developed in the Java architecture using Deltek Costpoint Version 5 as the basis for functionality. The vendor is using the Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) application programming interface, in conjunction with the WebLogic Application Server technology developed by BEA Systems, Inc. Deltek selected the BEA WebLogic Application Server technology because it supports the wide variety of server and database platforms used by Deltek clients including Unix, Windows NT, and Linux. WebLogic also provides automatic load balance and automatic fail-over to minimize interruptions and server downtime. The client/server version 5 of Deltek Costpoint, which was then already used by more than 700 of the most advanced project businesses around the world, was used as the baseline for developing the Web-based applications.

Deltek had initially followed a "staggered" release approach in which selected Web-based applications would be delivered in segments. The early release of the initial set of applications, which included dozens of input screens relating to key business practices such as project and employee setup and vendor and payables processing, enabled users to configure the application and Web servers. Once the initial setup was complete, users could update the application server at any time with the latest software enhancements or program corrections. Meanwhile, however, the methodology has changed and the vendor is now in the midst of developing, holistically, the web-based version of Deltek Costpoint using a technology partner.

4) Release of new web-based versions of Deltek Time Collection (DTC), which at mid-2002, had more than 650 clients and 325,000 licensed users. Representative users include such well-known organizations as AECOM; PBS&J; Morrison Knudsen; Honeywell Tech. Solutions; Ball Aerospace & Technologies; Research Triangle Institute; and Signal Corporation. The solution accepts almost any type of charge detail (e.g., projects, cost centers, accounts, departments, labor categories, activities, pay codes, etc.) and is a powerful tool for checking timesheets daily, auditing data, reviewing project status, and ensuring that labor costs are on budget. Deltek Time Collection 4 included several major new features that have led to increased user adoption. These include:

  • DHTML (dynamic HTML) client: A new client interface that provides zero-client install for the user portion of DTC and greatly enhances firewall navigation and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) support. Additionally, employees can access their leave balances on-line when using the DHTML client.

  • Manufacturing order (MO) support: When used with the MO module within Deltek Costpoint, this allows users to charge manufacturing orders in time collection.

  • Administrator security: Allows a client to limit the employees that an administrator has rights to view and process. For example, an administrator could have access to employee information tables, but only for certain employees.

  • Crew timesheets: Allows a single individual to quickly input time for a group of employees, alleviating the need for employees to access the system themselves.

  • Interactive voice response: Enables employees to process their timesheets over any touch-tone telephone from remote locations.

  • In addition, the solution integrates easily with all major payroll, accounting, and ERP systems, including Deltek Costpoint.

5) Release of Deltek GCS Premier 3 targeted to small and medium-sized government contractors, which has so far reportedly contracted more than 1,200 clients, just four years after its initial release, making it the leading government compliant cost accounting and project and financial management solution designed specifically for small and mid-sized government contractors.

Other 2002 Announcements

6) Expanded partnerships. At the end of 2002, Deltek announced that it has partnered with Mercator Software Inc. to use its Solutions-Oriented Architecture to deliver transparent integration between Deltek's enterprise software and major third-party business applications. This key strategic partnership has allowed Deltek to continue its strategy of delivering enhanced interoperability between mission-critical databases within an enterprise, such as cost accounting, CRM, time collection, proposal management, and business intelligence (BI) applications. Prior to forming the partnership, Deltek conducted extensive research to find an integration solution with a high-degree of functionality that would not place undue burdens or create complexities for Deltek's enterprise customers. To that end, the Mercator integration technology is a non-invasive, open middleware architecture that does not require internal modifications to either Deltek's software or other client systems. Mercator claims to be the only provider of integration technology that enables process integration without low-level custom coding. Namely, unlike other integration solutions, Mercator employs interface abstractions that maintain independence between business process models and underlying IT implementations, which enables organizations to keep pace with changes at the business process level without making major modifications to the supporting integration logic and IT systems.

Deltek has already begun utilizing Mercator to build an interface between Deltek Costpoint and Meridian Project System's Prolog Project Pack, the leading knowledge management (KM) system for the architectural, engineering and construction industries. Prior to that, at the end of 2001, Meridian Project Systems (MPS) and Deltek announced they have signed a letter of intent allowing Deltek to incorporate and license MPS' Prolog technology into Deltek's product line. This partnership should deliver software solutions that integrate a customized version of Prolog into Deltek-developed products specifically designed to unify the business processes and practices of project managers and project accountants. Integrating Deltek Costpoint with Prolog Manager empowers users to make the most of each solution's strong features. Prolog manages such functions as requests for information (RFIs), drawing logs, daily reports, and punch lists, and Costpoint handles cutting checks and managing the allocation of main office overhead on a by-project basis, as well as union labor reporting and revenue recognition.

Also at the end of 2002 Deltek announced its endorsement for Cognos Series 7, the comprehensive, enterprise-class business intelligence solution. Architecture, engineering, and design services firms, many of which are already using Deltek back office and front office systems, need the ability to closely manage large-scale projects. These projects depend heavily on the quality and speed at which firm track and analyze project information on budgets, personnel, and equipment. To that end, Cognos Series 7 will provide Deltek clients with a widely enhanced means to readily report business information; analyze and measure business performance; and keep decision makers informed wherever they are—on the project site, on the road or in the office. Tested in the Deltek environment, Cognos Series 7 BI framework provides all-new information delivery options in the form of Cognos NoticeCast. This type of functionality will allow Deltek users to create alerts to manage budgets and project progress, and they can also use it to alert them via personal data assistants (PDAs) or any other device, showing them where the budget is in relation to the goals they want to achieve.

This concludes Part Two of a six-part note.

Part One covered product announcements for 2003.

Part Three will provide the company background and discuss market strategy.

Part Four will detail Deltek differentiators.

Part Five will discuss Deltek's major product lines.

Part Six will present challenges and make user recommendations.

 
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