By Warren Linscott, SVP of Product Strategy, Deltek
Our customers are on a digital transformation journey, and as a trusted partner, we have the responsibility to enable this transformation. From small consultancies to enterprise government contractors, across each of the project focused industries they serve, purposeful innovation continues to be a focal point for Deltek.
The infusion of emerging technologies into our solutions allows us to re-imagine how projects are delivered ─ helping our customers’ projects be more effective, efficient and successful. Incorporating these innovative technologies at the right time and in the right way allows Deltek Project Nation to have access to new technologies without having to incur the R&D costs themselves.
Over the last few years, we've focused our efforts on three thematic areas of purposeful innovation to help power project success:
- The first of these being Workforce 3.0, where the modern workforce and robotic process automation (or bots) intersect to enhance productivity and create a new dynamic, and where the workforce of the future is a combination of humans and machines.
- The second is Industry Automation, which intends to reduce the costly interactions between parties within an industry ecosystem to help get projects done more effectively and efficiently while creating trust between industry parties.
- And the last area is what we refer to as Evolving the Company Brain, this is how we are taking decision-making to the next level by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help businesses become more predictive and drive better project success.
Creating Workforce Efficiencies
Today’s modern workforce expects to navigate their business solutions with the same simplicity they experience with technology elsewhere in their life. They expect their solutions to guide them along a path and tell them where they're making mistakes or where there might be pitfalls. They also expect more automation from their solutions than ever before, so they can focus their precious time on the exceptions. Workforce 3.0 is an evolving landscape and one that Deltek is paying close attention to, making sure we meet their needs now and into the future.
One way Deltek is catering to Workforce 3.0 is through the use of RPA technology (robotic process automation) and leveraging it for billing automation. With RPA, we can create a bot that automates six of the eight invoicing steps involved, allowing the end-user to simply generate the Invoice plan (step 1) and then only approve the draft invoice (step 6). This streamlined process provides real value to the business allowing billing specialists to process exponentially more bills or project managers responsible for billing to spend far less time on this specific task and more time dedicated to their day job.
This is just a small portion of what we have been able to do with Costpoint, Vantagepoint, and Maconomy through our partner Alirrium, a premier partner of UiPath. By leveraging RPA, project-based businesses can become much more efficient by scaling their capacity through robotic resources instead of adding human resources to their workforce.
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Transforming How We Create Trust
As part of our commitment to Deltek Project Nation, we continue to focus on making project-based businesses more successful in the industries they serve. We've been busy considering how to digitally transform all the interactions in a customer's supply chain, from working with parent companies, vendors, and contractors to creating digital collaboration spaces where documents, transactions, approvals and signoffs can happen ─ in a more automated and secure way. These interactions allow project-based businesses to build trust while decreasing costs and improving speed and accuracy.
In addition to the supplier portal and digital signatures, Deltek is also creating more secure and automated interactions through optical character recognition, or OCR, a technology that has been around for decades in various formats. In recent years, big advancements have launched a new technology referred to as intelligent character recognition or ICR. An ICR system is backed by machine learning and has several advantages over OCR, like the ability to read more complex fonts or font styles such as human handwriting, and learning new formats to intelligently turn a document into an ERP transaction record.
These recent advancements in ICR have created the perfect time for Deltek to bring this emerging technology to our products and customers. We've partnered with a best-of-breed company, Verify, and recently launched Costpoint 8 Intelligent Time & Expense. This mobile application allows employees and contractors to quickly and easily create expenses by simply taking a picture of their receipts. We're also working hard to bring that same innovative technology to the back office to help automate transactions in the procure-to-pay lifecycle that will be managed through the supplier portal.
By combining the ability to transfer data from documents into your ERP solutions, that seamlessly integrate information from banks, suppliers, and vendors, giving business resources a secure way to do approvals and digitally sign transactions ─ Deltek is making industry automation happen in a way that just wasn't possible before. We believe that purposeful innovation like this will add tremendous value to the industry supply chain while reducing costs and making everyone involved more effective and efficient.
Becoming More Predictive
As we move through this digital transformation journey, think about all the strategic decisions project-based business make today. Human beings almost exclusively drive those decisions; however, individuals are becoming more and more reliant on machines to provide the information that businesses need to make the right decisions.
Now that AI & machine learning technologies are evolving to the point where they can help us be much more predictive on what actions we can take impact future business outcomes. We're leveraging AI and machine learning to understand what factors go into project success, and to be more predictive in that area in the future. For example, When do aging accounts receivables really factor into project success? How does the record of the project manager affect the outcome? Can employee behaviors like on time and expense reports be an early warning sign of project success or failure?
Contrary to popular belief, AI and machine learning are not here to replace the human brain and our human element of decision-making, and morality will continue to live on. But what artificial intelligence can do is make us more aware of what we've done in the past and remove the bias in that history so that we can see it for what it is and use it to make the right decisions going forward.
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Continuing on This Journey
Purposeful innovation around new technologies is just one way Deltek is working to make better project software for our customers. We are constantly looking at how to help our customers re-invent how projects get done and how we can make the business of running projects more successful. By fusing the right emerging technologies with new ideas on how our customers can run their projects, collaborate with their partners, and empower their employees to make better decisions, we are delivering on the promise of purposeful innovation.
We have already delivered some key innovations like Hey Deltek, our natural language processing solution for Vantagepoint, Smart Business Intelligence leveraging IBM Watson in Costpoint Enterprise Reporting, and Intelligent Character Recognition for intelligent expense collection across our ERP solutions. And, we look forward to the additional innovations that are coming in the future.
To learn more about these and other innovative technologies visit our Purposeful Innovation page on Deltek.com and follow Deltek Project Nation on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest trends, technology and issues shaping project-based businesses.
About the Author
As the SVP of Product Strategy, Warren Linscott is responsible for driving the go-to-market and product strategy for Deltek's global business. Warren has over 20 years of senior management experience in enterprise software delivering key solutions to professional services firms and government contractors. Connect with Warren on LinkedIn.
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