6 Tips For Getting the Most From Attending Deltek Insight
By June Jewell, CPA, President AEC Business Solutions
This year will be my 12th time attending the Deltek Insight conference, and in all those years I have learned a lot about how to extract the most value from attending this not-to-miss event. If you are a Deltek software customer, your company has probably made a significant investment of time, money and brain power in trying to get the most from your system.
As a previous Deltek partner for 25 years, an exhibitor and sponsor of the event, and a speaker at all of the Deltek Insight conferences since 2007, I’ve learned some important tips and tricks for ensuring that your investment in attending Insight is well worth it to your firm, and for you personally. The relationships, solutions to problems, and excitement about Deltek’s roadmap for your product will inspire you to go back to your office reinvigorated to push your system to the next level.
It is a well-known statistic in the software industry that the average business only uses about 21% of the features of the system they have. This is true for many reasons including lack of time and resources to figure out how to do more with the system, resistance from staff in using the project related and marketing modules, and lack of focus on keeping up with new features and updates. Insight provides a great opportunity to beat that statistic and learn ways to get more value out of your system.
Here are my suggestions for proactively preparing for Deltek Insight, and getting the most from it while you are there:
- Download and Use the App – the Deltek Insight App is your gateway to selecting and following your schedule, interacting with people you know and don’t know, and keeping you on track with the busy schedule while you’re there. As you meet new people, you can connect with them on the App, and keep your conversations going. It also enables you to look up session room numbers quickly without digging through your bag looking for a paper schedule. Also, make sure you familiarize yourself with the exhibit hall activities so you don’t miss anything that is of real interest to you.
- Create a schedule before you go – With hundreds of breakout sessions, opportunities to meet the experts, exhibit hall activities, networking opportunities Celebrate Insight and roadmap sessions, you want to make sure you maximize your time there and review all the options. I recommend you familiarize yourself with the complete schedule, tracks, product sessions, and even consider the tracks that are role-based such as the executive track. Once you get there you will be a bit overwhelmed with all the options, and without a schedule, will find yourself wandering around wondering what you should do next. By committing to the schedule up front, you are more likely to get more done in your time there.
- Don’t stay with your team – I had one big rule when I brought my team to Deltek Insight (and all events for that matter) - move around and sit at different tables at each meal and meet as many people as possible. You will have the opportunity to regroup with your colleagues after the event and share your new ideas, but much of the new things you will learn and future benefits will come from meeting new people and developing lasting relationships. I have found it is much easier to meet new people when you split up and don’t eat meals with your group. This advice also goes for attending sessions – there are so many sessions and you will want to attend more than you possibly can. Choose your sessions together with your team and then meet when you get back to your office to debrief each other on what you learned.
- Talk to as many sponsors and conference attendees as possible at the Xpo Hall Reception Monday night – The Monday night exhibit hall reception is one of my favorite parts of Insight. You will have several hours to walk around and meet all of Deltek’s talented partners, employees and sponsors. Over the last 30 years, Deltek has fostered deep relationships with many excellent companies that have developed add-on solutions and services to solve many problems you may be experiencing with your system. You can also pick the brain of Deltek’s smartest employees and meet dozens of peers that have similar challenges to your own. After Monday, you can go back to the exhibit hall to dig deeper with the sponsors and partners that interest you most.
- Set Goals in Advance – Every year when I am preparing to attend Deltek Insight, I create goals for myself and my team so that I can measure the value I get from my investment. It makes a big difference if you can clearly lay out 3 to 5 goals that you can measure when you get back, and even months later, to justify the time and money spent to attend Insight. Goals should include what you want to learn, problems you want to get solutions to, people you want to meet and talk with, advice you want to find, and even new business relationships you want to form. Because of Deltek’s industry focus, there will be many other companies attending that you can potentially do business with, or recruit from. Don’t underestimate the power of the connections you can make to help contribute to the growth and success of your firm.
- Take Notes and Create a List of Action Items – When you get back you will be overwhelmed with all you have learned and all of the people you talked with, and be exhausted from the busy conference schedule and travel home. It is critical to take detailed notes by session that summarize your key takeaways and ideas. Put a star next to the items you want to focus on when you get back, and circle those items that need more follow up after you return. If you attend with multiple people from your firm, plan a meeting to debrief each other on your experience, and consolidate your list of action items to ensure they actually get executed.
With intentional planning and preparation, you can get a huge return on investment by attending the Deltek Insight conference. I look forward to seeing you there, and hope these tips save you time and help ensure you get the most from your time in Dallas this year.
About the Author
June Jewell is the author of the best-selling book, “Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architecture, Engineering and Environmental Firms.” She is the President of AEC Business Solutions, helping progressive A&E firm leaders increase project profits and employee performance. Don’t miss June’s session at Insight this year – Leading Organizational Change to Increase Profitability. Connect with her on LinkedIn and learn more about how to improve your project financial performance at www.AECBusiness.com.
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