Deltek, a provider of project-based ERP software, recently announced significant changes to its product portfolio. Before getting into what’s new, it helps to briefly describe how project-based ERP is different from typical ERP systems.
Here are the main characteristics of project-based ERP software:
The industries it serves rely heavily on knowledge work and their main capital components are information and people
The software provides risk management and compliance for highly regulated companies such as government contractors
At the same time, project-based ERP may include features for manufacturing and supply chain, industry-specific functionality such as proofing and content management for marketing agencies, or construction management for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies.
The evolution of project-based ERP software
The market has evolved tremendously in the past decades—from a focus on operations and data management to prioritizing analysis and customer experience. In other words, project-based ERP was perceived as a “necessary evil” (a complex and not very user-friendly system that companies needed in order to avoid using separate systems or spreadsheets). To remain relevant, this type of software needs to be more than a system of record and help users make decisions and optimize operations.
As the market continued to evolve, some vendors decided to focus exclusively on project-based ERP software. Deltek is one of them, and their strategy combined developing their own software with acquiring new solutions. Their flagship product, Costpoint, has been around for more than 20 years while their most recent acquisition was ComputerEase, a construction management software.
The release of Deltek Costpoint 8, the first major update of the software in eight years: The focus of the new version is on intelligent technology. A few examples are intelligent character recognition (ICR) and biometric authentication for travel and expense, smart AI powered by IBM Watson, and progressive web applications (PWA) for CRM.
New offerings such as SpecPoint, powered by MasterSpec, a product of The American Institute of Architects (AIA): SpecPoint is a specification management software and its primary purpose is to improve collaboration across all stages of a project lifecycle.
Integration of WorkBook with ConceptShare for seamless collaboration on content proofing: Agencies can use the two products together and separately, which gives more flexibility to scale their business and adapt to market changes.
Other significant updates were the improvements to the PIM Smart offering for universal document control and the expansion of Deltek GovWin to Canada in 2021. More details on these announcements, as well as keynotes and breakout sessions, are available on the Deltek Insight website.
A research paper found “striking similarities in the cognitive and neural processes involved in remembering the past and imagining or simulating possible future experiences.” On the same note, we cannot imagine the future of project-based ERP without being reminded of the past.
Traditional and modern ERP features can coexist—it’s actually preferable to have both. For instance, Deltek Costpoint is available in the cloud and on premises (still used by government contractors). Also, PWAs are platform agnostic, can be used on desktop and mobile devices, and they work offline. Despite the rise of the mobile-only userpredicted by Harvard Business Review a decade ago, ERP users still use desktop computers and don’t always have reliable internet access.
Gabriel’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of business software selection and implementation. His research work has involved detailed functional analyses of software vendors from various areas such as ERP, CRM, and HCM. Gheorghiu holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest (Romania), and a master's degree in territorial project management from Université Paris XII Val de Marne (France).