September, 2016

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How well are you really communicating?

“The single biggest problem in communicating is the illusion that is has taken place”

– George Bernard Shaw

We all know this is old news, and we were all promised that the advent of new technology supposed to help us increase our ability to communicate.  And, well that is still true.  We can now reach almost anyone at the click of a button, but this does not solve the crux of the issue, we might still be failing to actually communicate.

In a study published in the Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, email writers thought readers would correctly identify the tone of their emails about 78% of the time. In reality? Only 56% of emails were interpreted accurately.

This simple study proves the point, it is not about the types of tools or systems you incorporate, it is still how you use them that is important to success especially in today’s office where we are asked to be more transparent and more collaborative.

No matter if you are still using email as your main form of communication or if you are using a more collaborative tool such as iSite, with its built-in discussion boards; keep in mind that you might just be miscommunicating with higher frequency so don’t forget to keep the dialogue going, and to pick up the phone as soon as you think that there has been a missed or mixed message.

I had no idea iSite did that – Interim Reporting

Welcome back to our series on how iSite works and how you can make it work harder for you! As we’ve told you in the past the best and worst thing about building an agnostic contract management tool is that it can be tailored to fit any contractor or Government agency need.  All our clients love what iSite does for them on a regular basis, but we have found that once folks get settled into their iSite routine they sometimes forget that there is more…

 

This time around we are going to focus on interim data.

 

Critical for building transparency with your client.

 

Essential for making better, faster decisions.

 

The question is how do you access it before your month is closed in a way that does not stress your accounting team (or in the case of labor, that does not require anyone to double enter time)?

 

In iSite the answer is easy. We have specifically built data tables for interim data. These tables are static and are meant to function only with the most recently uploaded data.  There is no historical record and there is no impact on your final cost reports.

 

Our interim data tables accept four types of data (all with associated dollar values):

  • Unposted labor
  • In-process travel
  • Purchase requests
  • Commitments

And in turn, this data will show up in your cost reports as you pull, analyze, and discuss them during the month.

The data allows for planning to take place before issues are critical, for conversations to be started before critical mass.

Incorporating uploads of this data into your PMO management process creates a culture of trust and demonstrates a true PMO System, you are no longer just executing on set actions then reporting on them, you are now working within a system that allows for smarter, faster, better decisions based on near real-time data.

Want to learn more about how iSite’s PMO System approach can help your team win your next bid? Email marketing@isitellc.com.

Ramping up to FedRAMP

As many of you know iSite is in its last stages for becoming FedRAMP compliant and we are excited to offer you the level of security and comfort that a FedRAMP certification brings to the table.

In a recent meeting our team was covering some security FAQs and we were surprised when we were not asked about FedRAMP certification, but rather FISMA compliance; and it occurred to the team that we might need to do some research for you all and help get the word out about how FISMA and FedRAMP stack up next to each other. After all, it is one thing for our team to understand the benefits of a FedRAMP certification, but it’s another thing altogether for you all to understand as well.

During our research, we came across a fantastic whitepaper from the folks over at CoalFire. It’s well worth the read for you to better understand how FIMSA and FedRAMP are related; why FedRAMP is what you should be looking for; and how FedRAMP brings more than security to the table.

If you have any questions about iSite’s FedRAMP compliance email us at marketing@isitellc.com

Heads Up! It’s Quarterly Development Release Time Again

As you know, here at iSite we are always striving to add new features and functionality to your system.  These updates allow our team to incorporate some of your common requests to make iSite work harder for you as well as back-end functionality and structure improvements so iSite continues to perform optimally in an ever-changing technical world.

This quarter our team was laser focused on the Funding Module and making life easier for administrators.

funding-transfer-1

Funding Module Home Page

The goal was simple; reduce the number of steps it takes to reallocate leftover money from one task to another or redistribute funding across tasks.

This action was always allowed in iSite, but it was a multi-step process, which might be okay if you just have one task, but if you have a 100?

Problem solved!

funding-transfer-3

Funding Transfer Wizard

Our team has created a wizard where administrators can now simply select the task money is being shifted away from and the task that money is being shifted to in one step.

Making your life easier through enhancements? It’s what our team is all about.

Email marketing@isitellc.com to learn more!

 

 

A(nother) Case for Not Building In-House

Digitization and getting the most out of the data you digitize is the new norm.

“In fact, 87% of business leaders say that digitization is a priority for their company, according to CEB data, but two-thirds also say that their companies are not acting quickly enough to remain competitive.” – Source: Corporate IT: 4 Reasons the Plan-Build-Run Model Won’t Work Anymore | CEB Blogs

But as the folks at CEB point out most IT is still structured in the Plan-Build-Run past while trying to balance the current speed of development.

Here at iSite, we wholeheartedly agree.  By using a SaaS system, you are freeing your IT staff to help support other teams, not to put up roadblocks or delay tactics that hurt your bottom line.

Let SaaS companies, who are subject matter experts, provide the systems and tools that your IT team can then help integrate into the larger business model, use to help flatten information, and use to reduce the burden of in-house development.

Don’t let the rise of digitization be the downfall for your IT team.

Compliance and Transparency? Yeah, we can help with that.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order is going to go into effect on October 25th and late last month the Obama Administration issued their final guide on the matter.

The folks at Federal News Radio have great coverage of what this executive order means for federal contractors, but to sum it up everyone in the contracting game is going to have to find their way towards more transparency in order to help ensure compliance.

The additional steps and requirements could increase the burden on your PMO especially when it comes to managing labor hours and subcontractors.

The good news? A solid PMO System will allow you to automate the new requirements so you don’t have to worry about penalties or sanctions.

For example, looking specifically at iSite’s built-in DCAA Timekeeping Module we can:

  1. Centralize all timesheets into one system
  2. Set up security roles so users only see what they should see
  3. Set up workflows so labor is logged and approved in one streamlined system
  4. Post news, information to users
  5. Track and review historical data

Emotions? Not Your Normal PMO MO.

MeasureIn the age of data overload every aspect of your business has been touched by the ‘measure it, monitor it, improve it’ mantra.

 

And no portion of your organization has been impacted more by this mantra than customer satisfaction. After all, why wouldn’t you want to improve your customers’ experiences?  They are the reason you are in business and their satisfaction will be the reason you grow (or fail).

 

But as the folks over at Harvard Business Review (HBR) pointed out in their article this week we are so focused on tracking data and mapping experiences that we have forgotten that our customers are people too!

 

They have jobs to accomplish, bosses to impress, deliverables to, well, deliver and they are relying on you (or your product) to help them.

 

The problem is that you are likely one of many companies that provide similar services or sell a similar product that can help them equally well.

 

That’s the rub, with so many companies riding on the bandwagon of customer experience, the folks at HBR tell us that customer satisfaction is no longer the competitive differentiator it once was.

 

Think about this in terms of your PMO.  What do you do to really stand out to your client? Sure you are managing tasks as required by the SOW so your client is likely satisfied. You are doing your job. You are doing it well. Your past performance ratings are solid. And you feel comfortable that you will win the next contract you go after.

 

But how do you move the needle higher on the confidence scale?

 

Connect. Emotionally. With your client.

 

Back to HBR again, their research found that, in a business relationship, an emotional connection happens when you bring order and structure to your client’s job.

 

And for your PMO using a PMO System, such as iSite, can more than check off these boxes through automation, transparency, and collaboration.

 

Imagine if your CO automatically received reports without having to ask.

Imagine if your Executive Team could see your progress with interim data.

Imagine if your Subcontractors could collaborate in real time.

 

Would this help bring order and structure?

 

Yes.

 

Will this help increase customer satisfaction?

 

Yes. But more importantly, it will increase loyalty.