Automation

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Fall 2017 Release – Web API Support

With programmatic access to iSite data and functionality, the possibilities are endless in how iSite can improve efficiency and better inform your PMO staff.

Put an end to Your Email Problem for your PMO

When it comes to managing your Government contract emails can be the straw that breaks the back of your success.

You might have the best folder system in place or you might be the shining star of email management; but you know there is always that worry that you have forgotten to respond to a critical question or that you have forwarded the wrong document or you have divulged organizationally sensitive information to the wrong msmith@wrongcompany.com.

Emails are our default, but they are old technology; the good news is that there is a better way to streamline your PMO communications and protect yourself from email’s pitfalls.

The first would be to utilize a discussion forum or instant message within a tool or application your organization uses.  For task management, iSite includes an entire module that is dedicated to discussions. The module, as with the entire tool, is regulated by security roles and groups so you never have to worry about which ‘msmith’ is reading your messages, and you are alerted when there is a reply or discussion topic directed at you.

The second would be to use a centralized document library to file all appropriate documents.  Of course, you will still need a pretty savvy folder system, but the automation of version control and the ability to set security on each document prevents you from kicking yourself as you try to retrieve a sent email.

We might never get rid of email, but by using tools and systems to their fullest capability you are one step ahead of the most common email problems and you now work smarter, not harder to successfully manage your Government contract.

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.

 

I had no idea iSite did that – Revised

We are happy to announce that iSite keeps on adding enhancements, updates, and new features to our PMO platform.  Most recently we have added more prominence to revision or modification numbers; you know those numbers that help keep you on track when the Government adds task scope after you won the award.

 

Now for those of you who are familiar with iSite, you are right, we have always had this capability, but what is new is the way we are displaying them and controlling them.

 

Rev Mod Number Highlight

Rev or Mod numbers are highlighted in their own bubble

These numbers are now highlighted anywhere a task number is displayed in their very own bubble.  No need to search or dig into data to try and capture what task revision you are viewing.

 

We have also added new functionality on how you can control adding revision numbers to a task.  These numbers can be set to auto-generate based on criteria set up for a workflow or administrators can edit the revision number.

 

Finally, to help streamline even more process in your PMO if an admin changes any task properties they Rev Mod Auto Confirmwill be prompted to save these modifications as a new revision.

 

 

Increasing efficiency, automating actions and helping your PMO with improved process is all in a days work for your team here at iSite.

 

Email marketing@isitellc.com to learn more.

I had no idea iSite did that – Christmas in July Edition

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….

iSite PMO

Use iSite’s custom lists to track just about anything.

For this edition, we are reminding you that iSite allows you to make your list and check it twice! Yes, perhaps even to discover who has been naughty or nice.

By putting our custom list feature through its paces you can create custom data tables that allow approved users to contribute to, manipulate, review, and report on any type of data set without having to rely on excel or access.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to be able to track everyone on the team who has access to a project credit card. You simply need to go into the custom list builder, set the data fields you would like to collect (name, role, credit card limit, and expiration date for example); enter your initial data; then turn the list over to iSite users to maintain.

Want your financial users to be able to see credit limits but not your task managers? No problem, custom views can be setup via roles and security permissions.

Want to maintain historical versions for audit purposes? No problem, you can setup historical tracking with the click of a button.

Want to be sure that users are only viewing final data in lists? Easy enough, just opt into the approval workflow.

Now, setting up credit card users is just one example of how your contract management team can really put custom lists to work for you and your success.

Other clients track and capture receipts for one-off expenses; track KPIs and collect data for employee reviews; establish feedback forms for process improvement; build custom announcements….

The possibilities for other uses are truly limitless and even better by using custom lists in iSite you now have all of your data in one place which means our team can help build custom reports and work on cross-module data integration.

Want to learn more about how custom lists can work for your team? Email us at marketing@isitellc.com

I had no idea iSite did that!

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….

For this edition, we are looking into dates (not the dinner and a movie kind or the kind that grows on a datestree). You know what we are talking about, fiscal years, quarters, Government fiscal years, end of month, holidays.

We are sure that all these dates mean something to you, but do they mean the same thing to your CO? Do you find that you spend an extraordinary amount of time defining and explaining documentation based on the definition of a date?

Perhaps you have to create multiple estimates depending on the defined date range, or maybe you spend time reorganizing data into the format that you need.

Well, we have some good news.  With iSite, you can adjust your financial data view between Government fiscal year and calendar fiscal year at the click of a button.  Your estimates take on the appropriate view for the desired audience.  There is no double, triple entry.  There is no worry about transposing numbers when creating different views.

It is automatic.

To learn more about how iSite can help increase automation for your team email marketing@isitellc.com

Can you be efficient AND productive? The answer might surprise you

 

The folks over at Freakonomics Radio spent a month on self-improvement tips including an episode on how to be more productive.

You can catch the podcast here, but we wanted to highlight a surprising morsel:

There’s actually a big tension and a difference between efficiency and productivity.

Go ahead, we will give you a second to have that one sink in.  tug-of-war-1013740__340

They further explain that increasing efficiencies is all about increasing automation, that is taking all of the thinking out of an action and productivity is about taking control again.

But do those things need to be at odds?  What about implementing a system that automates the repetitive tasks of contract management and alerts you to areas where you need to take action and control? Can automation of the mundane free your contract managers to be more productive at their jobs?

As we dig in further to the episode the answer becomes a clear and resounding YES! In order to become more productive, no matter the task, you need to embrace 8 essential skills.

Focus, Goal-Setting, Decision Making, Innovation, Absorbing Data, Managing Others, and Teams

By implementing a smart contract management tool that automates and integrates your contract funding data, workflows, and risk analysis your task managers are free to focus on areas that need improvement, identifying goals, making informed decisions, innovating for future bids, absorb data across systems (internally and externally), manage others and create the best team they need in order to succeed.

To learn how iSite can help you take advantage of automation to increase productivity and efficiency email marketing@isitellc.com.

Excel shortcuts don’t cut it

We all know the feeling. It’s 4:30 PM on a Friday and your Government program manager needs to see your NASA 533.  You were ahead of the game.  Early this week you tracked down all your task managers, had them email you their spreadsheets so you could consolidate the data and roll it up into one tidy report for your customer.

There is just one problem. You have been pulling your hair out trying to figure out why your data is not lining up. One of your task managers must have their data wrong. Who was it that didn’t complete their excel training? Or did you transpose numbers or skip a cell? Is one of the formulas corrupted?

You have visions of spending your weekend trying to identify the issue (and double checking the 6 months of prior reports to make sure those were accurate).

The reality is that we are all humans and we will make mistakes and there is no better solution than setting up process automation to help keep you sane.

Automation allows you to bypass costs associated with errors.

Automation ensures predictable quality.

Automation makes you more efficient.

Automation gets you out of the door at 4 PM on a Friday because, well, your rock.

The folks over at Lifehack have some useful tips on automating your personal life and check out iSite’s automation features to see how we can help automate your work life.

Trend Alert: Increase your efficiency

As a business owner, you hear all the time that you need to stay ahead of the curve, find new ways to secure your competitive edge, increase your profits, succeed.

You’ve read all the books, you’ve attended the seminars and you have scoured social media. You even made your way to this post where we are going to let you in on a not so big secret.

In order to succeed, you need to find ways to continuously increase your efficiencies.

The good news is that we are not talking about increasing efficiencies at Moore’s law’s pace, but rather we are suggesting that you focus on two keywords every time you evaluate an existing system or consider implementing a new one: automation and integration.

Will this new system automate a process or will it just add to the long list of sources you need to review in order to calculate yet another metric?

Does this new system integrate with your existing systems or does it just give you yet another password to remember?

Is there a tool out there that will run your metrics (and the metrics your bosses or clients need) automatically and in real time?

Is there a tool out there that will finally give you the birds-eye-view of all of your on-going contracts or projects?

Increasing efficiencies is a trend that is never going to go away and by asking yourself if the new technologies, tools, and ideas that come across your desk help automate and integrate you are going to stay well ahead of this curve.