Sunday, May 14, 2006

Make poor user interface design more interesting

Cognos Impromtpu has been the standard report writer for Costpoint at least since version 2.0C when I began using Costpoint. It is fairly easy to learn and yet powerful. Unlike most other applications that display a progress bar or an hourglass while processing data, Cognos Impromptu displays a fish swimming endlessly back and forth in the application status bar. Costpoint users all over have probably, cumulatively, spent months watching this fish go back and forth.

It is a poor user interface design element because it fails to convey to the user how much progress is remaining or the current stage of the report generation process. The user is left wondering to herself, "Is this report done running or is this fish going to swim another lap?"

Over the years, many users have asked me if it is possible to change the fish to a different icon. This is possible! While this will not make your report run any faster, it will hopefully make you feel more "in control" of your report and provide some comic relief as you watch a dinosaur, airplane, man, car, or horse travel back and forth!
Note: The airplane flying back and forth does not make your report run any faster than the fish! Please contact your DBA or administator to review the query behind your report to make it run faster.

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to download a zip file with new icons and instructions on where the new icons need to be copied.

To replace the fish icon, simply create a new icon bitmap file, 14 pixels tall and 14 pixels wide. You can download a zip file with the following images from here.
You will need 2 icons, one for travelling left and one for travelling right. One file should be named "imp_activityLeft.bmp" and the other "imp_activityRight.bmp". Copy these two icons into your "User Workspace" folder. This path to this folder typically looks like this:
"C:\Program Files\Cognos\cer4\bin\User Workspace"
If you are using a different version of Impromptu, "cer4" may be "cer3" on your computer.

Have you created your own icons that you would like to share? Email them to me and I will post them here.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Filled! - Job Posting: Deltek-Costpoint Business Systems Director

Note: This position has been filled.

SAIC is looking to fill their new Deltek-Costpoint Business Systems Director position. The position looks fairly challenging. From their description:
Once implemented, the Deltek installation at SAIC is expected to be one of the largest Deltek implementations in the world.
Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to see the complete job description.

Job Description:

The Deltek-Costpoint Business Systems Director will have responsibility for the new company-wide implementation and on-going management of the Deltek-Costpoint financial system. This system will replace legacy applications in G/L, A/R, A/P, Contracts, Program Management, Billing, and Procurement areas. Once implemented, the Deltek installation at SAIC is expected to be one of the largest Deltek implementations in the world. During the implementation period, this position will report directly to SAIC's Chief Financial Officer. After the implementation is complete, the position will report to SAIC's Chief Information Officer. The chosen candidate will be a member of the senior management team and will have high exposure to all areas of management and operations of the company. Responsibilities will include planning, design, implementation, change management, user satisfaction delivery, and overall leadership for the implementation and on-going operation of the system. As the project leader, the chosen candidate will coordinate all user needs, technical requirements, SOX 404 considerations, and budget/resources in deploying an optimal system solution. Must be forward-thinking, understand and anticipate the business needs, have intimate knowledge of enterprise financial systems, and act in a supportive role to help the financial stakeholder get maximal value from the system. Needs to be team-oriented and provide vision and leadership to the implementation and on-going operational staff. Participates in the development of business cases, ROI/NPV, and other qualifying analyses and also works with internal customers to develop priorities. The Director will serve as the primary owner of the new financial system including user functionality, maintenance standards, security and audit support packs, upgrades, interface with the IT infrastructure team, system performance, release management (includes enhancements), and production support change to the Deltek environment. No security clearance required. Position will require up to 20% travel.

Required Skills:

10+ years of experience in leading and managing financial systems implementations and operations, at least 3 of which shall recently include Deltek leadership experience. Candidate should have the skills and experience to manage a team of 20+ full time employees – with mixed internal and consulting resources. A track record of successful operational responsibilities; experience leading and building high performance teams, providing program management to oversee and guide numerous projects, integration with other corporate systems, managing departmental budgets and strong communication skills.

Desired Skills:

Hands-on Controllership experience is highly desirable, as is experience in participation in the development of enterprise architecture, implementation of continuous improvement programs and IT analysis and integration skills.


Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems and/or Finance or related field required. Masters degree in Business Administration or other Graduate degree strongly desired.

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Open Plan from Deltek solves water wastage problem

Yes, I had the same reaction you did when I saw this headline. "Open Plan"? Deltek and water wastage? A little investigation revealed that Open Plan is one of the products Deltek acquired as part of its Welcom acquisition.
Thames Water is using a central project management system to locate and fix leaks as it embarks on a one-year, £3.9m programme to replace ageing water pipes across North London.

You can read the entire article at Computer Weekly.

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Deltek signs on new Business Intelligence partner

Deltek's primary business intelligence partner has been Cognos for as long as I can remember. Cognos is the No. 1 vendor in the BI field and their products have always impressed me. Starting with the new web based Smart Business Applications, Deltek began a partnership with Actuate to include a reporting engine in Costpoint. In previous user conferences, some indication was given that IT departments would be able to write their own Actuate reports. I have not met any users that are currently doing this and have not received any suggestions lately to take advantage of this. From an internal controls standpoint, I prefer our built-in Costpoint reports be identical to the stock Deltek reports so they can be relied on for accuracy without extensive internal QA efforts.

Deltek today had a press release announcing a partnership with a new "visual" business intelligence partner Panopticon Forge. This partnership appears to be with the professional services side of Deltek.
A revolutionary performance management tool, visualisation uses a unique combination of shape, size and colour to replace pages of cumbersome data with a single interactive and graphical view of a firm’s project health. Trends and risks are immediately apparent and can be quickly analysed to determine the actions necessary to drive greater performance.
While Cognos ReportNet has been fairly impressive, the included graphing options are limited. It would be interesting to see if this partnership yields any benefits on the Costpoint side of Deltek.

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below.

The full press release can be found here.

Here is one more excerpt:

“Panopticon’s innovative visualisation software will give our clients an unprecedented, executive-level view of their entire project portfolio, enabling them to quickly identify risks and opportunities, and easily drill down to the projects at risk in order to take corrective action,” said Eric Brehm, executive vice president of Deltek.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Washington Post Deltek coverage

The Washington Post has a fairly detailed article on Deltek titled "Outsider to become chairman of Deltek". It begins with coverage of the recent press release and goes on to trace Deltek's history and future plans. It mentions Deltek's return to becoming a public company:
He (Kevin Parker) noted that while the firm does not have a timetable for a public offering, such a move would represent "an opportunity."

"Historically, Deltek has been a word-of-mouth business. Being a public company would give a larger sense of awareness of what our company is and what our expertise is."
The most interesting comment comes from Mark Amtower, a partner with the marketing consulting firm Amtower & Co. He is quoted as saying: "They want to migrate their platform to the integrator level and go after the big boys."

Does this mean we can expect more Deltek partners and professional IT firms to support and implement Costpoint?

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below for more excerpts from the article.

The entire article is available online at
Until last year, Deltek had been run by only two men in its history: deLaski and his father, Donald deLaski, an accountant who specialized in the arcane rules of government contracting. Hoping to develop an accounting program designed around those rules, they co-founded Deltek in 1983 with $250,000 and two programmers.
In April 2005, New York-based private equity firm New Mountain Capital LLC bought 75 percent of Deltek's shares for $205 million.
In February, Deltek announced revenue of $150 million for 2005, the second straight year in which it rose more than 20 percent.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Job posting: Controller

Johnson Controls Federal Systems (JCFS) is looking for a controller with Costpoint experience. Please send resumes and cover letters to

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to get the entire job description and salary range.

From the company:

Johnson Controls Federal Systems(JCFS) provides HVAC control systems,
security systems and energy savings performance contracting to the
Federal Government. We are headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD and wholey
owned by Johnson Controls, a Fortune 100 company.

JCFS has an immediate need for a government controller to manage all
aspects of its accounting and financial reporting function. Looking for
government accounting expertise in the areas of FAR and CAS compliance,
indirect rate pools, incurred cost submissions, DCAA interface and
pricing on new proposals.

Accounting/Business degree required. CPA preferred. At least five years
experience in role as government accounting expert. Experience with
Costpoint strongly preferred. Salary range is $100 - $125k, depending
on experience, with an excellent benefits package.

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Kevin Parker replaces Ken deLaski as Chairman

Continuing the series of management changes with New Mountain Capital playing a more active role, Deltek's board of directors unanimously elected company President and CEO Kevin Parker to the additional post of Chairman. There were some other changes to the board as well.
Mr. Parker will succeed Ken deLaski, who held the Chairman role at Deltek and retired from the board effective April 26, 2006. Co-founding Deltek with his father Donald in 1983, Mr. deLaski served as president and CEO of Deltek from 1996 to 2005 and was instrumental in leading Deltek's strategic vision and operating success for the past 23 years.

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to read more.

The full press release is available from

Kevin Parker Elected Deltek Chairman, Succeeding Ken deLaski; Alok Singh Named Lead Director, Two New Directors Appointed to Board

Here are some excerpts from the press release:

The board also unanimously elected Alok Singh, Managing Director at private equity firm New Mountain Capital, to Lead Director of the board. Mr. Singh has served in a number of senior management roles, including leading the Corporate Financial Advisory Group for the Americas for Barclays Capital, and serving as senior managing director at Bankers Trust Securities. Mr. Singh has been a member of Deltek's board of directors since April 2005.

The Board also elected two new members. Kathleen deLaski, sister of Ken deLaski and president of the Sallie Mae Fund, joined the board as a director. Ms. deLaski recently served as senior vice president, chief communications officer, and SVP of consumer marketing at Sallie Mae, the nation's largest education finance company. In addition, she has held positions as group director at AOL and chief spokeswoman for the Pentagon.

The board also elected Joseph Kampf, Chief Executive Officer of Anteon International Corporation, as a director. Anteon is regarded as a premier provider of information technology solutions and systems engineering and integration services to the U.S. federal government. Mr. Kampf led Anteon in one of 2002's most successful initial public offerings and over the past nine years has grown the company from $109 million to $1.49 billion in annual revenue.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Job posting: Costpoint Technical Support

BusinessEdge is looking to fill a Costpoint Technical Support position in East Brunswick, NJ. Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to get the entire job posting. Please contact Ms. Hennes Hao at if you are interested.

Costpoint Technical Support

We are looking for a strong candidate with experience in Deltek Costpoint to provide support to BusinessEdge’s Finance Group. Should be well-versed in accounting principles and have experience in project-based account lifecycle functions including GL, Time/Expense Collection and Tracking, AR, AP, Billing, HR, and Payroll.

The candidate should have a solid understanding of SQL concepts, SQL Server 2000 and experience in developing SQL scripts, stored procedures, DTS packages, BCP, triggers and query optimization.

Experience in Unanet and web programming a plus.

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