You Can’t Run Government Like a “Great American Company”…. but what can be done also applies to GovCon….

In his recent Government Executive article, John Lowe discusses why the Government can’t be run like a great American company.    He begins his thought-provoking article by emphasizing the inherent differences in mission objectives and operations between the two.  But what really stirs the mind are the strategies that the Government could and should leverage from institutions and companies in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.  Strategies that have been successfully proven to increase operational efficiency.

Taking the thought a step further, these same winning strategies could also be leveraged by those of us in the Government Contracting Community as well.  Strategies like the following:

  1.  Leverage Best-in-Breed Thinking to Solve Difficult Problems (How are your peers and competitors solving similar problems?)
  2.  Adopt New Business Models and Technology Where Possible (What technologies or methods provide the biggest performance gains? SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, Agile methods?)
  3. Employ Leading Practices in Operations (What are your peers and competitors tracking against?
  4. Enforce Core Values of Accountability, Transparency and Efficiency (Establish KPI’s to monitor what you do and how you are performing)

To read the full article (see link):

You Can’t Run Government Like a “Great American Company”

To learn more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.

Unified Data Management- The Asset Often Overlooked at a Costly Price

What is UDM?

Per Philip Russom of The Data Warehousing Institute, unified data management is the concept of managing data as an organizational asset with the ultimate goal of achieving strategic, data-driven business objectives, such as fully informed operational excellence and business intelligence, plus related goals in governance, compliance, business transformation, and business integration.

Why should we care?

Per his article, data-driven business initiatives (including BI, CRM, regulatory compliance, and business operations) suffer due to low data quality and incomplete information, inconsistent data definitions, noncompliant data, and uncontrolled data usage. UDM helps avoid these problems, plus it enables “big picture” data-driven business methods such as data governance, data security and privacy, operational excellence, better decision-making, and leveraging data as an organizational asset.

What does it look like?

For the platform to be truly unified, all tools in the portfolio should share a common graphical user interface (GUI) for development and administration, servers should interoperate in deployment, and all tools should share key development artifacts (such as metadata, master data, data profiles, data models, etc.) as the article illustrates.

To read the full research paper, access this link:

UDM

What is the cost of overlooking it?

When high-growth companies have several siloed applications, there are many business challenges that arise. These challenges can become so severe, that they can cripple growth. Below is a summary of at least four main issues that can hinder your growth if you run a business with disparate business software systems.

  • Wasted Employee Productivity:  When your company is in growth mode, every employee must be operating at optimal productivity. If your employees are bogged down with inefficient and disjointed processes, it increases errors and takes time away from their more important core duties. Important processes such as order processing, invoicing, expense approvals, and fulfillment, to name a few, can take a lot longer to get completed, and are often erroneous. For instance, your employees may be spending hours manually re-entering order information into the accounting and invoicing system, while other employees pull that same information from your CRM system for their order fulfillment processes and to calculate sales commissions. If any orders are canceled in the meantime, your employees have to sift through mounds of data to reconcile this information again. Such labor-intensive and manual tasks reduce the agility that your company needs to grow.
  • Lack of Real-time Visibility:  When software systems are un-integrated, you have multiple overlapping databases, and cannot easily get a view of business performance in a timely fashion. Reports showing performance across your finance, sales, marketing, service, and fulfillment departments are crucial to giving you an integrated view of your company’s operations. Most companies simply give up on acquiring this information on a regular basis because of the amount of time it takes to source, extract and analyze this data. For those that do, countless hours are wasted trying to tie unrelated, error-prone, and out of date information together. Consequently, businesses either end up making critical decisions slowly, based on inaccurate information, or they make hasty and risky decisions off of gut instinct.
  • Integration Complexity and Cost:  With so many disparate applications, IT wastes an enormous amount of time and money on integrating, maintaining, and acquiring new versions of these applications. Often times, once new versions are purchased, even more integration and maintenance needs to be performed for all the different versions of software to work together. Consequently, valuable IT time that could be used to make the business more productive is wasted, while maintenance costs skyrocket.
  • Increased Customer Churn:  Customer acquisition and revenue growth are key pillars to your company’s continued success. With fierce competition, it is essential that your company provide an exceptional customer experience or risk having customers take their business elsewhere. When customers are unable to quickly get information on their order status, can’t get issues resolved in a timely manner, or have to frequently deal with products being out of stock, they will be less satisfied and less likely to continue purchasing from you. An integrated software system ensures that customers have the right information and customer experience and that your employees have the instantaneous access to all the customer information they need to service and sell to your customers.

Conclusion

Today, companies in virtually every industry are using sophisticated business software to fuel their growth but many are still struggling to keep up with their growth and manage costs effectively because of a hodge-podge of disconnected functional systems causing process bottlenecks and employee productivity issues. Unified platforms are transforming how companies run, and enabling them to transcend growing pains that previously were holding them back from taking their business to the next level of profitable growth.

To learn more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.

5 Ways Technology is Transforming GovCon Management Practices……

Here are just some of the benefits managers are experiencing with modern ERP solutions……..

  • Improves Visibility: by adding new functionality that captures total costs of projects through actual payroll cost and indirect cost allocations directly to the associated projects and tasks
  • Enables Efficiency: Enhances and extends billing, unbilled and revenue processes to accommodate all government vehicles to include Cost Reimbursable, Fixed Price and Cost Reimbursable calculations and formats
  • Improves Profitability: Empowers project managers with project inquires and reports in real-time, giving them instant visibility into summary or transaction details needed to make timely decisions, effect change and manage project costs and profitability
  • Mitigates Risk: Enhances existing timesheets to comply with DCAA timekeeping regulations and enables project specific charging controls that enforce your companies’ government contracting vehicle requirements
  • Is DCAA Compliance Ready:  Let’s face it – CAS and FAR standards and regulations can and have changed over the years impacting GovCon business and accounting practices.  Technology assists users in meeting these guidelines today and in the future.

To explore how Netsuite with DCAA-on-Demand can bring these benefits to your company please feel free to access the below Video:

To learn even more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.

Oracle + Netsuite: The Long-Term Vision

In his compelling TED Talk, Martin Reeves discusses how his research has proven that business’ that model the human immune system stand the test of time (see link):

The 100 Year Business

Given the latest information about Oracle’s acquisition of Netsuite (see Link):

Oracle + Netsuite

I decided to test the hypothesis and came away with an even greater respect for this union.

  1.  Redundancy–  Netsuite will be well positioned using Oracle’s global reach as a Best-in-Class Cloud Services provider with millions of copies of each component in the Cloud.  Expect major growth in global markets as this union promises to replicate\evolve solutions in order to provide coverage for every customer in every geography.
  2. Diversity– Netsuite’s unified platform will be expanded to new industries.  With Oracle stating that every industry and every market will be covered from startup businesses to global enterprises.  To back the claim Oracle promises significant R&D dollars for both the Netsuite and Oracle platforms.
  3. Modularity– More emphasis will be placed on adding resources both natively and through strategic partnerships.  Deeper product specialization will be realized via Suiteapps and their modules with specific vertical focus.
  4. Adaptive– As market leaders Oracle and Netsuite understand, leverage and plan to remain on the cutting edge of technologies with expansions in Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service,  and Platform-as-s-Service capabilities.  Netsuite’s ability to span a wide range of industries will continue with Netsuite’s Solution and Software Development Partner Programs investing in implementation and SuiteApp technology and reach as well.
  5. Prudence– The union will continue to monitor technology disruption, detect and react to every threat over the long-term.  Unlike other software companies that have had to abandon software platforms due to their dependencies on decommissioned third-party solutions; Oracle is the platform for Netsuite.
  6. Embeddedness– Oracle + Netsuite will ensure that their systems are embedded in a platform that will allow for currently available integrations and those not yet imagined.

The scientist in me is well satisfied with my hypothesis conclusion, Oracle + Netsuite is indeed a union fit for a 100 year company!

To learn more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.

 

Your DCAA System Audit- “When Failure Is Not An Option”

As government contractors, we have either experienced this audit or have it looming in our near future.   This article is intended as a refresher for those who have experienced the audit and a helpful resource for those who are anticipating it.

To start, it’s important to know who will be auditing your company and by what authority.

Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCA) provides audit and financial advisory services to Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal entities responsible for acquisition and contract administration. DCAA operates under the authority, direction, and control of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer.

Next, you will want to explore any guidance the agency offers about the audit and what to expect during the auditing process.

Please feel free to reference the following website link for:

Accounting System Requirements

http://www.dcaa.mil/small_business/Accounting_System.pdf

Then you will want to perform an internal system’s gap analysis.  If during your analysis you find any gaps in your ERP’s ability to meet DCAA’s compliance requirements and/or it’s ability to assist you in achieving and/or maintaining compliance.  Weighing the fact that penalties associated with non-compliance can be severe; you may find yourself highly incentivized to put remedies in place prior to your audit.  For further guidance on operating in a DCAA compliant environment and penalties for non-compliance, please access further information via this link:

Detailed Contractor Information

http://www.dcaa.mil/DCAAM_7641.90.pdf

In addition, please feel free to reach out to us for more information on how we can help you.  We are happy to share our experience helping many Netsuite clients close their system gaps and pass the audit.  As government contractor’s ourselves, we understand your situation and understand the pressure of operating in an environment where “failure is not an option.”

To learn more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.

DCAA-on-Demand for Netsuite “A Whole New Cloud Based World”

The announcement on March 7, 2016 that Daston Corporation’s DCAA-on-Demand module received the “Built for NetSuite” verification is indeed tremendous news for Federal contractors. This news truly opens a “Whole New Cloud Based World” to companies that do business with the U.S. Federal Government. The new module leverages the inherent power of NetSuite, its SuiteApp logic and platform to provide the sorely needed Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) functionality for Federal contractors. In true SuiteApp fashion, the experience is seamless to the end-user and appears in the menu bar as additional modules to the already robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) capabilities that clients have come to expect from Netsuite. NetSuite with DCAA-on-Demand opens a new market of approximately 20,000 customers for Netsuite and its partner community.

To further, this new market is heavily weighted with government services, software and manufacture companies. These companies are typically involved in various fields, such as financial services, healthcare, defense, information technology, science and space technology with any combination of these business segments represented within the same company. These companies are but a subset of the Government Contractor Industry that spans small, medium and large contractors throughout the United States.

The greatest benefit of this new DCAA-on-Demand module is that it enables government contractors to meet Federal contractor regulatory compliance requirements. “Companies who do not routinely update their reporting and accounting practices are at risk of losing Federal contracts or paying thousands of dollars in fines.” “Daston DCAA, is a world-class fully customizable solution and paired with NetSuite brings one of the most compelling solutions for DCAA compliance in the cloud” said Gary Callen, President of Daston.

The module extends NetSuite’s Industry Specific Bundle Editions to meet Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) and to comply with DCAA regulations. DCAA-on-Demand benefits from the following:
 Built entirely on the Netsuite Suiteflex Platform
 Works with existing organizational structures and chart of accounts (COA) in Netsuite
 Requires no additional Installation, Hardware or Software
 Mirrors NetSuite’s Security Features
 Enables Quick Responses to DCAA Auditor Inquiries

The DCAA On-Demand solution consists of integrated modules that support the following functionality:
 Project Status Reports
 Indirect Cost Allocation
 Payroll Cost Allocation
 DCAA Compliant Time Entry

To learn more, either respond directly to this post or email sheila.tomlinson@daston.com for more information.