There are few efforts more important than cultivating your team. In a distributed team environment, you have to be creative about how you bring staff together around the ideas and goals that fuel your corporate vision. This is especially true during periods of growth.

In just over a year at Clearview, our team has grown by 25%. So, when it came to planning this year’s staff retreat, we focused heavily on promoting our values and culture.

For Clearview, the culture has always been organic. We are friends outside of work, know the names of each other’s kids and stop by to visit out-of-town team members on family vacations. This naturally informed the events and activities we planned and made for a great weekend together. Here were two of the principles that guided our planning:

Cultivate Company Culture

We held our retreat at our main offices in Central Virginia, where about half the team is located. We place a high value on getting face time with our out-of-town staff. To promote this, we planned time for in-office collaboration as well as a couple of outside activities- including an afternoon corn-hole tournament and cookout in beautiful Bedford County. This created opportunities for employees to bond, build trust, and have fun.

Everyone has a Voice

In addition to vision casting and department updates, we made full-staff sessions interactive and built in time for people to share kudos and appreciation for each other and the company as a whole. We know that good ideas can come from anywhere. After our retreat, we listened to feedback on various aspects of our time and will use ideas for planning in the future.


The feedback from our employees indicated that our time together felt like family time. One employee had this to say,

“I am extremely proud to be a part of the Clearview Team. The wonderful culture is present whether at the office working with customers or eating BBQ, laughing and competing at our first annual corn-hole tournament out at the farm. Time to start practicing for next year!”

As Clearview continues to grow, we’ll be excited to share the journey.

 

Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters of all time. We know this because since the early days of baseball we’ve been tracking stats on every player for every game and Ted Williams rises to the top of the list in almost every category.

Whether through pen and paper, spreadsheet or enterprise software we have a history of using technology to measure greatness.

It’s the same for AE. Each hour on every project is an opportunity to capture and measure the great work your firm produces. Your ERP solution will either enhance or weaken that ability. But, how do you know when your ERP is falling short? Better yet, are there ways to anticipate the need for a new solution?

For ERP software, there are a few sure-fire indicators that it’s time to start looking for something new.

  • End-of-life -Discontinued product development or support
  • Outgrowth – When your firm outgrows the current feature set
  • Stagnant Development – No new features/improvements

1. End of Life

End-of-life is actually a normal stage in a product’s lifecycle- but that process can have serious ramifications. Often an end-of-life means a shift of resources away from supporting your software resulting in closed development and end of product support. Neither are good scenarios.

Typically, End-of-life is preceded by a vendor buyout, final version, end of sales or the release of a new (read, “replacement”) product.

2. Outgrowth

On a more positive note, sometimes your firm simply outgrows the feature set of your current software. There are lots of great solutions written for small businesses to begin managing their accounting, projects or CRM. However, larger contracts call for more employees, tighter communication and fully-baked integrations.

Balancing multiple vendors to capture your firm’s project/financial position can become cumbersome in periods of growth. If you’re growing too quickly for your software (congratulations!) it’s time to start looking.

3. Stagnant Development

Running a mature ERP solution has it’s benefits. However, terms like “product maturity” can easily mask a true lack of development or product improvement. This can leave you at a disadvantage. Signs of a slow down in development include fewer and far-between improvements to the product, long standing bugs or inattentiveness to customer feedback.

Since the early days of baseball, we’ve used technology to measure greatness and ERP software helps you capture this for your firm.

Great ERP does that in a way that innovates, continually improves and grows with you.

InFocus Analytic Dashboards

January 20th, 2017 is a big day. We’re not trying to steal anyone’s thunder, but we’re pretty sure the InFocus 2017.1 release should trump anything else that might be happening.

InFocus 2017 brings lots of exciting new features. One that we’re particularly excited about here at Clearview is the new Analytic Dashboards.

These days the ability to analyze your data for decision support has become a competitive requirement. But that’s harder to do than it sounds for a variety of reasons. So, when we first started planning Analytic Dashboards, we focused on three key goals that we felt were crucial.

First, we wanted non-technical users to be able to build great analytic dashboards. That meant the designer needed to be intuitive, powerful, and baked directly into InFocus.

Second, the data needed to be easily accessible. There are lots of tools out there to visualize data, but if connecting to your data is difficult, it can be a show stopper. So, we created Analytic Models. Analytic Models are “packaged” queries built specifically for InFocus Analytic Dashboards. A single Analytic Model could power scores of Analytic Dashboards.

Third, it had to be affordable. If you’re in the market, you might have noticed that many other business intelligence products require more of an investment than InFocus itself. At Clearview, we pride ourselves in adding new value with every release (43 and counting over the last 10 years). If you’re a Self-Hosted Client on our Maintenance Plan or you’re on InFocus Cloud, this will all be included in the InFocus you already own.

We truly appreciate your business and strive to make your investment in us pay-off continuously. We hope you will be as excited to use InFocus 2017 as we are.

Matt for The Clearview Team


Want to learn more?

For a more on what you can find in InFocus 2017, be sure to check out our Release Notes or join us next Tuesday for our free webinar, InFocus 2017: What’s New.

InFocus 2016 is here, bringing refined experience and performance. It also sets a foundation for infinite expandability through the upcoming InFocus Marketplace. Here are some highlights.

Streamlined Time & Expense + Mobile Approval
The most frequently used applets in InFocus—time and expense—have been streamlined for easier entry and browsing.

Notably, you can now approve and reject time sheets through our mobile/web interface…

mobile-approve

Better Performance + New Gantt Chart
In addition to project performance improvements, InFocus 2016 introduces a new Gantt chart. It streamlines your ability to plan and order tasks, and provides feedback on the impact of scheduled items.

And Coming this May… InFocus Marketplace
InFocus is becoming even more powerful and easier to expand. New reports, invoices, dashboard widgets, utilities and third-party integrations will soon be a click away. InFocus Marketplace is almost here and InFocus 2016 is already made for it. Stay tuned.

Available Now
InFocus 2016 is available now on InFocus Cloud and on April 22, 2016 for InFocus In-House. We hope it helps AE firms be even more profitable and productive.

Clearview Office Space 1

Last month Clearview moved into a spacious new facility. The offices are inside the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research in Bedford County, Virginia. The space lets us do things that weren’t possible before, like hosting local tech meet-ups and on-site client training. Even as this post is being written there’s a training session in progress. We’re excited about this new chapter at Clearview!

Clearview Office 2

Kevin talking in office

Read the official press release.

IdeasBanner

As we continue to enhance the feature set and user experience of InFocus, we place great value on client feedback. In fact, many InFocus features are a direct result of the shared expertise and innovation of our user community.

With this in mind, we are excited to announce the release of InFocus Ideas.

Ideas is a platform for our users to join in the product discussion with Clearview developers and the InFocus community alike.

“We developed Ideas as a way to give our clients a collective voice. Being able to hear what the community at large is looking for will help us continue to make InFocus the best product in the market.” Jason Bivens, Product Manager

Included with Clearview’s support offering, InFocus users can both sound off on their ideas for product features/enhancements and browse existing ones to vote up their favorites.

“Community voting on ideas gives us better insight into what we should be focusing on.” Matt Pantana, CTO and Lead Developer

InFocus Ideas launches an innovative new chapter in the development of InFocus and we’re anticipating great results.

Each year PSMJ Resources, Inc. conducts their annual A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey. From that survey, an exclusive list of industry leaders are selected for their achievements in running productive and profitable businesses. These industry leaders are welcomed into PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence.

“PSMJ’s Circle of Excellence is designed to highlight firms that are successfully managed and demonstrate outstanding achievements in profitability, overhead management, cash flow, productivity, business development, staff growth, and turnover (based on 13 key performance metrics). The Circle of Excellence represents the top 20% of participants in PSMJ’s annual A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey.”

Ref. PSMJ Announces 2015 Circle of Excellence

We love to hear of our client’s success and are proud to announce that several firms running InFocus were included in this year’s Circle of Excellence!

Congratulations to each member- here’s to ongoing success in 2015!

InFocus represents a breed of software that is best described as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). ERP software is distinguished by its ability to deliver an integrated suite of business applications. In the case of InFocus, these applications include: Accounting, Job Cost Management, Time and Billing, Resource Planning, Marketing Support, and Business Intelligence (BI).

These applications are fully integrated into InFocus rather than existing as a collection of loosely linked modules or third party add-ons.

The ability to deliver an integrated suite of applications is fundamental within the architecture of InFocus. ERP capacity was designed into the software from inception and incorporated into the original tables and scripted code. Ongoing development has assured that the software makes best use of the latest technologies and design approaches. Unlike many software products still marketed to the A&E design industry; InFocus is not the result of a cobbling of new modules and features onto a 1980’s legacy time and billing system.

Read More…

Releasing big features like ones found in InFocus 2015 is exciting. But it’s just as important to consistently release fixes and small improvements that help our clients work smarter. InFocus 2015.1.1 is one of those releases. It addresses small bugs, makes the UI behave more consistently across applets, and improves keyboard navigation.

Clients with access to Clearview Support can view the change log here.

We’re excited to announce InFocus 2015. With over 200 new features, fixes and refinements, it’s a big release. Almost everything we’ve done is in response to a client survey given a few months ago. In particular, clients told us they needed easier reporting, faster loading in key areas and a more cohesive user experience. InFocus 2015 delivers that and a lot more.

ReportBuilder: A Faster and Easier Way to Meaningful Reports

Building reports can be painful. It often requires using antiquated design tools and complex SQL queries. ReportBuilder fixes that. It’s a slick tool that allows anyone to design in minutes what normally takes a report professional hours. It’s better shown than talked about, so watch this video to see how it works.

Dashboard Layouts
With InFocus 2015 we’ve made the InFocus Dashboard the most powerful in the industry. In addition to six new chart types and cleaner presentation, we’ve developed a new Data-Grid Widget (Gridget) that allows you to interact with your data in an Excel-like, editable grid. Gridgets can be used to drive charts, workflows and other processes—all from your Dashboard.

What’s more, InFocus 2015 offers unlimited dashboard layouts. Create one dashboard with graphs for high-level firm metrics, another for viewing everyone’s timesheets, and another for recent AP and AR transactions.

InFocus Dashboard

Faster and More Streamlined User Experience
There are a lot of details in InFocus 2015 that add up to a more productive experience. In some key areas like PA and PM Bill Review, record loading speed has been dramatically improved.

We’ve also streamlined the overall interface to help you get where you need to go quicker. For example, clients and projects are now links within grids and lookups. If you’re in the Sales Journal, one click gets you to the detail screen of the client or project. And with split tabs you can easily do side by side comparison and reporting.

InFocus 2.1 Split Tabs

Lots more…
There are dozens of other improvements. Here are just a few more of our favorites:

  • Export from any grid to more formats: Excel, CSV, Word, HTML, PDF
  • Reports windows can remain open in the background while working with InFocus
  • Lookups have been expanded to include key search fields like Invoice Number and  Check Number. For example, in Sales Journal start typing an Invoice Number or SJID and results appear immediately.

If you are a client at Clearview with support site access, check out the Release Notes for more details. We hope InFocus 2015 makes you even more productive in 2015.