Why I am choosing Clearview’s InFocus over Deltek Vision – Part I
March 18, 2019

Why Choose Clearview’s InFocus – Part II

Written by Loren Saunders – https://www.saundersconsultinggroup.com/post/why-choose-clearview-s-infocus-part-ii

 

Clearview Software is an agile, nimble, dedicated, and responsive team.

InFocus is a dynamic and robust ERP platform for the A&E industries.

InFocus not only does things right, it is well supported by extensive, easily consumable supporting documentation and training libraries.

Their platform is highly customizable with a dedicated and responsive suport team.

Clearview’s mission is to “build great software”.

 

To remain symmetrical, I’m going to take each point from Part I about Deltek Vision and provide the counter point offered by Clearview Software.

 

1. Data is everything. Your business needs accurate, accessible data to be viable. Your ERP platform should provide you with that.

Clearview InFocus was developed 10 years ago. They created a modern database architecture designed for both robustness and extensibility. One outcome of this is the fact that with InFocus you can have an unlimited WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) for your projects, while Deltek Vision allows for only 3 levels. This is due to the way they’ve structured their project elements data.

When speaking of old vs. modern, something to note is that in it’s current version, Clearview InFocus is also a desktop application deployed only through Internet Explorer using Click Once technology. However, later this year (Q2 of 2019) the first part of the new HTML5 version will be coming out. Much like Deltek Vision, the InFocus HTML5 first release will cover most of the rank and file functionality (timesheets, expenses, some CRM components) with the other back office functionality being completed sometime next year.

However, in stark contrast to Deltek’s often missed deadlines and failed promises, Clearview’s next major release will be number 50. Clearview has only been in business for 10 years. This elevated features release rate is evidence of their high commitment to listening to and meeting their customers’ needs.

 

2. Product is also everything. Your business needs an understandable, reliable, usable product.

Clearview Software actually uses their own product to run their business. The fact is, software development projects have a lot in common with architecture and engineering projects. There are many parties involved in product design, development, testing, and deployment of the end result. This involves work orders, project and contract management challenges, as well as resource allocation and scheduling challenges.

Customer satisfaction levels for InFocus are high, which means usability is high. The website Capterra lists Clearview InFocus as having a customer satisfaction level of 4.5 out of 5 stars with 60 reviews. Keep in mind that this is for a product which up until 2019 has invested in little to no outbound marketing efforts.

This glowing review from Capterra (click here for source) actually seems authentic… not written by a marketing guru tasked with getting the numbers up:

Absolutely incredible customer service – a great team of highly skilled professionals providing a quick answer via an open ticket, a walk-thru via Webex or customization via a Work order.

Customization in data presentations, security, permissions, reports. An end user can do a desired customization him/herself or ask the Clearview team to run a script to implement it.

Constant development and training. Workshops, webinars, announcements, updates. Continuous improvement in all InFocus features and options. Clearview team always moves forward to the new advanced ways to use the system, always up to date with technology.

I find Clearview’s design and user interface to be well organized and easy to follow. It’s also easily configured and customized to meet your needs.

One part of their application I think is especially powerful is their workflows/actions/interviews engine. You can actually create your own wizards (interviews) which fire actions (workflows) to populate data, enforce business rules and data quality rules, and cause events to happen throughout the application.

 

3. In order to make the best use of your ERP system, you need access to quality training and support as part of your license.

Clearview’s library of documentation and training videos is excellent. Most of their training videos are not only understandable but easily viewed in 2 to 5 minutes. This is important for your employees who need to do their day to day duties and occasionally need help refreshing memory on how to do something important, or need to learn something new.

What has impressed me most is how the organization of their knowledge base is structured. Most common questions can find an answer with one or two clicks from the Support page.

Their support numbers are impressive as well. With your license you also have access to unlimited live telephone support with onshore staff members; with a human. Read that last sentence again. That is rare stuff.

According to the support staff at Clearview Software, their satisfaction rate for 2018 was 98.35%

Their average first response time to a ticket was 2.5 hours.

 

4. Your ERP platform is the backbone of your operations so it’s not going to be cheap. However, it needs to be priced reasonably and provide good value for that price.

Here’s a screen grab (March 14th, 2019) of the pricing page on their site. Click on the image to go to that page.

If you ask for prices for Deltek Vision, the answer is “by quotation only”. That’s because their pricing is in tiers. In order to go to the “next level” you have to buy in packs of 25 or 50 users. With InFocus, you can add or subtract monthly users at any time with no penalties.

 

5. Do you think a software company whose only goal is to make a profit has your company’s best interests in mind?

Clearview’s goal is to provide great software for the A/E Industry.

I have spent significant quality time with Matt Pantana, CEO (linkedIn profile click here) talking about the direction of the InFocus product, his vision for the company, and goals for the next 5 years.

Their company has little to no staff turn over, a near perfect satisfaction rate with customers, and a product they are continuing to develop daily with the goal of making “doing business” easier for themselves and their customers.

Clearview has spent almost zero dollars on marketing, advertising and outbound sales efforts. Thus, the most recent screenshots I could find online are about 2 years old.

Why have they just started advertising now?

On 02/26/2019 Matt tells me:

“…the reason we are now starting to is out of a feeling of responsibility to the market. We need to let more know there’s a better alternative. “

Wow… the exact same reason I’m writing these two articles.

 

6. Clearview uses their own product to run their own business.

They do that on purpose, to make sure their product works, and to stay abreast of how it needs to evolve.

I got to spend extensive time talking about their product and long term vision with their CEO. They have 600 A/E clients with company size ranging from 5 to 1000 users. He took the time to listen to my concerns, answer my questions about their product architecture, and listen to feedback I had about some potential improvements they could make.

 

Some other amazing things about Clearview InFocus that are in stark contrast to Deltek Vision:

Unlimited live person telephone support with real on-shore staff is including in your support fee.

The Clearview API is extensible. This means, if you need to build your own integration points for outside software, you don’t need to wait for it to “come out in the next release”.

The number of licenses you purchase is exact. This means if you only need 17 licenses, you only pay for 17, not 25.

If you need to switch out of cloud and back to on premise, you can, with no additional charges.

You can pay as you go; making your licensing payments by month instead of a full year at a time.

 

Conclusion:

Is Clearview a firm who only cares about the bottom line? It seems obvious that this is not the case.

Has anyone at your firm ever gotten to spend time in a meeting with the CEO of your ERP software provider?

Clearview’s product InFocus is an excellent product with great support and a great team dedicated to its long term success as an operational backbone of the A/E industry.

 

Interested in talking more about its capabilities or seeing if it’s a good fit for your firm?

Contact us to schedule a phone call or a demo.