UNANET Interview with Chris Craig
Please provide an overview of the products and services that UNANET provides.
Sure, first thank you for the opportunity we’ve had a fantastic relationship with the NDIA over the past seven or eight years! UNANET is a software product that over 1,000 government contractors trust to manage the full bid to book lifecycle. What that means is pipeline management, opportunity planning into the future, budgeting, forecasting. A lot of our customers have people as the primary driver of their revenue and primary contributor to costs ,and they plan those people/projects based on availability, skill set and they look to answer questions on who’s available, who’s overbooked who’s under booked, when do people become available, when do people with specific skills become available, what is the revenue forecast, what is the cost forecast? The product also does DCAA compliant time tracking, expense reporting, with the federal per diem CONUS andOCONUS locations. Providing the analytics our customers run reports on utilization, gross margin, net margin, performance, actual budget, percent complete, earned value, so on and so forth. It does the billing and revenue recognition for the different contract types, fixed price, time and materials, cost plus, and then it does whole financials, so general ledger, AP, AR, cost pool calculations, income statement, balance sheet, etc.
That’s a through description of what the product is. Do you also provide service?
The UNANET software is delivered in the cloud as a service or customers can purchase it on premise and run the license on premise. The functionality is the same either way. It’s 100% web-based functionality. It’s just whether the customer is hosting the software or we host it for them. We do have a professional services team at UNANET that works with all of our customers to get the software up and running, configured correctly, trained on how to use the software and integrated with other products, so from that perspective we do have a services team. Their sole mission is to ensure the software is delivering on the desired outcomes of the customer.
You’ve described a broad capability set for the software. Please tell who your target customers are?
Our customer focus is the professional services based government contractor. It is not for manufacturing or industries like retail, banking or distribution. It’s really the knowledge based worker where people are the primary driver of the revenue and the primary contributor to cost, i.e. time-based businesses. It’s used by these businesses to manage their pipeline, their projects, their people, their financials. The size of the organization is not really as important to us. Our customer’s range from 5 employees to 15,000 employees. The average, the mean, is around 200 employees. The median is closer to 100 so there are some very large customers who bring up the average, but again the size is not really that important to us at all. It’s whether are they a professional services based government contractor.
You’ve described your customers as government contractors. That includes federal government, does it also include state and local governments?
The majority of curstomers are doing work with the federal government and the majority of those are doing work with the DoD. We have people doing work with civilian agencies, USAID, state and local, etc..
From a customer point of view what value does the DCAA audit compliance provide? Particularly for small businesses?
As you know, in order to bid on certain work, it’s a benefit to have a DCAA approved system. I will say that the software in and of itself is not approved by the government. The government doesn’t endorse UNANET over anyone else. It’s really the process by which the companies utilize the software. The software in combination with policies,procedures, software, etc. Everything else is what makes a DCAA compliant system. Having that checkbox when you’re bidding that work is certainly beneficial. Some proposals require having an approved system in advance.
UNANET has exhibited at and sponsored Gold Coast for seven or eight years. What value does Gold Coast provide UNANET?
Outside the DC area, San Diego and Huntsville go back and forth between 2 and 3 on federal dollars spent. The San Diego market is a very tight knit market. People know each other very well; there are long lasting relationships with in the San Diego market. Through several years of sponsoring we have brand recognition, a lot of face recognition. When I attend Gold Coast, I recognize a lot of people when I just walk in the door. Why do we sponsor? We sponsor because we have a lot of customers there. We want to ensure we are supporting our customers. We want to understand what our customers desired outcomes are for the software, and any trends that are going on that would be beneficial to put into the software, that would help our customers! We’ve used it for a source for acquiring new customers. Someone may see the UNANET booth at Gold Coast, and they are on QuickBooks and they are trying to do more work with the government. At the end of the day QuickBooks is an industry agnostic platform. The restaurant across the street or the gas station down the road may run QuickBooks, but they would never run UNANET, because UNANET is purpose built for government contractors. We’ve migrated companies from legacy systems like QuickBooks, Deltek or any of the other ones out there we’ve done, and we’ve had a great time sponsoring Gold Coast and I foresee us continuing to do so in to the future!
What interaction do you have with the government at Gold Coast?
Frankly our interaction with the government is pretty limited. I will sit in on some of the sessions to hear what the trends are. Over the last several years they’ve ranged from in-sourcing/outsourcing battle to LPTA to certain aspects of DCAA compliance and the like. The government is not really interested in our software; defense contractors doing business with the government certainly are, but the government has their own systems and they don’t get involved with our system other than the fact that our systems produce invoices that they receive. They’ll pay the bills and monitor the status of performance, but government direct interaction is somewhat limited.
You do get value from listening and understanding the government’s intention?
Absolutely! What the government is doing effects our customers and therefore affects us!
Are there specific things that you are looking forward to at Gold Coast this year?
The same things that we’ve looked forward to the last several years. Going out seeing our customers. Potentially meeting new companies and hearing form the speakers on trends in government contracting in general.
Is there anything that you’d like to share with the readers? Maybe a discount for anyone who mentions this article and Chris Craig at Gold Coast?
We can certainly do a Gold Coast discount, that’s a good idea! If you’re a government contractor and you’re within 100 miles of San Diego, it’s a no-brainer to attend Gold Coast! There are so many teaming opportunities, and the networking is fantastic. You talk to a lot of people and you should come away with a lot of good conversations and good teaming opportunities going forward!
Thank you very much, we’ll look forward to seeing you at Gold Coast.