VPO and FedRAMP Certification

VPO and FedRAMP Certification

Looking for a FedRAMP project management system for your next construction project? VPO runs in Microsoft’s Cloud environment, Office 365, which is FedRAMP-certified.

VPO is a construction-based project management system that allows companies to reduce turnaround time on project approvals, centralize project documents, and collaborate as a team made up of both internal and external members.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, (FedRAMP) is the Cloud-computing approval authority. The FedRAMP website states that “FedRAMP simplifies security for the digital age by providing a standardized approach to security for the Cloud,” and “FedRAMP facilitates the shift from insecure, tethered, tedious IT to secure, mobile, nimble, and quick IT.”

Our clients who perform work on federal government contracts are required to run a project management system that is supported in a FedRAMP-certified, Cloud-based environment. Your data is safe when you use VPO for all of your project and program needs.

If you’d like to find out how VPO can improve the way you and your team manage projects, please reach out to Lorraine Marks at lmarks@simplexgroup.com.

What’s New for VPO and Simplex in 2019

What’s New for VPO and Simplex in 2019

The year is off to a great start! Here at Simplex, 2018 was full of growth and excitement. We’re happy to continue supporting your success with Oracle Primavera and Microsoft solutions, and we’re also glad to show you what’s new for 2019. VPO, our construction project management software, is really taking off. We’ve recently welcomed a bunch of new clients, along with three new team members. And we’re looking for more!

We’re pleased to introduce you to the newest members of the VPO family. Just click on a company name to learn more.

MEET THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE VPO FAMILY

MEET OUR NEWEST TEAM MEMBERS

Lorraine Marks

Lorraine Marks

Business Development Manager

Lorraine has helped our clients determine that VPO is the right solution for them. She presents customized demonstrations, leads informative and investigative discussions, manages sales, and maintains successful relationships. Our customers’ satisfaction is Lorraine’s top priority!

Christine Pacyna

Christine Pacyna

Customer Support Manager

Chris administers VPO for our clients by creating new projects, configuring security, and inviting external users on our customers’ behalf. A creative and resourceful thinker, she’s always ready to respond to any issues our users raise.

Melissa Berkebile

Melissa Berkebile

Application Development Manager

Melissa oversees complex projects that require application development and integration with line-of-business systems like SAP, Sage, and Oracle. She customizes VPO, develops Power BI reports, and assists our support team on client requests.

And are you the next new member of our team? We're looking for a full-time SharePoint Developer.

On the horizon for 2019, we’re thrilled to announce, are the following VPO initiatives:

  • New customer support system
  • New Project Archive feature
  • New Budget Management app
  • New Progress Report option, incorporating photos with narrative reporting from your mobile device

And that’s not all. We’ll keep you posted! If you’d like to find out how VPO can improve the way you and your team manage projects, please reach out to Lorraine Marks at lmarks@simplexgroup.com.

Are you our next SharePoint Developer?

Are you our next SharePoint Developer?

UPDATE: We’ve hired a wonderful new SharePoint Developer. Meet Jennifer Zezza!

As a software development company working hand-in-hand with organizations of all sizes on the selection and implementation of project management solutions which conquer the challenges they face, we develop custom business applications that meet the unique needs of our customers–like VPO. VPO is construction project management software that reduces turnaround time on review processes, eliminates rework and chaos, and provides real-time updates to people working in the field. It’s easy to use, quick to deploy, and accessible from any device. Our customers benefit from our 30+ years of project management expertise combined with a reliable Cloud platform, Microsoft Office 365.

Apply for this full-time position if you’re a dedicated individual with experience and/or interest in technology, great communication and organizational skills, and strong attention to detail–and you’re ready to join a team working in a fast-paced environment. The position available is entry-level, with potential for growth within our organization.

Skills/Qualifications:

We’re looking for an entry-level SharePoint developer with strengths in the following areas:

Experience in Azure and Microsoft Office 365 (O365)
MS development technologies including Visual Studio, .NET, C#, SharePoint API, PowerShell
Experience with Web Services / Web APIs: SOAP, REST, XML, JSON
Familiarity with Web Application Architecture (HTTP, Client/Server, HTML, JavaScript)

The successful candidate will be comfortable across a wide variety of technical disciplines, and show a willingness to embrace different technologies. Our new team member must have strong communication and code-documentation skills. Bachelor’s degree preferred.

Salary/Benefits:

We offer compensation commensurate with experience, and an excellent benefits package including medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as a 401k plan.

Work Environment:

While we’re headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, Simplex employees telecommute, from home offices. Little to no travel is required. We provide each team member with a computer workstation and a virtual phone extension for use during their employment. We utilize workgroup technology like Skype for instant messaging and video conferencing. The successful job candidate must be comfortable with working independently.

Email us at hr@vpocloud.com or apply here.

VPO at COAA

VPO at COAA

VPO is taking off. . .and so is the VPO team!

CEO Laura Nee, and Business Consultant Lorraine Marks are heading to La Jolla this week for COAA 2018. Be sure to visit them at Booth 15. You might even win an Odyssey White Hot RX #9 Putter, just for stopping by to register.

Easy to use, and customizable, with fast deployment, and a dedicated account team, VPO gives you a secure single platform and portfolio-wide views. Book a 15-minute appointment, or view a demo now, if you’d like!

VPO at CMAA

VPO at CMAA


See you at CMAA!

Laura Nee and Lorraine Marks look forward to introducing CMAA attendees to VPO this Sunday through Tuesday. If you’re going to the conference too, then be sure to visit them at Booth 610. You might even win an Odyssey White Hot RX #9 Putter!

Easy to use, and customizable, with fast deployment, and a dedicated account team, VPO gives you a secure single platform and portfolio-wide views.

Book a 15-minute appointment, or just stop by Booth 610. Or view a short video now, if you’d like!

Microsoft Resolving VPO Issue

We’ve recently been made aware of an issue affecting some VPO users.

Microsoft has reported that some external users of SharePoint Online sites could receive unusual or unnecessary credential prompts, or other access errors. Even longtime external users of SharePoint Online and VPO have reported encountering this issue. Sometimes these prompts or errors resolve themselves within a few hours. Microsoft also suggests closing the credential prompt, as a workaround. However, we’ve received reports that some external users have continued to experience this issue for more than 24 hours.

Microsoft tells us they’re currently deploying a fix within their internal production environment, and within the week, they’ll deploy this repair to all affected customers. We wanted to make you aware of this issue in case you’re experiencing difficulty with accessing your project sites.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@simplexgroup.com with any questions or concerns. On behalf of Microsoft and VPO, we thank you for your patience and understanding.

SharePoint Honored by Gartner

SharePoint Honored by Gartner

“SharePoint delivers content services as the foundational content platform for Office 365, with capabilities for creating, sharing, protecting, and reusing information. Going far beyond merely storing documents, SharePoint hosts digital content like pages, videos, images, designs, 3D, medical scans, and markup as well as traditional documents. SharePoint embodies ease of use with ease of management—on any device, for any user, at any location.
“These innovations, along with customers’ transition to the cloud and the growing imperative for secure content collaboration and sharing, are driving growth across Microsoft 365, SharePoint, and OneDrive. More than 300,000 organizations now have SharePoint and OneDrive in Office 365, including 85 percent of the Fortune 500. Active users grew over 90 percent, and data stored in SharePoint Online grew over 250 percent in the last year alone.
“Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a Leader in the Content Services Platform Magic Quadrant for 2017. In addition to being positioned as one of only three Leaders, Microsoft is placed highest for Ability to Execute.”

Read More…

Share Live Construction Updates Using a Webcam

Share Live Construction Updates Using a Webcam

In October of 2016, VICC | Venco Imtiaz Construction Co. selected VPO as their construction project management software to manage the construction phase of the World Bank Group’s Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. We launched VPO so that the project team could start collaborating by sharing contract drawings, managing reviews of RFIs and Submittals, and uploading progress data.  

Traditionally our clients upload photos and videos to VPO to keep the project team informed of construction progress. For this project, VICC has installed a CCTV Webcam located at the job site, with multiple cameras that allow their team to see live video and interact with the camera through zooming and panning capabilities. They can also record a video feed of live action.

The project manager of the World Bank Group asked us to incorporate the CCTV Webcam directly into VPO so that the project team could view the job site while logged into VPO, where they are managing other project data. We offer VPO on SharePoint Online through Office 365 and discovered we could add a Page Viewer Web Part to our SharePoint site to display the browser software provided by the manufacturer for viewing the Webcam on the page. Our setup even includes the controls for interacting with the live video feed—such as selecting the camera, zooming in, and panning the job site. 

Team members can also access the Webcam from their mobile devices, using an app called iPOLIS mobile. Go ahead and view a sample video of the footage captured at the job site, with the ability to zoom in, zoom out and pan the job site. We suggest watching in full screen mode.

What’s so great is that although many of their team members work on the job site, a lot of the people working on the project work in the United States; but with this Webcam feature in VPO, they have an easy-to-access live video feed. It is exciting for us too, because we would never be able to see this client’s project in person otherwise, but this way, it feels like we can.

If you would like to find out what type of system VICC used for this project, visit the manufacturer’s Website. https://www.hanwha-security.eu/business-security-products/srn-873s/. 

The World Bank Group, the Owner of the project, is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.

VICC | Venco Imtiaz Construction Co., the General Contractor on the project, is a multinational corporation operating in the Middle East, South Asia, and North America specializing in Engineering Services, Turnkey Construction Solutions, Infrastructure Development and K-Span Pre-Engineered Buildings.

Meet Solution Specialist Kelly Rickli

Meet Solution Specialist Kelly Rickli

Having built a design career in architecture and transportation, LEED-accredited professional Kelly Rickli brings to our team a wealth of knowledge and experience in listening, analyzing, and thinking creatively to understand and solve problems.

As does every member of the Simplex team, Kelly works from her home office—which in her case means that she telecommutes from Detroit, Michigan. Immediately before joining us, she was the Michigan representative of a research group from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, conducting a naturalistic driving study of heavy vehicles. Concurrently she worked on an automated vehicle study in partnership with General Motors.

Earlier in her career, as an NCIDQ-certified interior designer Kelly worked with Spectrum Design, P.C., an architectural and engineering firm specializing in educational facilities—meeting responsibilities from programming and planning to construction administration—on award-winning projects including schools, a regional airport, a county jail, two museums, and several corporate renovations. And all the while, she was developing her project-management skills on several small projects at Virginia Tech.

We benefit from Kelly’s additional experience as a freelancer for small businesses, delivering not only graphic design services, but also marketing materials, brand development, and even Web site design —all skills and talents that she leverages daily in service of our VPO clients. In fact, several years ago, when Kelly was an intern at Simplex, she helped us rebrand our company and created our new company logos.  And later, our VPO logos. VPO

 From buildings to applications, she believes firmly that good design is necessary. While they are distinct media, architecture and the virtual world are both constructed environments, and the process of design remains the same. It’s crucial to get the structure right, but equally important that every visual detail supports the product.

As a designer, Kelly has been on the user end of RFIs and submittals and tracking changes among all parties, so she fully understands our clients’ pains, and appreciates all that VPO can do to ease and even eliminate those struggles. She knows firsthand how limiting the sheer amount of paper, having all information accessible from the field, and streamlining correspondence, can free up our clients for more efficient and effective management. Working in the AEC industry made her adept at coordination among many parties—from client to engineers, to builders.

What Kelly enjoys most about working with Simplex and our customers is developing new skills and creating customer-specific solutions. She feels particularly excited whenever she can figure out a novel solution to a unique issue. And using her graphic-design background to blend clients’ branding into our application to create a seamless and customized experience also brings her satisfaction and pride.

Kelly hopes to continue mastering engagement in all aspects of the VPO experience, from building sites to collaborating on projects with clients to create even more solutions for their teams. We are thrilled she is part of ours.

Add Kelly Rickli to your address book and connect with her on LinkedIn

 

International Women’s Day Celebrating Laura Nee

International Women’s Day Celebrating Laura Nee

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Here is our call to action:

Today we celebrate our President and CEO, Laura Nee, and her achievements. She has made strides in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and empowered many women whom she has employed to solve complex and technical business issues for our customers—setting a strong example for girls and women everywhere, including her nine-year-old daughter, Ava.

Having begun her career as a software developer and business analyst, Laura had always had an interest in business-process reengineering, helping companies improve their bottom line through automation. By the time she was 26 years old her father was ready to retire, and sell the company he’d founded in 1984, The Simplex Group, Inc. She was an enterprising young adult who wanted to run her own business, so when the opportunity to acquire and mold Simplex arose, she jumped at it.

At the time, Simplex was a value-added reseller for a project-management software company now owned by Oracle, Primavera Systems. Primavera is known in the engineering and construction industry for their flagship planning and scheduling products. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Simplex worked with local organizations like Westinghouse, Bayer Corporation, and Highmark, while expanding into western New York to service companies like Eastman Kodak, Rochester Gas & Electric, and Cornell University. Simplex also had contracts with organizations involved in construction like Mascaro, Dick Corporation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sargent Electric, and many others from traditionally male-dominated industries.

Laura saw the need to merge her software-development experience with her project-management expertise.

“We need to build our own project-management system, but not the way a typical software vendor does. We need to develop it with the customer, not for the customer.” In working with off-the-shelf products like Primavera, Laura had learned that people rarely used most of the functionality available within the application.
Taking that innovative approach to technology has made Laura and her organization successful. In 2008, her team launched VPO, a construction project-management system. After working with client after client, we eventually created a set of Best Practices for the construction industry.VPO
“We didn’t build an off-the-shelf system with features that we thought people would need; we built a system around processes that we knew they definitely needed.”
Laura continues, “We worked on neat projects like the North Shore Connector Light Rail Expansion Project—a light rail system built underwater. We worked with one of the world’s largest energy companies, CONSOL Energy, to manage an $800M capital-improvement program updating their conveyor systems across their mines. One of our most successful projects is for Yale University’s Office of Facilities. We developed a bid-management system that supports over 1,200 contractors who upload their bids electronically, securely.”

Laura and her team continue to work with more and more companies to deploy and evolve VPO. Right now we’re working with the University of Pittsburgh’s Facilities Management division to roll out an enterprise-wide program-management system managing their capital projects. We’re building a custom version of VPO for a construction-management firm out of Southern California, Simplus Management, to help them manage projects for their clients in an innovative way like Orange County, and the City of Long Beach. Laura’s team also recently deployed VPO for an international contractor, Venco Imtiaz Construction Company, who is building the headquarters for The World Bank in Afghanistan.

At Simplex, we honor Laura Nee on International Woman’s Day, 2017, and we thank her for being our leader. Her vision and know-how have benefited not only our clients and each other, but also our families. As are so many other women, we’re the main caregivers for our loved ones. And in addition to eliminating unnecessary overhead costs, operating from our homes for a business owner who empowers us to “work smart” gives each Simplex team member a flexible environment in which to meet our responsibilities to our company and customers, and to our families—as well as to ourselves as individuals.

#IDW2017 #BeBoldForChange #SheMeansBusiness #InternationalWomensDay