Fitzpatrick Engineering Group: Building a Successful Future
Fitzpatrick Engineering Group proves that having a flexible cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software built for project-based firms is important to support a rapidly growing small medium business (SMB).
Doug Fitzpatrick is the owner and founder of Fitzpatrick Engineering Group. Like many savvy entrepreneurs, he recognizes value in everything, including past experiences, to prepare him for success in his own business. From the very beginning of starting his own firm in 2004, Doug knew he wanted to take advantage of Deltek’s software solutions. Since he had gone through a software evaluation process at a prior company, he knew this was the product offering he needed in his own business. “I’m all about using software to leverage new features to take advantage of the latest and greatest.” Doug stated. He was comfortable with the balance of software capabilities and technology which suited his firm.
As time went on, technology and his business evolved. Not only is Doug an entrepreneur and a gifted engineer, he is also a skilled IT guy. In 2010, he saw the signs that change was inevitable. “We did not have the dedicated staff required to maintain a true server environment with Microsoft reporting services and to keep up with all the updates and patches,” Doug explained. “I was going to have to get a windows server, license and manage the install which I wasn’t interested in doing myself. Right then, Full Sail Partners came along and said they have a hosted solution...which was a huge benefit.” Doug commented.
Managing the growth of his engineering business trumped the appeal of running his internal IT function. It was at that moment, he knew it was the right time to upgrade. “Plain and simple – Full Sail Partners' hosting service saved our firm money and allowed our firm to concentrate on what we do best – structural engineering. Best part is we had a dedicated Vision expert to take care of maintaining our Vision updates and ensuring our data was safe.”
Transitioning to Software as a Service (SaaS)
Fitzpatrick Engineering Group continued to flourish, including their partnership with Full Sail Partners. Full Sail Partners offered to conduct a software and technology feasibility study in 2014 to ensure Fitzpatrick Engineering Group was getting the most out of their software and services. Fitzpatrick Engineering Group was looking at ways to manage data about their customers and project pursuits. The results of the study found significant savings over a five year period if Fitzpatrick Engineering Group switched to a Deltek Cloud hosted solution.
“Full Sail Partners solved my problems and were good to work with, but it was time to take my ERP online to a Cloud solution with CRM.” The move from Full Sail Partners’ hosted cloud solution to Deltek’s subscription service now provides Fitzpatrick Engineering Group with access to additional features, as well as the features they grew accustomed to having. “I’m trying to get to the next level; SaaS and CRM together as an ERP online solution are going to help me get there.” explained Doug.
The move to the Cloud provides this small business the power to compete on the same level as larger firms. “As a growing small business firm, the cloud is invaluable and a very cost effective way of harnessing the latest technologies in both Vision and Microsoft,” stated Doug. “[Deltek] Vision really just makes me feel like a big office. It has all the same tools that everyone else is using with a competitive enough price that I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. There is not another solution out there for us that’s as robust and puts us in a place where we can grow.”
Embracing Vision’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
While reflecting on the future of his firm, Doug stated, “One of my 2015 New Years’ resolutions is to act more on what CRM offers.” Now that Fitzpatrick Engineering Group has the tools and capabilities that are necessary to manage more complex projects, Doug can focus on other aspects of his business. He is excited about the future of his firm and said, “CRM gives my customers a positive buying experience since we have the ability to keep ‘electronic sticky notes’ about people.” For example, he continues, “We started attending some conferences toward the end of the year that were helpful – the contacts I made were good and I put them in CRM with reminders and information about our conversation. It’s important to note though that CRM does what I need it to do, but it’s up to users like me to act on them.” Furthermore, he adds “I also use it for the project side of things too to keep up with project manager activities while we are doing a project.” The comprehensive reporting capabilities of the CRM are also important to Doug. “Since my projects are generally pretty short – couple of months to a year and a half – the ability to regularly check-in is what Vision allows me to do easily. Reporting is just a click of the button.” he explains.
More surprisingly, Fitzpatrick says, “With as good as my system is, I’m still not working Vision as hard as it could be.” Sarah Gonnella, VP Marketing and Sales at Full Sail Partners, Inc. further explains, “Different people and companies are at different levels of sophistication and utilize CRM for what makes sense for their firm; as they grow, they take advantage of more aspects of its capabilities. If a company is not using CRM fully, it’s usually because they just don’t quite need all the capabilities at that time. As they evolve, they will use CRM more fully.” While Fitzpatrick Engineering Group is using important features of CRM, as the firm continues its growth, they will take even more advantage of CRM and more fully reach that New Year’s goal.
Doug Fitzpatrick has taken the right steps to ensure his firm will remain competitive in the future. First, he chose the Deltek SaaS application with all the features to support his engineering firm: a CRM to capture current customer and prospective customer information and communications, and reporting capabilities to track activities and goal attainment. Secondly, he moved his ERP online to the Deltek hosted Cloud to ensure that his software solution can grow along with his firm. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything!” Doug said about his SaaS package and partnerships with Full Sail Partners and Deltek.