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Mergers and Acquisitions: Harness the (Data Integration) Beast

Posted by Charlene Kerr on March 09, 2022

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A recent merger and acquisition (M&A) update by Morrissey Goodale, shows that domestic M&A continues to soar 42 percent year-over-year. Mergers and acquisitions in the professional services industry are skyrocketing which means that many firms are learning how to successfully consolidate separate entities into one creating synergy. Much goes into the M&A process. Notably, a merger or acquisition requires significant effort in the areas of change management and rebranding, not to mention the continuation of efforts that drive the business in the first place.  

However, as these professional services firms come together, probably the most consequential matter pertains to integrating the data, and many firms find themselves in a data integration quagmire. Common sense would tell us that it should be easy to combine data from entities within the same industry, but disparate systems and diverse implementations often cause data headaches when not approached carefully. So, what are some best practices to help professional services firms harness this (data integration) beast? 

Pick Crucial Team Members

Choosing the team to make the relevant decisions about the data is the first, and most important, step. Ensure you have stakeholders from the acquiring firm to define current data and processes as well as from the acquired firm to understand the data coming in or stakeholders from both merging entities. At this point, the inclusion of a third party, such as Full Sail Partners, would be beneficial and would serve as a bridge between the uniting professional services firms to make the transition much smoother.

Include the Specialized Experts 

A specialized consultant in areas such as finance, CRM or human resources is an enormous help when needing to identify changes to the acquired firm’s processes or merging firms’ processes as well as any training in the new system that might be required. These experts can manage the project as a whole and ensure that all parties are heard and that the timeline and budget are kept on track. They will call in other specialized consultants as needed to make sure there is the best possible assistance. 

Incorporate a Data Migration Specialist 

A data migration specialist can help locate and identify the data that needs to be migrated, whether it is all held in a single location or coming from multiple systems. This consultant will create an inventory of the data, and then begin profiling the data quality for the firm. Specifically, this expert will evaluate: 

  • Is the data clean?  
  • Is it useful, or can it be retired?  
  • Are there redundancies that need to be eliminated?  

Once those issues have been identified, the work of cleansing and converting the data can begin. Data migration specialists do this all the time, and they know the best ways to handle the data as it flows through the extract, transform, load (ETL) process. Together with the data mapping, this ensures that the data moving into the new system is clean and compatible with the newly integrated professional services firm. 

Data Alignment Musts

Whether the firm relies on internal specialists or brings in an outside consultant, there are areas where there must be data alignment in the Deltek Vision or Vantagepoint system or any ERP for that matter. Specifically, firms that are merging data need to align the following.


Will the resulting firm be tracking the new company within a multi-company database, or incorporating it completely into the existing company, possibly as its’ own profit center? If the former, make sure the existing system is configured to accept multiple companies and report on them correctly.


Will the resulting firm be using a different currency for the incoming company? Again, make sure the existing software can handle all the factors associated with a multiple currency environment. The storage of different currencies and methods of currency translation are just two factors that you must take into account. Be sure that your software can handle these issues, and that it is configured correctly.

Chart of Accounts

The chart of accounts for the incoming company must be mapped to accounts in the existing company, and any new accounts must be added into the software prior to moving over the new data. A data migration specialist can easily make these changes in your data for a smooth transition.

Record Alignment for all Key Tables (Unique Identifiers)

The new data will need to be reviewed for a number of factors, including:

  • Formatting of key fields, such as project, employee and firm numbers,
  • Duplicates in any of the key fields of the database and
  • Bad data in the new company that should NOT be brought over.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Firms will often use different work breakdown schemes when tracking projects. This is one area where significant adjustments might need to be made in the incoming data. A thorough review of the existing data, and a comparison to the merging company’s data is necessary to avoid headaches down the road. Data transformation specialists should be involved at this point, as they have experience massaging the data prior to the merge.

Maintain Control to Harness the Beast 

The secret to harnessing the data integration beast is to keep the process organized and controlled. Ensure leaders at the professional services firm use best practices and select the integration team wisely. With the right team in place, the changeover will be as seamless as possible. 

Full Sail Partners’ consultants have years of experience in all aspects of mergers and acquisitions for professional services firms and have access to the best minds in the industry. Whether you are just beginning to consider M&A for your firm or you already have one in progress, we can provide support and help guide you through the process to a successful merger. 

Click the image below to see how Full Sail Partners can help with your merger and acquisition data migration. 

CTA Mergers

Data Imports: No IT Required for Deltek Vantagepoint Users

Posted by Charlene Kerr on October 06, 2021

Data entry can be tedious and prone to errors. Convincing IT to upload data into software can be tricky, difficult, and hazardous to your health. Luckily for Deltek Vantagepoint users, there a better option: Data Imports. Found on the menu under Utilities, the Data Import function offers users an easy-to-use interface that can import a large amount of Hub or transactional data with ease, while maintaining the Vantagepoint business rules for data entry.

Man pointing at data import

Helpful for New Deltek Vantagepoint Clients

For new Deltek Vantagepoint clients, the Data Import module offers a simple method for uploading information from previous systems, regardless of its origin. Switching from FoxPro, Oracle, or using another system that allows the export of data into an Excel or CSV file? It can be uploaded into Vantagepoint.

Has your accounting information in one system and project information in another? No problem. Data Imports are structured so that general ledger detail and table information are uploaded separately. With just a little knowledge about the software configuration of Vantagepoint, preparing data files for import is relatively simple and requires little to no training.

Beneficial for Existing Deltek Vantagepoint Clients

Existing Deltek Vantagepoint customers can also use the data import process to add new data to their current Vantagepoint instance. Using the Data Import module, a firm can modify existing information in hub. One example of this would be when adding new functionality that was previously unused. If the data exists in an Excel file, it can easily be used to update existing hub fields with new information. Vantagepoint will also verify that the data in either type of upload follow existing business rules using a validation procedure and will not import data that does not follow the rules.

Transactional data can also be uploaded into Vantagepoint via the Data Import module. Many Vantagepoint clients use outside applications to gather information that must then be uploaded in order to post in Vantagepoint. Some clients have subconsultants that use different systems for gathering time or expense information that must be captured in their Vantagepoint system. Rather than having to do manual data entry, a CSV file can be used to upload the information using Data Imports. As with each Data Import, Vantagepoint checks to make sure that the data does not break any business rules prior to uploading the data into the Transaction Center, where users can post the data.

Need to Know Info About Deltek Vantagepoint Data Import

Regardless of whether it is new data being uploaded or existing records need amending, the process is basically the same. However, at this time the data import functionality is split between Vantagepoint’s web app and the desktop app. They will eventually be combined, as Deltek intends to do with all of Vantagepoint’s functions. But for now, users will need to know where to go for each type of import. The web app currently supports importing for Employees and Employee-related tables, Clients, Contacts, Generic Resources, and lists. All other imports, such as Projects, General Ledger and transactional data, can be imported via the desktop application.

Once the appropriate type data import is identified, the data need to be aligned with Vantagepoint’s data. The data mapping will need to be done prior to the system validating the data. Once the fields that need to be mapped have been identified, they will need to be matched with corresponding data in the import file. Then select “Import” and Vantagepoint performs the validation procedures. Any errors will be reported in a file and will not be imported. The import data can be validated as many times as necessary to make sure that the new data being imported into the Vantagepoint instance are good.

Import Data with Ease

Data Import in the Vantagepoint application does not require an extensive knowledge of databases or programming. It is, however, something that takes a little practice, and a little more perseverance. Full Sail Partners recommends that practicing on a test database when learning how to use the import feature. And for another level of comfort, Full Sail Partners is happy to provide training on how to master this unique and valuable tool.

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