Understanding the Impact of the Organizational and Work Breakdown Structures in Deltek Vantagepoint
During the implementation of Deltek Vantagepoint, professional services firms should understand the connection between the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A typical first step to consider whether the firm needs to re-organize these structures. Whether it be the uniqueness of each, or the relationship between the two, the attention paid to these early stages of development is instrumental to the flow and reporting of information in your Deltek Vantagepoint database. In the following, we’ll explore some areas to consider when designing these structures in your database.
Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS)
When it comes to designing the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) in Deltek Vantagepoint, it's important to consider the specific needs of your professional services firm. The OBS can range from simple to complex, depending on the size and requirements of your organization. Here are some examples of different OBS approaches.
- Location Approach: With this approach, the OBS is organized based on the physical locations of your offices or project sites. Each location represents a hierarchical level in the structure, allowing you to track and manage projects and resources across different geographic areas.
- Discipline/Department Approach: In the discipline or department approach, the OBS is structured around different functional areas or departments within your organization. This allows for efficient resource allocation, project assignment, and collaboration within specific areas of expertise.
- Market Sector or Business Development Driven: This approach focuses on organizing the OBS according to your firm's market sectors or business development strategies. Each market sector or business development unit can be assigned a hierarchical level, enabling you to analyze performance and profitability based on these segments.
Deltek Vantagepoint provides flexibility in designing your OBS, offering up to five hierarchical levels to accommodate your specific requirements. It also allows for the allocation of overhead requirements within the structure of the database. If you plan to utilize the multi-company functionality in your database, it's important to reserve level one for different companies within your enterprise.
Financial accountability is a crucial aspect of any professional services organization. When building your OBS, it's essential to consider the financial implications. For example, if you use a two-level OBS structure, such as office and department, each combination will generate an income statement. This means that someone within your organization should be responsible for reviewing and managing these statements.
Deltek Vantagepoint also enables the extraction of various cross sections for combined financial reporting. For instance, if you have a mechanical department in three offices, you can create a mechanical income statement that provides accountability at different levels:
- Office Accountability: You can track the financial performance of each individual office separately, gaining insights into the profitability and expenses associated with specific locations.
- Office/Department Accountability: This level of accountability allows you to analyze the financial performance of different departments within each office. It helps in evaluating the contribution of each department to overall profitability.
- Overall Department Accountability: By consolidating the financial data of the mechanical department across all offices, you can assess the department's overall performance and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and strategic planning.
The OBS in Deltek Vantagepoint offers the flexibility to design a structure that aligns with your professional services firm's needs. By carefully considering the OBS approach, financial accountability, and the ability to generate cross-sectional reports, you can effectively manage projects, resources, and profitability within your organization.
Projects and the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a critical component that determines how a project is organized and how revenue and costs flow within a professional services firm. Most firms find it effective to build their WBS based on project budgets, aligning with the fee and scope defined in the client contract using a bottom-up approach.
Deltek Vantagepoint provides the flexibility to define up to three levels in the WBS, commonly referred to as Project, Phase, and Task. However, these labels can be customized to match your firm's preferences. Furthermore, the WBS allows for the assignment of accountability within a project. You can designate a project manager, as well as phase and task managers, based on their scope and budget responsibilities.
It's important to note that project builds and WBS structures do not have to be identical across all projects. While each professional services firm may have its own unique requirements, it is generally recommended to have at least one WBS level 2 for every project, indicating another variation in the WBS. Additionally, projects can be built with no WBS level 3 or only certain portions of the WBS level 2 extending into the WBS level 3.
The OBS and WBS structures function both individually and in tandem to support overall financial and operational accountability within your organization. At the lowest level, the WBS drives how revenue and costs are allocated within the OBS. Here are some additional factors to consider when working with the OBS and WBS structures:
- "Mirroring" the OBS in WBS for Overhead Projects: For projects involving overhead costs, it can be beneficial to mirror the OBS structure within the WBS. This helps ensure that the appropriate overhead costs are accurately assigned to specific projects, allowing for better cost tracking and financial reporting.
- Combinations of Cross-Charge, Intercompany Billing, and High Accountability in WBS: Consider how cross-charges, intercompany billing, and high levels of accountability will be incorporated into your WBS. Deltek Vantagepoint offers capabilities to support these requirements, allowing you to accurately allocate costs between different departments, offices, or business units within your professional services firm.
By carefully considering these aspects of the OBS and WBS structures, you can establish a robust framework for financial and operational accountability within your professional services organization. Deltek Vantagepoint empowers you to customize and tailor the OBS and WBS to meet your firm's specific needs, ensuring accurate project tracking, cost allocation, and financial reporting.
Is it Time to Update Your OBS and WBS Structures?
In the ever-evolving landscape of professional services firms, it's crucial to regularly assess and update your Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Deltek Vantagepoint. As your business needs change and evolve, it becomes imperative to optimize your system to ensure it aligns with your current requirements. This is where our firm can help.
One popular OBS/WBS methodology gaining traction is the implementation of a 3D matrix solution that incorporates both geography and market sectors. By combining these dimensions, you can create a powerful framework that enables efficient project management, resource allocation, and financial reporting. However, implementing such changes requires expertise and guidance from both functional and data consultants to ensure a smooth transition.
At Full Sail Partners, we specialize in Deltek Vantagepoint consulting services, including OBS and WBS optimization. Our experienced consultants can work closely with your team to analyze your current structures, identify areas for improvement, and design a new and more productive system tailored to your unique needs.
Timing and cutover planning are critical to the success of any system update. Our consultants will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that the implementation is seamless, minimizing disruption to your operations, and maximizing the benefits of the new OBS and WBS structures.
Now is the perfect time to get creative and strive to get the most out of your Deltek Vantagepoint system. Don't let outdated structures hold your firm back. Explore the possibilities of a Navigational Analysis with our firm today. Let us help you unlock the full potential of Deltek Vantagepoint and drive efficiency, profitability, and growth within your organization. Learn more about how a Navigational Analysis can help your firm by clicking the image below.