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How These Project Based Firms Prepare for the Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint Upgrade

Posted by Lindsay Diven on June 08, 2022

2022 - DVP Upgrade

Just how was the Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade for project-based firms? As consultants, Full Sail Partners can speculate on how the process will be for firms but feel it’s better coming from the clients who have been through it.  

This article is the first in a three-part series where clients, in different stages of their upgrade journey, share different aspects including how to prepare for the upgrade, the Vantagepoint features that are most liked by users, and best practices that other firms can use as they upgrade. Hear from clients who work at small, medium, and large professional services firms throughout the series. 

Featured Clients 

The clients that are featured in this series are a mix of small, medium, and large firms. Also highlighted are specific contacts who serve in different roles within their firms. They each were in a different phase of the upgrade process when we met with them. The clients providing their feedback include the following: 

Argus Consulting, Inc.  
Nancy Smith, Project Controls 
Karen Pattison, Controller  

Andrea Kier, Business Development 

Jessamyn Davis, Chief Operating Officer 

Structural Integrity Associates, Inc. 
Paul Arnone, Applications Support Manager 

Ware Malcomb 
Brad Mathias, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis 

When Should Our Firm Upgrade to Deltek Vantagepoint? 

A common question that Full Sail Partners gets asked by clients is when their firm should upgrade to Deltek Vantagepoint. Here are a few perspectives from Deltek clients. 

Jessamyn – We first learned about Vantagepoint and how it is a vast improvement to Vision at the Deltek conference a few years ago when it was in Florida. It was then that I realized that we needed to get on a path to upgrade. But for us, the question about when the upgrade would take place was when Vantagepoint had enough functionality to make it worthwhile, and we made the upgrade in March 2021 after working with Full Sail Partners for about four to five months to prepare. 

Karen – We started looking at Vantagepoint about three years ago at the Deltek Insight [now ProjectCon] conference. Similar to Jessamyn, we were waiting for more functionality, especially with the accounting features. We got serious about the upgrade process in 2021 and that is when I selected Nancy to be the project manager for this effort.  

Andrea – We decided that because Vantagepoint had been out for a while already, the major kinks were worked out. So, our firm made the decision to move forward.  

Paul – The upgrade was on our radar beginning the spring of 2020 and by that summer we had a test environment set up. We had established a task force and were meeting regularly, mostly weekly, to get the Vantagepoint preview environment set up the way we wanted it. However, things got put on hold when we decided to wait for newer features to be added to Vantagepoint.  

Brad – We were in a very similar situation to Paul, waiting for the features that we needed to be available in Vantagepoint. We utilized Full Sail Partners’ Vantagepoint Readiness Report to identify all the things that we needed to pay attention to. We were originally supposed to go live in April 2021 but based on that report we had a massive data issue that we needed to clean up. We decided to focus on that before the upgrade. We also decided to bring CRM into Vantagepoint after using another CRM system for a couple of years. So that combined with the data cleanup has delayed our upgrade a bit.  

Who Was Involved in the Upgrade Process? 

Once the firms decided it was time to begin upgrading to Vantagepoint, the next step was to determine who in the firm and other outside resources, if any, to involve in this effort. 

Nancy – We established a core team with a representative from each user group. My recommendation would be for each of those people to be positive and tech-savvy.  

Andrea – We have three accounting people and three marketing people. Vision wasn’t widely used by a lot of people at our firm. It was seen as more of an accounting tool and the upgrade to Vantagepoint was seen as a marketing thing because it was very CRM-focused. I would agree with Nancy to have a representative from each user group because having only accounting and marketing limited our transition to just the training on the CRM and accounting aspects. Because we were the only ones involved, we were the champions and were the people who could ask questions. So, I think the level to which our staff embraces Vantagepoint would have been boosted more if we had had project managers and principals as part of the core team involved from the beginning.  

I think our challenge is that the project managers and principals did not really use Vision before. So having them on the transition team did not really make any sense for us. However, I would recommend that if you can include them, that do you include them, especially if you are creating new processes. We basically took this opportunity to start over and do a lot of new stuff that we never really did before. So having users be able to contribute to those new processes and provide additional insight would have been even more helpful for us.  

I have been involved in migrations and upgrades in other past positions outside the AEC industry. I have seen a number of times when you do not involve the right people, you end up with this giant mess afterward. Then it takes a lot more time and money to fix and you end up getting frustrated and burnt out.  

So, I would recommend involving a small group but trying to get equal representation from different user roles.  

Paul – Over at Structural Integrity, we established a task force of about 15 people representing all the different departments. We tried to identify all the processes in Vision that we have now. Then the goal was to make all those same processes continue to work in Vantagepoint.  

Brad – This upgrade was handled a little bit differently than what we did for the last upgrade in Vision. The upgrade when we went from the earlier Vision version to Vision 7.6 was a heavy lifting exercise that we did all by ourselves.  

Like a lot of companies, marketing is a very powerful piece of your operation, and marketers tend to have their own tools and software that gets connected to Vision. Part of the exercise this time was bringing marketing into Vantagepoint which brought in a whole new team and a whole lot more mojo. If you can find a way to embrace Vantagepoint as an option for CRM, in addition to your backbone of accounting, you are going to get a lot more attention and a lot more buy-in. That is what I can suggest – having marketing and accounting being on the same team and working on the same initiative was refreshing.  

Jessamyn – We had a core team that was our project accountants and our project planner because we use resource planning heavily. Since we also use CRM, we also had three people from our marketing team. We held some workshops with our project planners and project managers to understand what they would like to see out of dashboards and what they felt they were not getting now. We did not include them on our core team, and I think that was for the best. We delivered Vantagepoint to the project managers as a finished product rather than including them in the “making of the sausage.” I think it went really well. I think it was very successful, and then we did a lot of training when we went live.  

What Resources or Support Did You Need for the Upgrade? 

Having helped over 200 firms make the upgrade from Vision to Vantagepoint, Full Sail Partners understands that there can be different levels of support and resources that firms need. This can be due to the unique modules or features which the firm uses or to the amount of customization the firm has built into Vision. Hear from a few clients about what resources and/or support they utilized, if any, to make the upgrade. 

Brad – There was no way we could do this upgrade on our own. We are a large firm with over 600 employees. Accounting, marketing and HR, plus our support teams, are always understaffed. We also have customized Vision quite a bit. It would be very difficult for us to make any type of upgrade alone. We utilized the Vantagepoint Readiness Report and help from Full Sail Partners because of this. 

Jessamyn – The Vantagepoint Readiness Report shows you the exceptions or areas in your system where something is going to throw back a problem. Things like duplicate records for vendors and clients, project plans that have something wrong with them or all the customized reports and when the last time they were used - All these types of information. The first time we ran the report, it was overwhelming because we had years of data that had probably never been cleaned. We had two interns work full-time for four months cleaning up the data. Then we ran the report again and just kept doing that until we felt like we were at a manageable place.  

Andrea – We set up significant training time beforehand. We really didn’t understand Vision very well, and we didn’t use it in the way that it was designed to be used. We had years of different processes and data with different people in and out who decided they wanted to do something one way, and there wasn’t global communication. So, we had a lot of training before the upgrade. I was focused on the CRM stuff. I worked with the CRM specialists at Full Sail Partners for a while because we really needed to transform how we use the database. I wanted to make sure that I understood the logic behind how the system was supposed to work. If your organization is really organized, you have clean data, and you’ve got someone who has time to lead the efforts, then it’s totally possible to do this on your own. Yet even with the skills and having a strong foundation that would normally make this kind of transition seamless, it was helpful and time-saving (which can also be money saving) to have a team of Full Sail Partners’ people to help us.  

Just looking at the Readiness Report can be overwhelming. You realize that maybe the data is not as good as you thought. You spend a lot of time on that cleanup, and with so much time you are investing, you want to get it right. So having a team of experienced people to help guide us through was definitely useful for us.  

Paul – We are a firm of about 300 people, and I cannot imagine going through this on our own without the help of a company like Full Sail Partners. I have worked with Full Sail Partners in the past on several different customizations and we have always been happy with them. When Vantagepoint got on our radar, it just seemed like a great fit to just work with them and use the tools to help make this upgrade an easier process.  

Karen – I would highly recommend getting support. There is just no way we could have upgraded on our own even though we are only a 70-person firm. We needed the help of Full Sail Partners. We have used them a lot. We get all our questions put together. Then Nancy and I worked with a Full Sail Partners’ consultant to help us answer the questions. There are a lot of things that we just would not be able to figure out on our own to make this happen in our timeframe. 

Hear More from Your Peers 

This article is the first in this series where different project-based firms share their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade experience. Future articles will include topics like the favorite Vantagepoint features of users and upgrade best practices.  

To learn more about upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint visit the page linked below. 



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See How BG Buildingworks Utilized the Deltek Vision Connector for Constant Contact to Sync their Data & Exceed Industry Benchmarks

Posted by Full Sail Partners on September 07, 2016

Recently, Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Inc. embarked on a rebranding initiative, officially becoming BG Buildingworks. A critical element of this rebranding effort was to notify the company’s key constituents to reaffirm that the rebranding was primarily a cosmetic change, and that BG Buildingworks would maintain their personnel and technical expertise.

Hear directly from Karen Crilly, BG Buildingworks’ Director of Marketing & Client Development, about this process. See how the firm was able to overcome challenges with their contact data in time to announce the rebranding prior to their 25th anniversary.


BG Buildingworks--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For BG Buildingworks, innovative solutions are at the core of their business. BG Buildingworks provides mechanical, electrical, lighting, technology, commissioning, energy analysis and LEED consulting services for projects ranging from those in higher education to government, commercial, hospitality, healthcare and more. They are experts in REVIT modeling, employing state-of-the art technology and tools to optimize energy-efficient building systems and improve the owner’s bottom line.

Through early program definition, focused project management, expert systems design and engineering and highly experienced construction phase services, BG Buildingworks provides owners with low-risk, high-return solutions for their facilities.

BG Buildingwork's utilizes the Deltek Vision Constant Contact Integration

Learn Why SharedHR Selected a Project-based ERP for Human Resources Consulting

Posted by Ryan Felkel on June 17, 2015

Full Sail Partners
' VP of Sales and Marketing, Sarah Gonnella, spoke with Cathy Cushing, Office Manager; Malcolm Whyte, Executive Vice President; and Saul Macias, Vice President of Professional Services from SharedHR to discuss the human resources consulting services they provide to small- to medium-sized business and how having a project-based ERP system is critical to their success. 


SharedHR logo


SharedHR is an experienced management consulting and human resource services firm. They believe the essence of an organization’s success rests with attracting, developing, and retaining the right talent. SharedHR takes the time to learn about your company and its culture in order to provide customized, service-orient- ed support to foster your success. SharedHR can supplement your payroll, benefits, and HR team or fully outsource your HR function. The SharedHR methodology streamlines your administrative processes using our cloud-based HR platform. Their approach offers flexible solutions to match the needs of your small to mid-sized business. They pair each client with a dedicated and experienced associate who offers access to the combined knowledge and resources of our entire knowledge base and senior team. SharedHR leverages paperless, cloud-based technology to integrate and optimize your HR and administrative processes so you can focus on high-value business priorities. 


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Benefits of Business Process Evaluation

Posted by Full Sail Partners on July 03, 2013

There are shelves and shelves full of books — actually, entire libraries — that offer insights into business process management. There is a simple reason for this: it’s one of the most fundamental and effective ways to improve firm growth. 

So what areas are involved in a business process evaluation? At a very high level, it’s about answering the big questions needed to effectively guide your firm, such as: 

    • Are business objectives appropriate?
    • Are key policies and plans effective?
    • Do results validate business strategy?

At a more granular level, this type of inquiry involves examining existing business processes to find pain points, bottlenecks and inefficiencies that could be improved. In this regard, it’s a process that every business can benefit from — but especially firms that are project-based, such as professional services firms. For these types of companies, the exercise can point to solutions for: 

    • Streamlining business processes, minimizing redundancy and saving money
    • Gaining insight into operational metrics you can’t currently see — such as work backlog, etc.
    • Making better decisions on uses of internal resources, based on up-to-the-minute data

Choices in Approach

Business Process Evaluation

How you conduct this type of self-examination depends on your goals, resources and desired return on expense/effort. For example, it could be highly focused, with internal staff looking at one particular process in one section of your organization. Or it could involve examining complex processes spanning several separate parts of the organization, which might require using an external consultant. 

When Full Sail Partners begins any new engagement with a client, we typically start with a business process evaluation. Generally this involves understanding our client’s various front and back office processes — potentially, all processes along the project lifecycle, including: 

    • Business development tracking
    • Estimating and business capture
    • Project management and project profitability
    • Employee utilization and realization
    • Billing, A/R and firm financial reporting
    • TQM

To appreciate the impact of a business process evaluation, consider the case of one of our clients, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE), a 500-person firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. Along with the client’s initial concerns, our evaluation identified an inefficient paper-based process for initiating new projects that required anywhere from several hours to several days per project. Following our business process evaluation and implementation of a paperless process, (among other improvements), the client was able to reduce the required time to a few minutes per project. That efficiency gain, multiplied by the approximately 7,000 projects that WJE handles each year, resulted in $1.8 million annual savings, according to WJE’s Controller. 

There are other potential gains of a business process evaluation that are not directly tied to process efficiencies. For example, it can provide visibility to timely and accurate data that helps leadership make better business decisions. This was an additional gain from the project at WJE; principals were able to see clearly the potential conflicts of servicing a new client, allowing them to forego business development expenses and effort on a client that could not be serviced. 

Another example is gaining visibility into an organization’s work backlog — knowing exactly how much work is in the pipeline, and even more importantly, whether one has the staff on hand to do the work (and if not, specifically what type of staff are needed to fill the gaps). As a result, a firm can make better decisions about whom to hire (and when), and which projects to pursue. 

Evaluating ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness is an essential part of guiding an enterprise. Whether it’s performed internally in a very focused way, on a broader level by an external firm, or somewhere in between, it has the potential of allowing you to reexamine and reengineer your standard operating procedures and in turn, drive greater efficiency and visibility. Both capabilities are critical to consistently delivering value to your clients — and increasing profitability and firm growth.

Interested in a business process evaluation? Contact us to begin the process.

Full Sail Partners and WJE Receive Deltek Project Excellence Partner Award

Posted by Full Sail Partners on November 08, 2012

Deltek, Inc. recently announced at the Deltek Insight 2012 Conference that Full Sail Partners and its client, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), have been selected for the Partner Award for Deltek’s 2012 Project Excellence Awards Program.  The Partner Award recognizes a Deltek partner, and customer, that together have delivered an exceptional Deltek solution implementation.

2012 Deltek Project Excellence Partner AwardFull Sail Partners assisted Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., a prominent A/E/C firm ranked on Engineering News-Record's list of the Top 500 Design Firms in America, with the implementation of Deltek Vision across its business.  Full Sail Partners built numerous workflows in Deltek Vision such as conflict checking, project initiation, billing, and project status report.  As a result, WJE realized an annual savings of about $1.8 million and a reduction in DSOs of 45 days.  The cost to purchase and implement Deltek Vision paid for itself over 30 times in just one year. 

“As the leader in solving the world’s most challenging construction-related problems, WJE works on more than 7,000 projects a year. Our project management, time, and accounting systems must not let us down,” said WJE Associate Director of Finance and Controller, Steven Schmit.  “We are honored to receive this award recognizing the partnership between WJE and Full Sail Partners, whose expert guidance and support has been so critical to the successful implementation and ongoing operation of Deltek Vision within our firm.”

Since the awards program started in 2008, Deltek has recognized some of the most innovative, market-leading companies in the world. The Project Excellence Awards program, a key component of the annual Deltek Insight User Conference, was designed to highlight and honor unique achievement among Deltek's more than 14,500 customers worldwide.  The goal of this award program is to recognize outstanding Deltek customer and partner success in improving business processes and performance, increasing profitability and winning new business.

“We are very proud to be honored with the Project Excellence Partner Award with WJE.  We loved the challenge as presented by Steve and WJE” said Kevin O’Connor, President of Full Sail Partners. “The automation created by WJE and the FSP team brought forward a game changing level of efficiency. The implementation provided increased functionality, reduction of manual processes through automation, and timelier reporting and distribution which resulted in significant time savings. WJE has been a true partner with our firm and the close integration of the work we did is a testament to both or team’s commitment to excellence.” 


KPI Insight for Project Managers

Posted by Full Sail Partners on July 17, 2012

A Cautionary Example of Using KPIs

If a Project Manager Falls Down in the Forest and No One is Around to See It, Does the Project Manger Still Get the Quarterly Bonus?

I have been giving a great deal of thought to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) lately.  One thought was about the idea of the unintended consequences of putting a “suite” of KPIs (KPIs are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. . .) in place, specifically for Project Managers.

How will their behavior change?  Will measuring chargeability for their project teams cause the employees to be more utilized or cause billable project to become less profitable?

Let me throw out an example.  This example is based upon a real client and provides KPI insight. The Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Company A wanted to incentivize their project managers to produce more revenue.  So, after months of discussion and planning, the partners setup revenue targets for each PM based upon past performance and a generously favorable potential revenue prediction for the next year.  The Project Managers would be paid a bonus at the end of each Quarter for any Revenue they brought in over the projected target.  This was very generous, and all the partners agreed that this would drive business revenues higher.

Except it didn’t happen exactly the way they wanted it to.

Here is a graph showing how their revenue was before this particular KPI was put in place:

KPI Key Performance Indicator Before










And here is the before and after picture:

KPI Key Performance Indicator After








This of course caused their accounting team to load up on antacids for most of the year.  Their KPI (and bonus program based on that KPI) had encouraged some behavior that was not necessarily good.  The Project Managers did not care about recognizing any revenue (and by extension, billing the client) until the end of the quarter, and when they did, they typically over-recognized and over-billed.

This problem caused a cascade through-out the organization.  Clients noticed and started to question why this month’s bill was so much larger that last month’s.  Average AR started to go up.  Cash flow went down.  Lines of credit had to be accessed to make payroll (and pay the quarterly bonus).

How could this have been prevented?  Looking back, it is obvious right?  But at the time, this sounded like a great idea and everyone was committed to making it successful.

  1. Too much focus on one KPI is not a good thing.  They should have used several measurements that touched upon AR, Chargeability, and (Project Managers cover your ears!), Client Satisfaction.
  2. Quantitative measurements are great, but we also need some Qualitative measurements in the mix.
  3. Involve many different types of people in your KPI development.  Someone might have pointed out this scenario at the beginning if the partners had not developed this on their own.

Which brings me to my final point... KPIs only help if you review them frequently and action is taken based upon them.  A well designed KPI exists to measure performance and if adjustments are not made based upon them...then no one saw the Project Manager fall in the forest.

View webinar on KPI Insight for Project Managers.

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