I have to admit that I have never once watched an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” nor really any reality TV shows except my one-time foray into one of those “Housewives” shows while I was in a hospital recouping from a surgery. I would categorize these types of shows as guilty pleasures. There are people I know and respect that watch reality TV, and I too have my own guilty pleasure - I like to read People magazine, and occasionally I’ll even dip into a US Magazine in the check-out line. However, despite my interest in what’s happening in the world of celebrities, my biggest concern with reality TV is my general disgust for the million-dollar contracts involved. Yet contracts are necessities, right?
Making a strange leap from reality TV to contract management in the architecture and engineering (A&E) industry, let’s talk more about the necessity of managing contracts. Contracts and agreements are imperative in almost all business interactions, even the simplest things these days. For those of us in the A&E industry, there could be any variety of risks that are mitigated by a contract. Not only are some of the A&E contracts protective in nature, helping to ensure compliance, safety, etc., but there are also project-related contracts that dictate important financial amounts related to the lifecycle of the project itself.
First Off, Deltek Vantagepoint Drives Efficiencies
The good news here is that Deltek Vantagepoint, out of the box, helps you manage contracts directly in the Projects hub. In fact, the Deltek Vantagepoint knowledge base states: “The primary overall benefits of the contract management feature in Vantagepoint are that it helps you coordinate the contract process, keep everyone up to date on its current status, and ensure that the compensation amounts that will be billed and received as you execute the project are in sync with the amounts spelled out in the contract.”
This is such a valuable piece of functionality that Full Sail Partners’ Principal Consultant, Rana Blair, has done two different mini demos on the subject. In an introductory mini-demo, Rana shares an overview of contract management - it covers configuration considerations, contract document columns and entry, and the use of the 'Synchronize Contracts to Fees' feature. One of the main takeaways from this important twelve-minute video is that firms that leverage the Project hub tool Contract Management can enjoy benefits in the measurement of revenue and backlog as well as identify risks.
Contract Management is Integral to Successful Projects
A big part of why reality TV is so darn successful is pure drama. Whether it’s learning “secrets” or seeing inside the lives of others, at the root of it all is transparency. The exact same is true for projects and their contracts. If you can’t determine the health and status of your project, how can you predict the financials of your firm? Project based firms must rely on exposing the differences between contract amounts and expected compensation. Deltek Vantagepoint can help you control these amounts (both the contracted total and the compensation amounts) as well as how they matter to the project work breakdown structure. This type of transparency, at any point in the life cycle of a project, sets your firm up to avoid surprises.
Solid Contract Management is Story Telling
Yes, reality TV shows tell stories. Are their stories worth the thousands and millions of dollar contracts? I personally don’t think so, but I know many of our clients’ contracts are indeed worth that much. A good story not only conveys a message that needs to be told, but it also usually has a happy ending. Despite reality TV, in the real world of projects, mutually beneficial success derived from all parties feeling they received value is the happily ever after. Using Deltek Vantagepoint Contract Management, these happy endings can be ensured.
All About the Money
Deltek Vantagepoint’s Contract Management reporting capabilities can help your firm not only stay informed on the status of a project, but you can also adjust upward or downward (but let’s be real, most of the time it’s add-on work) as the scope changes. This helps firms scope better in the future. Contract management can even help salespeople and seller doers get their credit or reward for winning the deal. Just like how a reality TV show can spin out one small situation into a million different possibilities for viewer consumption, Deltek Vantagepoint allows you to audit your own contracts by a variety of filters such as Type, Status, or Date.
What About the People?
Reality TV about famous people like the Kardashians pulls in the revenue. Similarly, a People Magazine story about Brad and Angelina most likely would catch my eye. It’s all about the people, and project-based firms’ client projects at their core are all about the people involved.
Contract Management inside of Deltek Vantagepoint allows for workflows to be arranged so that stakeholders and project managers can be alerted when important contract-related events happen. Vantagepoint can even automatically fill in fields based on the stages of a particular contract.
Learn More about Advanced Features
While Contract Management in Deltek Vantagepoint may not have the pizzaz as some of the weird stuff on TV or in the magazines in the check-out line, to those of us in the AEC industry, I think it might warrant a little bit of “geeking out” because of the great benefits to project-based firms. Taking what we have learned about reality TV, let’s leverage terrific tools for the AEC industry to bring in even more revenue by telling real stories of real projects in real time through the power of Deltek Vantagepoint. For more about the Advanced Features of Deltek Vantagepoint Contract Management, check out Rana Blair’s second min-demo on Contract Management. This one goes a little deeper than the introductory one.