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Best Practices from Professional Services Firms Who've Upgraded from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint

Posted by Lindsay Diven on August 31, 2022

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Having now partnered with hundreds of architecture and engineering firms to upgrade from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint, Full Sail Partners has gathered a treasure trove of lessons learned and best practices. While professional services firms can certainly benefit from what has been discovered by Full Sail Partners, in this article, they can also hear directly from different engineering and architecture firms about their own experiences. Once again, firms looking to make the Vantagepoint transition can get advice as well as discover lessons learned and best practices from their counterparts’ Vantagepoint upgrade experiences. 

This is the third article in the series where professional services firms can “hear from their peers” who have either made the upgrade or talk about experiences during the upgrade process. The first article focused on preparing for the upgrade and the second article shared their users most loved new features of Vantagepoint. In this final article, the participants will share some best practices from their Vantagepoint upgrade experience. 

Featured Firms

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   

CSHQA 
Andrea Kier, Business Development 

RIOS 
Jessamyn Davis, Chief Operating Officer  

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

Ware Malcomb 
Brad Mathias, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis  

Treat the Upgrade Like a Project 

Karen and Nancy from Argus Consulting approached the upgrade like a project. They assigned a project manager, in their case Nancy, to lead and she was the one person to be in charge of the efforts. Nancy also was sure to engage the end users, and she coordinated with people from marketing, project management, etc. She particularly worked hard on having a lot of interaction within each group along the way. 

Structural Integrity Associates took a similar approach in their upgrade. They established a task group to evaluate the entire upgrade. However, their task group was about 15 people who were on weekly calls including vice presidents and other executives. Paul now thinks it might have been more beneficial to have had smaller groups made of targeted areas depending on the meeting topic for that week. It might have helped the process move quicker and maximize everyone’s time.  

Communicate and Prioritize Across Departments 

Andrea from CSHQA recommends communicating and understanding what the users need from Vantagepoint and to ask a lot of questions. It is also important to realize that everyone is busy and that the upgrade tasks might not be their main job. So, it might take longer to review information and make decisions for the different end user groups.  

Remember, it’s Just an Upgrade, not a New ERP Implementation 

Jessamyn’s big take away from RIOS upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint is to remember that this is just an upgrade. It’s not a migration to a new system. Most of Vantagepoint works the same as Vision, except that it’s in the browser. She wants firms to not be intimated by upgrading to Vantagepoint. While it is a lot of work, it is definitely nothing compared to migrating to an entirely new ERP system.  

Utilize the Expertise of a Trusted Partner & the Vantagepoint Readiness Report 

The best practice that Brad from Ware Malcomb recommends is to get the help of a trusted Deltek Partner. In his case, they used the services of Full Sail Partners and the Vantagepoint Readiness Report. The Vantagepoint Readiness Report identified everything that was needed for their upgrade instead of having to figure it out on their own.  

Start Cleaning Data, Even if the Upgrade is Far Away 

Another important thing that Brad always recommends is reviewing the data in Vision, especially if the firm has been using the system for a long time, like Ware Malcomb. Their data wasn’t necessarily bad data but there was a lot of duplicate data. Having the data as clean as possible will make the upgrade process go even smoother.  

Want to Hear More From Your Peers?  

As this article is the last one in a three-part series, be sure to check out the other “hear from your peers” topics.  In part one, different project-based firms shared their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade experiences. Then in part two, the same firms shared their most liked new features of Vantagepoint. Hearing from peers is a great way for professional services firms to get comfortable with the transition from Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint. Take advantage of their experiences and learn how to make the move go smoothly. 

To listen to their upgrade experience, watch the webinar that is linked below. 

 

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Automated Bank Feeds with Deltek Vantagepoint for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Joel Slater on August 17, 2022

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Most likely of great interest to Vantagepoint users is that Deltek is continuing to roll out rapid enhancements to Vantagepoint in order to drive purposeful innovation and efficiency. One of the latest improvements being made possible is by a new partnership and integration with Plaid. This integration with Plaid offers professional services firms the ability to automate the update of transactions in Bank Reconciliation in Vantagepoint. Well, what is this all about, and how can professional services firms make this happen?

About Plaid

Plaid powers thousands of financial apps and this convenient integration will allow professional services firms to connect their banks to Deltek Vantagepoint in a secure way. With Plaid, firms can control whom their data is shared with and for how long. Additionally, whenever firms use a Plaid-powered app, their security is of the utmost importance meeting or exceeding industry standards. 

Bye-Bye Manual Entry 

Most Deltek Vision clients were already aware of the ability to manually upload a file from their bank to import bank transactions. The key word here, being MANUAL. Now check out the good news - with Deltek’s latest release of Vantagepoint, that process has now been vastly improved with automated bank feeds. That’s right! No more manual import is required. The integration currently supports over 11,000 banks across North America, with more being added regularly. As of the Vantagepoint 5.0 release, this integration is available to both on-premise and Deltek Cloud clients. There is no separate purchase or licensing required.   

 Instead of the more time-consuming, manually administered import process, a professional services firm’s latest bank transactions are seamlessly imported into the accounting system. After import, they are reflected in the Bank Reconciliation record. It is then taken a step further by automatically matching imported records to posted payments and cash receipts.  

Setup Using the Plaid Assistant 

Most Deltek Vantagepoint clients can get started with this convenient solution today. They will first need to connect their supported bank within Vantagepoint settings (Settings > Cash Management > Banks). From there, that process will guide them through selecting their bank, logging in using their existing bank credentials, and then selecting the account that they want to connect to all using the Plaid setup assistant.  

If their banks require multi-factor authentication or OAuth, the process will be similar, while still incorporating those additional security steps to enter needed credentials. For step-by-step instructions, professional services firms can reference this video, or the relevant Deltek Vantagepoint help file 

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After the connection is established, transactions which have cleared a professional services firm’s bank will automatically feed into Deltek Vantagepoint Bank Reconciliation on a nightly basis. System administrators can change the date on which Vantagepoint starts the daily transaction import into Bank Reconciliation in addition to the time of day that the import is run. Firms also have the flexibility to manually refresh transactions through the day.  

Automatic Bank Feeds in Vantagepoint

Need More Help with Bank Feed? 

 If there is ever an error related to a firm’s bank connection with Plaid, there are some messages now displayed in Vantagepoint to help with troubleshooting. Firms should note the IDs and let Deltek customer care know. Here are some common scenarios that have been dealt with already. 

Streamlined Bank Reconciliation  

Professional services firms using Deltek Vantagepoint now really have it made in the shade. With the Plaid integration and ensuing automatic bank feeds, bank reconciliation has become even more streamlined. Without the need for manual downloads, firms now have much more time to manage other financial matters, ensuring improved efficiency. Firms should get started with this latest enhancement today! 

 

Click the image below to learn about how Deltek Vantagepoint powers project-based firms. 

 

Image button link to the Project Lifecycle of Deltek Vantagepoint webinar

Project-Based Firms and Deltek Collaborate Through the Deltek Idea Portals

Posted by Scott Seal on August 03, 2022

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How many users have brainstormed good ideas regarding their Deltek Vantagepoint system that they wanted to share but didn’t know how? What about any suggestions for product enhancements that these same users would want to offer? Fortunately for these users, Deltek has recently launched the Deltek Idea Portals, a new online tool for submitting and promoting ideas to Deltek product management directly. Let’s check out how it works, the reasoning behind it and what Full Sail Partners’ consultants have to say about it. 

Using the Idea Portals 

The process for using the Idea Portals is that first, the Deltek Authorized Support Contacts (ASCs) at the firm would access the link for the Idea Portals within the Deltek Support Center (DSC). To determine a firm’s designated ASC, contact the firm’s Customer Success Manager. Next, the ASC would click on ‘Share Your Ideas’ and be taken to the links for certain Deltek products. For instance, users from Full Sail Partners’ clients which are project-based firms would choose the Vantagepoint/Vision idea portal. Once inside, ASCs can share ideas about their specific products, can vote and add insight on other ideas that have been presented. ASCs can subscribe to the item to receive status updates when those ideas move from being considered to planned and then released.  

Here is a quick screenshot of what users see when they go into the DSC. For more information, users can review the Idea Portals quick start guide. 

 

Promoting a Cooperative Effort  

From extensive research, Deltek learned that products developed without input from users are not successful when delivered in the end. So, the thought behind creating the Idea Portals was to provide one standard cooperative way for presenting ideas on Deltek products. This updated and convenient process promotes a two-way communication between project-based firms and the product management team at Deltek while ideas are vetted and prioritized. Not only can users see how their ideas are being received and processed by Deltek, but others interested in the subject matter can provide additional suggestions and input. 

 

Feedback from Full Sail Partners’ Consultants  

Full Sail Partners’ consultants have recently been visiting the Vantagepoint/Vision Deltek Idea Portal and offered the following feedback. 

One Full Sail Partners’ consultant really liked the focus on the statuses that Deltek is using to communicate where the idea offered was in the process. In particular, the statuses of “Likely to Implement” or “Planned” were interesting as was the status of “Released.” Below are some screenshots that this consultant took experimenting in the Idea Portals. From these images, Deltek users can catch a glimpse at what ideas are being considered and which statuses those ideas are being given.  

In this initial screenshot, on the right side in the highlight, there is “Filter by Status” where users can see what the available options are for statuses of idea consideration. Look at the 2090 ideas for future consideration. That is certainly a lot of ideas coming from project-based firms. 

In these other screenshots, Deltek users can see the types of ideas that are being offered, how many people voted on those ideas and the status that the idea was given by Deltek product management. 

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Here is an example of what users will receive when they subscribe, and an idea is voted on. In this case, the idea was “Update the PTO Plan when an absence request is approved.” Look in the comments section to see where other users can make their contributions to help these ideas move forward with product development. 

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Another Full Sail Partners’ consultant has gone even further in really utilizing the Vantagepoint/Vision Idea Portal. She decided that when interesting and relevant topics come up with her clients, she takes them directly to the idea portal if they have never been before. Then she teaches them how to search for what ideas they are interested in offering to Deltek product management and how to enter their ideas if they are new. This is a screenshot of where users add their ideas for consideration. 

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With her observations and discovery, she has learned that many of her and her client’s desired items are already there, and it would be a great idea to create an email to Deltek at VantagepointIdeasPortal@deltek.com documenting the cases that seem the same. For example, as she searched for specific ideas and voted on ones already in the portal, she found duplicates like “credit card reconciliation update to make it more dynamic for payments” which was found twice or “controlling how to create a project” which appeared similar to three other user’s ideas. From what this consultant was told, Deltek is combining them when they are found. 

This same consultant also indicated that when she voted on an idea in the Vantagepoint/Vision portal, in her case it was for the “ability to update scheduled reports without having to unschedule, update the report and reschedule,” she received a survey from Deltek. This survey asked her about use cases and the most needed reasons for updating etc. This showed her that Deltek was really listening and trying to make effective changes. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work 

With time and collaboration, these Idea Portals should ensure that a plethora of ideas are heard and evaluated by Deltek product management, and from these suggestions, users should be provided with many of their needed solutions. Any good idea, no matter how small, should be offered to Deltek using this process. Remember, “you can’t win, if you don’t play.” 

 

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More Features of Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0

Posted by Terri Agnew, CPA on July 27, 2022

 

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In a previous blog, we discussed many of the amazing features of Deltek 5.0. However, there are even more features of Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0 available to include new mobile capabilities and ways to manage contacts. Here we will review those additional features and see the improvements made particularly in resource planning. 

 

Multiple Rows in Labor Grid for Resource Planning 

This enhancement provides more parity to the Deltek Vision Resource Planning. With this enhancement, users can change the view of the resource plan itself. The project manager can add multiple sub rows (as shown below) to the labor grid in planning. Choices include: 

Note: The Resource Planning Module is required for this feature. 

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The ability to be able to change this view and select sub-row settings is set up on a global level. The firm can decide what’s allowed in Resource Planning Settings. Meaning if the firm doesn’t want to use baseline, for instance, this sub-row could be turned off in Settings.   

Add Assignments Under Inactive Levels in Resource Planning 

This new feature allows firms to add resource or generic assignments to inactive project levels and their respective “child row” if it’s not dormant. The dormant levels will remain closed for adding resources and their respective “child rows” and will keep the “no add” icon.  

Firms do not need to have the Resource Planning module to take advantage of this new feature. 

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Expanded Resource View in Resource Management 

In Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0, users can search for resources with additional field options inside Resource View. This feature does require the Resource Planning module.  

The additional fields that are now available in Resource View are any standard drop-down or look-up fields in the Employee Hub as well as any user-defined drop-down or look-up fields.  

Controlling which fields are allowed is a Global option that is configured in the Resource Planning settings. However, Hub Security is not honored. So, for example, if a user doesn’t have access to the Travel Preferences field in the Employee Hub, but it’s made available in Resource View, that user will be able to see that information.  

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New Projects Filter and Expanded Column Options in Resource Management 

In Resource View, users now have the ability to filter projects at the very top of the grid itself. There are several options to filter the projects including: 

  • Project status
  • Charge type
  • Project manager
  • Project organization
  • Stage
  • Stage step
  • Probability 

Note: The Resource Planning Module is required for this feature. 

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Mobile Enhancements 

There have been enhancements to both the CRM and Time & Expense (T&E) mobile apps in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0. Those enhancements include: 

  • Business card scanner – A contact can be created by snapping a photo of a business card in the CRM app. The contact will be created with the data from the card using ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) makes entering contacts on the fly even easier.  
  • Updated Login Assistance – Both the T&E and CRM apps now have a new “forgot password” assistance button.  
  • Enter time and dates using the keypad – Stop the endless scrolling with this new feature! Users of both the T&E and CRM apps now can enter the time or date using the keypad.  

Pipeline Dashpart Enhanced 

In the pipeline dashpart, firms now have the ability to show the pipeline forecast based on the method of the project, only spread evenly across the timescale. It also introduces the Revenue Forecast values.  

Note: Both resource planning and CRM modules are required. 

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My Upcoming Assignments Dashpart 

It is strongly recommended to add the “My Upcoming Assignments” dashpart to each employee’s dashboard if the firm uses Resource Management. If the employee is planned on any project, that employee can automatically see what assignments they have upcoming using this dashpart.  

The employee can see the upcoming assignments in three different views – by planning hours, scheduled %, or utilization %. The employee can also change the forecast range from the next four weeks and up to 20 weeks into the future.  

This dashpart acts as a mini resource management view for the employee to see including the “Heat Map” features.  

Note: The Resource Planning Module is required for this feature. 

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Utilize More New Features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0 

Who knew how many features would now be available with this newest version of Vantagepoint? The mobile enhancements and resource planning features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0 now enable even more efficiency in the system. Why wait, start using them now! 

Click the button below to see how Deltek Vantagepoint can support your project-based firm. 

 

Harness the power of VantagePoint

What’s New in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0

Posted by Terri Agnew, CPA on July 13, 2022

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From project managers to accountants to business developers, almost every role at project-based firms will benefit from the new features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0. The new features go beyond usability enhancements like drill-down capabilities for dashboards to entirely new ways to manage timesheets. Let’s take a look at some of these new features of Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0.

Search Navigation Improvements

The search navigation bar for top-level searches has been redesigned. Users can now find any record without needing to select a search criterion such as “active.” This is different than in Vantagepoint 4.5 when a user wanted to find a record. Deltek has revamped the new search navigation to be closer to how the Quick Search function was in Vision.

A new filtering option was added as shown below to the right of the search field. Users can filter by the saved searches. A user can select a saved search, and a preview of the project records meeting those criteria is displayed. From this view, a user can either select multiple projects, or all projects can be selected by clicking “Done.”

To learn more about the redesign of the search improvements, watch this mini-demo.

Saved Searches

Saved Grid Views

Another general enhancement is the ability to save grid views. If records are displayed in a list view, as shown below, the order and type of columns displayed can be saved. Then users can toggle between different views based on their preferences.

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The types of views that can be saved are:

  • Columns selected in the grid
  • Order of the columns selected
  • Column width
  • Pinned columns

Saved grid views are currently available in:

  • Hub records in list view
  • Edit Project Structure grid
  • Transaction Center lists
  • Transaction Entry grids such as AP vouchers
  • Interactive billing grids

Saving grid views has been added to the “Save Rights” section with Reports, Search & Options in User Security. These security settings allow for users to save grid views for themselves, their role, or globally.

See how grid views are saved in an upcoming mini demo in September. Check this page to sign up when it’s available.

My Preferences Option

The next general enhancement is in the My Preferences area. There is a new feature that was added at the bottom right of the My Preference box (shown below).

Users can now decide how they want the General Ledger accounts to be sorted – by account name or account number. This is going to be helpful for those people who enter GL accounts, such as the accounts payable professionals. It’s helpful when that user is in the transaction area because they now can search lists sorted by account name or account number.

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Sorting of Timesheet Line Items

This enhancement has been highly requested and it’s finally in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0. It was a feature in Vision, but not only did Deltek bring it back, but it greatly improved the functionality. Now employees will be able to sort their timesheet line entries by project name, client name, and project number or have no sort at all. No sorting will leave the timesheet lines in the order in which they are entered on the timesheet.

When there are multiple lines for the same project, they will be sorted by Phase, Tasks, and then Labor Code (as applicable).

In addition, when the employee adds a new timesheet line item, the timesheet will automatically sort based on the sort option chosen.

Timesheet sort options

Timesheet and Floor Check – User Options

Another efficiency enhancement with timesheets is the ability to sort or see employees by first, last name, employee name or period ending. This is especially helpful for those approvers who have many employees to approve. This is available in both the timesheets and floor check.

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Expanded Use of Accounting Email Templates

Vantagepoint 5.0 has expanded the use of the email templates, specifically for interactive billing, draft invoice approvals, and in the invoice history area. Users can create invoice templates and save them to use again.

Sharing saved templates is controlled by Role Security under the “Save Rights” section. Users can preformat any of the email items including the To, CC, subject line, and body message. Fields can also be inserted into the subject line and body of the email to make it more personalized.

Accounting email templates

Billing Clients Can Change Over the Project Lifecycle

Vantagepoint 5.0 now allows for the billing client to change over the project lifecycle and maintain its invoicing history. Now, when a billing client is changed on the accounting tab in the Projects Hub, it’s updated on the Team and Invoices tabs.

In addition, the history of the billing client at the time of any previous invoice remains the same. This means if a previous invoice needs to be reprinted, the initial original billing client will stay intact. Any detail reports, dashboard statements, etc. are also going to now retain the history of whatever the billing client was.

Other Accounting Updates

The other accounting updates in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0 include:

  • The automatic bank feed is available for on-premise clients. This allows the firm to import transactions from a bank directly to reconciliation. Cloud clients had this ability beginning in Vantagepoint 4.5.
  • Automatic creation of cash receipts from bank reconciliation imported receipts that are not already entered. However, posting is not yet supported directly from bank reconciliation.
  • The integration between Vantagepoint and Corpay (previously Nvoicepay). This simplifies and automates payments to the vendors. The integration processes payments in Vantagepoint and sends the file to Corpay to issue the payment. It does require initial onboarding with Corpay, a 3rd party application.

AR Detail Base Dashpart Update

This is another great enhancement to Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0. While previous versions of Vantagepoint had the AR Detail Base dashpart, this latest version has added the AR Comments column. Not only does this column show the latest comments, but it gives the ability to add new comments directly from the dashboard.

AR detail base dashpart

Other Dashboard Enhancements

Other enhancements to Vantagepoint dashboards are listed below.

  • New feature to schedule daily dashpart updates. This reduces the need to have “always rebuild” checked on the dashpart.
  • The calculated fields on dashparts now support date ranges!

Start Using These New Features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0

The new features in Deltek Vantagepoint 5.0 touched nearly all of the areas of the system. From usability enhancements for dashboards to entirely new ways to manage timesheets, many improvements have been made. Start using these new features today! Additionally, be on the lookout for the next blog regarding more 5.0 enhancements pertaining to resource planning and CRM.

Click the button below to see how Deltek Vantagepoint can support your project-based firm.

 

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Hear from Your Peers Most Liked Features of Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Lindsay Diven on July 06, 2022

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With Vantagepoint, Deltek has completely reimagined Vision, but what truly are the most liked features of Vantagepoint? Don’t just rely on the thoughts of Full Sail Partners, hear directly from your peers about what they consider to be the best features. In this second article of a three-part series, architecture and engineering firms were asked what their most liked features of Deltek Vantagepoint are for their firm’s users.  

Featured Firms  

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  

CSHQA
Andrea Kier, Business Development 

RIOS 
Jessamyn Davis, Chief Operating Officer 

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

Ware Malcomb 
Brad Mathias, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis 

Easy-to Navigate, Modern User Interface 

A user interface (UI) guides users – it’s a chain of screens, pages, buttons or any visual element that interacts with a user. Having a good user interface can ultimately change the way users work and process information for the firm. With Vantagepoint, Deltek completely re-imagined the Vision interface making things more efficient, quicker, and it easier to find and analyze information. It’s not going unnoticed.  

Andrea – What I noticed right away [in Deltek Vantagepoint] is there’s a much more user-friendly, visual with the interface. It seems more appealing. I think a lot of our staff were avoiding Vision because it looks like something that’s difficult to figure out or something that is, you know, very techy. Vantagepoint now is a web-based interface. It just changes the feel of what you’re dealing with. For me, that was really encouraging.  

Jessamyn – For some reason for the casual user, it being a web interface really changes how often they’re willing to jump in Vantagepoint. I can’t relate to that, but it’s really made a huge difference rapidly.  

Intuitive Dashboards 

Dashboards are one of the most beneficial and functional parts of an ERP system, like Deltek Vantagepoint, and yet are often the most underutilized. As part of Deltek’s re-imagination of Vision, a lot of thought was placed into the ease of use and design of the Vantagepoint dashboards including pre-built dashboards ready for new users. Here’s what a peer had to say: 

Jessamyn – For our everyday users, the visual nature of the dashboards and how easy it is to create and customize them from the dashboard library is a great feature. It’s just fantastic. It’s a total game changer for getting people in the system and using it every day. 

It’s not just dashboards but saved searches and reporting that gets improved in Deltek Vantagepoint. Watch this webinar to explore the changes related to the system visuals and what firms should do to prepare for the change.  

One Project Record for the Entire Project Lifecycle 

For project-based firms, managing the project lifecycle efficiently is essential to having a profitable business. Even more, the processes that drive the firm’s project lifecycle must be in sync with the systems used to manage it. Deltek Vantagepoint meets this challenge with the creation of the Projects hub, which allows firms to track everything from project identification through project closeout in one record. Users agree this process is simpler and more efficient when managing their project lifecycles.  

Brad – The combination of opportunities and projects into one project lifecycle is an insanely great improvement.  

Jessamyn – The combination of opportunities, projects, and project plans into one record and not constantly trying to link one thing or a project, etc. has been a big change. It’s a very big improvement in logic of the system.  

Nancy – The new Projects hub is different than in Vision. Projects are now in their own hub with everything in the same project record.  

See how Deltek Vantagepoint supports the entire project lifecycle from lead identification to pursuit and final project execution in this webinar 

Full Sail Partners’ Input on Best Features 

Even though this article focuses on what peers most liked about Deltek Vantagepoint, we couldn’t leave you without sharing the Crew’s most liked features. Check out this webinar to see what sets Vantagepoint apart from Vision and why you should be excited. It covers the Top 10 features along with some honorable mentions.  

Want to Hear More From Your Peers? 

This article is the second in a three-part series, so be sure to check out part one where different project-based firms share their Deltek Vision to Vantagepoint upgrade experience. Whereas the first article covered how the firms prepared for the upgrade, the last article in the series will share some of their upgrade best practices.  

To listen to their upgrade experience, watch the webinar that is linked below. 

 

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Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center Keeps Business Moving

Posted by Theresa Depew on June 15, 2022

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Although not one of the most glamorous parts of Deltek Vantagepoint, the Approval Center has been designed to keep project-based firms’ business moving. The Approval Center allows supervisors to quickly access, review, and approve important business approvals including timesheets, expense reports, and absence requests. Users can visibly see any approval alerts outstanding and go directly to the records to approve.  

Let’s break down each approval area and type in the Approval Center so that project managers and supervisors can make quick approvals and keep the firm’s vital business moving forward. 

 

Easily See When Approvals Are Needed  

In Vantagepoint, there are two areas where Approval Notifications can be found. The first and easiest place is in the Notifications Center in the top right corner of the application. This Notification Center is used to notify users of many things, but for supervisors and managers, it shows an action item for each item awaiting approval. The user can easily go to that approval item by clicking on the hyperlinked blue text such as “Expense Reports” or “Absence Request” as shown below. 

Another area where approvers can see what needs to be approved is by selecting the Approval Center option in the My Stuff on the left-hand navigation. This takes them to the Approval Center where they can toggle between the different approval types, as dictated by the workflow set-up and role security. 

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Quickly Review Each Approval Type 

Inside the Approval Center, when the drop-down is selected, each approval type will be displayed. Again, only timesheets, expense reports and absence requests are found in the Approval Center. Also, what is displayed will depend upon the users’ workflow setup and security role for the firm’s Deltek Vantagepoint instance. 

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Approve Specific Lines or Entire Reports 

One option in Deltek Vantagepoint is to be able to approve specific line items and/or entire submissions for both timesheets and expense reports. The columns that are displayed in each approval area can also be customized to the approver’s preferences using the Grid Settings (the gear icon in the top right corner). All approval rows can be filtered to see certain items such as Employee Name or Project Name (if in the Line-Item Approvals). The approval lists can also be downloaded into .csv or Excel. 

When ready to approve, the approver can select each row individually, or all rows by clicking the checkbox in the top left. Once the check box is clicked, the reviewer can Approve, Reject or Reassign the selected rows using the buttons at the top or the reviewer can Approve, Reject or Reassign all records under the Approval Options button.  

The Approvals look and act the same for both timesheets and expense reports as for the individual line approvals. However, when in Timesheet or Expense Report view, not as many of the details will be available. To see the details, the user must click on the Period Ending Date. From there, the user can review all the timesheet and expense report details along with the same Approve, Reject or Reassign options.  

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Review Expense Lines Without Opening the Reports 

With the Expense Report Lines approvals, all of the information needed to approve the expenses is shown without having to go into the actual expense report. The needed information is displayed in the columns including the Employee Name, Project Name, Report Name, Date, Category, Description, Amount if the expense line is billable and if a receipt is attached. If the reviewer clicks on the Detail icon for expense items like mileage, the actual mileage and the locations traveled will be displayed. If a receipt is attached, a paperclip icon will appear. The reviewer can click on that to access the receipt detail and view a photo of the receipt if provided. This makes it easy to approve expenses directly from this screen without having to go anywhere else. 

Similar to other approval functions, Expense Lines include the ability to select the columns to be displayed, filter the rows to show and download to a .csv or Excel file. In addition, there is the Print Lines Approval Report. This report shows us all expense lines grouped by expense reports and all lines not approved yet. 

The process of approving, rejecting or reassigning Expense Line is the same as above. 

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View Employee Absence Requests 

Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center has absence requests submitted by employees. An added benefit is that the approver can not only see each absence request but quickly review the time off remaining for each employee by clicking on his or her name. When clicking on the employee’s name, his or her Employee Card is displayed. From here, the supervisor can verify that the employee has enough hours to cover the time requested by clicking on the absence hours tab. This shows the current available balance by benefit type. 

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Absence requests can be approved individually by checking the box in the row and clicking Approve or all requests can be approved at once by checking the box at the top to select all and clicking Approve. Another way to approve all is to click the Approval Options button and select either Approve All, Reject All or Reassign All without checking any boxes. 

At-a-Glance Absence Requests for Entire Firm 

The supervisor can view the absence requests for the entire firm using the Absence Request Schedule. This shows all the absence requests that have been submitted, approved or rejected. The statuses are color-coded so the reviewer can quickly identify each type. Yellow is for submitted. Approved is in green and red is rejected. The non-working days are displayed in gray and the holidays are in blue. Users can scroll back in time or into the future using the left and right arrows accordingly. See the screenshot below. 

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Keep the Professional Services Firm Approvals Moving 

Using Deltek Vantagepoint’s Approval Center streamlines reviewing and approving vital business processes including timesheets, expense reports and absence requests. This fully integrated system reduces processing times and provides visibility into the status and conditions of these key areas. To see this in action, click below to watch the Powering Project Success with Deltek Vantagepoint – Approvals Center. 

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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

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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  

CSHQA 
Andrea Kier, Business Development 

RIOS 
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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Easily Change Project Plan Dates and Hours with Deltek Vantagepoint

Posted by Rana Blair on May 18, 2022

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For professional services firms, projects often don’t go according to the original plan. This forces the project manager to spend time updating the project plan to reflect new project dates, adjusted hours, and resources needed to complete the project. With Deltek Vantagepoint, this doesn’t have to be a burden on the firm’s project managers. These changes are easily and automatically made, allowing the firm to focus on serving clients instead of constantly updating plans.

Typical Project-Based Firm Planning Scenario 

Let’s say the Natural Sciences Building at Northwest project was originally scheduled to take place from January 2021 through September 30, 2021. The phases at the beginning were Master Planning and Project Management. Then the project goes on hold for a few months, which happens often for project-based firms. Now, the project is restarting with a new phase in a new date range. The project manager wishes to set a proper baseline on the original schedule, and then review the new plan against the baseline.  

Let’s walk through each of these steps separately. Then, at the end, learn about how to see this in action.  


Changing Project Plan Dates at Various Project Levels

Changing the plan dates is always the first step. To change the dates at a phase level, click the ‘kabob’ at the far right of the phase and select the Reschedule dialogue. Using this tool, users can shift the entire phase to the left or right or change the duration by dragging it longer or shorter.  

For this example, the new duration for the Sustainability Planning phase will begin on March 1, 2021, and end on July 31, 2021. At this point, Vantagepoint will ask to replace the child dates – those dates of the individual resources beneath the phase. In this case, the answer is yes, replace child dates.  

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Another way to change dates is to go into the Schedule tab. When clicking on the phase to change, put it into edit mode. This will allow the user to simply drag it to the new dates and duration desired. Users can drag the bar right or left and/or hover over to get the bi-directional arrow to expand the duration. Again, the system will ask to replace the child dates or not. 

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Redistributing the Planned Project Hours 

Now that the project dates are correct, it is time to go to the Labor tab to work on the planned hours. Going back to the example, the master planning phase was scheduled to begin on January 28 and end on September 30. Its planned hours are 175, which matches the baseline, so no changes are needed. 

However, on the Sustainability Planning phase, there are some changes needed because there are no baseline hours saved. The planned hours also look low. To look at this further, users can go into their grid settings and turn on different columns such as Contract and Planned Billing. Doing this, the project manager sees 164 hours, the planned value is coming up at $37,980 but the contract value is $65,000. This will be the first place to start changing planned hours. 

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To do this, go to the phase level and select the ‘kabob’ at the end of the row. Select Redistribute Hours and Change Planned hours. For this example, the project will change those 164 hours to 275. Choose to do this for the entire assignment date range and spread hours evenly over the time period. By choosing to redistribute here, the project manager can now see that the planned hours are 275 and the value is calculated at $63,534 which is closer to the contract value.  

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Setting a New Project Baseline  

Now let’s plan forward or true-up this project plan. In the screenshot above, the master planning phase has a baseline of 175 hours, with 52 hours exhausted but only 77 hours remaining in the Estimate to Complete (ETC). The Estimate at Completion (EAC) hours is settling around 130 hours, and the project manager knows that the project will use most, if not all, of the 175 budgeted hours. So, the hours in the master planning phase will need to be redistributed using the ‘kabob’ at the end of the phase row. This will help push forward the hours and then allow the project manager to fine-tune them as the project progresses.  

In the redistribute planned hours dialogue box, select the option to replace the planned with actual hours and replace those hours in total. Use the hours from the job to date (JTD) range, choose to spread the differences, and choose to spread both the positive and negative differences in the ETC assignment date range. Then choose to spread the hours evenly.  

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The project manager would do this for each phase that changes the duration or timeframe. Also, with this example, the project manager would make the changes for the sustainability and project management phases. Once those changes are made, the EAC billing is $104,000 and the contract value is $124,000, which looks like the project will perform rather well. The last step is to publish the plan and start working on the project.  

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See Project Plan Changes in Action 

While reading about how easy Deltek Vantagepoint makes it for project managers to adjust their project plans, seeing it in action is even better. Click the image below to watch a 16-minute demonstration to understand how Vantagepoint’s Resource Planning makes it very convenient to plan for unplanned project changes. 

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Business Development Calls Made Easy with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM

Posted by Cate Phillips on May 04, 2022

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Before the pandemic, I used to volunteer to judge high school debate and often found myself sitting in a public-school library on a Saturday morning staring at those cheesy posters where the words say “Attitude is Everything” …those have not changed by the way. Except 25 years later, those words still ring true. I do not know about you, but if I am rolling into a Zoom business development (BD) call with a bad attitude, it is doomed to fail. Since attitude is important when it comes to developing relationships with clients, how can the new and improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM) power of Deltek Vantagepoint make it easier to keep those business development calls on track? 

Attitude and Deltek Vantagepoint CRM? 

I started writing this on a debate kick, and it therefore must continue… As any good debater will tell you, something should not be fully considered until it has been argued from both the pro and con sides. So, how can business development calls be made easy with Deltek Vantagepoint CRM? Let us compare how it would go from both attitude perspectives. 

Bad Attitude Scenario 

5am – snooze 

5:30am – snooze again, since I went to bed later than normal last night, that is the mental self-justification I will go through this morning. 

6am – wake up, grab phone, check calendar. Okay, good, first meeting is not until 8am, I can sleep more, reset alarm. 

7:15am – grab phone, what? Why? I should have gotten up earlier so I could work out and do my morning stuff. I am grumpy about it.  

7:45am – showered and dressed, sitting down, I must scramble to review a prospect’s info in Vantagepoint. I glance at some fields. I notice that I am about to be talking to the Facilities Director at an airport. My engineering firm has done the type of project they are looking to do but only in Europe. My job is to impress the Facilities Director and get him to introduce us to the architect and then hopefully she will want to bring us in on this massive project.  

8am – meeting starts, I am not as ready as I should be. It goes okay, but it is not a slam dunk. He agrees to let me call him back, but I know in my gut he is not going to be calling the architect immediately to sing our praises. 

8:30am – I guess I should get the notes in the system. I am super discouraged and annoyed at this point, but I try to rally myself to get my activity recorded with enough detail so that I can perhaps salvage this a bit when I do my follow-up. 

Here is the rub folks. The Deltek Vantagepoint CRM is there to help me, and it is a great tool in my toolbox. I did not use it here to my full advantage. 

Good Attitude Scenario 

5am – snooze 

5:30am – I am up! I am not necessarily happy about it, but it happened. I get started on my morning stuff. 

7am – sitting down in my office now, I will not bore you with the details of my morning ritual, but I fed my mind, body and soul before I walked in the door. I am happy I have an entire hour to prepare for my call.  

Here is what I do to prepare using Deltek Vantagepoint CRM: 

Since the project will a subcontractor opportunity to the architect that is always the prime at this airport, she is the contact record I want to peruse. I know I have only got 30 minutes to get this Facilities Director to agree to introduce me to her. From my networking, I know that if he says give this firm a shot, she will consider it. I immediately then go to look at the projects associated with these two contacts. 

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I also know that she has been a little unhappy with the engineering firm they used from a well-placed cold call by my Business Development Representative (BDR) last year. How do I know this, you ask? I have an excellent memory, and it simply always unfolds perfectly when needed. NOPE. My team and I always track everything inside Deltek Vantagepoint.  

I read my Activity notes from three years ago when I had drinks with someone that reports to the Facilities Director at a conference. She was the one that clued me in to how key the Facilities Director was in terms of getting the architect’s attention. Then I reviewed the notes our BDR had in there from the cold call. Those notes were in an Activity from the call placed and on the Competition tab of my project.  

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Next, I double checked his and her LinkedIn pages and saw no new connections between us that I did not already know about in advance. My project is at a Lead stage and being the awesome Relationship Manager that I am, I enjoy seeing my projects get into our system, and I lovingly monitor the data associated with them. 

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I also have a custom field in my Deltek Vantagepoint CRM that gives me something to brag about here. I can query my CRM to find past airport references, and I have 2 or 3 case stories (bragging rights) ready to tell if I get the opportunity in the call. 

8am – The meeting starts, and I am ready to kill it. During the call, the Facilities Director mentions another two of his colleagues that I was not aware of, and their roles could be important should we get this project to the awarded stage. I jot down their info so that our Marketing Associate can fill in the gaps with some research and get them entered in the system.  

8:30am – The call is over. It was the slam dunk I deserved. He was impressed with the stories I was able to tell, and since I was aware of the pain that the current engineering firm is creating with the Architect, this allowed me to effectively differentiate our firm. He said that he would be emailing her right away before he forgot, to ask her to get coffee and discuss what we can bring to the table. We scheduled our next steps. I was able to use the Outlook Connect to immediately get the appointment calendared and tracked in the CRM in one fell swoop. 

Which Attitude Won the Debate?    

Obviously, this debate was destined to go for the Pro - we all knew that, right? The bad attitude not only set me up to perform poorly, but it also affected my ability to leverage my Deltek Vantagepoint CRM correctly. So, here I have proven a good attitude + a great CRM = successful business development efforts. Ready to maintain a positive attitude in your business development efforts by fully embracing Deltek Vantagepoint CRM?  

Stay tuned for future blogs on this topic that cover other parts of the sales cycle and project lifecycle prior to the awarded stage. 

 

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