An interview with Shannon Nolan, Senior Director of Operations and Jennifer Martinez, Manager Strategic Initiatives and PMO.
Founded in 1969, DeSimone Consulting Engineering is a NYC-based firm that provides high-quality structural engineering, façade consulting, and forensic services, in addition to construction consulting for all types of building projects. With offices in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, DeSimone has successfully designed over 13,000 projects in 45 states and 60 countries. Known for the highest quality of service, the firm provides each client with personal, dedicated and inspiring engineering solutions.
DeSimone is a long-time Deltek partner, having transitioned from Deltek Ajera to Vision, QuickBooks to Vision and Great Plains to Vantagepoint. To further DeSimone’s mission of supporting clients globally, DeSimone recently completed the integration of four firms, having to leverage the full capabilities of Deltek Vision and then Vantagepoint to consolidate and upgrade disparate business systems under the DeSimone brand.
Tackling Challenges to Grow the Business
In recent years, DeSimone faced a new challenge. They had experienced exponential growth through mergers and acquisitions, essentially doubling the size of their company and expanding their range of services. This growth brought both opportunities, complexity and potential corporate risk. DeSimone had to consolidate and upgrade their business, bringing multiple systems into a unified solution to have full visibility into how their business was performing.
The firm upgraded from Deltek Vision to Deltek Vantagepoint in the Cloud, with help from Deltek partner Aktion Associates, who also helped support multiple acquisitions, data conversions and infrastructure. This gave DeSimone a powerful platform that helped the firm achieve its mission of supporting global clients while maintaining its commitment to excellence. In addition, migrating to the cloud provided DeSimone with enhanced cybersecurity and operational reliability, protecting them against threats like ransomware. The firm also wanted to expand the functionality to better manage their business with a client relationship management system (CRM), developing robust methods for flagging high-risk projects and possible conflicts of interest.
Importance of Centralized Data
Deltek Vantagepoint provides one platform to share all operational and financial data with every DeSimone employee. Everyone has access to the same user experience whether in New York or abroad, with no disruption in their daily operations. This consolidation of having access to data in one system has streamlined processes, making it easier for employees to collaborate and make informed decisions. DeSimone has saved thousands of dollars in overhead costs due to streamlined platforms. In 2022 alone, organic revenue grew 33% from 51 million to 68 million dollars due, in part, to increased efficiency in business development activities.
“We are in the process of acquiring three companies right now and each one of them has data in various solutions, so Vantagepoint will be crucial in integrating that data so we have a single source of truth,” said Shannon.
Monitoring Risk Management
As DeSimone expanded their services offerings to include litigation and forensic projects, the firm needed a better way to perform in-depth conflict of interest reviews and risk assessment for new projects. The firm is now using Vantagepoint to dive deeper into these types of project details.
“With Vantagepoint, I can run a very detailed report where I look at the different players involved in the project as well as the address and site location, plus the nature of work depending on the type of property where we're working,” said Jennifer. “The level of risk often determines whether the project is a go or no go,” she added. Jennifer is also using Vantagepoint for client background information. She pulls a report for consultants when they are going to meet with a particular client. The report provides information about the client and details of the work previously completed so the consultant has a full picture of the opportunity.
Efficiency Improvements to Save Time
Even Deltek Marketplace partners working with DeSimone got involved in making sure the move from Vision to Vantagepoint went smoothly. DeSimone uses Deltek Marketplace Partner EleVia Software to streamline its operations. EleVia offers Invoicing (EI), EVPay and Accounts Receivables Management (ARM) software that integrates with Deltek Vantagepoint. DeSimone was using EleVia with Vision and when the company made the move to Vantagepoint and EleVia played a supporting role offering a preview environment and participating in mock go-lives.
Since EleVia plays a key role in helping DeSimone get the most from Vantagepoint, the transition help was highly valued. EleVia software provides a means to shorten the process of getting invoices out the door. “We were averaging 20 to 22 days and this month we did it in five which is amazing for us,” Shannon says. “In addition, we were always holding up our month-end close because of the long time for invoicing, now we can do it in ten days,’’ added Shannon.
As DeSimone looks to the future, they are planning to take advantage of more Vantagepoint features. “We are very proud of the fact that we have people that have been here anywhere from 20 to 45 years, however, some employees have used Microsoft Excel and other planning tools for so long, it’s difficult to get them to use new systems. Now that we have Vantagepoint, the dashboards are very easy to use so we are relaunching project planning and training staff on how to use the new system,” remarked Shannon.
The firm also plans to leverage Vantagepoint CRM to create case studies and include resumes to showcase the firm’s talent for the proposal process.
Advice for Other Firms Looking to Upgrade to Vantagepoint
According to Shannon, to compete and provide data at your manager's fingertips, you need to move to Vantagepoint. “You don’t want to waste staff resources where they have to fumble around to find data. If you want to grow your company, whether it's organically or through M&A, you need all your data in one place in order do to what I call plug and play,” said Shannon.
She suggests, before upgrading, performing a gap analysis and polling teams to learn what system users would like to get out of the data and ensure the tabs, fields, workflow, reporting and dashboards are set up. She also highly recommends establishing a plan for training.
Deltek Vantagepoint gave DeSimone a competitive advantage by facilitating rapid growth and providing easy access to critical information for corporate decision-making. In the end, DeSimone's commitment to maximizing Deltek's product capabilities, combined with comprehensive integrations and customization, allowed them to thrive in a rapidly changing industry. Their journey with Deltek was a testament to their dedication to delivering the highest quality engineering solutions to their clients, no matter where in the world those clients may be. With Deltek as their trusted partner, DeSimone continues to build not just structures but also a legacy of excellence.
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