Thomas & Adamson Build The Modern Business

Posted by Deltek on March 17, 2020

At our recent ‘Never Compromise on Technology’ Breakfast Briefing in Edinburgh, Alastair Wallace, Senior Partner of international construction and property consultancy, Thomas & Adamson (T&A), shared his transformational vision for the business.  Alastair discussed some of the firm’s initial challenges and how they were able to modernise their business through their partnership with Deltek.  Here is what Alistair had to say:

The vision

We set our business around three things; systems, people, and premises – a forever-evolving circle. We've had a vision for modernising our business that we’ve been following for a number of years, focusing on evolving and being proud of all that we do.  The key word for us being evolve! To remain still, stay static, or do the same old things…is not where we want to be or part of our vision.

Our goal is to be the “market leader” in our space and we use that term for everything we do. If we buy something, if we change something, we're always striving to be “market leader”, and we will always question, “Is this what a market leader would look like?” If the answer is no, we go back to the drawing board.

First steps towards modernisation

In our modernisation journey, we first looked at our people, our training programmes, our employment contracts, and our premises and whether we could offer a flexible working policy. Before you can implement these kind of policies, you need to have the right systems in place to support them – so we put this at the forefront.

We moved from local servers in each office to a centralised data centre and the cloud. We no longer have data cables in any office, everything is wifi. No one has a desktop computer; everyone works off laptops and we've removed all the desk phones – everything is now managed through mobile phones and apps.

Identifying the core challenges

1. Previously we were working in Microsoft Windows folders, with blank templates for each project. When a new project came into the office, the blank folder would be copied, renamed, and started. Within two weeks, we had lost control over it; people renamed it and added extra folders. We have over 100 staff in the UK, all of whom were sending multiple emails. They'd all save the same document, put it into different locations and call it a different thing. We had no version control or visibility into where files were stored.  Making things more difficult, the search facility was pretty poor because you could only search at title level.

2. Email storage was a massive issue for us, because we were working on localised servers in each office. Year on year we had to buy new hardware and extra storage capacity. Document filing was a big issue too - folders, servers, and C: drives! Staff saved files on their C: drives so you could never find it!

3. Our database was unwieldy and out of date with a multitude of contact duplications. In many cases we didn’t know whether contacts were still working, had moved organisations, were using the same mobile number or email address – so staff defaulted to managing their own database in excel or in their outlook contacts.

4. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM), is supposed to be where you properly document and control the management of relationships, but we couldn't control ours. We managed relationships through round-the-table conversations, as opposed to through a proper system.

Moving to Deltek PIM

We moved over to Deltek PIM around two years ago. They offered an off-the-shelf solution, which was really easy to configure for what we needed. We found great integration between documents and emails which ultimately addressed all the issues previously highlighted. I formed a cross-business working group and made sure that I had representation from every level and key people in each office.

We spent a lot of time with Deltek initially, evaluating what worked and what didn’t with our old systems. Then we went into a design and build process where we designed, tested, rebuilt, and retested again. We rolled out lots of pre-implementation training to all the offices, then hit the “Go live” button where our data effectively migrated over to Deltek PIM.

Since then, we have regular training sessions in the office. We still have the working group where we meet every quarter to review things that are working for us and things that we could still tweak.


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Deltek PIM – helping to build the modern business

Once you open your laptop, Deltek PIM automatically loads our personalised landing page, with quick links to latest news, key articles, the employee handbook, external websites and other key features from within the system.

We created information pools for staff records, including driving licenses, passports and qualification certificates etc., all of which are available and managed with appropriate access and security controls.  We now use Deltek PIM as our main HR tool.

For Project Management, once a job is created and you are assigned to a project, it automatically appears in My Projects. So if I create a new job and have decided the internal team, I select them and assign them in the system. The next time they're in the system, that job will appear on their dashboard, creating a quick link straight into the job.

I run T&A in in the UK, overseas and am still involved in projects. I have full access to everything in the business yet have no paper on my desk. The connectivity and transparency that you have plus the information available to you is great!

In addition to our commercial projects, we manage our CRM, Finance, Marketing, HR, enquiries and submissions through Deltek PIM. The ability to do these sorts of things once you really start thinking and seeing how you can use the system is amazing!

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