Over the past 10 years, a series of acquisitions helped transform Englobe from a niche environmental services company into one of Canada's premier mid-market engineering and environmental consulting organizations. Now, with nearly 3,000 employees across 70 offices, and 48 materials testing labs across Canada, the firm's scope has expanded to include a broad array of multi-disciplinary engineering and design services, testing and inspection, and environmental solutions. Dean Petrovic, Senior Vice-President M&A and Strategic Initiatives for Englobe describes the transformation, "Servicing small and mid-sized communities is part of our DNA, but now we have the reach and breadth of a larger national company.”
Acquisitions Created Disparate Systems & Processes
“With that type of growth, it goes without saying that finding the right ERP platform was absolutely paramount for us.”
– Dean Petrovic, Senior Vice President, M&A and Strategic Initiatives
As a result of these acquisitions, Englobe was left with a number of disparate processes and systems that were not uniform, easily accessible, or easy to use. As Dean described, “Every region and every project manager had a slightly different way of doing things and it created a lot of manual reporting. There were a lot of band-aids.”
Englobe did have a legacy ERP system to help manage projects, resources, and financials, but it was not the right fit. Dean recounts, "We had a powerhouse of an ERP system, but it was just not a system optimized for our new organization, one that manages more than twenty thousand small to mid-sized projects.”
The Ask: A Best-in-Class ERP System with Projects at the Heart
After evaluating several alternate ERP solutions, Englobe chose Deltek Vantagepoint in large part because it is focused on projects and project-based businesses.
Vantagepoint is a project-based ERP software that puts people and projects at the center of your business so you can be more efficient, productive, and profitable. It is a single solution that helps manage your clients, resources, projects or engagements, financials, and business intelligence in one place.
“We wanted a cloud-ready solution with an easily adopted, user-friendly interface that would help us standardize and simplify processes. But fundamentally, we were looking for a system where the project manager and projects were at the heart of the solution.”
– Dean Petrovic, Senior Vice President, M&A and Strategic Initiatives
Denis Pellerin, Chief Financial Officer at Englobe, described the process, "We had an on-prem solution before, and it was not the best way to manage our projects. The software was a bit outdated. We chose Vantagepoint because it was known as a best-in-class solution that would help our project managers make informed decisions in real-time to manage their projects better and drive profitability."
Vantagepoint Becomes a Critical Part of Englobe's Success
By moving to a single project-based ERP system, Englobe was able to develop consistent billing standards and processes, eliminate redundant data entry, and streamline month-end and year-end reporting while also improving visibility into project and company performance.
“Deltek Vantagepoint has been a critical part of Englobe's success. We use it for opportunities, project oversight, billing, costing, accounting, and dashboarding. It is a vital part of our daily operations.”
– Brian Patton, Senior Director, IT Applications & Support
Brian Patton, Senior Director of IT Applications and Support expands, "As we've standardized with Vantagepoint, the organization has been able to have greater visibility into projects and performance, and as a result, gain better control. Now, we've expanded and added things like vehicle and equipment tracking so people can gain visibility into expenses and allocations. We are left with a more holistic picture of the progress and profitability of various projects."
Never Missing a Beat
Although moving nearly 2,500 people onto a new system is no small task, Englobe was able to implement Vantagepoint in the middle of a month and keep their accounting and billing processes on track. Dean explained, "Whenever you implement something of this magnitude, you're always extremely apprehensive about the change management. Personally, what surprised me was I was expecting a lot of noise, and I just didn't see it."
“I was very proud of the implementation team, our finance team, and the organization. We were able to do this massive implementation, bringing 1,600 folks on the system close to year-end and never missing a beat.”
– Denis Pellerin, Chief Financial Officer
The Flexibility Is Key
Vantagepoint is built to meet the needs of project-based businesses, but no two project-based businesses are the same so Vantagepoint is highly configurable to allow companies to align the solution with their business processes. The users at Englobe saw this firsthand.
“The flexibility we have with Deltek Vantagepoint to tailor it to our business is really key.”
– Cindy McDonald, Director of Finance - ERP, Process Improvement & Integrations
Brian Patton, Senior Director, IT Applications & Support for Englobe expanded. "What we've done over the past three years, we've used the implementation and flexibility to create a continuous improvement approach to find new ways to improve, whether it's more efficient project creation, project approval, or visibility into project financials."
Added Bonus: A Small Increase In Utilization Leads to Big Savings
As adoption became more widespread, Englobe began to realize even more benefits from adopting Vantagepoint. Previously, employees could not submit timesheets and expense reports when they were out of the office. However, the Vantagepoint Time & Expense mobile app has dramatically simplified the process. Englobe team members can capture receipts, submit time and expense reports, and approve reports while on the go. The entities of Englobe that implemented Vantagepoint saw an uptick in utilization rates—an improvement that drops directly to the bottom line.
“We saw a small increase in our utilization globally for the entities that were integrated with Vantagepoint, and a big part of that has to do with simplifying the timesheet and expense input and approval process. It may not seem like much, but an hour or two a week can add up.”
– Dean Petrovic, Senior Vice-President, M&A and Strategic Initiatives
Setup for Future Growth
A key part of Englobe's strategic vision for the future is an ambitious growth plan driven by an emphasis on organic growth, operational excellence, and continued mergers and acquisitions (M&A). These initiatives are underpinned by a critical need for timely, accurate data and configurable reporting requirements that Vantagepoint helps provide.
Dean explains, “Vantagepoint provides Englobe with a platform that can scale with the company. It has provided Englobe's management team with improved transparency from faster reporting capabilities. This has greatly accelerated decision-making in the fast-paced, volatile market environment we have observed over the last three years.”
“Now we see everybody in the company speaking about KPIs and having the same standardized systems. I don't think we would have gotten there without Vantagepoint. And now we feel positive we can replicate this without a problem. It gives us much more confidence when considering how to integrate a merger or acquisition.”
– Dean Petrovic: Senior Vice President, M&A and Strategic Initiatives
Advice for Others: Find a Partner, not a Vendor
The leaders at Englobe have some advice for other companies going through a similar digital transformation: find a partner, not just a vendor. As Ian Troup, Vice President of IT & REMP (Real Estate) at Englobe, states, "We feel the system continues to evolve and solve the issues and problems that we would like it to solve. At the same time, the Deltek team has a real urgency to deliver a great client experience. I can tell you 100%, that's not the same operating relationship I have with some other vendors."
“Deltek is more than a vendor. We call them a partner. It feels very integrated.”
– Ian Troup, VP IT & REMP (Real Estate)
A Special Thanks to the Englobe team participating in this story:
Denis Pellerin – Chief Financial Officer
Dean Petrovic – Senior Vice-President M&A and Strategic Initiatives
Ian Troup – VP IT & REMP (Real Estate)
Brian Patton – Sr. Director, IT Applications & Support
Cindy McDonald – Director, Finance - ERP, Process Improvement and Integrations
Annie Garneau – Director, Brand Management
Amanda Sauermann – Senior Advisor, Communications
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