An interview with Tom Preston, Director, Digital Transformation and Laurie Rodriguez, Director, Finance and Supply Chain Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton
A Deltek 2021 MVP Award Winner in the Management and IT Consulting category, Booz Allen Hamilton, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, helps businesses, governments and military organizations transform their organizations through consulting, analysis and engineering services. Over the past 20 years, this enterprise consulting firm has continued to grow its business and expand in complexity and diversity − from clients to international contracts.
Making the Right Choice
In 2016, Booz Allen began a strategic initiative to overhaul their financial accounting systems and decided it was time to move away from patching their disparate systems because they didn’t have one solution to meet their needs. Since 1984, they had been working on legacy systems like JAMIS, which didn't provide the visibility or single source of truth and data that Booz Allen needed. The goal was not only to modernize their internal systems but find a project-based solution that could better support their long-term growth. It wasn’t going to be an easy task for such a large organization with many unique needs. “We had over 5,000 requirements across all of our functional and technical work streams that we developed,” said Tom Preston, Director of Digital Transformation.
It was a careful decision making process and Booz Allen took the time to evaluate multiple systems and understand how they best aligned with their current and anticipated future needs−knowing the ultimate decision would have great impact across their entire organization. “We did several demos and walkthroughs with a variety of vendors, including Deltek, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics. We looked at all the ERP solutions,” said Preston.
"We were looking for a modern ERP solution and we found that in Deltek Costpoint."
– Laurie Rodriguez, Director of Finance & Supply Chain Systems
After their in-depth review, Booz Allen found that one solution seemed to stand apart from the rest, and that was Deltek Costpoint. “It was the whole package - functionality, reporting and integrated capabilities,” explained Preston. But there was even more that appealed to Booz Allen, and that was how Deltek compared when it came to compliance. “The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), both are familiar with Costpoint and we like the fact we're using a tool that our auditors use and that our auditors understand, that’s very helpful,” added Preston.
Carrying Out Implementation
Ultimately Deltek Costpoint was Booz Allen’s ERP of choice and the project got underway. Critical to the success of bringing on the new system was a seamless integration process. Booz Allen knew the entire complex process needed to be conducted efficiently. “We spent a lot of time testing and retesting, but when we did what’s called the "month in simulation" and showed senior leadership and senior functional stakeholders the all-in-one system provided the performance and visibility that Booz Allen needed, we finally got the buy-in to Go Live,” shared Preston. The new capabilities Deltek Costpoint was able to deliver were significant. “Now we were able to view a month of data, a month of timesheets, more effectively bill clients, have greater transparency and insight into revenue, our P&L, and more.”
But it wasn’t just implementation that helped make the transition to Costpoint such a success. Preston explained, “The support has been great. We had Deltek engineers come and sit side by side with our developers, helping us with extensions, that couldn't be beat.” Once the process was completed and the system went live the support didn’t end. “Even now, we still feel like we have a direct line to Deltek. We get support right away and the Deltek team works with us hand-in-hand to figure out our issues and correct them,” added Preston.
Success Lies in Results
While the process went smoothly, the real test as to whether the right choice was made, would ultimately be the results, and that’s where the biggest changes have been noticed,” said Preston.
“Right out of the gate, we had 28,000 people submitting their time accurately every day, which is a compliance requirement, so it is very important to meet.” But that’s not all, he added, “We’ve met all of our financial reporting dates. We've actually improved our financial reporting and our month-end processes, and we even get quarterly reporting completed on time − and we’ve done all this with no problems at all.”
The results have been widespread. Preston went on to say, “Our 5,000 Project Managers now run their programs really well. Our billings and briefings are happening on schedule, faster than they were before, and, from a performance and analytics point of view, we're doing very well.”
The Road Ahead
With Deltek Costpoint now fully implemented, the investment in Deltek technology and tools hasn’t stopped for Booz Allen. “Now that we’ve had the software for six months, we're beginning to look at standardizing our business processes, and see where we want to make more improvements.” Preston went on to say they are giving themselves a year to 18 months and will then determine what adjustments they can make, “at the end of the day, it's working great.”
Rodriquez added, “We’ve been able to consolidate a lot of systems and we now have a single source of truth. It makes analytics and what if scenarios much easier.” And she agrees, Booz Allen isn’t done yet. “I think the other area from an IT perspective we would like to look at is going to the cloud with Deltek Costpoint. That was never an option that we had before, so now we have a lot more flexibility to move to the cloud and scope down with our hardware footprint.”
About Booz Allen Hamilton
For more than 100 years, military, government, and business leaders have turned to Booz Allen Hamilton to solve their most complex problems. As a consulting firm with experts in analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber, we help organizations transform. We are a key partner on some of the most innovative programs for governments worldwide and trusted by its most sensitive agencies. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with clients, using a mission-first approach to choose the right strategy and technology to help them realize their vision.
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