Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. Improves Complete Project Lifecycle with Upgrade to Vantagepoint

March 01, 2023
Megan Miller
Director of Product Marketing
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.

In this blog series, we asked several customers to share insight on their experience upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint. You’ll see driving factors, tips for success, preparation best practices, benefits for end users and more to help your teams learn from other firms like yours and empower your firm to successfully upgrade to Vantagepoint.

I recently sat down with Brian Welker, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. (CMT) to hear about their recent Vantagepoint upgrade experience. CMT is a 400-person engineering and architecture firm in the Midwest with more than 25 offices in nine states. They upgraded to Deltek Vantagepoint in May 2022. Here are some of the key insights Brian shared that can help your firm prepare for your upgrade.

What was your experience like upgrading to Vantagepoint?

Overall, we had a positive experience upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint and we are hearing great feedback from our teams – easier to find what they need, easier to get the right data to the right people and simpler to update information like project plans.

When I think about our upgrade, it’s like moving from one house to another. You accumulate a lot of things in your house and when you prepare to move, you may uncover things you had hidden. You have to decide what you want to take with you and how you want to use it in the new house. It’s the same with data, but your space is unlimited and you want to make sure you are moving what you need, purging what you don’t and setting yourself up in the best way in the new environment.

What were the key driving factors for CMT to upgrade to Vantagepoint?

For CMT, the entire project lifecycle benefits from Vantagepoint. The dashboards and the improved tools across all aspects of the business were key for our firm – everything from business development through project management to accounting. When we selected Deltek initially, one of the driving factors was looking at the future of Vantagepoint.

What are some of the benefits your teams have experienced after the upgrade?

We are hearing positive feedback from many teams, especially around dashboards. We can get the right data where it is easy to see – right on their dashboards – eliminating the need to run reports or look through a big table with a long list of accounts receivables.

Another benefit is the resource planning; planning is key for us. It is much easier to adjust project plans and build new project plans, creating a better experience for our project managers.

We’re also hearing great feedback on simple things like searching – just type in what you need and get to the right records quickly rather than several clicks or not even knowing where to start.

For me personally, here is one example of how Vantagepoint has made my job easier. I was on a plane recently and was on my iPad. I was able to review timesheets right on the plane and it was awesome! I prefer to use my iPad, but each user can choose the device that works best for them because it is mobile friendly and browser agnostic.

How did you prepare your teams for the upgrade?

First, we expanded our testing group beyond our typical ERP core group and had the different groups do testing in their area of the solution – project managers tested PM-specific functionality, billing teams focused on billing and marketing also looked at their processes and tested in Vantagepoint.

We were somewhat selective in who we picked for testing. We purposefully picked some naysayers to not only get them on board, but also have them help identify areas of improvement that could be addressed before the upgrade to Vantagepoint.

For the rest of our staff, we created a series of training videos with some as short as a minute and others five minutes. Some employees only needed the time and expense videos while others may need to understand how to build a project plan or build an opportunity for pursuits. This allowed them to focus on the content they needed and not have to sit through long training sessions that weren’t relevant. And, now that we are live on Vantagepoint, we use the videos for onboarding new employees.

Not only did we do testing and training leading up to the upgrade, but we continue to train. We initially held three town halls each Friday after the upgrade to Vantagepoint to answer questions. Next, we are going to visit some of the larger offices to meet with employees, listen to their feedback and do additional training. We’ve also been working to have billers and PMs interact more to understand how the other side works and break down some barriers.


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Who was part of your upgrade team?

We had a cross-functional team in place to support our upgrade. I was involved as a representative of the executive team and from an operational standpoint. We also had our CIO who is a super user and knows his way around the system. We also had a few marketing team members including another super Vision user, a few project managers as well as several accounting team members because accounting is the lifeline.

What was your upgrade timeline and how did you prepare?

We originally started planning for our upgrade in 2020 just before COVID and then ran into a few speed bumps with not only COVID, but our controller joined the great resignation, so we paused our upgrade plans a bit. We re-engaged in the process in 2021 with a target go-live of early 2022 to avoid year-end financial close and to keep it cleaner.

To prepare for the upgrade, we participated in the customer assistance program (CAP) and then focused on what needed to be done before the upgrade, including some data clean up. We worked with Aktion Associates for about four months to really keep us on task and ensure we were testing what we needed to test and were getting the processes built correctly.

What were your upgrade challenges?

One of our lessons learned was dedicating enough time – time for testing, clean up and other upgrade readiness tasks. We could have spent more time testing, but everyone has a day job. There never seems to be a good time to just stop and work on upgrade preparation, but it’s critical to make that time.

What advice would you give to other companies preparing for their upgrade?

You need to be on the latest technology as a business. Are you still using your iPod or are you using a recent iPhone? Upgrading to Vantagepoint is similar. You want to be sure you are on the latest technology to help your business be successful.

Another piece of advice is that no matter when you upgrade, it’s going to take time and energy, but with Vantagepoint there are so many benefits to the business that you need to put a plan in place to upgrade sooner rather than later.

You have to plan for it. It is a big upgrade, but it is also an opportunity to clean house and revisit some processes that may be legacy processes. You may still be using processes from decades ago that are no longer relevant to the business today and this is the time to improve your process to better align to today’s business needs.

Also, talk to others that have upgraded. It’s good to get the perspective of different users. Our experience has been great and it’s really good to talk to others and hear about their experiences too.

On a more tactical level, one thing we did was turn off timesheets the last week before upgrade just to make sure nothing was missed. It also forced everyone to log in right away Monday morning and use Vantagepoint o update timesheets. It got everyone in the system and doing something that was familiar to them immediately after the upgrade.

What’s next?

Now that we are using Vantagepoint, one area we are going to take to the next level is building out more dashboards. This is an opportunity to get away from the spreadsheets and move to a real-time dashboard. We want to replace some of our legacy reports that had to be exported and manipulated so it doesn’t waste their time. We want to let Vantagepoint do the work for us where it can.


About Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT)’s mission is to provide superior infrastructure solutions, responsive to clients’ needs and expectations while fostering growth and development for their employees. CMT provides a full range of services to help our clients achieve the highest value possible for the infrastructure they build and manage. CMT brings a depth of knowledge and experience to a wide range of markets including aviation, surface transportation, municipalities, and water resources, through experts in civil engineering, planning, architecture, environmental science and asset management. On every engagement, CMT delivers a refreshing combination of focused insight, exceptional performance, and relational investment in our clients' goals.