Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Supports Growth and Increases Adoption with Deltek Vantagepoint

October 11, 2022
Megan Miller
Director of Product Marketing
customer story crawford murphy tilly

An interview with Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer at Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Aging hardware and disparate systems were making it challenging for Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT), a 400-person engineering and architecture firm in the Midwest, to effectively manage their projects and their business. With more than 25 offices in nine states, they needed a solution that was more scalable and user friendly while delivering more accurate and actionable data to help run their growing business. Read on to learn why CMT chose Deltek Vantagepoint to power their project success.

Disparate Systems & Lack of Adoption Decrease Data Accuracy & Reliability

For more than a decade, CMT was managing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution on-premises and the servers supporting their solution were coming to end of life. They knew they needed to move to the cloud to better support their growth, but they needed to address several other challenges in the process.

Disparate systems including BST for financials and project management, Microsoft SharePoint for pipeline management and Deltek Vision for proposal creation made it challenging to effectively run the business. Project managers (PMs) were also using their own tools and processes to deliver projects. CMT was also struggling to get project managers the information they needed to effectively manage their projects.

“Project managers really had to rely on accounting to access data. The system wasn’t very user friendly and you really had to know your way around to get project information you needed,” says Brian Welker, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. Brian also shared that their previous ERP was set up at the highest level, which did not give them the visibility the firm needed, requiring extra work for the accounting team for reallocation or simply reporting the information firm leadership needed to see.

“With BST, it was much more accounting focused and reactive. We needed to be more proactive and have better access to real-time data and we were looking for one version of the truth rather than multiple systems,” adds Welker.

Access to key project performance data was a challenge to project managers to keep their pipeline and backlog data updated. “The PMs were having to go to a lot of different places to get what they needed, which led to inaccurate data,” said Brian. Each group managed their backlog outside the system and they were managing it differently – some planning at the employee level and some taking a more ad-hoc approach. Project managers used a separate system to manage opportunities and then submitted project details to accounting to have the accounting team set up new projects in the financial system, wasting valuable time.

Industry Expertise Leads CMT to Vantagepoint

The leadership at CMT decided it was time to take a step back and determine what solution would meet their needs today and support them in the future. After evaluating BST, Microsoft Dynamics and Deltek, CMT chose Deltek Vantagepoint.


" In the end, we found that Deltek knows our business. They know the A&E industry and Vantagepoint had tools for all of our users, not just accounting."

– Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer 


With the user interface and interactive dashboards, CMT was confident that all parts of the business would benefit from Vantagepoint. As with any A&E firm, alignment with the accounting team was also a key deciding factor for CMT. “Anybody can do a chart of accounts in an accounting system, but understanding aspects unique to engineers and architects like FAR overhead, allowable and unallowable charges and seeing what Vantagepoint’s future looked like made it the right choice for us,” said Brian.

“We also hear about what others are doing in the industry and we heard many companies were upgrading to Deltek Vantagepoint,” he added.

Moving to Cloud Supports Rapid Growth & Flexibility

CMT was growing – new hires, new offices and acquisitions – and they needed a solution that could support 18 offices in nine states seamlessly. “We weren’t looking in a crystal ball to know a pandemic was around the corner, but moving to the cloud set us up well. We went from 18 offices to more than 300 offices overnight,” said Brian.

“The scalability of the Deltek Cloud and not having to have an on-premises server farm has been a huge benefit,” Brian said. “There is also a lot of sensitive data with financials and employee information and we know that data is in a secure environment.” Brian also shared that the disaster recovery, uptime and reliability of the Deltek Cloud have been tremendously valuable for CMT. They no longer have to worry about a power outage in the main office or server issues that make it impossible for teams to complete timesheets, post time or get bills out.


" We are no longer relying on a VPN connection to get people in or access from anywhere. We continue to work in a hybrid environment and as people are in transition, they can access, review or approve data to keep workflows moving without the extra step of VPN, but in a secure way."

– Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer


In addition, CMT has employees that work in another firm’s office on a large project or from a field office and the Deltek Cloud has made it easier for staff to get the data they need without having to navigate another company’s security environment.

Better Project Management & Resource Planning with Vantagepoint

As CMT transitioned to Vantagepoint, they didn’t just move their data. They reviewed their processes for inefficiencies. One quick win was changing the responsibility for creating projects. Instead of relying on accounting to capture the project details from the PMs to create new projects, CMT now requires project managers to enter specific project information that is validated by the accounting team, eliminating an extra step and making the data more accurate from the outset.

The CMT team also quickly implemented project planning, which has had a very positive impact on their business. “In the first few months, we started to build the planning capability throughout the business and within six months, we were exclusively using planning in the system,” said Brian. “We knew it was going to be work, but at the corporate level, we need consistency and uniformity across the organization so the data all fits together. We also showed that this wasn’t optional and everyone needed to do it.”

As COO, Brian and others on the Deltek implementation team spent time meeting with group managers to help them understand the value of planning and the importance of their role in the accuracy of the data to get them on board. He knew that different people had different ways of planning, but that led to conflicting data and potentially underutilized or overburdened employees.

“We are all competing for staff and we can’t invent people to bring on, but we can better utilize the resources we have across the company,” Brian shared. “If resources are sitting in Atlanta that may not have as much on their plate, they might be able to help a team in St. Louis or Chicago. Shifting resources is now seamless throughout the organization.”

Improving the project management experience with Vantagepoint goes beyond just resource planning. CMT now has better visibility and accuracy into their backlog.

“With the previous solution, each team did their own backlog and it would be averaged out. We relied on project managers to export hours burned on projects on a quarterly basis to update their backlog and the data wasn’t always reliable,” Brian said.


" Now we have a constant roll of backlog and pipeline being updated that is being shared with group managers and business unit directors on a monthly basis. Our PMs can see tangible results and it helps us plan better. "

– Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer


Deltek Vantagepoint is also helping CMT be more proactive in managing their project financials, rather than waiting for someone to export reports or get outdated billing reports.

“In the previous system, it could be three weeks after the end of the month when a PM reviews their draft bills to see the project is $40,000 over budget. If there are 10 people that have been working on that project for those three weeks, you can do the math to figure out how far over the project is and if the PM is just seeing it, they have to immediately go into reactionary mode,” said Brian. “Now, with Vantagepoint, the project managers have better tools to be more proactive.”

Project managers can identify those potential challenges before they go over budget, adjust resources to accommodate budget or schedule constraints or a variety of other actions before it’s too late and the issues has grown exponentially.

Saving Time & Reducing Duplicate Work for Financial Teams

The financial teams at CMT have also benefited from the move to Deltek Vantagepoint with some improvements coming from simple workflow adjustments.

Project managers are now required to create projects in Vantagepoint rather than a separate form that the accounting team would enter into the system. Since the project managers have the key project information, it made more sense to increase accessibility and add a simple validation by accounting to eliminate the double entry happening in the previous system.

The accounting team is also leveraging Vantagepoint to automate more reports rather than having someone manually create reports outside the system. According to Brian, the data is already in the system and the reports are readily available, reducing the burden on accounting to create, run or distribute reports as needed.

Better Connectivity from Initial Conversation Through Project Closeout

One of the key driving factors behind CMT’s move to Vantagepoint was to have a single source of truth not only for financials and project delivery, but also for pipeline management. While CMT was using Deltek CRM for proposals, the opportunity pipeline was managed in SharePoint and was not connected to the proposals or the projects.

“With the pipeline managed in SharePoint, the opportunities were tracked separately,” said Brian. “The PMs had to go to a lot of different places, which led to inaccurate data.”

Now, project managers are creating new projects at the opportunity stage and everyone has visibility into the same project information from the initial pursuit through project closeout in one place. This includes business developers, proposal managers, business unit directors, project managers, accounting teams and more.

Project managers have the ability to better forecast resource needs based on accurate opportunity details and teams can better manage the pipeline to ensure the right teams are in place when the work is awarded. And, with a single project record, Vantagepoint eliminates the need for re-entering data from one system to another or having out of sync data in multiple systems, leading to more accurate, reliable and up-to-date pipelines, forecasts and ultimately company financials.

Delivering on Expectations & Commitments

CMT was looking for more than just software to manage invoices and projects. They needed a partner to help ensure their implementation set them up for success and a product that would continue to evolve and meet their ever-changing needs.

Having been on their legacy ERP solution for a long time, it was important for CMT to take a critical look at their processes and how their system was set up and Deltek helped them do just that.


" The Deltek consulting team challenged the way we were doing things. Having the experts share what they’ve seen other firms do was tremendously valuable and helped us identify key opportunities to improve our processes."

– Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer


“You only know what you know and there are processes that, over time, need to evolve or maybe you don’t need a particular workaround anymore and Deltek’s team helped us uncover those areas in our implementation.”

With the previous solution, upgrades were infrequent and required outside engagement. Now with Vantagepoint in the Deltek Cloud, CMT is looking forward to seamless and more frequent upgrades to get the most value from their investment.


" You look at the investments that Deltek is making in the product and they are literally walking the talk."

– Brian Welker, SVP and Chief Operations Officer


Brian continued “Looking at the roadmap when we purchased and now what’s in the product three years later, Deltek is delivering and have proven they listen to their customers. As they aggregate feedback across their customer base, Deltek is listening and making adjustments, bringing value in each release.”

“Deltek also has a more open environment giving us flexibility to hook into the system where it makes sense as our needs evolve,” he said.


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.