How OES Cleans Up On the Competition Thanks in Part to Deltek Vantagepoint

September 14, 2022

An Interview with Cherise Bowens, Treasurer & Controller at Oklahoma Environmental Services

Oklahoma Environmental Services (OES) is an environmental consulting and remediation firm located in Oklahoma City. The firm specializes in environmental remediation and consulting for contaminated soil and groundwater projects at local, municipal, state, and federal facilities.

A Need for Company & Project Visibility

With more than 20 years of experience and 20,000+ successful projects, OES has built a reputation as a remediation expert. Still, the view of their financial and project data was far from clean.

As Cherise Bowens, Treasurer and Controller at OES, explained, "We had all the information that we needed, but it was operating in different silos. We had an accounting system that was really just for recording the financial activity, but we needed to have more insight into our projects. We had data in emails, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and more. Some information was on laptops, other information was on in the cloud, and nothing was really talking to each other. So, it was hard to gain insights into project and company performance."

Deltek Vantagepoint: A No Brainer

At the time, OES was using Sage 50 for financial data along with a number of tools for project management, including Microsoft Excel and Word, and Outlook for scheduling. According to Cherise, "We were looking for an ERP system that could bring all the project-based information, financial information, and customer information into one place, so we could make meaningful decisions and be intentional about our business strategy going forward."

A project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system like Deltek Vantagepoint allows consulting firms like OES to gain visibility across the company, from project initiation to completion. With a complete view of your company in a single place, you can make better, more informed decisions to drive your business forward.

During discovery, OES looked at different competitors including Sage Intacct, Oracle, NetSuite and Epicor.

"We weighted each competitor against our top criteria and felt that between price, support, implementation, and overall functionality, it was a no-brainer for us to go with Deltek Vantagepoint."

– Cherise Bowens, Treasurer & Controller, OES

Real-Time Insights = Efficiency & Profitability

Once the implementation was complete, OES immediately began to realize significant benefits. As Cherise attested, "One of the top benefits of Deltek Vantagepoint for us has been the ability to be more efficient as a result of the real-time access to data.” That real-time access allows OES to make immediate changes on a project that ultimately impacts profitability.

Vantagepoint has also helped OES become more efficient by freeing up administrative activities. "We found several automation opportunities. For example, with workflow. I didn't realize how many emails we were sending out about reminding employees to submit timecards. Instead of manually doing that, I can let Vantagepoint bug them as much as I want."  

Project reporting has been another efficiency gained. Cherise continued, "Deltek Vantagepoint has been so much more efficient for the accounting team. If a Project Manager (PM) wants to know 'what are my labor hours charged?', we have that right away. Before this all-in-one solution, I had to manually job cost timesheets, and it was a burden. I would have to go to each PM or technician, who were all working on 10-15 projects per week, to get that information.”

Faster Close & Better Cash Flow

Deltek Vantagepoint helps professional services organizations better forecast and manage cash flow because it allows firms to invoice faster and easily schedule and monitor payments. Once implemented, OES found that Vantagepoint did just that, allowing their month-end close to happen much quicker.

"Accounting month-end close is a lot faster. We shaved it down by about a week. We are a small company with minimal staff, and before, we were using almost half the month to close the previous month," said Cherise.

Overall, Deltek Vantagepoint has freed up the accounting team to spend time adding value to the business rather than on administrative processes like gathering time sheets, processing invoices, and pulling labor reports.

"Deltek Vantagepoint has decreased many administrative processes and opened up my role to provide more business value."

– Cherise Bowens, Treasurer & Controller, OES

A Clean UI Encouraged Adoption

A good user interface (UI) can have a powerful impact on the usability and overall adoption of any new software. Cherise understood that a simple and clean UI was essential to help the company embrace this project and encourage the adoption of the overall system. "When we saw the UI interface, I was like, gosh, that's all I wanted. It's simple and straight to the point." 

Deltek Vantagepoint is built to empower professional services users with a simple, intuitive interface, to make adoption widespread, and the OES experience reflects that. Their company started with just five users, but within a short period, they had the whole firm using it.

A Competitive Advantage by Enabling Remote Work

With the ability to quickly understand what is happening within a project and across the business, Deltek Vantagepoint enables teamwork and collaboration. For OES, Vantagepoint gave them a competitive advantage by empowering them to transition more easily to a remote work environment.

As Cherise describes, "A lot of our competitors weren't set up for remote work, but with us having a cloud-based ERP system, we had minimal business interruption. Now we can schedule and give out assignments remotely, without having to set up or wonder what system(s) a person is using. It really helped us take advantage of the short-term need for remote access, remote capability, and remote flexibility.

Long Term: Winning More Business

OES also expects more long-term benefits from Deltek Vantagepoint that will help them stay more efficient and, in-turn allow them to win more business. "In this industry, a lot of pricing is set by the government or an overarching body, so the competitive advantage is really how efficient are you at that project. And I think, especially during the pandemic, efficiency became the differentiator for us. Where some take a week, we're so agile and adaptive, we take three to four days, and we're moving on to the next.”

 

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