Veteran-Owned Small Business Increases Efficiency & Grows Pipeline with Deltek’s One-Stop-Shop, Integrated Solutions
Founded in 2011, Riptide Technology is a veteran-owned small business that provides professional IT services to the government, focusing on high-end system engineering and software development for the defense and intelligence communities. Riptide currently has 15 employees and continues to rapidly increase growth by recruiting exceptional staff that are dedicated to their customers and mission.
It’s not uncommon for employees of a small business to shoulder many responsibilities and have a ‘to-do’ list that keeps growing. We sat down with Rich Basom, Chief Operating Officer at Riptide Technology and got a glimpse into a-day-in-the-life of a COO for a small business government contractor.
“Day-to-day I'm responsible for everything from financial decisions and business development activities to recruiting top talent and HR/operational initiatives. We're a small company with 15 employees, so we all wear many hats,” says Basom. “I'm also responsible for things like ensuring that we're ready to start pursuing prime contracts, so DCAA compliance is a top priority for us right now, making sure that we're set up to prime contracts - this is where Deltek really comes into the picture for us.”
As a small business and a jack-of-all-trades, it’s critical to have all of the necessary information under one roof, with complete visibility into all areas of your business, automating processes to save time and resources, all the while maintaining confidence that compliance requirements for the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) or the recent Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) are supported.
Q: How is Riptide making a difference across the government contracting market?
A: Our team of experienced professionals work very closely with senior government officials at the agencies that we support, including the Department of Defense (DoD) as trusted advisors, laying the architecture for various systems. We execute in the most efficient way from not only a budget perspective, but also in terms of data management and partnering.
Additionally, many of our team members are well connected throughout the industry, which enables us to leverage those contracts to bring a capability that we developed for Agency A and facilitate an introduction with Agency B – a lot of times resulting in a joint project – making the final product event better.
Q: What was keeping you up at night that made you realize it was time to look for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution?
A: Like a lot of small companies, we existed largely, almost exclusively, on spreadsheets, and there's always the challenge of information being dispersed and disjointed. For example, we couldn’t project indirect rates, like how to add additional overhead expenses, impacting our bottom line. Recently, I knew I needed to hire a recruiter, but I had to fumble my way through all of our spreadsheets to determine whether or not the business could afford a recruiter right now. We did not have the capability to project future resource needs or plan ahead and knew it was time for a change.
Additionally, reporting at the strategic level was nonexistent on spreadsheets. It was impossible to complete financial projections and there was no visibility into contract performance.
Q: It’s clear that planning is a priority for your business. Once you're up and running on Costpoint, do you hope to leverage Costpoint's planning and forecasting capabilities to help you better project predictions and future resource needs?
A: Definitely. We're looking forward to the dashboards and reporting capabilities within Costpoint. We are transitioning off of QuickBooks®, which has some basic reporting capabilities, but we are not able to forecast as accurately and easily as we’d like. It’s exciting to us that we will have financial forecasting at our fingertips, with the option for indirect planning.
In addition, as a small business being able to look at multiple cost pools is critical for our growth, increasing our competitive edge to enable us to diversify our portfolio and go after new markets within the government contracting space.
Establishing multiple cost pools is important to our business and that's one of the reasons we looked at Costpoint – to make those projections and simplify cost pools.
Q: Was compliance a determining factor that it was time to move from QuickBooks to a sophisticated ERP solution?
A: Running QuickBooks didn't get us where we wanted to be as far as preparing to prime certain types of government contracts without a whole lot of modifications patch-worked together. It was critical for us to be set up for success from the start, rather than potentially finding out that we were not in compliance or that our accounting system was incorrect.
Additionally, it was critical that our investment was in a single system like Costpoint, that is trusted across the industry and supports all of our needs in one place, from timekeeping, all the way through to projections and daily back office activities.
Q: Can you describe your evaluation process for purchasing a new ERP?
A: This process was very unique for us in that we received a referral to a third-party implementation contract for implementation assistance on the technology of our choice. As a current Deltek customer and user of GovWin IQ, since having great experience with that tool it was no question that we had to consider Costpoint as our ERP solution.
Throughout the process, we did evaluate other systems, including Unanet, but it all came down to pricing. Initially, we considered kicking the can down the road and continue with QuickBooks for another year or so, but Deltek was willing to work with us and recommended one of their partners, Karki that focuses on the needs of small business. Karki customized a package for us that really fit within our budget.
Purchasing an ERP will always be a substantial investment for a small company, but the support and partnership we’ve experience from Karki and Deltek made it obvious that we couldn’t wait any longer – it was time to make the move to Deltek Costpoint.
Q: What goals or measurable benefits do you hope to experience and leverage once you're live on Costpoint?
A: Something that is really important to us is scalability. Riptide is a small company with one overhead employee, me. All of our day-to-day financial tasks are executed by a contract employee. Additionally, adding on a number of subcontractors, for example, if we win a prime, isn't really an option without having to hire even more overhead staff, which we want to minimize. That said, Costpoint’s ability to create a portal for our subcontractors with built-in invoicing capabilities is a big deal because we can increase efficiency rather than adding to the workload of our contract employees.
Q: Do you plan to diversify your portfolio and go after new types of contracts now that Riptide is running on Costpoint?
A: Yes, expanding our pipeline is a goal, and we are very excited to start using Costpoint’s integrated capabilities with GovWin IQ, enabling us to create a pipeline from early business development all the way through contract inception. To date, we have received a lot of our contracts via word of mouth - we have a good reputation with our client agencies, and generally, when they hit a problem that they need some very high-end expertise to help solve it, they'll turn to the primes and say, "Give this to Riptide. They have someone that can fit this." Or, "This is the type of thing that Riptide is good at."
That said, we have never focused on business development as a dedicated function. Clients have always come to us, and now as we become more aggressive with increasing brand awareness, we are pursuing opportunities at different levels, so we have a great need to have a strong and current pipeline.
Q: Will you be deploying Costpoint on premises or in a cloud environment? And, why?
A: We will be using Costpoint in the cloud. It was really a simple decision for us. We began our research in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we had a lease that was signed, we didn’t have a central office space. The team agreed that we like working remote and geographically dispersed. So, having a trusted cloud solution where we can all access the necessary data from any state or overseas, at any time is very important to our success, especially as we have contracted staff around the world to support our back-office needs.
Being in a cloud environment was also the most logical route because it lessens our overhead infrastructure. If we housed Costpoint on premises, we would have to hire staff to manage the system, but with the cloud, Deltek’s team of experts handles everything for us and we don’t have to worry about maintaining serves, patches, etc.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to an industry peer or someone from a similar business as Riptide who might be looking for a new ERP project accounting system what would you say?
A: Absolutely! I highly encourage talking to Deltek about their small business-focused implementation partners. I had never heard of the Karki before talking with Deltek and never thought to ask if they had any partners to recommend. I think that was really the deciding factor. The difference between Deltek and Unanet was that with Deltek, we had somebody who actually helped us go beyond to figure out if there was a more economical way to implement the system without our small team having to do the work ourselves.
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