X-Design Inc. Manages Rapid Growth With Deltek
An Interview with Greg Quinn, CEO & Principal, X-Design, Inc.
X-Design, Inc. is a Canadian interior design and project management firm that has been creating for more than 25 years. From workplaces and health care to retail and multi-unit residential spaces, X-Design creates spaces that combine aesthetics with function. With plans to double the business in three years, the partners at X-Design determined they needed to consolidate their business tools and improve how they were running their business, so they turned to Deltek Vantagepoint.
In the past three years, X-Design has been recognized as the fastest growing interior design firm in Canada. But, it didn’t happen by accident. Nearly seven years ago, X-Design was at a crossroads and the partners determined it was either time to scale back and focus the business or stretch their boundaries and drive growth. So, they built a plan to double the business within three years.
In the same time, X-Design has not only grown organically, but also acquired five companies to accelerate their growth. With growth comes growing pains and X-Design knew it was time to grow their back-office processes to be as efficient as possible.
X-Design was using several different systems cobbled together including Sage 50 for financials, Replicon for timesheets, a homegrown CRM and spreadsheets for managing resources and contracts. They needed a solution to address numerous inefficiencies, consolidate disparate systems and deliver greater visibility into project management and resource assignments.
“The business was getting more complex, we had more people to manage and the number of projects was increasing quickly,” said Greg Quinn, CEO and Principal of X-Design. In fact, the company grew from an average of 80 projects a year nearly a decade ago to more than 300 just a few years ago.
The interior design and project management firm knew it was time to consolidate tools and improve business processes. According to Quinn, X-Design evaluated several solutions, but the non-project based ERPs were too complex and would require too much customization while another project-based solution didn’t seem robust enough to meet their needs.
"We knew of several other companies using Deltek and we knew there was certain pedigree there."
– Greg Quinn, CEO & Principal, X-Design, Inc.
So, they turned to Deltek Vantagepoint, a project-based solution built specifically for professional services firms to help improve productivity, boost collaboration and increase profitability.
A Better Way to Manage Projects
With Deltek Vantagepoint, X-Design has greater visibility throughout their projects. They have a better view into potential revenue, can easily track what contracts have been signed and quickly see resources assigned to projects.
“Resource management in Vantagepoint was critical for us,” said Quinn. “As our team grew, we needed to see how people were assigned.”
The Vantagepoint solution delivers better resource management right out of the box without customization or configuration, which was critical for X-Design. According to Quinn, as long as project managers were building work plans and employees were submitting timesheets, they knew Vantagepoint would give them exactly what they needed without significant work for users.
“Now, as new projects come in, we can easily slot them into the workload whether they are on a tight time frame or are a multi-year project,” said Quinn. “We’re not so reactionary and can shift from what we are working on today to focus on the next month or beyond, which is exactly what Vantagepoint is designed to do.”
Greater Insight Into the Business
Vantagepoint isn’t just helping project managers at X-Design, but is giving partners greater visibility into revenue projections and giving them more confidence in the validity of the numbers. Before turning to Deltek, team members were wasting valuable time compiling multiple spreadsheets and scrutinizing data. And, as the business grew, the data challenges were compounded. Now, X-Design can compare real numbers to previous quarters, have a good grasp of where the business is relative to where it should be and make decisions about appropriate next steps.
“With the incredible growth we’ve had in recent years, we wouldn’t have been able to manage it without Deltek Vantagepoint,” said Quinn. “I don’t even know how we did it before.”
Deltek’s industry-specific solution gives X-Design the day-to-day view into their projects and their company performance, but it also helps them make more strategic business decisions. Quinn noted that there is an ongoing challenge of staffing appropriately. There is a delicate balance to keeping the right number of people because staffing up quickly in this industry is problematic so Quinn states it’s vital that they keep exactly the right number of people.
With multiple offices, remote workers and more employees getting back to project sites, Deltek Vantagepoint is more essential to their everyday business operations than ever before so they can keep the best people on staff and better manage their resources on projects.
Advice for Other Project-Based Businesses
After experiencing tremendous growth, consolidation of business solutions and navigating the remote workforce, Greg Quinn has this advice for others that might be experiencing some of the same challenges in their business.
“Consulting firms need to improve the digitization of their businesses. Whether everyone is back together in one room or all working remote, we are going to be inundated with so much information and if you don’t have the right system to manage it effectively, you’ll be dead in the water.”
“I don’t know what I would do without Deltek Vantagepoint. Even if we only had five people, all the information is where you need it and consulting firms need to look to Vantagepoint.”
One last piece of advice that Quinn gives to other consulting firms is that when looking for a new solution, one of the biggest barriers to success is trying to bring over all historical data. His recommendation is to draw a line in the sand, pull over what is absolutely necessary and only carry over what you know is clean, reliable and up-to-date.
Powering Project Success for Professional Services Firms
X-Design is a Canadian interior design and project management firm that has been creating for more than 25 years. From workplaces and health care to retail and multi-unit residential spaces, X-Design creates spaces that combine aesthetics with function. In the past three years, X-Design has been recognized as the fastest growing interior design firm in Canada.
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