Tierra Right of Way Services: Saving Valuable Time While Positioning Itself for Growth with Deltek Vantagepoint
An Interview with Keith Ganske, Controller, Tierra Right of Way Services, Ltd.
Tierra Right of Way Services, Ltd., is a diverse land services firm employing 80+ land service professionals who provide acquisition and relocation, cultural resources, and environmental planning services across most of the United States.
After years of using an in-house built project management solution integrated with QuickBooks®, Tierra Right of Way recognized that they needed a more robust system to help them reach their growth goals. Tierra Right of Way turned to Deltek Vantagepoint to manage their accounting, project management and CRM within a single system.
"Our in-house system had served us well. But as we continued to grow and wanted to go to the next level, we were at a crossroads."
Delivering Reliable Data
Prior to implementing their new system, Tierra Right of Way was using QuickBooks® to manage their payroll and project accounting, their in-house solution for project management and Excel for the business development activities. This required inputting data in disparate systems, increasing the opportunity for human error. Now with Deltek Vantagepoint, Tierra Right of Way is using one system to manage the project lifecycle, so they can be more confident in the accuracy of the data.
“When we were doing QuickBooks® payroll, there was no direct labor entry,” stated Ganske. “You would perform assisted payroll and post, then it's up to you to go look at individual projects to try and figure out what the direct labor was for the month. Now with Vantagepoint, I've got that information at my fingertips. I can rely on direct labor for any certain period of time and know it is accurate.”
Visibility Brings the Big Picture Into Focus
Before using Deltek Vantagepoint, Tierra Right of Way project teams relied heavily on the accounting team to provide regular and ad-hoc project status reports. Now, project managers have project data available when they need it without bothering accounting for another report. “Rather than a project manager coming to us and asking ‘Hey, can you give me the financial data for this project over the last three months?’” Ganske shares, “Our team can respond ‘That information is readily available for you. Let’s show you how to do it.’”
This dynamic shift has allowed the accounting team to focus on higher-level activities such as corporate financial analysis and planning versus the day-to-day data entry and general tasks.
Saving Time with Vantagepoint
With Deltek Vantagepoint, Tierra Right of Way has seen a significant time savings through streamlined and automated processes. Prior to Vantagepoint, the invoicing review process used to be a tedious manual task, generating invoices through QuickBooks® for project managers to review and provide comments in hard copy or PDF form.
“Just the invoicing process alone has cut off four days of our close schedule,” shared Ganske. “Previously, we spent 14 or 15 days each month completing a soft close, at best. Now we are completing a hard close in 10 days or less, and we’re trying to get that down even further.”
The increased efficiency provides a benefit both to the client and project teams. Clients receive monthly invoicing and up-to-date information more quickly, and project managers are able to spend more time on cultivating the client relationships.
Powering Project Success for Professional Services Firms
Increasing Utilization Rates
One area that Tierra Right of Way saw an additional benefit was in monitoring actual utilization, having previously used Excel spreadsheets to monitor where their resources were allocated. Now with Vantagepoint, project managers are able to identify when staff are underutilized or overburdened and reassign those resources to meet project demands.
“We always had room for improvement on utilization,” said Ganske. “Now our project managers know for sure how their teams are allocated and can build that out accordingly.”
More Time Nurturing Client Relationships
The ability to manage pipeline and customer relationships with a CRM solution was important in the decision to go with Deltek Vantagepoint. Previously, Tierra Right of Way was monitoring their business development activities through Excel spreadsheets and storing customer information all over the place. “We were doing CRM on a cocktail napkin”, joked Ganske.
“With Vantagepoint, project managers are able to spend less time performing administrative-type items.” Ganske said, “Be it marketing activities or client touches, project managers are able to spend more time nurturing those client relationships.”
Positioning for Growth
Tierra Right of Way was recently acquired by a holding company, Contract Land Staff (CLS), transitioning them to a private equity-owned company. With the acquisition came new financial reporting requirements. Now, instead of only reporting the company’s financial highlights to the owner, Tierra Right of Way has a board of directors to present financial data on a monthly basis.
One of the key factors in CLS’ decision to make the acquisition was their familiarity with Deltek. CLS was using Deltek Vision for accounting and project management and moving to Deltek Vantagepoint will require an upgrade. Tierra Right of Way will be able to help manage the upgrade with the goal of eventually merging the companies onto the same platform.
"We went from the minor leagues to the major leagues. Without Deltek, we wouldn't have been able to do what we've done."
Committing to Long-Term Success
When reflecting on its journey with Vantagepoint, Tierra Right of Way committed itself to the change required to be successful. “Having every level and every area represented along with some ownership in that change is important,” reflected Ganske.
And, Ganske noted that the journey doesn’t end once they were live on the solution. Their company is committed to continuing to improve how they use Vantagepoint to support their business. For those considering Deltek Vantagepoint or those already using it, Ganske recommends continuing to look for ways to improve and highlights one of the best resources for Tierra Right of Way to learn more about Vantagepoint.
“I would definitely encourage anybody to attend the Deltek Insight user conference,” Ganske said. “We have picked up so much from that as well as the networking with users like us.”
About Tierra Right of Way Services
Tierra Right of Way Services, Ltd., was founded in Tucson in 1989 as a local right of way firm providing acquisition and relocation assistance services to cities, counties, and private-sector clients in Arizona. Strategically positioned to take on projects in any region, Tierra delivers quality and cost-effective services for our clients through the expertise of our experienced, local land service professionals.
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