Transforming Project Management and Financial Planning with Deltek Vantagepoint

October 16, 2023
Wade Consulting Transforms Project Management

Wade Consulting is a dynamic building science and structural engineering firm based in Edmonton, Canada that embarked on a journey to streamline its operations. Currently comprised of 20 dedicated employees and growing, the firm specializes in structural engineering and building envelopes, a crucial component that protects buildings from the elements. The firm offers a diverse range of services, including new construction consulting, assessment and investigations, as well as prime consultant responsibility for rehabilitation, renewal and repair projects.

The Challenge of Transition

When Julien St-Pierre, Principal at Wade Consulting and his partners took over an existing firm in January 2022 and rebranded it as Wade Consulting, they discovered the company relied heavily on spreadsheets to run complex projects, which was a cumbersome and limiting approach. The need for a more robust solution became evident.

Reflecting on their early days, Julien said, "We knew from day one we needed a more efficient way to run our business, but we started out as four partners and three employees, so we wanted something that would work for what we needed at the time.”

Initially, they turned to Intuit QuickBooks® as a temporary solution but quickly realized its limitations. Julien explains, "Within our first eight months after opening, we realized pretty quickly that QuickBooks was limited in project management capabilities, which is key for us. We knew we needed another solution so it was a matter of landing on the right product─ one that could scale with us whether we grew to 50 or 100 employees."

The Quest for the Right Solution

Wade Consulting was determined to find a long-term solution from a reliable provider. Julien, who had previous experience with Deltek products, knew the importance of choosing a company with staying power. He emphasized, "We wanted to have a solution that we knew would be long-term, and that was really the big focus. I was familiar with Deltek products from a previous role back in 2007; it was important that we chose a reliable company with a proven track record, not a start-up that could disappear in a few years."

Finding the Right Partner

The firm's commitment to a comprehensive solution led them to Michael Dobler, VP of Services at Rhodium Digital, a technology advisory practice and Deltek Premier Partner. Julien had a prior professional relationship with Michael, and this connection proved invaluable. Michael recommended Deltek Vantagepoint, a cloud-based solution that aligned perfectly with Wade Consulting's needs.

Michael elaborated on the choice of Vantagepoint, stating, "I recommended implementing Vantagepoint in Deltek’s Cloud. One of Wade’s needs was not to have any kind of hardware in their location. They wanted the ability to scale and allow staff to work remotely, and Vantagepoint worked well for that purpose."

A Swift and Successful Implementation

The implementation of Deltek Vantagepoint at Wade Consulting was a remarkably swift process, taking only two months to complete. Michael outlines the implementation timeline, explaining, "The process included a month for discussions, project planning and training, and then three to four weeks of intensive hands-on advisory support." Wade Consulting's team quickly adapted to the new solution, taking roughly one month to become comfortable with the application.

Having the right partner was crucial to meeting their implementation deadline. Julien emphasized that Rhodium Digital's expertise and ease of collaboration were instrumental in their success. He notes, "Rhodium was easy to work with and had experience implementing the solution."

Elevating Project Management and Financial Planning

Previously, Wade Consulting didn't know the health of their projects because the information was disjointed. Julien underscores the impact of Vantagepoint, stating, "Before using Vantagepoint, we really didn't have a clear picture of project health other than from a cost basis. Now from a project management perspective, we're much more on top of our projects, and because of that, our projects are more profitable."

Today, Wade Consulting leverages Deltek Vantagepoint for financial planning and project management. The firm can now gather extensive data, allowing them to provide clients with comprehensive insights, including phasing breakdowns and project completion percentages. This newfound clarity results in fewer client inquiries and more detailed invoices, offering clients a better understanding of project costs. In addition, Vantagepoint provides better insight into where the firm’s money is being spent, helping Wade to make better financial decisions.

The Benefits of Consolidated Data

Thanks to Vantagepoint, all project and financial data can be stored in one place. Previously, administrators were helping with aged account receivables. With Vantagepoint, this process is now seamless, and payment schedules are integrated into the same platform. Now that process takes a lot less time so admins can focus on helping with proposal development and general office management activities.

Vantagepoint also enables Wade Consulting to scrutinize their financials with unprecedented granularity. Julien explains, "With Vantagepoint, we are able to dig into the granularity of the project, for example, to learn if our margins are on a project level or on a team level or on a firm level."

Planning for the Future

As Wade Consulting continues to grow, they have ambitious plans for the future. They intend to leverage more features of the solution, especially Vantagepoint CRM. Julien explains, "We are particularly interested in using it for the proposal process by reviewing previous projects, tracking major clients, and win rates for these clients. By tracking the projects closely, we think the solution will really give us much better insight into why we're winning or why we are losing work."

Michael also sees potential for future implementations based on their experience with Wade Consulting. He notes, "It was an excellent experience. We learned a great deal about streamlining the implementation cycle and how we can work with small firms to expedite certain things to get them running quicker than the common three-plus-month approach. We’re confident we can repeat this one-month implementation with other smaller firms motivated to get live quickly."

Advice for Other Architecture and Engineering Firms

Julien has some valuable advice for firms considering implementing Vantagepoint in the Cloud. He underscores the importance of selecting the right partner who understands the specific needs of your business. Julien concludes, "Rhodium was a great partner for our team, if at any time we ran into an issue, we received a quick turnaround for the response. I don't think we would have had the same aggressive implementation timelines if we had someone who didn't really understand our business and what we needed."

Wade Consulting's transformation through Deltek Vantagepoint serves as a testament to the power of technology when paired with the right expertise. With streamlined project management, comprehensive financial planning, and a clear vision for the future, Wade Consulting is poised for continued success and growth. Their journey highlights the importance of choosing trusted partners and solutions that align with your long-term goals.


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