] Heather Fitzgerald Cracks the Deltek Code - PEC - Professional Engineering Consultants

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Heather Fitzgerald Cracks the Deltek Code

Heather FitzgeraldDeltek Vantagepoint is a key program to the everyday success at PEC. In August 2023, PEC hired Heather Fitzgerald as its first full-time Deltek Administrator. Since then, she has been researching and improving best practices in Vantagepoint. With a drive to learn even more, she looks forward to the challenges ahead.

PEC: Excited to talk to you today, Heather! Tell us… What is your exact role at PEC?

HF: My title is Deltek Administrator. I have a unique position because every PEC employee in the company is my client. Whether it be marketing, accounting, project management, or the C-Suite, I essentially cater to all of you. My role is to predict where problems might arise, resolve issues as they arise, and think long term to create/develop a plan for future needs. It’s a new position, so until this point, several people have been juggling it in addition to their day job. The original PEC implementation team has been instrumental in understanding PECs goals and implementation. I couldn’t do my job without their input and knowledge.

PEC: Well, this program is known for its complexities, so I would feel that’s important to this role. How do you navigate problem solving for such an intricate program?

HF: With any data platform, you need to think of it in both short and long term. I’ve heard many refer to Vantagepoint as clunky, meaning their infrastructure isn’t the most usable/has limitations. While it has its challenges, I think it comes down to truly understanding the platform. A big part of my job is to understand current challenges and predict or mitigate future ones before they appear. Also, I determine enhancements based on new features. A new feature would include the Client Smart Summary. This is an AI-generated feature that takes our internal (Vantagepoint-based) data and compiles it into a summary. This is being rolled out in 2024.

PEC: That will be incredibly helpful for everyone! Glad you have the inside scoop on that. Does the constant stream of problem solving get overwhelming with such a large program that is used in so many ways at PEC?

HF: I love that every day is new. I check my emails at 5:30 in the morning. I want to know if there are outstanding tickets or anything I need to be aware of because from day to day, hour to hour. I may be managing 20 different cases/requests.

I work with Vantagepoint daily, meeting with solutions engineers and helpdesk specialists who specialize in different facets of the platform. By developing a rapport with their team, I am better able to understand requests and work through solutions.

PEC: Have you always been in data management?

HF: In my career, I’ve worked in data management and analysis. I’ve worked in the AEC industry for 25 years. During that time, my primary role was as a marketing manager, and I was the back-up administrator for 17 years. My ancillary job always involved data governance and management.

I also had the opportunity to move to the platform side for client implementations. Because I had worked on the client side for 20 years, I was able to understand the pain points and challenges. I would meet with their c-suite and learn their company vision, mission, etc. From that, I would help them develop and manage their data. Now that I’m back to the client side, I understand the processes for working with Vantagepoint Helpdesk issues. Then, I went from being an end user to a trainer. I was able to bring the 20 years that I had used the platform and train others on it; I knew the pain points because we had gone through them. Regardless of the platform, anyone in data management encounters the same issues.

PEC: I’m just going to go ahead and say that obviously you know your stuff because not only have you worked in Vantagepoint, but you have also trained on it. You’re not just a book expert; you’re a user expert. I feel like you are a digger, and you like to solve problems and figure it all out. Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?

HF: Absolutely. I like to learn. I’m looking forward to growing into this position and helping PEC have the most robust database.

PEC: To that point, I know that you are joining a group of like-minded Deltek professionals. Tell me about that. What is your goal in joining that group? 

HF: Yes! Kansas City has a group right now that’s very well established. I’ve joined that group, and I’ll be working in the Kansas City office occasionally and attending their meetings. This group is a chance to sit with your peer and say, “How are you using this?” or “Have you figured out a way to work around this?” And it’s not going through the helpdesk. You can just talk with someone and have a call list of people who have been working with the system.

In addition, we are planning to establish a local peer group. The goal is to learn from each other and share tips and tricks from the larger KC group.

PEC: How does Deltek Vantagepoint help us serve our clients better and more efficiently?

HF: Data is no longer simple spreadsheets across multiple computers. It’s a complex system that requires daily management and analysis. No one knows this better than our clients. Rather than reacting to their needs, PEC has taken a proactive approach to data management.

We at PEC understand that data decision-making is not done in a vacuum, rather, it must be consistent with our KPIs and vision for growth. This requires continual, lean improvements that ultimately evolve with the AEC industry. When we can better predict challenges before they arise, our clients see the benefit. Vantagepoint makes this possible.

PEC: What does it say about PEC that they hired an individual to specifically administer Deltek Vantagepoint?

It’s considered an investment to create and maintain a database. Every successful company knows this. The question becomes whether the management outweighs the time and expense required to ensure the data is accurate, valuable, and ultimately secure. Like most companies, PEC quickly learned that a dedicated approach was required for long-term growth and expansion. In the Summer of 2023, senior leadership made the decision to create a new Deltek Administrator position with a full-time focus.

PEC: It’s awesome that you love to learn inherently as a person! It’s for the betterment of the people at PEC, our clients, and the communities we serve. Also, you’re providing thought leadership and community in our industry through this peer group, and you get to help others working with Vantagepoint. Thank you for chatting about your impact at PEC!