Thursday, November 23, 2017


DPT is proud to support our West Michigan Veterans through sponsoring an event benefiting Folds of Honor, especially a week before Independence Day, for which so many have sacrificed for us to continue to enjoy. Folds of Honor has a tremendous mission to provide educational support to spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded soldiers.

This year was West Michigan’s 1st Annual Patriot Golf Tournament at Sunnybrook Country Club. DPT’s Jack Kelly, Amy Flick, Henry Morley, and James Reinhardt participated in the tournament put on by a host of volunteers and organizer Brad Laackman. What a great time had by all, supporting a great organization and cause!


Jack Kelly probably shot the longest drive of his life – one of the most unusual features of an event based on supporting our military was the ability, under close supervision, to “drive” a golf ball from a rifle. Here’s the mark that was left on the ball after its 360 yard firing:


DPT is not only happy to support a great patriotic cause, but this is also part of our broader core values of community involvement. We have supported a number of local organizations, ranging from Bethany Christian Services, to Grand Rapids Active Commute Week. If you’d like to learn more about that, please visit our Community Involvement page.

If you’re interested in donating to Folds of Honor, please go to


Thursday, 23 June 2016 00:00

Data Ownership

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In our previous Data Stewardship post we outlined four key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment.  We also created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.

bad data mountain

Today we’ll focus on arguably the simplest of the four key focus areas related to Data Stewardship, which is also the one that most often gets overlooked. In order to be successful in this effort you need to put someone in charge of it and create an understanding of its importance. This involves four components:

  • Establish stewardship priorities and a common understanding of “why”
  • Assign accountability to data owners
  • Provide process resources and tools to support improvement
  • Measure results and plan for improvement

Establish Priorities

There is always inherent value in clarity. A foundational success factor is to clearly define your purpose for data management and quality. Explain why it’s important. This seems elementary, but clarity of purpose should never be implied. 

Create a practical connection between data and your desired outcomes. You can do this by outlining the critical decisions that are made based on data. Create a data map indicating the data flow from data collection to making that critical decision. Use practical examples of data quality variation and show how it leads to lower quality strategic and operational decisions. Show your commitment to data stewardship by confidently including it in your organizational fabric.  Invite debate about the program design and the processes involved. Build data ownership into both your operational processes and improvement projects as a rule.

Assign Accountability

In order to be successful, someone needs to be accountable. This does not imply that Data Stewardship is a one-person effort – quite the contrary. While every person, process and system that collects and manages information in your organization plays a role in data stewardship, the assignment of someone to the overall accountability of a data stewardship program is critical. This ensures focus and attention to the overall effort.  It also allows for a much higher level of consistency in both data accuracy and process efficiency.

As part of defining accountability, be clear about the role each person plays. Define the specific activities to assist people, processes and systems in creating a higher quality data environment. Outline peoples’ role in managing data prioritization, data quality definitions and process improvement. Allow each role to manage data improvement projects. Position each data owner in the organization as a resource to assist people in both data collection and data management roles as well as decision makers to be more effective and confident in the information they use.

Commit Resources

Demonstrate that you are dedicated to data quality by committing resources to support improving processes. Fix your data problem at its source or appropriate process point, not as an audit-based correction. While inspections and audits always play a part in a data stewardship program, focusing on designing quality processes should dramatically reduce the need for audit. Implement automated data analysis tools to assist you in catching abnormalities and incomplete data. Do simple things like designing targeted, exception-only based action lists so your team only has to act on high value data.

Active Leadership

Make data quality and data stewardship a part of your leadership mantra. Talk about it, set expectations, plan improvement and measure results. Stick with your vision that you define for your data priorities and your definition of the “right” level of data quality. Prove its importance by making improvements that move you toward the goal. Show and celebrate how the process improvements are benefiting the organization and your team. Importantly, only make a big deal about data quality in areas that warrant the attention. Make a plan and follow the plan – if is it has been defined as critical, treat it appropriately.

Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and set up a meeting to go over your unique Data Stewardship needs.

Sunday, 19 June 2016 00:00

Marketing Automation Strategies & CRM

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Marketing Automation

Your sales team has mastered the pipeline and opportunity management portion of your new CRM solution and sales have been on a steady increase for an extended period of time. Until recently. Sales have flat-lined with a very real fear they may actually start to show a downward trend. Worse yet, the marketing and sales teams are at odds with one another as to how to solve the problem. Apparently, in an attempt to keep up with the Sales team, Marketing has been flooding the sales pipeline with, shall we say, less than high quality leads. Marketing is frustrated that the Sales team is ignoring hot leads while the Sales team has all but given up trying to figure out which leads are worth following up on!

What happened?

Let’s take a moment to review the events that may have led to the above scenario.

A number of organizations implement a CRM solution due to the growing pains that often follow increased sales and the subsequent demands it puts on the sales and support teams. At some point in time, without streamlining and scaling the sales process, the stress and strain of the sales volume can bring a team to its knees. An effective CRM solution can bring standardization, automation and increased visibility to the sales process which in turn can relieve many of the pain points and permit the sales team to focus their energies once again on closing sales.

The result? A new pain point; the Sales team needs more qualified leads, and the Marketing team needs a more effective way to nurture and qualify leads for the Sales team. If only there was a “CRM” for Marketing.

Enter Automated Marketing!

What’s the next step to improving the management of your sales prospects and increasing your lead conversion ratio? Streamlining and standardizing your marketing processes should be your next step to increasing not only the number of leads in your sales pipeline, but the efficiency of nurturing and the quality of those leads as well.

Automated marketing techniques have been around since the ‘80’s. The simple task of automatically inserting a name on an envelope or letter was one of the first, of many, mundane tasks a marketing automation tool performed. Today’s automated marketing tools do so much more than personalize communications. Wouldn’t you like to know that your emails are being opened? Or who is visiting your website, how often they visit, what they look at and how often?

Per our DPT mantra, before you focus on the tools you need to develop your Marketing Automation processes and strategy before defining which tool is the best part of your overall CRM strategy. Whatever Marketing Automation tool you use, your processes and strategies need to be integrated into your CRM strategy to enable your Sales and Marketing teams to work more effectively together. 

Common functions include:

  • Outbound email communications
    • Create newsletters and email responses with ease and in coordination with campaigns and utilizing your CRM marketing lists
  • Web Analytics
    • Know who is visiting your website and which content they’re downloading or viewing
  • Web form management
    • Easy-to-Build web forms “Contact Us” and customer surveys
  • Lead nurturing campaign with automated scoring  
    • Communicate with and score a lead based on a prospect’s activities (email opens, website visits, content browsed…etc.)

Much in the same way that your CRM has improved the effectiveness of your Sales team, Marketing Automation strategies and processes can help your Marketing team focus their efforts on nurturing a warm lead into a hot lead that any Sales team would love to follow-up on and close!

Having both the sales pipeline and Marketing Automation portions of your CRM actively working together will align your Sales and Marketing teams towards a common goal. At DPT, we can help you take the next step in enhancing your CRM solution by incorporating Marketing Automation processes and functions. Contact us to learn more.



Your new information system is in, the staff has been trained and are confident in the process.  The painstaking data cleansing and migration effort is barely a faint memory.  Everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief and is eager to charge forward and not look back.  Now fast forward just a few weeks or months... and you are asking why your data quality challenge already seems like such a huge mountain to climb.

bad data mountain

It may start with one of the following pain points...

  • Why are my dashboards and reports noisy already?
  • Which of these views or dashboards are the most meaningful, anyhow?
  • Wait, is this any better than what I had before?
  • How does this information compare to my historical graphs and charts?
  • I thought my new system was going to provide me better information!
  • Did we make a bad system choice?

If this feels familiar, read on before genuine panic sets in.  This may not be a system problem at all.  It may, however, be the result of lack of discipline and business purpose relative to your data management processes.

Many organizations put new systems or different processes in place in an effort to better manage organizational relationships, processes and information.  The problem is that while we have been adequately trained to be good stewards of the time and financial resources at our disposal, we often forget that data needs the same care and focus.  The unavoidable buzz around “Big Data”, “BI” and analytics-based decision making create an illusion of simplicity.  The fact that today’s systems and database environments can easily and inexpensively store vast amounts of data creates a desire for more information.  This desire needs to be carefully and intentionally managed from end to end.  Make sure you have a data stewardship plan as part of your ongoing system and process management discipline.

In our experience, there are four key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment.  We have created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.

As part of our ongoing Data Stewardship blog series, we’ll dive into the major areas of data management that you should focus on. Here’s a preview of what’s to come on our blog:

Ownership and Design

This is the core component of data stewardship. This involves assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability.

Data Prioritization

It is critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly.

Data Quality

Is perfection always the goal for every data element you collect?  While one could argue that you are always better off having higher quality data, you need to measure the cost of perfection.

Actively Engage and Measure

Once you have a handle on all the other topics, you need to make data stewardship part of the fabric of your organization through active engagement and appropriate metrics.

Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016 00:00

Dan McGraw Joins DPT Team!

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My wife Julie and I are both West Michigan natives with a passion for family and community. Our two sons, Caleb and Hunter, both attend Grandville schools and are involved in extracurricular activities from cycling to robotics. We are firmly rooted in the community and value our family and friendships that we have established over the years.

danmcgraw - family

In business, I have been fortunate enough to experience tremendous growth throughout my career while working for great companies. These companies have ranged from small to large, which has provided me great insight into cultural assimilation, methodologies, practices and ultimately leadership. My roles within these companies have ranged from technical, to project leadership, to my most previous role as Chief Operating Officer.

As with all career decisions, I thoughtfully considered DPT after partnering with the company and developing a strong relationship with the leadership team. Following several months of dialogue, it was evident that the vision of DPT was closely aligned with my values, core competencies and ultimately my professional vision. In having met several DPT clients before coming on board, the client relationship focus and value was evident, adding icing to the proverbial cake.

I am looking forward to coupling my experience with the professional powerhouse of analysts and technical architects DPT has on staff. I believe in today’s technology world, there are significant opportunities for DPT to add tremendous value to the existing portfolio, ranging from business intelligence to field services. Ultimately, it seems natural to add additional data driven applications, analytics and clean data to the Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Process Management (BPM) and Project Leadership (PL) practices DPT has today.

When considering the growth of data over the past several years, DPT has the ability to help the market bring even more meaning to this data. It is estimated that 1.7mb of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet by 2020. It is also estimated that more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race. These statistics among many similar statistics surrounding data were of interest to me as a business leader and are of equal interest in helping drive clean and meaningful data for our clients. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power” and I am looking forward to getting this knowledge into our client’s hands.

I am excited to bring my leadership ability in business and technology as well as my strong partner and client focus to DPT.

Read more about Dan McGraw in his bio >>
Connect with him on LinkedIn >>



Monday, 16 May 2016 00:00

What Does DPT Stand For Anyway?

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“What does that stand for?” This is a question we often hear when introducing DPT. While the words behind the letters have changed in our 15 years of business, what DPT has stood for all along has stayed the same: Maintaining a clear focus on business performance as opposed to technology implementation. Other guiding principles driving DPT include teaching our clients to fish, addressing people and process factors first in any business change, and promoting Project Leadership to get real and manage risk.

Let’s dive into that first principle for a minute.

Most organizations do not deploy technology and declare success based on loading software and training a few people – it’s to change their business for the better and improve their performance. Those improvements could include process efficiency, improved decision-making, revenue growth and project effectiveness.

The vast majority of performance improvement is dependent on business change, not technology change. At DPT, we focus on the process, people, data, and strategy being aligned toward business objectives. Putting your time and effort into those factors will drive success more than being good at “cool” technology.


Today, we’re proud to say that DPT stands for “Driving Performance Together.” And that’s something that will never change.

Our business results orientation, Project Leadership expertise, and people and process focus are what drive our clients’ high rate of success. If you don’t believe us, listen to our clients. What you’ll hear is a common thread about paying attention to client success as measured in business terms, not technology terms:

Watch our client testimonials:


Want to know how we Drive Performance Together? The first step to create an efficient, customer-centric and performance-driven environment in your business is to craft a custom Business Case Blueprint – get in touch with us to get started. There’s no cost – and no obligation.  Take advantage of our experience to key in quickly on the most critical metrics in YOUR business by getting in touch with us.

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 00:00

How to Avoid the CRM Death Spiral

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Have you heard of the CRM Death Spiral? Maybe you’ve experienced it. Over time, people stop using CRM because it doesn’t work for them, the data isn’t meaningful, and they don’t have the training and processes in place to know when and how to use it. So they gradually stop keeping it up to date. When this happens, the reliability and usability of the data decreases even more, which leads to less confidence in the CRM solution, which leads to less use of the solution… and the cycle continues.

death spiral

If you want to get your CRM back on track, or are wondering how to get started with CRM the right way, here’s a look at the top five CRM success factors to help you avoid the Death Spiral:

1.Don’t ignore user needs

CRM strategies are more likely to fail if compelling reasons for adoption aren’t provided to all users. For example, most sales people believe CRM is “big brother software” instead of a solution to help maximize their selling time and close more deals. Proper CRM strategic planning and design should provide obvious and clear value to the end users – to be more efficient and effective, AND to management – to enable better decision making.

2.Include people and process change factors

Many CRM projects that fail are driven by a “load the software, train the users, and we are done” mentality, which severely limits chances for success. This approach ignores the potential for users to revert back to past practices. Successful CRM takes a comprehensive approach that promotes user adoption, best practices, and continuous improvement.

3.Use the correct sequence

Selecting a software package first will lead most CRM projects right to failure. Likewise, defining processes and functionality before aligning the strategic drivers and measurements will also lower success rates. The proper sequencing of business strategy alignment, process standardization, requirements definition and tool selection is a key factor in determining success.

4.Define business metrics

“What gets measured gets done.” This philosophy applies to CRM via management of sales (close ratios), marketing (campaign ROI), and customer service (resolution efficiency). Without an accurate compass CRM projects can drift away from what is truly important. Properly tied to business drivers, metrics are the necessary feedback component that drives improvement.

5.Don’t eat the elephant all at once

Scope control is important. Well-intentioned projects can go awry with trying to take on the world or focusing too narrowly on a small piece of functionality. Use of proven Project Leadership techniques for effective scope, stakeholder, and resource management will increase the odds of success with CRM.

Let DPT show you how to avoid the CRM Death Spiral. Through our focus on success factors such as solid change management and project governance, DPT can help you drive user adoption, develop meaningful metrics, and build continuous improvement processes to provide real business value and engagement over time. Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your unique needs.




Comparing CRM and ERP solutions is like looking at the difference between apples and oranges. Depending on the business problem you’re trying to solve, it may make sense to pick an apple or an orange – or in most cases – both. While ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) standardizes and automates the back-end functions of a business, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) supports the “front office” functions by collecting customer information to grow a business through increased sales, higher retention rates, and better customer service. Essentially – while there certainly is crossover – ERP helps you run your business efficiently, while CRM helps you grow your business.


Why wouldn’t I just use the CRM module of my ERP or an accounting system add-on?

CRM and ERP require a very different approach to each strategy and solution. As with a car needing both an engine and transmission to drive, most companies need ERP and CRM to grow effectively – they serve different, but critically valuable purposes. Another way of thinking about the difference is how you sell and market your services as compared to the processes you use to deliver them. Each area requires different approaches, skill sets, techniques, and more.

Click to Tweet: "Most companies need #ERP and #CRM to grow effectively - they serve different, but critically valuable purposes."

A good CRM strategy follows a “flexible processes driving technology” approach, whereas ERP typically comes with embedded predefined processes. Most cross functional processes utilize information from both systems. However, CRM is usually a consumer and producer of customer information, but ERP is typically only a consumer. The table below highlights a few of the other differences:


Manages customer interactions and touchpoints

Manages operational information

Benefits – Increased sales, service levels, customer acquisitions/retention

Benefits – Lower costs, growth scalability, compliance

Primary interface for customer facing staff

Primary interface for Operations staff

Requires flexibility to model complex customer relationships

Requires high level of standardization for efficiency

Supports “Owning the customer experience” approach

Supports efficient information management and access

Why do I need to hire a CRM specialist?

Sticking with the car analogy, if the transmission on your car goes out, do you go to a general auto shop or a transmission specialist? What this means is that getting the most out of your CRM means hiring someone that has specific CRM experience and approach to make it useable, provide value, and help your people see the need for using it. Most IT vendors and accounting firms trying to implement CRM the same way as ERP would be like hiring the general auto shop. Adoption is one of the biggest hurdles to CRM success – and ultimately, the ability to grow your business. Hiring the right CRM partner can make all the difference.

While most organizations recognize their need for ERP, they don’t necessarily see the need to have a separate CRM solution. As a partner to many Michigan-based companies, DPT helps evaluate your unique CRM success factors and create a solution that works. Contact us to start a conversation.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016 13:36

Introducing Diane Birtles!

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I am very excited to be a part of the DPT team where so much of my education and experiences come together to better serve our customers. One could call my education and career path downright eclectic. With a technical background in computers and advanced degrees in intercultural studies and counseling one could wonder what common denominator they share: Each of them, at their core, are people and solution-focused. The same can be said about DPT. I am encouraged that DPT puts their focus on the customer and problem-solving first, and when necessary, using technology as part of the solution. Taking the time to listen to the clients’ issues and problems in order to thoughtfully resolve them is a key strength of the DPT team and one that attracted me to join them.

Diane Family Pic

As a Michigan native, I have lived in the Greater Grand Rapids area for over 25 years and thoroughly enjoy the variety the area offers. From great entertainment venues and restaurants to the many parks and hiking trails in the area, don’t be surprised if you spot me at a favourite restaurant catching up with friends or taking a walk at a local park with one of my canine roommates.  Filled with some of the most giving and gracious people, West Michigan is a great place to live and work. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a company that believes in building strong relationships with a focus on local companies.   



Read more about Diane in her bio, and find her on LinkedIn.



As a Michigan native, I have lived in the Greater Grand Rapids area for over 25 years and thoroughly enjoy the variety the area offers.  From great entertainment venues and restaurants to the many parks and hiking trails in the area. [Ma1] Don’t be surprised if you spot me at a favorite restaurant catching up with friends or taking a walk at a local park with one of my canine roommates[Ma2] .  Filled with some of the most giving and gracious people, West Michigan is a great place to live and work. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a company that believes in building strong relationships with a focus on local companies.

 [Ma1]This sentence is incomplete

 [Ma2]Maybe add their names in here?

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