Managing Your Capital Improvement Program Doesn’t Have To Be A Hassle

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The Rundown

The right capital project management software will provide a central location for all fund types across all phases. You can forget about stressing over spreadsheets. A good CIP software will handle all the heavy lifting for you. Account for time value of money, know exactly where the funds are going, and report on all of it. Getting project requests off your back is a plus, too.

A lot of the folks we talk to are running their construction programs across multiple disjointed software. Adopting a full-scale construction management software really does make all the difference. We’ve seen dramatic changes in programs running on antiquated processes.

This is especially true with organizations that run capital improvement programs (CIPs).

These organizations are typically state funded and have to track multiple funds from multiple sources… Across numerous projects. Of course, municipal agencies are the first that come to mind. Entities like facilities, water, or even road & bridge management understand this. The challenges they face extend to school districts, colleges, and any other agency receiving state/federal funds.

It’s not uncommon for these entities to run their capital programs on Excel. Some of the Excel sheets we’ve seen host CIP programs would make your head spin. While they can work… And you may know this first-hand… Those sheets aren’t exactly ideal…

When we come across an organization running on Excel and email (even file sharing), they often think we’re offering a glorified database. Having a central location to organize all your fund data is a great first step. There are just so many other benefits to it that will make your job… less agonizing. We wanted to take the time to show you ‘a whole new world’ in running your capital planning program with a software that’s made for it… We hope it helps.

Tame Those Pesky Project Requests

It doesn’t matter if you’re a university, parks & rec dept., facilities commission, or other… There’s always someone that has a one-off project they want to push. Well, we have good news. There’s capital planning software that can be the guiding light to take that burden off your shoulders.

That’s right. From project requests all the way through closeout, CIP management software streamlines your projects from square one. In the system you’ll be able to create custom project request forms and post these on a public or private request page. Every request will be stored in the software nice and neatly- complete with file attachments and all.

Once your team sifts through the requests, the approval process can be managed right in the software. You’ll be able to create approval processes that fit your organization’s structure. Those approvals will be sent out automatically to the next person in line. For example, if a request needs to go to public works or engineering first, it’s all done in the software.

Automatically Rank Those Same Requests

Every organization is going to have different priorities for what’s best for their community. Whatever factors go into determining those priorities, they can be pre-set in your capital planning software. It may be environmental or economic factors that play into your request rankings. The CIP platform is designed with flexibility in mind to allow you to create custom factors as well. Each of your organization’s ranking preferences will also get a weighted score. Maybe you want to put a heavier weight on safety factors than impact on personnel. You’ll be able to easily set those parameters in your admin panel.
These factors will also have custom scoring rubrics as well that the software implementation team will help you set up. The goal is to custom tailor the software to fit your capital improvement program like a glove. All you need to do is set these preferences up once and every request will be automatically sorted in order of importance. And, of course, as priorities change your team can easily modify these as necessary.

Fund Tracking and Allocation

This is where a capital project management software really shines. If you’re reading this, you understand the chaos that can ensue when trying to track all of your fund sources across multiple projects over 3-5 years… Especially if you’ve been tracking everything in an Excel sheet.

When you adopt a CIP software, the fund registry will serve as your baseline for making sure resources get allocated efficiently. This is where you’ll manage each type of fund and easily track every credit and debit for those funds. You can track any type of fund source including state or federal grants, bonds, tax revenue, etc… The data you need will be conveniently accessible in one location.

For each fund, the summary dashboard will quickly show you that fund’s exact status. You can do this for every single fund type, phase, and project. At a glance you’ll see each project those funds are contributing to. As well, all your planned costs, allocations, commitments, and actuals side by side.

Your capital planning software will give you even deeper insights into what has yet to be accounted for. In addition to grand totals, the platform gives you a heads-up as to what still needs to be allocated as well as fund balances and uncommitted funds. When you have this data in a cohesive format that’s this easy to access, your capital program will get a breath of fresh air.

You’ll gain even greater visibility to your program if your CIP software is tied into your construction software. Every commitment and actual will allow you to drill down deeper. Every contract, change order, and invoice will be linked to the funding resource. A good capital planning software will even show you the % each fund contributed to those financials.

Escalation Scenarios

We’re all familiar with the adage ‘hope for the best; prepare for the worst’. The best in any industry take this wisdom to heart and apply it to their business. For the others that believe it to be true, but don’t practice it- good software is the crutch that bridges the gap.

In a capital project planning management software you’ll be able to forecast ‘what-if’ scenarios. The most common component to account for is time value of money. Inflation is a constant and for projects that span over 5 years or more, you need to be prepared. Sure, you can make these calculations for each project on your phone. But it’s just so much easier when the software does it for you.

Choose whatever rate you want to forecast and the CIP software will show you how it impacts your program over time. This is important because if you just ‘wing it’, people are going to be scratching their heads when it comes time to request additional funding. With these ‘what-if’ scenarios, you’ll be able to easily see what % of projects will still need to be funded on any given year. That’s preparing for the worst at its finest.

Scheduling

These days, people are a lot more visual when processing information. Let’s say you have the perfect spreadsheet to manage your capital projects. And it works for you. You’ll still have to take the time to translate that into a format that makes sense to the rest of your team. Again, the right capital project software takes care of it. In the software, you’ll be able to view your entire program over time in a view that makes sense. 

On top of that, you can adjust your timeline in that same view. It makes it simple to drag any of your projects to the most appropriate time frame. Since all of your funds are already linked to those projects, the funding values will adjust to match the commitments for that period.

With everything being tracked and linked in the software, you’ll be able to sleep so much easier. And you’ll have the software to thank when the doc compliments you on your blood pressure.

We Have The Reports

Yeah, everything we’ve talked about to this point will completely transform the way you plan your capital projects. Still, you know the folks upstairs are going to want analysis. The software gives it to them in whichever configuration they prefer.
Whether you want to narrow down by fund, fund type, project, or phase, it just takes a few clicks. Those who need the 30k ft view of the data will have it. That kind of control saves time, money, and will benefit all parties in the long run.

Conclusion

While spreadsheet can work, they often leave tremendous work and confusion in their wake. Consider adopting a capital planning software to streamline the entire process. Not only will you gain better insights, but will no longer have to stress about resource allocation over time. Plus, who doesn’t want to be free of manually handling project requests?

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See it in action

See it in action

See it in action

See it in action