The right capital construction program management software will provide a central location for all fund types, across all project phases. Don’t cause yourself stress by using spreadsheets — the right software handles all the heavy lifting for you. Account for time and value of money, know exactly where the funds are going, and easily report on all of it.
A lot of capital program owners we talk to are running their construction programs using several, disjointed software platforms — not the easiest way to work. While using a project management information system (PMIS) is a great step forward, adopting a full-scale construction program management software really does make all the difference. Clients have seen dramatic changes in their programs that they used to run on antiquated, manual processes.
This is especially true with organizations that run a capital improvement program (CIP). These organizations have to track funds from multiple sources, across multiple projects, for multiple years.
Capital planning requires the right tools and the right processes, and if you’re not using the right construction program management software, you’re losing money and time.
It’s not uncommon for those running capital programs to use Excel. Some of the Excel spreadsheets we see from clients are cringeworthy. While they can work, and you may know this first-hand, those spreadsheets aren’t exactly ideal.
Organizations running on Excel and email (even file sharing systems like Dropbox) often think construction program management software is a glorified database. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Want to see how much easier it is to run your CIP when you use a comprehensive capital construction program management software that includes a suite of capital planning tools? Then read on.
Tame Those Pesky Project Requests
It doesn’t matter if you’re a university, local Parks & Rec department, a state facilities commission, or the Department of Corrections, there’s always someone who has a one-off project they want to push. The right capital project management software takes the pain out of managing those requests.
From initial requests through closeout, the software streamlines your projects from square one. In the software, you’ll be able to create custom project request forms and post these on a public or private request page. Every request will then be conveniently stored in the software, complete with all the necessary file attachments and associated information.
Once you sift through the requests, the approval process is managed right in the capital project planning tool. You’ll be able to create approval processes that fit your organization’s unique structure. Approval requests are automatically sent to the next person in the approval process. For example, if a request needs to go to public works prior to engineering, it’s all automated for you in the capital project management software approval workflow.
Automatically Rank Those Same Requests
Every organization orders and prioritizes projects differently. Whatever factors go into determining your priorities can be defined right in the capital planning tool. You may have environmental or economic considerations that play into ranking your requests, so simply include them in your preferences and let the software do the work for you. You’ll also want to be sure whatever capital project planning software you use is flexible enough to allow you to create custom factors to ensure the ranking applies to your unique prioritization criteria.
Once your ranking preferences are set, the software also allows you to create a weighted score. Want to put a heavier weight on safety factors than the impact on personnel? Go for it. You’ll easily be able to set up those parameters in your admin panel.
In addition, your ranking criteria includes custom scoring rubrics (the software implementation team will help you set these up). The goal is to ensure the software fits your capital improvement program specifically.
So you set your preferences once and every request will then be sorted in order of importance automatically. And, as priorities change (and you know they do), you can easily modify the settings as needed.
Fund Tracking and Allocation
Fund tracking and allocation is where capital planning tools in the software really shine. If you manage capital improvement programs, you understand the chaos that can ensue when trying to track all of your funds, across multiple projects, over several years — especially if you’ve been tracking everything in Excel spreadsheets.
When you adopt a PMIS that includes capital planning tools, the fund registry serves as your baseline to ensure resources are allocated efficiently. This is where you manage each type of fund and easily monitor every credit and debit for those funds. Track any type of fund source, including state or federal grants, bonds, tax revenue, and more. All data you need is readily accessible in the software.
For each fund, the summary dashboard quickly shows you real-time status. And, you can do this for every fund type, phase and project. At a glance, you see each project those funds are contributing to, as well as your planned costs, allocations, commitments and actuals—all side by side.
Need deeper insights into what has yet to be accounted for? In addition to grand totals, the capital planning software shows you what still needs to be allocated, as well as fund balances and uncommitted funds. At your fingertips, you have all of your data in a cohesive format that’s easily accessible from anywhere.
There’s even greater visibility to your capital improvement projects if your capital planning software is tied into your construction program management software. Every commitment and actual allows you to drill down deeper. Every contract, change order and invoice is linked to the funding resource. The right capital project planning software will even show you the percentage each fund contributed to those financials. This reduces time and effort of pulling reports from various software platforms that aren’t connected.
You may be familiar with the adage ‘hope for the best; prepare for the worst.’ Top performing organizations take this wisdom to heart and apply it directly to their business.
Using a capital project planning software, you’ll be able to forecast for those ‘what-if’ scenarios to ensure you’re maximizing the impact of your capital budgets. The most common component to account for is value of money. Inflation is a constant and for projects that span five years or more, you need to be prepared.
Select any rate to forecast and the capital planning tools will show you the impacts to your program over time. This is key, because if you just wing it, people will be scratching their heads when it comes time to request additional funding. With these ‘what-if’ scenarios, you can easily see what percentage of projects will still need to be funded in any given year. Now that’s preparing for the worst at its finest.
According to Social Science Research Network, the majority of people these days are visual when processing information. Let’s say you have the perfect spreadsheet to manage your capital project schedules. And, it works for you. You still have to take the time to translate your data into a visual format that makes sense to the rest of your project stakeholders. Again, the right capital project planning software takes care of it for you. In the software, you’ll be able to view your entire program over time in a view that makes sense to everyone.
In addition, adjust your timeline in that same view. It makes it simple to just slide 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 the time frame you want to see.
With everything being tracked and linked in your capital construction program management software, you’ll be able to future-proof your CIP.
Real-Time Reports = Real-Time Insights
As you can see, the right software can completely transform the way you plan and manage your capital projects. Still, you know there are project stakeholders who are going to want a bird’s-eye view of every project and program. Using the right capital program management software gives it to them, in any configuration they prefer.
Narrow down by fund, fund type, project or phase—it just takes a few clicks. Whether you want the big picture or prefer to drill down to the most granular level, your reports will provide a clear breakdown of your program’s health. And if it’s running on a cloud-based platform, pulling reliable and consistent reports is easy, regardless of where you are or the device you use.
While using spreadsheets and email can work, they often create a tremendous amount of manual work and data confusion along the way. Consider adopting a capital construction program management platform that includes capital planning software to streamline your entire process. Not only will you gain better insights into your multi-year projects, but you’ll no longer have to stress about adjusting resource allocation and tracking multiple fund sources over time.
Plus, who doesn’t want to be free from manually handling those project requests?