The Australian federal and state budgets for 2020-21 outline financial support for construction projects. Not every project seeking funding will get it. But for those that do, getting right what follows will be critical.
All of the budgets focus on recovery of the economy to rapidly stimulate jobs and growth. COVID-19 has resulted in the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP-Treasurer said in his budget speech. In addition, the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, the Hon. Alan Tudge MP, stated that the Federal Government's record AU$110 billion transport infrastructure program and AU$3.5 billion rolling water infrastructure fund will support local jobs and businesses at the time it is needed most. These projects are expected to support more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. There are therefore high expectations and responsibilities associated with the allocated funds.
The recovery budgets must accomplish several objectives: deliver benefits to the economy and local communities, create jobs, and help boost consumers’ confidence amid the new “COVID-19 normal” reality.
The challenges to achieving these goals include maximising the return on the investment, minimising administrative costs, selecting the most suitable initiatives, and tracking the benefits and outcomes achieved. In essence, doing the right projects, right.
Realising the opportunity to successfully deliver against the objectives requires balancing people, processes, and technology to optimise funding and program management. When done well, the benefits are substantial, reducing reporting efforts to government on the status of projects and increasing the likelihood of securing future funding for similar initiatives with a demonstrated track record of success.
Managing funds comes with a responsibility to distribute them fairly and equitably to worthy initiatives. This requires an application and assessment process wherein you invite, receive, and evaluate proposals. Funding can come from multiple sources to help you finance individual initiatives.
The challenge is multi-layered. Organisations should rely solely on robust data to make decisions. Funding is allocated based on managed and controlled application processes inclusive of the articulation of and reporting on benefits to be achieved.
Program management technology allows you to administer a standardised workflow, enforce a consistent reporting and monitoring regime to track benefits, create visibility throughout the portfolio and program; and leverage analytics to support informed decision-making.
Furthermore, connectivity across systems encourages and simplifies collaboration among stakeholders.
Successful funding and program management requires control and governance. Periodic reporting on funds’ performance and value earned to multiple funding sources requires:
• Program management visibility and control
• Management, monitoring, and tracking of benefits and outcomes
• Transparency throughout the entire lifecycle for verification of funds and expense payments
Here, technology helps standardise processes and procedures for monitoring of performance, tracking of benefits, and reporting on outcomes.
Capital delivery portfolio, program, and project management best practices rely on governance and visibility to maintain control of the time, cost, and quality aspects of the program and projects.
While the importance of robust project controls certainly should not be underestimated, it’s also imperative to consider how funds and programs are to be managed to deliver the intended outcomes successfully.
Obtaining near real-time data insights to allow for informed decision-making is integral to proper funds and program management.
Visibility of events within projects across the program helps optimise practices and manage associated funds. When the challenge is to achieve a return on investment as soon as possible—while continuing to meet funding conditions—data insights and visibility help professionals make informed decisions expeditiously without compromise.
Visibility of time, cost, quality, and risk—in a project, program or portfolio—combined with analytics functionality provides early warning of potentially adverse impacts and enables course correction.
Standardisation, connectivity, and visibility are key to addressing this challenge. This includes standardisation in data collation, reporting, risk management, budget and cost management, and procurement and governance—across project, program, and portfolio management.
A standardised approach and connected technology and systems allow easy and pre-programmed analytics to automate large reporting requirements while also providing near real-time visibility of activity and impacts.
All these elements provide the foundation for informed decision-making, leading to greater success directed from hindsight, insight, and foresight derived from data and information.
You need to have robust processes and procedures that are underpinned by the right technology in order to deliver the desired economic recovery benefits from your projects, programmes, and portfolios.
Ultimately, there are two critical aspects to successfully applying for available funding:
1. Selecting the right projects and justifying their need and impact; and
2. Providing reassurance that a solid return on investment (ROI) is likely to be achieved.
Capital works governance and control is critical. Ensuring these during the delivery phase of the capital injection will help deliver ROI and ultimately help kick-start economies reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
The right foundation to achieve these ends includes robust processes and procedures—enabled by proven and connected technology—throughout the plan, build, and operate phases of any assets funded by the recovery budget. Are you ready to manage funds and programs in a manner that will enable you to progress the right projects correctly?
Oracle’s mission is to help professionals see data in new ways, discover insights, and unlock endless possibilities. Oracle Construction and Engineering’s specialised technology includes solutions for you to manage your funds, portfolio, programs and projects and drive performance across the project and asset lifecycle.
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