What to look for in capital program management software for owners

July 1, 2021 | 5 minute read
Janet Poses
Product Marketing Director
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Owners want their built assets to be consistently planned, delivered, and maintained in the most efficient and effective manner. Sound capital management reduces surprises, risks, and inefficiencies, helping to ensure projects are successful and aligned to organizational goals.

Capital management also has the potential to creates savings, in time and money, that can be put toward other priority projects and activities. Owners want to make the most of their capital, from selection and construction through closeout.

However, many owner organizations face hurdles to reaching this state, including disjointed manual processes and disconnected systems (and data) that hamper productivity. Moreover, fixing these problems can be daunting as many traditional capital program management solutions take months or longer to implement.

So, what’s the best way for owners to get the visibility, control, and assurance they need (as quickly as they need it)? Technology can help – and finding the right solution aligned to your organization’s profile, needs, and timeline is important.

An effective capital program management solution digitizes, standardizes, and automates capital asset planning and execution processes. Ideally, this solution provides a single, cohesive system to manage cost, schedule, data, and risk that seamlessly connects building owners with their general contractors across their project portfolio.

Getting this right can deliver rapid results that improve coordination, boost predictability, and mitigate risks.

Before selecting a solution, organizations should ask some fundamental questions – Where are we as an organization? Where do we want to be? How can we get there quickly? And where do we go from there? – and then assess vendors and their systems’ capabilities accordingly.

Key aspects to look for in potential solutions include:

1. Depth of capital program management expertise

Any digital system can streamline and automate processes – but you need to implement the right processes to see real improvements. Why spend months analyzing and optimizing your existing processes when proven best practices already exist? Look for systems with prebuilt structured processes that can be quickly and easily personalized for your teams.

But how can you have confidence those prebuilt processes are effective? Organizations would do well to examine potential vendors’ breadth of experience in providing capital program management solutions. How long have they worked with owner organizations – and can they meet both your current and potential future needs?

2.  One cohesive system

Effective capital program management requires a full picture across cost, schedule, scope, and risk.

Many owner organizations’ current approaches do not provide their organization with optimal capital program outcomes because owners are using a combination of enterprise resource planning (ERP) system functionality with other financial tools, point solutions, email, and spreadsheets. The result? Disconnected data, manual processes, limited visibility, and inconsistency across projects. Decisions are made based on fragmented data – and often without all needed inputs. 

Owners can make faster and better decisions as they look across cost, schedule, and scope by using one cohesive system, for a snapshot of complete data at the project or portfolio level. This approach brings consistent, high quality, informed decision-making across projects.

Think of the benefits of this model when owners are reviewing a scope change request and are deliberating the trade-offs involving across cost and schedule. 

3. Portfolio level visibility

Relying on disconnected systems and disjointed processes doesn’t work during the project evaluation and prioritization stage (or any stage, for that matter). By implementing an organization-wide solution, you can standardize processes and ensure all project proposals undergo the same evaluation.

With an enterprise solution, everyone uses the same structure, quality, and format of project data, regardless of project type, contractor or location. The key is finding a solution that enables company-wide standardization while still meeting specific project needs.

For example, a North American regional hotel chain may prioritize their geographically dispersed projects in different ways and using various criteria if they do not have standard processes implemented on a common system. This means that a project could be approved - even if the project is not the best choice for the company collectively.

In contrast, a standardized system ensures consistency and fairness and helps align capital planning decisions with an organization’s strategic objectives.

Portfolio level capabilities also appeal to management by providing a higher-level view. The entire organization benefits from lessons learned and an ability to implement emerging best practices across all projects. Make sure to look for a solution that enables project-to-project comparisons that support continuous improvement and portfolio-wide reporting.

 4. Insights

Owners no longer need to rely solely on backward-looking historic data, or wait until a problem arises, to make decisions. Modern capital program management solutions offer cost and schedule insights, including custom rules and forecasting that show when schedule or costs exceed plan to prompt corrective action.

These rules and governance help owners take proactive action before their projects are impacted. Reporting within a unified solution provides better forecasting capabilities by using historical data and actuals to build projections.  

Owners want to spend time analyzing and acting on information – not compiling data and developing reports. Out-of-the-box reports and dashboards help users and management easily see and communicate what’s going on quickly at both project and portfolio levels.

Reporting should include data from across cost, schedule, scope, and risk. Owners should ensure the system they select supports the level of reporting required, including daily action reports, management, executive, and third-party requirements.

5. Scalability and stability

Owner organizations change and grow over time. Make sure your solution has the flexibility and scalability to meet your future needs—even if you don’t yet know what they are.

Further, the types of projects owners undertake may change due to numerous factors, including business climate, regulatory change, consumer behavior, etc. The nature of project work, including the business processes required to plan and execute this work, are likely to change over time.

Both vendor and system stability are key to future-proofing your solution, so you should consider your vendors’ market profile, experience, resilience, and longevity – as well as their product development resources, system uptime and hosting – in selecting a partner.

A “one-stop-shop” solution

Project owners can benefit from a “one-stop shop” solution with a fast ROI that unites teams, processes, and data in a single system. A central system helps owners prioritize and select the right projects, maintain visibility into schedules, control costs, and collaborate on projects, as well as across their portfolio, and effectively close out their projects.

The result: owners can rest assured they are prioritizing the right projects, getting those projects operational, on time and within budget, and turning over a complete project record to support operations.

Learn how Primavera Unifier Essentials can help you quickly and easily implement proven processes to digitize and automate your capital asset planning and execution processes and improve profitability, operational reliability, and risk management.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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Janet Poses

Product Marketing Director

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