Managing financial and commercial (e.g. contracting and change management) processes, data and reporting for capital projects is far from easy, and many owners and developers of construction projects simply get by with their current status quo. That is, until something happens that forces the organization to address this pain and risk as a priority for improvement. Hopefully that “something” isn’t an extremely costly or damaging occurrence, but more often than not it is, so why wait for that negative experience?
Times have changed - Assess your Current State
The first step towards improvement is a current state assessment where you take an honest look in the mirror and identify the risks, challenges and overall maturity of your processes and technology tools. This helps you determine the improvement opportunities to focus on, and gives you the business case to ignite the change and a baseline to track against as you implement it. To put it bluntly, the goal posts have shifted significantly in 2020, and a successful path forward requires transformation.
In completing this assessment, many of you will identify problems including:
- Disconnected and disparate data
- Friction in stakeholder collaboration
- Fragmented and delayed project visibility
- Inconsistent and potentially erroneous reporting
- Insufficient processes and tools to control the project
- Inability to leverage historical data to improve future decisions
- Trouble connecting stakeholders across the field, office, and enterprise
- Difficulty managing risk and maintaining visibility into potential change in the field
- Lack of data standardization blocking the ability to compare across projects and teams
Consider how this impacts your ability to deliver consistent, high quality, successful projects.
So, how can you improve? If you’ve got the right people in place, then it’s time to look at maturing your processes and technology as the next step.
Take the next step, with Procore
There are three key pillars of project delivery success: People, Process, and Technology. Even if you have the best people in the world and know what your processes should be, the technology your teams leverage must support those people and processes or you will fall behind your peers. The Procore platform does exactly that!
I would have loved these solutions in my Asset Management days when I was spending countless hours chasing information through email, relying on complex manual spreadsheets, and trying to leverage commercial real estate accounting software that was not helpful for project management. It was also quite rewarding to implement Procore financial solutions for my consulting clients, such as Boston Children’s Hospital, and watch the results.
So how can capital project owners and developers leverage Procore for success with financial management? There are three primary ways:
- Digitize your business processes
- Utilize purpose-built solutions
- Standardize and connect your data
Digitize your business processes
With Procore, streamline collaboration with your business partners, end users, and any other internal or external stakeholders by providing a central hub for all project data and communication. The platform is designed to boost productivity and transparency with a digital thread of linked data and documentation. Procore’s solutions are mobile-friendly and easy to integrate with other software through our open API (check out the 250+ pre-built third-party applications available in Procore’s marketplace). This promotes incredible cross-functional collaboration and real-time data capture across the project lifecycle that you can leverage to monitor, control and improve in many ways.
Procore’s ball-in-court tracking keeps everyone on the same page with real-time visibility into current status. The automatic change history, including digitally captured workflows and approvals provides an easy way to trace the full story from start to finish. This process connectivity, centralized data source, and streamlined collaboration are key to how owners can leverage the Procore platform to reduce risk, and increase efficiency, visibility and control in financial business processes.
“Look, we are building a national network of high-speed charging infrastructure at a massive scale, and at a fast and furious pace," explains Anthony Lambkin, Electrify America’s Director of Operations. "There was only one way to do it—by making sure we had the systems, tools, and processes in place to be able to enable and facilitate that. Electrify America needed the services of a company like Procore to help us succeed.”
Utilize purpose-built solutions
Historically, many project teams have endured piecing together project information from a mish-mash of sources. In addition to the manual spreadsheets referenced above, many are stuck trying to leverage email, public file sharing tools, and corporate ERPs built for Finance, Accounting, and Procurement teams. It’s time to change the status quo and give your teams what they need - their own solutions!
At Procore, our strategy is building solutions that truly solve our users’ problems, and improve the lives of everyone involved. The result is purpose-built solutions that are configurable to your needs and designed to seamlessly integrate with other business applications such as your ERP.
What does this really mean? Here are three (of many) examples:
Streamline key tasks
When you combine connected data with tools built specifically to solve key tasks such as forecasting, you can drastically reduce administrative burden and create more time to focus on higher value aspects of their work.
For example, advanced forecasting is one way Procore streamlines an otherwise highly manual task. This solution makes it easy to create monthly cash flow forecasts across the project lifecycle by leveraging connected budget, commitment, and cost data, along with efficiency boosting functions such as multi-line selection and date driven spreading curves. The result is more accurate and current information produced with a fraction of the effort and pain.
Integrate seamlessly with the rest of the business
Procore customers are able to achieve a single source of truth across the business through robust API-powered integrations. The platform is built with maximum extensibility in mind, which means we invest in the ability to seamlessly connect Procore with other applications that are essential to your business, such as corporate ERP systems, and pretty much any other software that can send or accept data. As of December, 2019 more than 70% of Procore customers utilize at least one of the third party application integrations available in Procore’s marketplace.
As Al Nover, Facilities Finance & Contracts Manager at Boston Children’s Hospital explains during a session at Groundbreak 2020, “Our integration between Procore and Oracle is extremely important to us because the data is automatically synced, and allows the PM's to have all the info they need in their own solution, but also gives us confidence that we are synced with the ERP and capital planning systems the rest of the Hospital utilizes. There's no manual entry. Our PMs do their cash flow directly in Procore. The Finance team and the budget team see the forecast live instead of me having to download spreadsheets and send them over. It’s all integrated, it’s automatic, and it’s accurate."
Report and analyze with ease
Many of us are too familiar with reporting that takes days, or weeks of manual data compilation from various sources into complicated spreadsheets and rigid templates. That pain is compounded by the fact that what you do produce is only somewhat accurate, hopefully complete, and likely outdated when it’s done. Procore aggregates all of your project data in real time as stakeholder collaboration flows through one platform. This puts you in the driver's seat with a complete picture you can monitor and report in any way you need across your projects, programs and portfolio(s). Within the financial management solutions, users can leverage out-of-the-box templates, or easily configure custom views and calculations. With Procore, users have accurate, complete, and current reporting at any time with a few clicks.
Procore’s analytics solution provides an easy way to extract powerful insights from all the data across your tech stack. One example of this is how Procore Analytics’ pre-built reports like Budget Benchmarking and Key Influencers can help you use historical data to make better future decisions around estimates, vendor selection, and several other key areas. Learn more about Procore Analytics for Owners here.
As Larisa Eichacker, Project Manager at Hackman Capital Partners, explains “the ability to have the real-time financial data more readily accessible and all the nuanced reporting that’s available through Procore—that piece of it is super helpful to us.”
Standardize and connect your data
Spreadsheets can be powerful tools, but even the best “Excel ninjas” will tell you they are error prone and near impossible to keep aligned with the rest of the business or across a portfolio. It’s time to help your teams get out of the land of manual spreadsheets and siloed data that is holding them back. Procore’s solutions save time, reduce risk and keep all stakeholders on the same page with synchronized current information.
Procore is configurable to your needs, so you can establish standardized data structures, templates, reports, and processes aligned to your way of working. Combine this with Procore’s permission structure and you’ve got a solution that eliminates the time sink and errors present in more manual methods, while enforcing your processes and controls across various projects and teams.
Jessy Milner, Owner of Front Line Advisory, a program management firm utilizing Procore to manage a 60 project $300M infrastructure program for Travis County, Texas explains "Procore allows us to define and mandate standard practice, so I can compare cost and budgets and schedules and tasks between projects. Now there’s one central location for all, from the executive level, to the elected officials, all the way down to the PMs.The platform is intuitive and requires minimal training, so it can be easily implemented across our 50+ projects."
Set your teams and stakeholders up for success
Don’t wait until that “something” bad happens that forces your organization to address the risk and pain in your current status quo. Be proactive in taking the next steps to improve across your portfolio with Procore’s financial management solutions.
Learn more about Procore’s financial solutions for Owners in the product overview video below and request a personalized demo today to see how you can leverage the power of the Procore platform for success.