Why you need to take the leap from manual to digital reporting

By Ashish Kumar Agrawal, Vice President – Product & Strategy Group, Aurigo Software

Reporting plays a critical role in the funding and management of public sector infrastructure projects. However, project complexity in the engineering and construction space has made reporting a familiar bugbear. This is because projects depend on a fluid alliance between planners, consultants, architects, contractors, suppliers, and sponsors of all sizes. Adding to the growing challenge is that field, financial, material, trend, and project progress reports could be needed daily, weekly, monthly, and annually, multiplying the effort. Naturally, program managers are constantly exploring ways to ease the growing administrative and resource burden of reporting. Delays and errors have become inevitable, often resulting in unaffordable time and cost overruns. The solution is to digitize the process and include a layer of automation to create a path to reliable data-based reporting.

digital reportingThe value of dependable and timely data in reports cannot be emphasized enough. Listening to data provides a navigation system into the future. It is also the fuel for further analytics. In your business, where decisions depend on innumerable variables—from weather to workforce availability—good data-based reporting can act as a decision support system. It can take away the guesswork and eliminate the need for gut-level interventions. Finally, good reporting brings you visibility into projects and puts different stakeholders on the same page. Bottom line: Accurate and timely reporting is the only means to improve the performance of your assets and investments, prevent plans from getting derailed, and speeding up project approvals.

Given the needs of the industry, why does reliable reporting continue to remain elusive? There are four key reasons for this:

Lack of a single source of data: Data is distributed between multiple, disjointed systems. Building and maintaining reports from more than one system is time-consuming and resource-intensive (plus, it gives everyone creating the reports a frightful headache).

Lack of standardization: Different business units, users, and external entities follow different reporting styles and use different tools. A lack of consistent formats creates a barrier to effectively visualizing and presenting data.

No self-serve platform: Reporting needs change continuously. Agencies should be able to get insights the way they need it and when they need it. For this, they should not have to involve multiple departments and agencies. The data should be readily available on an automated self-serve platform, generating reports for stakeholders at the push of a button.

Unclear Reporting Needs: Lack of clarity on reporting needs results in too much or too little data on a report. This leads to seemingly endless rework and creates room for errors.

The need to invest in an effective construction management tool is self-evident. Ideally, such a tool should standardize the data from multiple sources of information and converge it into a single, consistent source of truth.

Turning the reporting process digital guarantees that your data does not get lost, missed, or inadvertently altered. Even a seemingly innocuous piece of poor or missing data can delay your projects or result in financial leakage. A digital construction management tool will not let this happen.

For most organizations, the goal should be to take their reporting to the next level. This can be done with real-time data and the right set of analytical and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. Using them, reports become the basis for projections or to explore what-if situations. This is a significant change from the traditional role of reports—which has been to serve as a rear-view mirror to examine the past. In effect, digital systems have the potential to take reporting to the next level.

The first—and perhaps most significant—step toward digital reporting is to understand the reporting needs of your business. What are the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) your organization wants? What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) it uses to measure success? Data generation should focus on the OKRs and KPIs relevant to your business. Having too much data can be expensive, confusing, and pointless; having too little makes reporting futile. A single source of data (a Data Lake) is a must-have to simplify reports generation and management. As already mentioned, standardization is essential because it makes it easier to consolidate reports across business units and makes them easier to consume. Here, the concept of standardization includes report formats, styling, visualization, navigation, and report organization.

Reliable, comprehensive, and timely reports have always been critical to business success. They are invaluable in managing growing compliance needs. And they help identify opportunities for improvement. The public sector infrastructure industry has traditionally invested an inordinately high amount of time and resources into generating these reports. It is time to change that with digital reporting tools to simplify and strengthen the process.

Ashish Kumar Agrawal

Ashish Kumar Agrawal,

Vice President-Product & Strategy Group, Aurigo Software

For more information or questions, contact our team of capital program professionals at http://www.aurigo.com/request-a-demo/

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