A Data Driven Approach to Public Facilities and Assets
In “Moneyball,” the novel by author Michael Lewis, the Oakland Athletics, a professional baseball team, had nearly three times less salary to spend on their 2002 roster than the first place Yankees. With such a disparity between their budget and that of larger market teams, how is it that they ended up making the playoffs? They ultimately found success by using data and analytics driven systems that prioritized key performance metrics in undervalued players, whom they could actually afford. With a team built strategically and economically around each player’s strengths—rather than by signing team of expensive, all-around stars—the A’s were able to finish their season under budget while still finding success, even winning a then record 20 games in a row.
It may seem a stretch, but this data driven approach carries over into how public facilities and assets are stewarded. The way city governments prioritize funding is under ever-increasing scrutiny. Rationalizing which capital projects get approved is a lot like crafting a team for a season. Without reliable, meaningful data, how can you be sure that you are picking winners, especially when budgets may be low or constrained? The wrong choices could mean expensive reactive repairs instead of less costly, proactive maintenance.
Prioritizing where money is spent should not be based on just a hunch. Software solutions are available for both facility condition assessments and reporting that capture quality data and present it in a way that is both meaningful and impactful to capital decisions. When researching what to look for in a facilities and asset condition software that can backstop your funding requests with the right insight, there are several key things to look for.
Software that Fits the Way Business Processes and Staffs Work
Why spend thousands of dollars on software that does not fit the way you do business? There is real time and expense to changing business processes, re-educating staff and putting ever-increasing demands on getting accurate data at the right time to drive your funding needs. The right solution should provide flexible and customizable reporting that fits your business structure.
It is important to back up your funding requests not only with documentation, but with photo evidence as well. Oftentimes, surveyors will run into asset issues or compliance concerns on-site and taking a photo is the best form of documentation they can get quickly. However, a simple photo is not always enough to fully describe the issue to whomever views the final reports. If a software assessment solution has photo markup capabilities, users can identify and annotate photographs, using shapes, arrows and text to either highlight or describe where they are seeing specific issues. Now, once you have had the funding approved, the same photo which has been tagged to a site plan can give the field engineers a frame of reference.
Visibility and Control
At every step of the way, organizations should have complete control of building, asset and assessment data. The right facility and asset condition software should give you a complete audit trail of when assessments occur—whether it is an ADA compliance or a roof assessment—as well as the ability to approve the quality of those assessments before they are used for reporting purposes and before the data hits the capital plan itself.
Always On, Always Available
Because teams may often perform assessments in a low 3G or 4G connection area, or need to work offline, organizations should have the confidence that their data is preserved through different levels of bandwidth. You want to be able to collect data about your buildings, the condition of assets and impact of lifecycle within those buildings in a consistent way, whether online or offline, with just one true source of that data. This will ensure that your capital plans are based on factual proof and data points.
The right solution should allow organizations to generate standard lifecycle plans for capital improvements. In addition, its users should be able to prioritize various components to match internal initiatives. For example, if you need to replace fire alarms across multiple buildings, what does that look like across one year, five years or even or longer?
With the right software tool that enables consistent reporting of key data on facilities and assets, the prioritization of capital projects and funding requests will have a solid backstop, leaving you feeling more confident that you have chosen the winning team for the seasons ahead.