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Published: May 15 2017

How Spreadsheets Limit Facilities Capital Planning Collaboration

Facilities managers often ask us why they would need something beyond spreadsheets for their facility capital planning.

While they suspect that there could be a better way, they are hesitant to jump to a new system without better understanding the benefits.

Along with the perils of manual data entry, another key issue of spreadsheets is the lack of centralization, which can limit collaboration between managers. While facilities staff across the organization each gather and update facility details in their own spreadsheet, they can often only view and share information by emailing and opening spreadsheets that are all stored in different locations.

The types of data that may exist in these isolated spreadsheet silos can include:

  • Facility condition details - Field reports, service requests and assessments
  • Space metrics - CAD drawings and occupancy data
  • Operational information - Work orders, maintenance records and utility invoices
  • Lease information - Types and terms/costs
  • Trends and forecasts - Demographics, funding scenarios, strategic plans and revenue projections

When building data is maintained in different spreadsheets, accuracy deteriorates and collaboration is difficult. Other challenges include the sluggish handling of bulky files, and a lack of version control which can cause confusion and errors.

When it comes to effective capital planning for large portfolios, spreadsheets lack key capabilities, including:

  • Automatic calculations, requiring manual data entry
  • Built-in cost estimation based on industry norms
  • Objective project prioritization
  • Centralized data storage
  • An ability to scale

Cloud-based facility capital planning software, such as Accruent's solution, enables collaboration and sharing with a centralized source of data. Work can be distributed across team members who then access relevant information and tools anytime and anywhere. Facilities management software can also be used to produce executive dashboards and portals that present real-time dynamic data from multiple sources in one simple interface.

Accruent capital planning software can help you objectively model multi-year capital plans that optimize building portfolio investments and align with your mission.

Want to read more on this topic? See these blog posts:

The Perils of Manual Data Entry in Facilities Capital Planning
Facilities Managers Won’t Find Cost Estimation Norms Data in Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets Lack Functionality Facilities Managers Need
How Capital Planners Measure Performance (It’s Not with Spreadsheets)

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