As network operators approach your company for colocation and build-to-suit projects, getting sites up and running quickly and without costly errors will result in quicker revenue recognition and greater profitability.

However, housing your data and processes in multiple systems makes it difficult and time-consuming to access and manage the complex set of data, documents and steps needed for feasibility studies, permitting, ground leases, site visits and other project work. Pulling together site data and project-related documentation into an infrastructure lifecycle management system helps to ensure that everyone — your employees, vendors and customers — has appropriate access to a single source of truth. It also streamlines workflow across multiple vendors working on a project, helping to reduce errors that may result from missing critical deadlines or lacking insight into correct data. Ultimately, it also gives you greater visibility into active projects to ensure each one is on track.

The following are important capabilities to look for in an infrastructure lifecycle management system to increase the speed and decrease the costs of your BTS and colocation projects:

1. Documents and data managed in a single, integrated system.

To ensure your project teams have appropriate access to the documents they need, your system should allow your teams to easily collaborate by uploading and organizing all documents related to a project. Storing data in a single system reduces the need to access multiple systems for information and deploy ad hoc site audits. Instead of sending out trucks or digging through multiple systems every time you need to perform a site modification, you can access information immediately through your system — effectively reducing the time and cost of your projects.

2. Project schedule templates for standardized processes.

Using project schedule templates based on best practices for site builds and new equipment installation helps you kick off new projects consistently without starting from scratch each time. Look for systems that give you built-in process steps, with the flexibility to modify steps to suit your specific processes and projects, including special circumstances such as seasonal weather considerations.

3. Automated workflows for streamlined task handoffs.

Be sure to select a system that allows you to automate the progression of projects. The system should track each step’s completion, and notify the person responsible for the next step. The system also should allow you to set up task dependencies between related projects, and require documentation of each completed step to ensure process adherence and a smooth handoff. This is particularly important for complying with government regulations and permitting requirements, as your system can effectively enforce specific procedures and store documents related to regulations and permits.

4. Permission settings for control over system access.

Certain data and processes related to any given project can be confidential. Your sub-contracted vendors should have access only to the documents and data needed for their specific project tasks. Your system should give you complete control over who can see, change, and complete which information and activities in the system.

5. Project and cross-project reporting for greater visibility.

One of the greatest benefits of having a single system with which to manage your BTS and colocation projects is visibility into multiple projects, towers and budgets to ensure projects are on track, and to forecast project timelines to avoid costly delays. Are certain vendors’ projects coming in late or early? Are certain tasks behind schedule? Look for systems that give you answers to these questions through dashboards and both pre-built and customized reports.