In a previous article on GovDesignHub, we sat down with Balaji Sreenivasan, the founder, and CEO of Aurigo, to discuss why large infrastructure projects often run inefficiently and the challenges that government organizations face in getting them over the finish line.
This is a major problem because infrastructure projects often exceed budgets and timelines. For example, constructing the World Trade Center Transporation Hub took nearly seven years longer than anticipated and exceeded its budget by $2 billion. In that instance, $2 billion taxpayer dollars were spent on constructing a subway system that took almost seven extra years to implement.
In the second part of our discussion with Balaji, we explored the positive impact of infrastructure management software and how government agencies have used these solutions to take control of large, expensive infrastructure projects.
GDH: When we’re talking about large public infrastructure projects, such as transportation projects, the public can be very passionate and invested. How does the public notification and comment process impact these projects? How can it be improved?
Balaji Sreenivasan: Public agencies are federally mandated to solicit comments from constituents before approving plans. Public sector leaders always look for meaningful and equitable ways to connect with their constituents on these programs.
Today’s public feedback-gathering process is expensive, complex, and time-consuming. Annually, tens of thousands of projects across the country go through this process. The earlier agencies incorporate feedback into a project, the better.
Historically, the public involvement process has relied on various disconnected sources of feedback, including static websites, emails, and in-person town hall meetings. These methods often hinder equal access for all members of the public due to a lack of awareness, timing issues, and mobility constraints. Ultimately, this can cause rework for the agency and delay a project’s approval.
“An all-in-one public involvement platform that lets departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and other infrastructure owners publish their upcoming capital project information online can improve this process.” — Balaji Sreenivasan
Digitalizing the process allows public agencies to connect with their constituents using modern technologies, such as social media.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will save agencies hundreds of hours of processing time and provide richer feedback so that actions can be taken quickly and accurately. This will ensure that public agencies’ investments in infrastructure meet the public’s needs. An all-in-one public involvement platform that lets departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and other infrastructure owners publish their upcoming capital project information online can improve this process.
GDH: Aurigo claims its capital project and infrastructure management software can help expedite these projects, increase automation, and improve operational efficiency. What are these solutions, and how do they play a role in each of these three phases – planning, construction, and operations?
Balaji Sreenivasan: Aurigo offers end-to-end software solutions that automate every phase of the capital program lifecycle, which can be used by internal and external stakeholders using the latest web and mobile technologies. Our products address the needs of owners keeping in mind the size, type, and requirement of the capital program.
“Aurigo’s innovative and intuitive software suite delivers a process efficiency of over 37 percent and savings of up to five percent to infrastructure owners, amounting to millions of dollars.” — Balaji Sreenivasan
Aurigo helps agencies plan and create portfolios, track and manage funds, govern multiyear schedules, and be fiscally constrained. In the construction phase, we enable agencies to streamline the processes by providing a single source of truth, accurate reporting, real-time collaboration tools, digital audit trails, analytical insights, and centralized and structured document storage management. Our customers also get complete visibility of the health of their program and early warning signals so that they can make adjustments if things get off track.
Aurigo’s innovative and intuitive software suite delivers a process efficiency of over 37 percent and savings of up to five percent to infrastructure owners, amounting to millions of dollars.
GDH: Aurigo has several customer case studies and success stories on its website that claim the company’s solutions delivered massive ROI to its users. This includes a $100 million saving for the state of Utah’s Department of Transportation (UDOT). How did the adoption of a SaaS capital project and infrastructure management software result in such a significant saving? What benefits did it deliver, and how did it improve their processes?
Balaji Sreenivasan: UDOT was using a 14-year-old, homegrown client-server system approaching the end of its life, which could no longer support UDOT’s needs. This issue resulted in disorganization and endless paper trails for them as well as their consultants and contractors. Their outdated application was built on client-server technologies, which required the user to be inside the state’s firewall or have a Citrix connection to gain access. The setup was a significant inconvenience for UDOT’s construction contracting community.
“Both UDOT field staff and construction project teams have benefited from Aurigo’s solutions.” — Balaji Sreenivasan
Aurigo Masterworks Cloud was selected through a competitive request for proposal process because of its modern SaaS technology, breadth of functionality, and ease of use.
By fully automating UDOT’s business processes, a unified platform has been established to maintain the integrity of project costs, schedules, forecasted budgets, funds, and timeline requirements. The system generated a sense of collaboration across business units, enhanced the quality of work, increased productivity, and significantly reduced the margin of error for any given project.
Both UDOT field staff and construction project teams have benefited from Aurigo’s solutions. They can access the software via a web browser using a PC, laptop, or handheld device, either online or offline.
Aurigo has also improved UDOT’s customer service by allowing faster approvals, increased accuracy, and enhanced document tracking, all while increasing transparency. It has also led to higher efficiency and quicker infrastructure, facilitating project delivery.
UDOT now processes more than $1 billion in payments through Aurigo’s platform each year, with over 3,000 users accessing the system. Based on an independent economic analysis, UDOT is saving $19.5 million annually due to greater visibility, increased control during planning, construction, and maintenance, and better reporting.
To check out the first part of this series, click HERE. To learn about what five things civil engineers should stop doing, click HERE.