Are your construction projects still using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to track project costs and invoice information? For many, the traditional spreadsheet is still a commonly used tool, but a number of project owners are finding cloud-based software can improve project efficiencies.

Consider Union Sanitary District, www.unionsanitary.com, Union City, Calif., an independent district that provides wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal services in Fremont, Newark, and Union City in Southern Alameda County, Calif. Major projects include the Cogeneration Replacement Project and Thickener Control Building Project.

Project managers used Excel spreadsheets to track project costs and invoice information, which was time consuming and prone to error. Not to mention, senior management was unable to view live program-level reports. Additionally, cost information in the AP (accounts payable) software didn’t always match project manager worksheets.

In an effort to improve this, Union Sanitary District recently began using cloud-based software for cost controls, reporting, and team communications with construction management firms, general contractors, and design consultants.

In particular, Union Sanitary District began using Projectmates from Systemates, www.projectmates.com, Richardson, Texas.

With the technology, partnering firms are able to enter change order requests, change orders, and pay applications into the system and then route through electronic approvals. Using a cloud-based system, the team is able to update project financials in realtime and senior management can run reports.

For a public agency that serves roughly 335,000 residents, the technology also allows Union Sanitary District to track resident complaints that might come up during a construction project. Additionally, the technology allows the organization to oversee RFI (request for information) and submittals workflow between the general contractor, construction manager, and design consultants.

While this is just one example of how an owner is leveraging technology for capital improvement projects, a number of corporate owners are quickly finding that cloud-based software can offer an alternative to Excel-based processes.