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AN INTEGRATED, WEB-BASED, CAPITAL PROJECTS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

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Two years ago, driven by rapid annexation and growth in the area, the City of Austin, Texas developed the City of Austin Project Reporting and Information System (eCAPRIS), an innovative web-based application to facilitate management of capital projects. The system, developed for the Austin Water and Wastewater Utility, provided complete tracking tools for capital projects data, including funding sources, budgets, spending plans and expenditures.

eCAPRIS was an early success. However, users identified potential functionality to make the system meet needs of broader capital projects management. The City then decided to expand the eCAPRIS platform with additional tools and functionality. The goal for the enhanced system was to complement the original eCAPRIS with tools to manage the complete cycle of a project, from the solicitations for professional services, construction projects and rotation lists; to the management of capital improvement projects; and ending with the tracking of contract information, subcontractor payments, and minority vendor participation.

The eCAPRIS development team faced the challenge of creating a customized system that integrated a variety of systems across the City and fulfilled complex (and sometimes undefined) business requirements, while facing a tight timeline. The system was developed and implemented within schedule, helping the City achieve efficiency and effectiveness benefits, including improved interdepartmental project coordination, better tracking of funding and spending, a uniform approach to project management, faster approval of new projects, and more accurate reporting of minority participation on contracts. A key success factor of eCAPRIS in delivering these benefits to the targeted group of multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental users was the ability of the development team to identify business practices and develop a customized tool that fulfilled user needs.

The eCAPRIS development process serves as a benchmark for other utilities or cities on how to successfully create a useful, high performing application relatively quickly, drawing from other systems and sources of data to provide a comprehensive and customized view for a wide variety of users.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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