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Developing rapid budgets

By Cathy Hutchison

Buildings are the physical representation of a collection of decisions.

The challenge in making project decisions is that each thing you choose has impact on your other choices. It is one of the reasons Idibri has heavily invested in developing software and applications which allow clients the ability to “see” the impact of their decisions in real-time.

One of these tools is our rapid budgets software–Budgie®. Prior to Budgie, we (like a lot of consultants) used spreadsheets for budgeting. But a spreadsheet can’t help you see complex relationships. Or track how decisions have come to be made. We created Budgie to more than just add-up numbers. We needed a decision-support tool to give people the information they need to help make good decisions—and to do it in ways that make it easier. Budgie’s dashboard provides several ways to present summary information about the project, including flexible table formats, bar charts, and color-coded tree maps. Need to know where to cut a little money from the project? Use the tree map and bar chart to quickly see where the money is. And it all updates in real time as the project changes, so people can quickly see the impact of their decisions. We are working on more methods to visualize cost information and to guide discussions about trade-offs, and we’ll keep adding these options to Budgie’s dashboard.

Budgie is a cloud-based SaaS (software-as-a-service) application that runs in any browser on computers using Windows or Mac OS. Budgie will support an unlimited number of users “out of the box”, allowing them to work simultaneously on the same project. It provides an elegant way to group items to control how their costs are handled—either on the fly (using manual Sets) or automatically (using formula-based SmartSets). Using the default sets provided in every new project, you can designate project items as owner-furnished or optional with a simple click. Budgie will handle their costs accordingly, moving them from the base budget to whatever category you designate. You can add as many Sets and SmartSets as you want, to tailor the project to your needs.

Budgie also allows you to remember and recall the state of your project at any point in time by saving “waypoints” that include every aspect of the project at that point in time, as well as any notes you wish to add. Combined with the ability to create multiple “tracks”, which are basically different versions of the project, Budgie allows you to explore alternatives simultaneously while resting assured that your work is always saved and you can revert the project to a prior state whenever you want.

We use Budgie to assemble cost projections for projects involving audio, video, lighting, and other performance technology products, but Budgie could be used to develop cost estimates for just about any kind of project that is composed of pieces or objects.

Building projects are complex—and becoming more so. Tools like Budgie help make the decisions easier to make.

Learn more…

Budgie 60 Sec Spot from Idibri on Vimeo.

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