Interview

AiTech Interview with Balaji Sreenivasan, CEO, Aurigo Software

Advances in technology like AI haven’t really caught up with the construction world. Very large infrastructure is still managed using outdated methods, like homegrown spreadsheets. Aurigo Software is the single source of truth for its customers that manages all of the program data from end to end. This interview with Balaji Sreenivasan will shed light on how Aurigo Software helps its customers find success through infrastructure so they can build a better tomorrow.

1. Could you tell us more about your role at Aurigo Software?

As founder and CEO, I work on the business versus working in the business. I work a lot with our customers to understand their long-term needs. We want our current efforts to solve the issues of our customers 5-10 years from now. We help our customers find success through infrastructure so they can build a better tomorrow.

2. What are the pain-points Aurigo solves for its customers?

Advances in technology like AI haven’t really caught up with the construction world. Very large infrastructure is still managed using outdated methods, like homegrown spreadsheets. We get to be a single source of truth for our customers that manage all of the program data from end to end: planning, designing, estimating, bidding it out, and then we go to operations to enhance team cohesion, accountability, and figuring out what decisions need to be made when. We’re able to solve disputes about the data in order to fix problems quickly and efficiently, which results in better use of public funds, the expedited delivery of assets, and reduced risk (consistent processes, audit trail). We help people make better decisions because they have access to the data that they need.

We also help navigate the rising cost of materials (like lumber and steel), which often ruins budgets. We can spot these cost trends ahead of time so you can plan effectively. When you have a uniform way of managing costs, you can pull reports and see across projects what is being spent, are there certain projects that cost more than others at a program level. At the executive level, you don’t want a project to go bad – that can be a career killer. At the top level, (Chief Engineer and Director), you want to make sure projects are delivered on time and on budget. If you don’t have a system in place to manage the entire construction lifecycle, you are flying blind on executing your program. Using a system gives owners transparency at all levels across the program.

3. How is technology revolutionising the planning and portfolio management needs of public sector agencies and facility owners?

Planning is often overlooked in technology but it’s the critical part of the process where your organization’s strategic goals are tied to the program you’re going to deliver.
Digitalization of government systems is happening over the whole construction lifecycle, and it’s essential to integrate long-term planning and funding to your downstream processes. That’s a differentiator for Aurigo because we are that single source of truth (data) that ties back to the master plan.

4. How can your new product Aurigo Engage help to transform public feedback using AI?

We are at the forefront of this new era with solutions like Aurigo Engage. The new application is AI and cloud-based and designed to facilitate civic engagement and encourage feedback about capital projects. For federally funded projects, civic engagement is critical but has long been a complex and cumbersome process. Thanks to digitalization, agencies can now gather public feedback and get approvals for plans in an efficient and streamlined manner.
Engage leverages AI to get an overall public sentiment on infrastructure projects. In other words, it takes the temperature of constituents on public projects and digitises the public feedback process. This helps to democratise the public feedback process, and provides broader, more realistic, and more complete feedback. Digitalizing the public feedback process is more equitable because it makes it easier for taxpayers to engage without having to attend in-person meetings, access various platforms or websites, or search out engagement forms online, which is how public feedback has traditionally been achieved.

5. What does Aurigo Engage have in store for the future of capital planning processes?

With $1.2 trillion funded into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, states, cities, towns and municipalities are starting to receive funds for their projects. It’s imperative that those funds are used to serve the best interests of the public. And taxpayers will want to know that their tax dollars are being used properly. Our tools, like Aurigo Engage, help our customers connect in a richer way with their constituents and move forward with their capital programs more quickly.

6. What role do feedback campaigns play in improving the quality of deliveries?

Technology has enabled a new era of engagement that will transform how the infrastructure development process plays out. Aurigo’s platform, Engage, helps public agencies gather feedback from the community on infrastructure plans for new or improved highways, roads, water utilities, rail and transit, and buildings. Public programs should always serve the public, as they impact the community. In a democracy, people get to give their input on projects. When Engage is used early on in this planning process, agencies can get that critical public feedback quickly and early on before shovel ever hits dirt, when it’s less costly to make changes. This ensures that the right projects that have the constituents support get funded and delivered on time and on budget.

A historically significant site in Honolulu delayed a major initiative for six months when a public feedback issue arose. That is why feedback, when given in real-time, makes such a big difference for staying on time and on budget.

7. Which industries does your company target to maximise the revenue?

We work primarily in the public sector, with 3 critical infrastructure quadrants: roads and highways ($110B Funding from IIJA), Ports, Airports, Rail and Transit (66B+39B funding from IIJA), and Water and Wastewater ($55B from IIJA). We also work with Building & Facilities owners in government, healthcare, higher and K-12 education, and commercial developers in retail, hospitality, and other segments..

8. What sets Aurigo Software apart from the other companies in the same space/domain?

We have the most powerful and configurable platform on the market because of the way we deploy our software-it’s more configurable and secure. Customers want something that can be highly tailored, and we provide that. Our single platform helps with capital construction management across the whole lifecycle. Our folks in customer-facing roles are not just experts in software, they know the capital program industry inside out. So we really believe our team differentiates us. We have an amazing set of customers who are a dream to work with, and we have provided them with road-tested solutions for close to twenty years.

9. What inspires you? Tell us more about your team and how they support you.

The infrastructure we build in the future will decide how we transform our society to develop, travel, and live on a sustainable planet for generations to come. I am a firm believer that one cannot build tomorrow’s infrastructure with yesterday’s technology. Using technology to help build a better tomorrow has been both my inspiration and vision, that got me to start this journey with Aurigo Software. At Aurigo, we are on a mission to build modern cloud software that helps infrastructure owners plan and build a better tomorrow, by building smarter.

I have been super fortunate to work with an amazing team that inspires me to work that much harder! For an organization to be effective, a CEO’s job is to support the leadership team, and not the other way around. It is my belief that as CEO, my role is to make sure we have the right folks on the team, facilitate healthy discussions, help build up their competencies and finally empower every team member to make the decisions they need to make to execute our vision.

For more such updates and perspectives around Digital Innovation, IoT, Data Infrastructure, AI & Cybersecurity, go to AI-Techpark.com.

Balaji Sreenivasan,

CEO, Aurigo Software

Balaji Sreenivasan is the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the board at Aurigo Software Technologies. Balaji has played a critical role in shaping Aurigo to be a modern enterprise cloud software business that is helping infrastructure owners plan and build over $300 Billion of capital projects more efficiently. Balaji spends his time on product strategy, customer delight, and enabling the amazing set of people at Aurigo to be their best. He is an alumnus of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy, and the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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