Why Project Finance Systems Are Broken (And How to Benefit from a Single Source of Truth)

Project finance is not unlike most industries where accuracy, timeliness, and accessibility are the keys to success. But even as businesses clamor for better ways to streamline their operations, many feel bogged down by the tools and processes currently in place. One of the biggest challenges the project finance industry faces is its reliance on disjointed data and fragmented systems. Reliance on these flawed processes consistently leads to inefficiencies, errors, and increased costs – absolute killers in project finance. 

A Single Source of Truth (SSOT) transforms these challenges into solutions, centralizing data and integrating systems to increase transparency. Bringing all data sources and tech stacks into one system allows organizations to view, analyze, and add new information, expediting deal processes and creating transparency for all stakeholders. This is crucial for building confidence, ensuring alignment, scaling operations, and managing larger portfolios and more complex projects without manual processes.

The Problems with a Fragmented System

Project finance typically involves numerous stakeholders, including investors, developers, banks, and asset owners, each using different systems for managing their respective data. These systems can include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools for client and stakeholder interactions, financial software for budgeting, accounting, and financial reporting, project management applications for tracking milestones, timelines, and resources, and data storage solutions for keeping contracts, compliance documents, and other critical files.

However, the sheer number of tools in use inevitably leads to data silos, where information is stored in isolated systems, preventing comprehensive access and analysis. This fragmentation, therefore, requires manual data entry, which increases the risk of inconsistencies. Errors become frequent and difficult to detect, and multiple document versions cause confusion and misalignment. Consequently, miscommunication, delays in approvals and decisions, and increased costs due to mistakes result from these inefficiencies. 

Lack of visibility into tasks and performance results in costly errors and mismanagement. Storing and utilizing crucial information across different platforms is no longer viable. Consolidating data, systems, and processes into an SSOT is the only way to ensure that organizations and stakeholders are aligned and operating efficiently. Let’s explore how.

SSOT as The Solution

We’ll be the first to admit centralizing all data sources into one integrated system can seem daunting. However, integrating an SSOT might be easier than you think, and it offers several critical benefits, some of which are already transforming the project finance landscape.

For instance, complete data visibility and enhanced accuracy finally become achievable. Organizations often fall victim to “but I have everything written down.” However, this is not a prudent way to maintain a competitive edge in this digital age. A unified source of truth will increase transparency on covenants, compliance, impact metrics, and deal information across all counterparties. By consolidating all data into a single platform, organizations ensure everyone can access accurate and up-to-date information with a few simple clicks.

A centralized system also streamlines data entry and management processes. 

This new efficiency saves time and reduces administrative burdens, allowing skilled workers to focus on more strategic tasks rather than low-skill, manual data entry. By bringing all data sources from each stakeholder and tech stack into one system, organizations can view, edit, and add new information to expedite the deal process and ensure clarity for all stakeholders.

Improved communication creates a significant advantage for organizations utilizing an SSOT. 

A clear and consistent view of all deal information, compliance metrics, and performance data is indispensable when collaborating, aligning efforts, and “speaking the same language” with other stakeholders. An SSOT provides a centralized repository where all data is up-to-date and easily accessible, ensuring everyone, from investors to regulators, has the same information.

This level of transparency ensures that issues are identified quickly and addressed promptly. With an SSOT, any deviations or anomalies in project performance or compliance are quickly rectified, preventing minor issues from escalating into major problems. This proactive approach not only saves time and resources but also enhances the overall reliability and success of project finance operations.

With an SSOT, the critical issue of scalability becomes much more manageable. 

Project finance often involves complex and multifaceted projects that can be challenging to scale using traditional methods. A unified data system enables organizations to expand their operations more effectively, managing larger portfolios and more intricate projects without the need for cumbersome manual processes.

An SSOT’s assistance in scaling operations is another significant advantage in today's fast-paced market. As organizations grow and take on more projects, the demands on their systems and processes multiply. A centralized data platform allows for smooth transitions and adjustments as projects evolve. For example, managing extensive portfolios becomes more straightforward when all project data is integrated into a single system. Organizations can track and monitor multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring that all relevant information is up-to-date and easily accessible. This holistic view allows for better resource allocation, risk management, and strategic decision-making.

Moreover, an SSOT supports flexible transaction and project setups, adapting to different investment structures and project stages with ease. This flexibility is crucial for handling the varied and often complex nature of project finance deals. By eliminating the need for additional manual processes, organizations can focus on strategic growth and innovation rather than be impeded by administrative tasks.

Not all SSOTs are Created Equal

We’ve discussed how Banyan Infrastructure offers a suite of products designed to create a single source of truth for project finance. Our solutions ensure secure storage, labeling, and management of all documents related to closing and ongoing project performance. However, the key benefit is creating a centralized repository for essential details and documents for an organization. This ensures a common language throughout the deal lifecycle.

Our platform also supports tracking and monitoring projects in various currencies, providing a global perspective on performance. Transparent metrics allow organizations to view and confirm all quantitative data within the system, ensuring accuracy and reliability globally.

We also facilitate flexible transaction and project setup, enabling easy adaptation to different investment structures and project stages. This helps manage those more extensive portfolios and more complex projects seamlessly. Centralized processes and templates further streamline due diligence on multiple projects under one deal.

However, perhaps the most beneficial aspect of Banyan Infrastructure’s SSOT is our integration capabilities, allowing seamless data flow and nearly eliminating the need for manual entry. The platform integrates with CRM systems like Salesforce and Zoho, data rooms, SCADA, accounting systems, bank accounts, and Excel. Those 50 files spanning hundreds, if not thousands of rows are transformed into something easily digestible for all stakeholders. 

Having a single source of truth is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. 

But organizations must also be diligent about the solutions they choose. If they’re not, they’ll continue to be bogged down by the analog tools processes that have plagued this industry for years. Because,  unequivocally, centralizing data and processes into a single source of truth is the only effective way to improve accuracy, efficiency, and transparency.