Software steers course to sustainability
City of Sydney has deployed Pitney-Bowes’ Confirm solution to track and manage $12.7 billion worth of infrastructure assets.
Sustainable Sydney 2030, a collective vision for ‘a green, global and connected Sydney’, outlines the City of Sydney’s ambitious environmental, economic, social and cultural goals. It is based on a deep commitment to environmental leadership, high levels of service and quality facilities for the residents, businesses and visitors to one of the world’s most livable cities.
To help realise this vision and comply with legislative mandates, the city must be able to manage the life cycle of $12.7 billion worth of infrastructure assets.
As is the case in many cities, the various assets in Sydney are managed by multiple departments of the council. Before implementation of the Corporate Asset Management System (CAMS), each department maintained one or more separate asset registries. At one point, the city had more than 60 sources of asset data residing on various platforms. The city sought to combine these into a central registry that would be readily accessible to the council.
Because much of the asset management work is done in the field, CAMS would need to provide mobile access and functionality, both for the asset managers and asset inspectors, and for the contractors they hire.
In addition, to perform comprehensive cost-analysis and long-term planning, CAMS would need to be integrated with the council’s key business applications, including its customer service module, planning and financial application and geographic information system (GIS).
The CAMS implementation was an ambitious undertaking, requiring diverse council departments to embrace a new integrated asset management approach. That’s why the council went to tender seeking well-structured asset management technology, with proven ability to interface to the key business applications, which would make it appreciably easier for staff members to do their work, and thus see the benefits of transitioning from spreadsheets to the integrated asset management system.
After evaluating several vendors through the tender, the council decided the Pitney-Bowes Confirm platform was the right solution for the CAMS project, with a standard, intuitive interface and workflows that made sense to asset managers and aligned with national and state asset management best practices. The demonstrated track record of Pitney Bowes in local government and its flexibility in deployment also played a role in the decision.
CAMS, which has been evolving in tandem with the council’s asset management policy, now includes the ConfirmWorkzone solution, which enables asset managers to control all their field resources from a single map-based interface. They can prioritise and schedule work on assets, allocate crews and calculate costs for each of the crews.
In addition to internal council crews, many contractors working with the council use the ConfirmConnect solution on their mobile devices, as do an increasing number of council service delivery teams. The latter can respond to customer requests, whether they are at their desk or in the field. Contractors, meanwhile, have an easy way to obtain their job lists, upload ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos and log their work.
This real-time updating gives council staff a more effective way of assessing contractor performance. Previously, contractors would submit reports just once a month, and it was difficult to compare the cost of their work with established baselines.
In its recently updated Asset Management Plan, the council refers to the Confirm software as a viable means of providing the platform and tools to achieve required outcomes for asset management. By centralising its asset data into one registry, it has reduced the number of software products it licenses and needs to maintain.
The combination of data consolidation, back-end integration and the workflow improvements made possible by ConfirmWorkzone and ConfirmConnect are creating time efficiencies that translate into lower costs and improved levels of service. For example, when a resident asks why a street tree has been removed, council staff can now immediately confirm the removal and explain the reasons.
As CAMS grows, the council will be able to demonstrate the improvement in services delivery by providing more extensive historical data on asset usage. It will enable the city to comply with the ongoing revaluation of assets at fair value as required by the New South Wales Office of Local Government.
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