Closing the Data Loop with an Operations Management System
A municipality is responsible for maintaining and managing a large number of assets and resources for the public. In many cities, public works departments are being encouraged to make better use of available time and money as staff and budgets continue to shrink. Accuracy and efficiency has improved as field workers have moved from using paper to handheld devices in the field; however, there is often a disconnect between asset management and work management in the office. An Operations Management System (OMS) strives to fill the gap between the two databases and create reliable cost information and a continuous workflow.
A suitable OMS will track and connect a wide range of data, including requests for work to be done, the maintenance history of assets, the location and status of work in progress and the resources required to complete a given task. Assets are all treated the same whether a fire hydrant or gas main. Typical organizations that benefit from improving the management of their assets and workflow include public works infrastructure departments such as transportation, storm water, waste water, water distribution, parks and recreation, natural resources, facilities and permitting. Gas and electric utilities also have infrastructure management issues appropriate for OMS.
Over a decade ago, when many other technology companies were concentrating on asset management systems for organizations in the municipal space, Cartegraph developed a robust work management application to complement and enhance the asset management modules it was already producing.
“Our legacy product was, and still is, an asset management solution that emphasizes work and task management features and functionality,” said Brad Schweikert, marketing communication specialist at Cartegraph. “Over time, we learned from our clients that asset and work management have to be connected to really be effective, so we built our next generation Cartegraph system as an enterprise OMS that seamlessly brings together the required interrelated resources.”
The advantages of implementing an OMS include:
- Facilitate communication with the public
- Integrate GIS with maintenance, assets, staffing, etc.
- Do more of everything better, faster
Cartegraph OMS has features that promote usage and maximize the benefits:
- Make data accessible to everyone in the office and the field
- Address gaps in managing day-to-day operations
- Provide cradle-to-grave cost information
- Sort tasks by priority and proximity
- Enter and retrieve data via a simple user interface
Cartegraph clients can choose from three cloud deployment options:
- On-premise—located at client site
- Hybrid— hosted by Cartegraph and controlled by client
- Hands-free— Cartegraph hosts and handles maintenance and administration
Smaller organizations with limited IT and GIS departments tend to select Hybrid or Hands-Free, while larger firms go with On-Premise because they have in-house staff for support. Regardless of the type of installation selected, field workers and office staff have access to data that are shared across departments, and raw data can be filtered and organized into custom reports that address different needs.
Cartegraph is sold as a complete package to address all facets of what the company refers to as the “Data Loop,” a related sequence of work requests, tasks, locations and notifications that expedites workflow and keeps system users informed about the day-to-day operations happening around them. Within the system— and at no additional cost— authorized users can activate applications appropriate for major municipal asset networks, including sewer, water and transportation.
Because location is integral to managing operations, every Cartegraph App leverages the Google base maps built into the Cartegraph platform. Organizations and users requiring more mapping detail can produce maps using their Esri mapping technology and add, view and edit new and existing features using the Cartegraph Map Control. Included in every installation is Open311 support, a free web API service used by the public to report and track non-emergency issues (potholes, broken streetlights, garbage, and vandalism) in public spaces.
“I started using Cartegraph while working at a Colorado municipality back in 1999,” Pertzsch said. “I have experienced the communication and integration obstacles faced by all levels of a public works organization. I use that client-side knowledge to help make Cartegraph Operations Management technology simple and intuitive for inexperienced computer users in the field, as well as managers in the office.”