Data is everywhere. But when data resides in siloes, it’s difficult to access and even more difficult to manage. For government entities, particularly those managing public works, data siloes lead to a variety of pain points such as lack of data integrity, disjointed decision making and delayed work order and maintenance requests. This can translate into costly, even dangerous, real-world problems.

With an enterprise asset management (EAM) system, municipalities benefit from having one system to store the mountains of data. However, it is important to find an asset-centric management system that works well with:

  • Linear assets, such as streets, water, storm, sewer and parks
  • Vertical assets, such as buildings and plants
  • Mobile assets, such as fleet and equipment

Listed below are the benefits municipalities stand to gain with one EAM system:

Shorten the learning curve

By being on one EAM system, all users have only one product to learn. Users often move from one division to another throughout their careers. Productivity and quality of work increases when personnel are already familiar with how to enter, analyze and create data reports. They are empowered to focus more so on the responsibilities of their new position rather than learning the ins and outs of a new software system entirely.

Fewer complex integrations

Some divisions surrounding Public Works track their information in spreadsheets. Other divisions have their own selected asset management or work management systems, which do not communicate with each other. In addition, the system also must often work tightly with GIS.

One EAM system reduces the number of  integrations required between multiple products. For example, multiple products are often integrated with financials or time-keeping systems, which can be costly. By eliminating the complex web of multiple systems, a single system can save both time and money for municipalities. An added benefit is that this also ensures products remain current because different products may not accommodate certain updates.

Lower costs

As with almost everything, purchasing only one system provides significant benefits by reducing the annual fees that a municipality would pay for licensing of each platform used. Various cost-savings include:

  • Overall training fees and costs are reduced as system administrators only need to learn one system.
  • Hardware or hosting costs are reduced as everything would be stored in one system, cutting down on hardware and software costs.

One EAM system also reduces long-term cost increases. Municipalities can reasonably expect that as time goes on, maintenance rates will increase due to aging infrastructure and stricter regulations for maintenance. A unified system can reduce these rate increases approximately 20 to 30 percent, thanks to better leveraging of data to be more proactive with maintenance repairs.  

Lighten the load on IT/GIS staff

By having all assets and work orders in one system, IT staff can work with one vendor for all training, software support and contract-related items. This can greatly reduce their workload and the time it takes staff to support all functions. Likewise, GIS staff can focus on preparing more in-depth maps and analyzing all of the data with one system without having to worry about integrating the GIS with several disparate systems.

Accelerate reporting speed

When all relevant data is housed in one EAM system, one report summarizing all the activities performed within the Public Works Department is far easier to develop. It can be structured in such a way that it is ready to be provided to the City Council or other governing body. However, municipalities should ensure they have a strong quality assurance process for their system so their reports reflect accurate, high quality data. 

Enhance interdivisional communication

Communication across divisions becomes more efficient and effective when everyone is using the same platform. Processes should be standardized to ensure work handoffs are handled quickly and efficiently, and each division agrees on how to use which data fields. This also helps establish a baseline for what information needs to be collected. An effective EAM system is more than an asset management system and more than a work management system. It can be a powerful tool to help ensure that all departments and divisions within a municipality are communicating clearly and effectively with each other.