Operational Asset Management: Part 2

In June, UIM presented Part 1 of our Operational Asset Management series. This month in the follow-up piece, our contributing authors from Harris County, Texas discuss leveraging investments in asset management and the various benefits of implementing such a system.

  • Enterprises often find themselves with significant information-starved ?structural? issues, making it difficult to make informed and sustainable decisions due to several reasons, mainly:
  • Siloes of data
  • Siloes of information technology (IT) applications and systems
  • Redundant entry of data, applications and systems
  • Lack of real collaboration within and between internal departments
  • Ineffective interaction with outside agencies and entities

To address these enterprise information-starved structural issues, an enterprise collaborative platform is needed. This support platform, which has been implemented by the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department in Harris County, Texas, encompasses the entire agency?s IT solutions and systems. The platform simply consumes data needed to make better decisions, which supports a wholesome collaboration across the enterprise. There is no attempt to rip and burn any existing solution or system, as security protocols and alike remain in place. The platform addresses the need for rapid access to data for making informed and sustainable decisions.

A top-down view of the enterprise?platform might be thought of as three concentric rings. The?outermost ring presents the advantages of using such a platform across an enterprise. For example:

  • Better decisions are made possible with access to data, avoiding data duplication
  • Greater collaboration across the enterprise that fosters more timely decisions
  • Greater returns on investments are realized because decisions are on target and in time

The second inner ring symbolizes all the departments within an agency or entity. Each department contributes data that is determined to be needed to ensure the success of the enterprise. The innermost core represents upper most management actively engaged by using the platform. Every employee, no matter what function, is ultimately engaged to some degree in the platform.

Three compelling reasons for adopting an enterprise platform are:

  1. Every employee is the best asset an agency has to allow every employee to contribute the best assured success.
  2. Management, when fully engaged in the platform, better understands the true dynamics of their agency.
  3. Significant opportunities for greater return on investment are ?clearly? defined and justified.

Enterprise Platform Success Examples

Examples of better decisions and rate of return on those decisions using a deployed enterprise platform at the staff level include:

  • Valuation analysis for multiple right of way takings along a road has been made far easier. Figure 1 shows parcel query and illustrates the ease to access property valuations. The work effort to compile the data has been reduced to less than 10 percent of the original work effort. This single benefit saves several tens of thousands of dollars annually.
  • Valuations of takings for trial have been documented and judgments in favor of the agency for the cost of taking are measured in the hundreds of thousands, and more. The 360-degree egis enterprise is proving to be of invaluable assistance to the agency?s attorneys at pretrial.
  • Capture of damages due to polluting of the agency?s land by private entities is greatly facilitated. What would have taken many days of research and costly presentation exhibit costs, attorneys themselves can accomplish in less than an hour.
  • The management of property returned to the agency due to non-payment of taxes is made far easier and more efficient. Figure 2 shows property management struck off properties, which illustrates the properties needing management until returning to the tax rolls.
  • The evaluation of park facilities is made much easier for the mid-level managers with the query facilities against local constituents within walking distance. Additional queries to include usage versus tax basis are facilitated.
  • Agency sponsored event attendance is better monitored to determine attendee addresses versus event jurisdiction. Out of jurisdiction attendance can be evaluated on a cost basis.
  • Fire marshal inspections can be monitored and planned far better as a direct result of use of the enterprise platform. Figure 3 shows a fire marshal inspection status and illustrates the use of the enterprise platform to resolve compliance issues.

Figure 4 shows a pavement management dashboard and illustrates one of many already deployed dashboards. Decision makers are better prepared to determine budgets and resulting program delivery with the vast amount of information already digested by using clearly defined performance dashboards as seen in Figure 4.

Additional examples of the flexibility of the enterprise platform are provided below. The benefits to the enterprise are numerous.

  • Public health incidence and permit management
  • Constable-Sheriff patrol routes and incidence management
  • Re-districting impact on jurisdiction budgets
  • Traffic control efficiency gains across networks
  • Auditor asset ledger entry and reconciliation
  • Many, many more across an entire enterprise

There will be many opportunities for improving interoperability between systems and enhancing processes through productive restructuring as a result of adopting the 360-degree egis enterprise platform. Project reporting and financials are easily seen and understood.

Figure 5 shows project finance and illustrates the confluence of many disparate systems presented in one viewer. Project details, relative size, ongoing financial information, etc., are all presented in an easily-grasped manner.

Going Forward

Agencies and private entities both have the opportunity of utilizing an enterprise platform to their advantage. Several use models, data processing and dashboards are available.

  1. The use models include: subscription use of the platform either on premise, in the cloud or a combination of the two.
  2. The data warehousing and processing models include:
    • Data shared warehouses on premise, in the cloud or a combination of both.
    • Data cleansing, structuring, texturing and validation on premise or in the cloud as a service provided by others for a fee, by agency staff or a combination of both.
  3. The development and deployment of future dashboards and reports can be accomplished by agency staff, as a service for fee or as a combination of both.
  4. Complex scenario building is made far easier and quickly accomplished.

Agencies and entities can address their information-starved issues best by implementing a platform that spans the enterprise, leverages existing systems and applications, builds real collaboration and emphasizes stewardship and source ownership of data.

The enterprise platform as implemented in Harris County, Texas has already demonstrated return on investment and is possible through collaboration, data stewardship and management participation. The platform is available for any agency so inclined.

Will Puffer is the Information Systems Officer and Jackie Freeman is the Deputy Executive Director, both of the Harris County, Texas Public Infrastructure Department. William J. Jackson is the County Budget Officer of Harris County and Jeff Goalen is the Director of Harris County Applied Technology Services.?

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