Synergy Between Drones and Enterprise Asset Management Is a New Opportunity for Government (Industry Perspective)

Technology is having a transformative impact on state and local governments.

by Wayne Bobby, Vice President of U.S. Federal, Infor / April 21, 2017
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If your job has anything to do with using technology to deliver smarter, more effective services — and today, every government job does — there’s never been a better time to work in the public sector. A mix of new, disruptive systems and services, from cloud computing and big data to business analytics and drones, are transforming the workplace and technology space we thought we knew.

Options and possibilities that would have been unimaginable five years ago are quickly becoming basic business tools. It’s a moment when multiple breakthrough technologies are evolving in parallel — all of them at unprecedented speed. At the core of the transition is an enterprise IT backbone that gives organizations the visibility, transparency, digital security and operational control to keep track of large departments or functions, make maximum use of every asset at their disposal, and deliver the responsive, high-quality services that increasingly tech-savvy citizens expect.

Managing Your Assets

In recent years, many more state and local government departments and agencies have become familiar with the basics of enterprise asset management (EAM), a system that invariably includes:

  • a database of all the available physical and financial information on an organization’s assets;
  • software to execute key processes and workflows;
  • barcode identification for all assets; and
  • extensive use of mobile technology for field audits and day-to-day maintenance.

You would be hard pressed to find a more challenging EAM environment than New York City, with approximately 1 million buildings, 2.7 million vehicles entering the city each day, and countless smaller tools and devices in its inventory. Yet it’s never been more important to get value for money from public-sector operations, optimizing every asset to maximize service delivery, anticipate failures and minimize down time.

That’s why forward-looking government managers are moving their EAMs to the cloud, taking advantage of the opportunity to streamline operations in response to “skinny” budgets. Cloud computing also brings an end to the era of local modifications, freeing up on-premises development teams to take on more specific, focused assignments. The takeaway: When the going gets tough, the tough (and the smart) take their EAM systems off-premises.

Cloud-based EAM is the glue that holds the components together. The system identifies, tracks, locates and analyzes an agency’s physical assets and provides the planning and decision tools needed to optimize performance. By generating precise maintenance schedules that minimize unanticipated down time, cloud-based EAM maximizes operating efficiency and makes best use of the labor and materials that are in short supply. Add Internet of Things technology to the mix, and you can build a sensor network that covers critical systems to predict maintenance and repair needs before they become obvious.

Eyes in the Sky

The latest technology opportunity for government managers is the powerful synergy between EAM software and drones. Whether your facilities and other assets are on land, sea or air, they’re often in distant or awkward locations that are difficult or dangerous to reach by road. Your mission may depend on the reliable operation of aging equipment or devices, and the farther they are from the beaten path, the more it costs in time and trouble to organize an unscheduled maintenance trip.

Tethered drones give you a 360-degree view of all your assets, delivering essential data and insights to drive an effective asset management plan. Whether your asset inventory includes trains or shipyards, aircraft or pipelines, buildings or bridges, the synergy between drones and EAM helps improve inspection processes, boost asset performance, and comply with the regulations that govern your work.

Two points that cloud computing and drones have in common: They both emerged in the blink of an eye and are becoming essential tools of the trade for government employees. If your challenge for the foreseeable future is to meet mounting public and stakeholder demands for service excellence, while managing aging infrastructure and limited budgets, the first step is to optimize the assets that you control. And that means tapping in to the cutting-edge technologies that can help you get the job done.