In 2011, DPW began standardizing workflow procedures while simultaneously integrating the department’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with Cityworks. The solution involved transforming years worth of user knowledge and experience into best practices that could be used to develop electronic standard operating procedures (eSOP) for specific scenarios detected by SCADA data analysis. A user would receive the procedures and corresponding work orders in Cityworks as part of a workflow generated by condition-based triggers from SCADA.
Waterford DPW’s plan for integrating SCADA with Cityworks was different from the normal integration process as it utilized the Cityworks Work Order API. The Cityworks Work Order API provides developers with a set of web services to generate work orders in Cityworks. Using Cityworks, data sent to the web services can automatically trigger both routine and emergency work orders.
Frank Fisher, DPW Engineering Superintendent, stated, “After implementing the Cityworks Work Order API at Waterford DPW, the API’s functionality increased, which means that even more data can be shared between applications. This further empowers the functionality of any application that leverages this powerful method to embed the core work order functionality of Cityworks within itself. One of the core business principles for Waterford Township is to harness technology that will increase operational efficiency, and the Cityworks Work Order API has filled a major role in providing additional efficiencies.”
The Waterford project involved Waterford DPW’s SCADA system and GE Proficy iFIX, passing real-time operational data to the DPW’s workflow application, GE Proficy Workflow (Workflow). Leveraging Cityworks Work Order API, Workflow sends Cityworks key information necessary to create work orders, such as feature information and the type of work order needed.
“The nature of the design allowed the integration between Waterford DPW’s Workflow and Cityworks to be completed in a single week,” Fisher stated. “This accomplishment is significant not only because the development time was amazingly short, but also because it shows the flexibility and functionality that the Work Order API provides to developers.”
Many advantages are provided by the web services-based approach. Primarily, the application developer is able to quickly develop a component to create work orders in Cityworks without having to develop complicated methods to replicate the Cityworks work order creation process. Fisher continued, “This simple approach to how applications interact with Cityworks allows more effort to be focused on building integrations that harness the power of the applications interacting with Cityworks, instead of focusing on replicating processes needed to generate work orders. This API-based approach also creates an easier environment for maintaining the integration as either application is updated. In the end, this method provides a more robust product to be implemented at Waterford Township DPW.”
The initial Waterford Township DPW project consisted of developing two workflow processes with corresponding eSOP workflows and triggering appropriate work orders. Waterford DPW quickly realized the benefits of this Work Order API-based approach, as the entire design, development, and implementation of the project was completed within two weeks. The straightforward design of the integration allows DPW staff to create new workflows internally, thus leveraging the ability to automatically generate eSOPs and associated work orders without a developer.
Waterford DPW continues to develop additional eSOP and workflow processes that leverage this powerful integration between their core business applications, and looks forward to continuing to leverage the Cityworks Work Order API in this integration as well as in future integrations wherever possible.
“Cityworks Work Order API is a powerful tool used to empower integrations between business applications,” said Brian Haslam, President and CEO of Cityworks–Azteca Systems Inc. “As exemplified at Waterford Township DPW, it is easily leveraged and provides significant benefits. While Cityworks coupled with Esri®’s ArcGIS® has become the GIS-centric platform for public asset management, APIs allow other software systems to access data and expose functionality, creating a composite of diverse software systems to provide customized solutions that improve operational efficiencies, prioritize actions, and improve planning.”