When Collier County had a “vision” to deploy a tool that would standardize asset management across all its departments, officials knew there was only one way to get there. By expanding its relationship with Cityworks, Florida’s largest county was able to get serious about implementing an efficient program to manage the government’s varied resources.
The county’s relationship with Cityworks began in 2014, when it contracted with Woolpert to provide planning, design, configuration, and deployment of an enterprise-class Cityworks Asset Management System (AMS) for Collier County’s Public Utilities Department.
The full-scale implementation project was comprised of five specific tracks: GIS-based asset management, GIS-based inventory and work order management, GIS-based integration of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data, GIS-based customer management, and capital improvement program (CIP) budget generation at short- and long-term intervals. The project went live in 2016, enabling end users to operate and maintain the county’s potable water, re-use water, and wastewater systems.
“The utilities department is a logical place to start any municipal implementation because that department usually has the most complex issues,” said John Cestnick, Woolpert project manager. “They typically manage multiple facilities spread across a wide geographical area, and efficient operations are of great importance to the public.”
Collier County Cityworks administrators found unique ways to personalize Cityworks for their needs. For example, when Dustin DeBres, Collier County’s senior programmer analyst and Cityworks administrator, saw that creating a new user account required up to 40 clicks, he said, “There’s a way you can do this and save time.”
While they still must create user accounts manually, Collier County automated account management by creating four buttons that allow user-specific permissions. If a user doesn’t have permission to close a work order, the automation prevents him or her from closing it. If a user is no longer employed with the county, one button will remove all access instead of having to manually remove each access.
“It makes account creation more uniform, prevents problems, and avoids human error,” said DeBres.
Collier County also has written code that allows for color notification when a job is completed, changing from red to green; shows the name of an employee’s department instead of a number code; and can even identify what type of incident may have caused a water main break.
DeBres, who has been in IT for 18 years, said Collier County didn’t do anything revolutionary. He said officials just thought, “Hey, we can do better.”
Collier County now is expanding the program, working with Woolpert to implement Cityworks for all county-owned facilities and parks, replacing a lightweight and ineffective management tool. According to Cestnick, Woolpert’s partnership with Collier County has been successful because the county’s vision was to deploy a standardized asset and work management system across all county departments and prove the value of the system.
“They gave us very clear directions on the output we had to get from the system, so in turn, it drove the way we configured the system,” Cestnick said.
Current and future Cityworks deployments within Collier County, including Facilities and Public Services Department projects, are leveraging a hybrid Woolpert and Collier County implementation. Woolpert staff are facilitating the geodatabase design activities and leading the Cityworks AMS planning, design, and configuration tasks. Collier County’s internal Cityworks support staff will take over from there, performing user acceptance testing, training, and deployment activities. Cestnick said it was a testament to Woolpert’s implementation approach and the skillset of the county that the knowledge could be transferred for the second half of the project.
By doing the second half of this implementation themselves, Collier County will incur less capital expense and can use existing resources—their AMS-trained employees—who are already on the payroll. It also allows the county to pace future implementations, taking into consideration the timeline of other ongoing projects. And it builds the domain expertise among county staff, who are ultimately responsible for maintaining the system.
“Woolpert has the expertise when it comes to implementing Cityworks, but I need my staff to own the product after Woolpert is gone,” said Jeff Dunham, Collier County’s technical systems operations manager. “By taking responsibility for final delivery of the product, it provides for a learning experience that cannot be taught in a classroom and rewards our team members with a satisfying sense of ownership.”
By Ed Singer, PE, MIAM, Woolpert Program Director