Currently, infrastructure owners are faced with the challenge of modernizing both their physical and digital assets. They are at a crossroads where they must work to meet the demands of their customers, while simultaneously balancing an aging workforce, labor shortages, and the necessity of up-skilling workers.
In addition to that, the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with increased pressure from government regulations and community watchdogs, is pushing organizations more than ever to ensure that community assets are safe, sustainable, and efficient—while concurrently meeting expected levels of service.
Managing these competing priorities is a challenge, but also a significant opportunity—an opportunity to introduce new technologies and transform work management across their businesses.
This can be as simple as implementing Esri ArcGIS and Cityworks solutions to maximize spatial intelligence, introducing specifications for digital site plans for greater quality control and data fidelity, or mandating 3D models that effectively improve the entire asset lifecycle management process. Or, perhaps it’s leveraging public-facing portals to assist with the development and construction process, along with aggregating data from remote monitoring and LiDAR to monitor critical infrastructure.
Modernization Through Digital Transformation
Now is the time for stakeholders to make the investment to modernize their GIS and asset lifecycle management strategies and allocate resources to broaden the capabilities of their teams. With federal funding already available—or swiftly becoming available—it has become easier for organizations to expand their use of technology to manage critical asset data and meet the growing expectation of technology adoption by both internal users and citizens.
The greatest asset for any organization is their human capital and the teams that keep their communities running and organizations ticking. But when there is a shortage of staff to support business needs, the right solutions can help streamline processes and bridge the gap left by resource constraints.
Adopting the right technology also helps eliminate communication and data silos, which in turn fosters greater community connectivity and ensures that key infrastructure is being managed and maintained throughout its lifecycle.
Asset Lifecycle Management
Every single asset—whether it is a residential housing development, a water valve, or a sidewalk network— has a life of its own with a corresponding lifecycle. If we consider the complexity of a drinking water network, before this vital infrastructure is able to provide potable water it must go through multiple stages to become operational.
First, it is planned and designed, likely through a collaborative effort between city staff and consulting engineers. This “design” stage includes multiple iterations and reviews of the plans before a final version is submitted for approval.
When this is completed, the construction phase begins and generates new volumes of data about the asset, along with numerous vital activities—such as inspections, which correlate the design to the actual asset and confirms that the infrastructure is ready for operation.
This is followed by the operational phase of the lifecycle, where the asset not only needs to be operated, but also properly maintained in order to adequately serve the community. This phase includes work orders that alter the attributes of the asset until its eventual retirement.
Numerous resources are invested in the infrastructure to accomplish this with the goal of extending the useful life of the asset, reducing the risk that is created if the asset fails, and preparing for its consequent expiration and replacement.
Each asset produces copious amounts of data as it goes through the various stages of its lifecycle. Many organizations have mountains of asset data they don’t know how to utilize—or worse, their data becomes “dark data” that is lost or siloed between the different stages of an asset’s lifecycle, especially as it travels through multiple departments and disparate business systems.
Fostering Digital Maturity
The best way to combat dark data is to bridge the gap between each of the phases of the asset lifecycle and connect data through technology.Empowering digital maturity within your organization can help ensure that data is transparent, accurate, and properly utilized to inform decision-making and budgetary needs. Aggregating data provides all users across an organization with a complete vision of the status of their infrastructure. This connected asset lifecycle platform approach empowers owners to leverage data to its fullest extent.
We must never lose sight of the direct impact that infrastructure owners have on the well-being of their communities and the everyday residents that use those assets. At the end of the day, good data leads to better decision-making, which fosters stronger and more resilient communities.
By Becky Tamashasky, Sector VP of Product Vision, Asset Management, Trimble O&PS