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When a snowstorm strikes or the police chase is on, both the public authority involved and the general public it is serving needs to be confident that assets are ready and able to be deployed precisely when and where they are needed. Whether the public authority is in Boston US or Bristol UK, the success of the management of its assets is one of the few areas where the public sector organisation has a visible and working relationship with the community it is serving.

In practice, achieving this is rather difficult. All public sector organisations have to maintain a huge amount of operational assets – whether this is transport assets such as waste disposal trucks and buses or housing, land and buildings. When disaster strikes, these organisations must ensure that assets are available and ready to work at short notice – snow ploughs must be ready when snow strikes at major airports, for example – not be in the repair depot requiring maintenance or fitted with the wrong equipment.

In the UK alone it is estimated that fixed assets owned by local authorities are worth nearly £239 billion, making them the second most costly resource after staff to manage. £220 billion of this amount is in operational assets, covering such things as council houses, land, buildings and car parks and we’re just getting started. Each in its own way a huge undertaking to manage.

A case in point

Looking at one example in the Public Sector; the UK MOD’s implementation of the Joint Asset Management and Engineering Solutions (JAMES) is already contributing huge benefits to the British Army. This covers the Whole Fleet Management of all land vehicles and associated equipment used by the UK Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

This solution has been in use since 2005 and is based on IFS Applications. It provides a managed service that continues to operate well within all Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The solution has consistently returned 100 percent system availability while supporting more than 11,000 users and processing approximately 4 million transactions per month (or approximately 170,000 transactions per day).

This is exactly where I believe new agile, cost effective Software-as-a-Service solutions are helping modernise service delivery for public services. They are enabling public authorities to get the most from resources and achieve the required service levels while complying with strict legislation, statutory requirements, central government guidelines and, importantly, budget.

Enterprise Asset Management at your service

Flexible modular software solutions, such as IFS Applications, make it possible for authorities to stay within tight legislation parameters while also allowing jobs to be correctly prioritised. This builds the foundations for an integrated approach to asset management.

This is ideal for public sector authorities requiring a focused solution that is able to address critical business issues and can be integrated with current support systems with minimal business disruption.

Foundations for an integrated approach

By removing information silos, aligning assets to business priorities, and assessing asset performance a constant cycle of information is able to be fed back into the solution which means that information is always updated and can be managed in real time. If an asset is determined to be ineffective it can be addressed quickly and with minimum disruption while at the same time providing valuable data to improve management of the assets in the future.

When asset management is integrated into the wider organisation it is able to provide a simple and manageable 360 degree view of operational business processes, making it possible to streamline and modernise service delivery to meet the organisation and – by default – the individual asset’s needs.

The challenge is huge and constantly changing. It must be carried out within a framework of meeting the requirements of industry standard working practices and at the same time delivering exceptional services to citizens and customers. But I think it is entirely achievable.

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