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Optimising your Highways Asset Management System

Our team comprises some of the UK’s leading experts in Highways Asset Management.

We often see organisations having to adapt to a system, so this guide aims to inform users and product owners on what’s possible; focusing on optimising the system and processes to benefit the business, rather than the 'tail wagging the dog'.

Making (it) work for you

We configure asset management systems to fit business processes, rather than designing processes around systems.

We have proven this on a number of occasions with large scale projects for Transport for London (TfL), and Local Authorities as follows:

  • Developing triggers and processes to run in the background
  • Development of interactive reports
  • Development of interfaces between systems such as Integra, Lagan, SAP etc.

This has reduced significant amounts of duplicated effort, while improving data quality and reducing errors.

Seamless integration

We understand the complexities organisations face when operating multiple IT systems to perform different functions.

We have worked closely with TfL and its contractors, to streamline payment application processes. Due to the sheer volume of data processed on a daily basis, and the limited availability of resources, we standardised business rules and logic to design an automation process which directs invoices to the most appropriate processing teams, often using auto-approval. This has created significant efficiency gains across TfL's commercial and operational teams; saving time, money, and resources.

In another example we helped our client by building interfaces which link its Lagan CRM system, Bentley Exor Asset Manager, and its financial management system. In doing so, we reduced data entry by a third, enabling staff to enter information in one location, and synchronising this across the other two platforms. This resulted in significant efficiency gains, while greatly increasing information accuracy and data quality.

Delivering results

Through close collaboration with two major clients, we have developed series of interactive reports for Bentley Exor Asset Manager that are displayed in a web based dashboard.

By developing the dashboard around the user permissions system, we have enhanced information security by restricting access to reports of sensitivity to users of increasing seniority.

This enables our clients to drive fundamental change to their business processes, by delivering real time information to their users from any location. This will unshackle them from traditional desktop-based applications, while providing simplified visualisation of advanced data queries.

Robust security

It's not uncommon for us to find ourselves looking after a system that we (or a third party) implemented a decade previously – a lot changes in ten years; Prince Harry was in Afghanistan, Boris Johnson became Mayor of London, and Obama won the US election - since then countless new cyber threats have emerged across the technology landscape, and new patches have been released.

For example, the RedHat Linux Website cites, 4,600 security advisories since April 2008, alone, let alone the other layers of architecture running on the system.

Security of your system is just as important as the data within it; in the days of increased cyber security we have built tools and networks to safeguard access to these systems, as well as the safety of the data itself.

So a proactive approach of monitoring and patching approach puts clients in control; ready to tackle any security threats as they emerge, with time built in to schedules to ensure action, in accordance with Service Level Agreements.

A thoroughbred system

Often systems used in Highways Asset Management are adapted from other systems. Inevitably this excessive customisation, can add to developmental complexity and overheads in future, and a system that is being stretched to meet a requirement, rather than something designed from the ground-up to perform a specific task.

Our team originated from a Highways Civil Engineering environment and therefore we have worked closely with engineers / inspectors responsible for delivering these services across a number of authorities, leading to our deep understanding of the tasks these teams perform.

And because we are independent consultants, we have experience across the whole marketplace, helping you choose the system that is right for you, and if necessary, manage that migration process.

Move and improve

If your hosting platform is creating issues, we have undertaken significant transformation and migration tasks which includes the transfer of a system from one data centre to another, data transformation, testing and training activities to facilitate changes in contractors and changes in business processes.

Our understanding and experience in hosting critical systems for the public sector is extensive, and enables us to lift-and-drop highly complex systems between environments methodically and safely.

This approach could give you the flexibility you need from a cloud environment (be that Public, Private, or Hybrid), or the control you need from managing your own hardware. Also see our thought piece on Hybrid Cloud.

Strategic partnerships

Being independent consultants gives us the freedom to work with any client, any provider, and any number of best-of-breed third parties.

We have provided bespoke Asset Management software, developed by us, and a turnkey service wrapper, as a single supplier.

Yet in other instances, we perform a smaller fraction of the total service, perhaps just managing training, hosting, testing and service desk functions, or a cloud migration. Yet we also have the dexterity and flexibility to work with third parties, to develop and extend their software, using our own teams, supplemented by our specialist knowledge of civil engineering across the road and rail sectors.

We have built close working relationships with the development teams within a number of software supplier organisations, enabling us to coordinate projects, between software developers and highways engineers.

We build and deliver training packages across a wide number and variety of users, for most popular asset management systems, training over 500 users in some of these systems.

We also design and perform complex testing programmes, providing an independent assurance service to clients, against their specification.

What’s next?

We are passionate about what we do, so if you have questions about your asset management system, a new solution you’re considering, some changes to existing architecture, or just need some training, please get in touch with Ed Tallents or Nicki Shepherd and we’ll set up an initial engagement session, free of charge.

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