Partner Solution Profile: How Cityworks Pioneered GIS-Centric Public Asset Management

November 17, 2016

Since 1996, Cityworks | Azteca Systems, LLC has been providing innovative GIS-centric solutions to agencies worldwide that own and maintain infrastructure, capital assets and property. An Esri Platinum-tier partner, Cityworks is the leading web GIS-centric solution for public asset management, inspection, work order, permitting, licensing and land. ArcNorth News interviewed George Mastakas, Ciytworks’ Executive Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, to learn more about Cityworks and how organizations can leverage its powerful capabilities.

Using analytical tools in Cityworks, users can determine if a correlation exists between sewer overflow events (hot spots) and sewer main condition ratings: red (failing), yellow (requires monitoring) and green (good).

AN: Why has Cityworks emerged as one of the leaders in municipal maintenance and asset management systems?

GM: There are three key reasons. First, we pioneered the idea of a GIS-centric asset management system. Until Cityworks, asset management systems had asset registries that weren’t designed to be interoperable. When we were approached by a local water utility to help them solve the disparity between the assets recorded in their GIS and those in their asset management system, we learned how important location was in their day-to-day operations, and we saw firsthand the loads of paper maps they had to haul.  From there, the idea of Cityworks was born. We addressed these challenges by building an asset management system that seamlessly works with ArcGIS, and most importantly, uses the assets in an organization’s geodatabase exclusively. There is no replication of assets in Cityworks because it uses GIS as the authoritative system of record.

Second, we’ve remained focused on using Esri technology as the foundation of our platform. That’s because ArcGIS is the predominant system of record for the industries we’re committed to supporting. We also followed Esri’s approach of providing a platform that’s open and configurable. Organizations can configure their workflows in Cityworks and then integrate it with other business systems for reporting and analysis, allowing Cityworks to become part of the fabric of their business.

Third, we have more than 600 licensed organizations using Cityworks and this number grows by roughly 50-60 each year, and that’s driven in part by our commitment to quality. We’re constantly re-investing in areas of the company that will deliver positive outcomes for our customers. Our development, support and account management teams are the fastest growing groups in Cityworks today, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

AN: Getting buy-in from field staff to adopt new technology is a challenge that many organizations face. How does your solution overcome this?

GM: Encouraging users to adopt a solution is all about empowering them with information and tools that increase their ability to perform their tasks. We’ve architected Cityworks with apps for modern mobile technologies, such as smartphones running on iOS and Android, which deliver the capabilities field staff need to do their job. We’ve made the functionality intuitive, easy to use and accessible through a variety of platforms.

We work hard to continue delivering on this. For example, we’re investing in tying Cityworks to Workforce for ArcGIS, Navigator for ArcGIS and Collector for ArcGIS: three great field apps that will work as companions to Cityworks. Essentially, field staff will be able to use a mobile device to prioritize their work and get directions, create and populate asset information in GIS, and complete their inspections and work – all on the ArcGIS-Cityworks platform. There’s a real synergy among these useful field apps and Cityworks, and we’re targeting to release these capabilities in early 2017.

AN: Many public organizations are pursuing “smart” initiatives to improve their communities. How can Cityworks help advance these initiatives?

GM: Many of our customers are data rich, and we can help them capitalize on their wealth of information. A big part of this is asset analysis and identifying patterns you can’t see by looking at rows of data in Excel spreadsheets. That’s why having a smart approach requires a map to help express all of the complexity in a simple way.

Plus, we make the data accessible to systems that are effective at determining risk and consequence of failure. We’ve designed Cityworks to achieve this. We’ve also introduced a number of visualization tools that allow organizations to see concentrations of work they’re performing, or where they are underperforming, so they can better understand the health of their assets. By combining ArcGIS and Cityworks, customers can mash up all kinds of information—pipeline failure locations, soil types, areas where third parties have been contracted to work—and they can start making smart decisions on what’s really happening out there with their assets, and not just rely solely on models and predictions.

And of course, being a platform, Cityworks is able to receive information from other smart systems, such as metering, SCADA and pressure sensors – any kind of IoT – and make it actionable.

AN: How has the evolution of Esri technology as a web GIS framework advanced Cityworks’ capabilities?

GM: We’ve followed the web GIS patterns that Esri has implemented and adopted them. Whether it’s ArcGIS Online, an on-premises portal or a hybrid, Cityworks can be deployed in all of these scenarios. The net benefit to our customers is that web GIS has transformed Cityworks into a platform that’s even more open and simplified. It’s brought Cityworks to a wider variety of users, especially with all of the amazing apps that are being released.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Partner Quick Facts

Company: Azteca Systems

Head Office: Sandy, Utah, USA

Services: Software vendor focused on providing effective Esri GIS solutions

Focus Industries: Municipal public works, public utility and building departments; electric, water, gas & telco utilities; airports, seaports, transportation and facilities

Mission: To provide organizations with the best tools to help manage their assets by minimizing the total cost of owning, operating and maintaining them at sustainable levels of service.

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