Optimising Utility Management for Better Service Delivery


Data Management

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Wilhelm Jacobus Herbst, Optron (Pty) LtD, South Africa, wherbst@optron.com


The biggest source of citizen unrest in South Africa must surely be service delivery. Service delivery is almost always linked to lack of some utility, be it water, sewer, electricity or bad roads. The main conclusion to be drawn from the latest police statistics is that service-delivery protests continue unabated(Mail and Guardian) Apart from citizen unrest being a very important role-player, especially before elections, Utilities surely also make up the biggest source of revenue in any municipality or utility organization.

The short and fast lesson from this is easy: Mess up utility management and you mess up big time! Data Acquisition – to even begin to manage utilities effectively and efficiently, you need to know where, what, what condition etc. This means that to even start thinking about curbing citizen unrest, you have to find out where your utilities are, and you better need to find this out fast.

Crowdsourcing – obtain information by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet. By effective use of the internet, the man in the street can be used to report problems and even to help with the capturing of utility assets in the field. Effective Maintenance – Finally, once you have obtained this information, they need to be maintained in a timeous and professional manner. Clipboards and spreadsheets are just not going to do it! Automated job creation, real time feedback and communication and more is needed!

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