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Does Government Software Talk?

Data has a voice. Let it speak.

“Sixty-five percent of our work orders are in the northern half of the town. Only thirty-five percent are in the southern half.”

That’s an actual quote from a recent conversation I had with my Utilities Director.  The conversation happened over a pile of data generated by my Cartegraph government software. And it prompted a revelation.

Our Operations Center, where all of Utilities Department’s vehicles, equipment, inventory and manpower are housed, is located on the southern edge of town. According to my data, the majority of our work is happening in the opposite direction of our facility.  So, if I listen closely to what the data is saying, it only makes sense that our Operations Center be more centrally located within the town.  

It’s not just a matter of convenience, either. Centralizing our location would help us create the most efficient and responsive workforce possible — it would reduce crews’ travel time, minimize wear and tear on our vehicles and equipment, save fuel, and reduce response times in emergency situations.  As if that weren’t justification enough, I dug deeper and learned learned that 60% of Marana’s growth is occurring in — you guessed it — the northern part of town.   

The moral of the story? Data speaks.  You just need to take the time to listen.

Soon we’ll be using the data housed in our government software to definitively demonstrate to the powers that be that a relocation of our Operations Center is in order, and why. 

Another example I uncovered had to do with how much money we were spending in each of Marana’s water systems. I broke it down by cost per water meter. One system that has 1899 meters only cost us $25.67 per meter in maintenance issues. However, our water system at the Airport has only 11 meters and cost us…are you ready? $1201.67 per meter!

Full disclosure: We actually had to rehab two wells and do some maintenance on the 16-inch fire suppression main, so the cost was somewhat understandable.  But, still, listening to that data scream at us was rather shocking. The discovery even prompted an important discussion at the management —the first steps toward more revenue-generating development at the Airport.

Suffice it to say, the reports that can be generated from powerful government software, like Cartegraph, are both amazing and voluminous. However, if all you ever do is print several reams of paper, which kills trees and angers your Environmental and Parks Department staff, you have not accomplished much. If you allow the data you generate to speak to you, like I’ve illustrated above, then you are on the road to real progress and a more efficient organization.

Data can speak in a whisper (change your location) or a shout (the Airport is costing us!). It can direct you, frustrate you, and cause you to lose sleep. But if you sharpen your focus and allow the data to speak to your situation, then you will accomplish some amazing things.

Bottom line? It is not just data you are generating. You are generating decisions and future strategy. Listen to it carefully and it will direct you on the path to wise decisions and more efficient operations. Ignore it at your peril. Data has a voice. Let it speak.

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