SANTIAGO — If your work has anything to do with using technology to provide more intelligent and efficient services, then now is the best time to be working in the public sector. A mix of disruptive systems and services that include the cloud, big data, analytics and drones are changing the public-sector workplace like never before.

The existing options and possibilities would have been unimaginable five years ago, and are already becoming basic work tools. This is a moment of innovative technologies evolving together at an unprecedented rate. At the heart of this transition is the IT column in any budget that gives organizations visibility, transparency, digital security and operational control to monitor big departments and functions, make full use of existing assets, and provide citizens with the high-quality services they expect.

In recent years, government agencies have become increasingly familiar with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or managing physical assets with a system that includes a database of all physical and financial data relating to those assets. This means barcode IDs for all assets, and extensive use of mobile technology in field auditing for day-to-day maintenance.

An example is the city of New York, which has about one million buildings, some 2.7 million vehicles entering it daily and an infinite amount of minor tools and devices in its inventory, all managed by EAM software. Efficiency in public sector operations has never been so important, with a need to optimize each asset to maximize its utility, anticipate flaws and minimize delays.

That is why EAM software is being transferred to the cloud, to make better use of its potential for optimizing operations on a slim budget. The cloud also ends the era of local modifications, freeing 'on premise' technology equipment to devote itself to more specific areas.

Cloud-based EAM is the glue that keeps all this together. The system identifies, follows and analyzes the organization's physical assets and proposes planning and decision-making tools needed to optimize their performance. By generating precise maintenance programs that minimize unexpected halts, EAM maximizes operational efficiency and ensures the best use of the workforce and materials at hand. Adding to it the Internet of Things, one may create a web that covers all critical systems and can foresee maintenance and repair needs before they appear.

Drones provide a 360-degree view of assets, literally.

The latest technology is a powerful synergy of EAM software and drones. An organization's installations and assets can be on land, at sea or in the air, and particularly in difficult and even dangerous locations or those barely accessible by road. Maintenance operations may often depend on older equipment and devices that are costly and difficult to transport.

Drones provide a 360-degree view of assets, literally — and offer essential data that allow planning for the efficient management of physical assets. With trains, shipyards, planes and pipes, and buildings or bridges, the synergy of drones and EAM helps improve inspection procedures, boosts the assets' performance and helps ensure that work norms are met.

There are two points the cloud and drones share, namely that both emerged fast and are becoming essential tools for the public sector. If your organization faces the short-term challenge of providing a top-level service in managing infrastructures on a limited budget, the first step is to optimize management of assets under your control. And that means using cutting-edge technology.

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