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On-demand services and digital engagement in the private sector have raised citizen expectations, and public organizations are struggling to deliver the same high level of satisfaction that commercial companies offer while matching firms’ innovation and agility. Nowhere is that challenge more acute than in critical areas like public works—where a proactive, intelligent approach can prevent catastrophes, avoid endless citizen frustration, and save large sums of money while rebuilding citizen trust in government. Governments must deliver a wide range of infrastructure projects such as transportation infrastructure, building inspections, and utility services, but struggle to do so efficiently and effectively. Technology is key to optimizing the delivery of these services—over 1.1 billion federal hours can be saved with artificial intelligence and automation. Across the wide variety of public works services and the numerous government departments that administer them, public organizations face three primary challenges:

1) Outdated systems and inefficient monitoring capabilities

The technological backbone of large swaths of public infrastructure is increasingly antiquated, severely hampering governments’ ability to provide effective, efficient services. Without modern monitoring capabilities, enabled by technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), public agencies struggle to check if infrastructure is functioning normally or if there are subtle signs of imminent issues—leading to expensive trips for field works to check on dispersed equipment, service outages, and frustrated citizens. Many public organizations also miss out on opportunities to engage citizens in maintaining public infrastructure, as they lack streamlined digital services that empower people to easily report problems. As a result, governments today are far too reactive and place citizens at risk of public works failures. Satisfying citizens and restoring faith in government starts with proactive, predictive public works that prevent issues before they interfere with citizens’ lives.

2) Reactive maintenance and service interruptions

Though remote monitoring systems alone can dramatically cut down on expensive, manual asset maintenance checks, governments are still stuck responding reactively. Even if outages are shorter than they would be without remote monitoring systems, service stoppages lead to significant interruptions in citizens’ lives and dramatically decreased citizen satisfaction. Plus, with social media providing disgruntled citizens a platform to amplify public relations (PR) problems, the cost of public works failure has never been higher. By utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze data from IoT devices, governments can proactively manage public works to recognize and fix problems before they occur. In fact, implementing predictive maintenance solutions has been shown to reduce equipment downtime by an average of 50%, and further development of machine learning is set to make services even more efficient and effective. An intelligent public works approach empowers governments to improve services while quickly addressing anomalies before they become major problem.

3) Inefficient resource allocation and increasing demands to do more with less

Despite the savings gained from implementing predictive maintenance and remote monitoring, growing demands on public services lead to an endless struggle for sufficient funds. Just as governments can use IoT devices and advanced analytics to improve their public works, financial operations can also benefit from innovative technology. Leveraging AI to optimize resource allocation equips governments with powerful, flexible budgeting tools, streamlining financial operations and empowering public leaders to make fast, informed decisions. This pays off quickly through improved citizen satisfaction, reduced risk of catastrophes, and ROI. An intelligent public works approach includes smart investments in technology that transforms infrastructure from a costly, difficult to maintain source of citizen frustration to an efficient, effective, optimized public operation.

Engage citizens, optimize operations, and cut costs with Intelligent Public Works from Microsoft

Intelligent Public Works from Microsoft empowers governments to implement proactive and efficient processes, driving increased citizen satisfaction and trust. With artificial intelligence and IoT capabilities, public organizations gain real-time monitoring for quicker service responses and streamlined, automated case management that saves time and minimizes costs.

Governments around the world are already enhancing systems and processes to better serve their citizens. The Municipality of Hollands Kroon shifted their infrastructure to the cloud, leveraging advanced analytics to glean insights that the city uses to improve decision making for public works–leading to streamlined public works processes like cutting the time to issue commercial zoning permits from 12 months to just 4 months.

Transform public works today with Microsoft, a trusted partner with industry-leading security, unmatched compliance, and unique hybrid cloud scalability. Learn about the six ways governments are transforming public works and see Intelligent Public Works in action.