Palmerston North leads way in asset management system

Other councils will follow Palmerston North's upgrade to Hansen version 8 Live

Following a recent upgrade of its asset management system, Palmerston North City Council has become a reference site for users here and in Australia.

“We have hosted four New Zealand councils and one from Australia to look at Hansen version 8 live,” says Lindsay Gray, the council’s asset management systems officer.

In 1995 a group of councils got together to try to identify an asset management system for New Zealand local bodies. Simply, there had been nothing available till then other than the RAM system for roading.

Hansen 6 was chosen. According to Gray, there are 20 councils using Hansen today.

He says it is reasonable to assume version 8 – in fact, 8.2.2 currently – may take the council forward for five or 10 more years.

“That is unless there are any changes driven by a corporate review of systems, though there are no plans for that just now.”

The big differentiator for Hansen 8.2 is being web-based, which Gray says makes it much easier to learn and use.

“It is very intuitive because so many people are now used to the web. Version 7.0’s interface was old.”

Palmerston North council is using Hansen’s core functions around managing water, waste water, storm water, buildings, work management and inspection of assets. The council has 125,000 assets on its books, whose replacement cost is estimated at $790 million.

The council isn’t using the street and call centre modules because of other technology already in place.

Gray says integration isn’t an issue. An administrator module links to the council’s ESRI GIS system, while a New Zealand-developed tool, NEZTEK, allows it to export data to its contractors. That tool is now embedded in Hansen 8.

“The new version is customisable,” he says. “That means we can rearrange screens to suit the areas in which we are working. That’s a real plus. We also have a utility that allows us to bulk add data into Hansen. Previously, we would have had to use Infor consultants.”

The council began scoping the upgrade in March last year, with an Infor consultant on site for three days. Migration began in September and the new system went live in October.

The migration cost just $47,000, with $10,000 more “in expenses”.

Gray says they’ve decided in principle to commit to annual releases.

“It has been a bit like moving from a Mini to a Rolls Royce,” he says. “Because it has web services available we can maintain our existing service request system [not Hansen] and pass on requests to Hansen via those services to enable work orders to be used.”

He says that since the upgrade, performance has improved notably. The newer features include an asset register, work orders and asset valuations.

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