How to Save Money With Automations

The business world is quickly evolving, and the way organizations handle and process information has become challenging. Employers want answers quicker; customers want instant gratification; and employees want new systems to function better than the one being replaced. These were all challenges Daniel Johns, former GIS Manager for Clay County Water Utility, faced when researching and implementing an asset management system to help his organization, Clay County Utility Authority in Northern Florida, better service its 200,000 residents and 53,000 customers.

Daniel was comfortable with the features and components of OpenGov’s Operations Management System (OMS), but received a pleasant surprise a quarter of the way through implementation when he heard of the new Automation Manager functionality.

“Staff completed over 3,500 fire hydrant inspections in 4 months, saving the utility $110,000 in costs.”

First, they tackled utility work management notifications. Managers and supervisors wanted to be notified when certain task activities were created, or if there was no cost entered. Second, they used triggers to manually update departments, staff IDs, and more. Next, they began to look at key operational needs.

Staff had an issue arise with rusted fire hydrant bolts that needed to be addressed. The make and model of the hydrant was identified, and tasks were generated in OpenGov. No additional tasks related to flushing, exercising, or inspecting could occur until the bolts were replaced. If any of those tasks were generated and completed by staff, the fire hydrant could potentially fail or blow off the base. To prevent this from happening, they created automations to prevent tasks from being created against the impacted fire hydrants.

“The first automation doesn’t have to be a big game changer, look for the low-hanging fruit.”

Management guided and trained utility staff to only monitor tasks through Cartegraph and not to randomly work on fire hydrants without first checking the system. They set up a response message to prompt staff, “Unable to create Task; Water Hydrant has an outstanding safety issue that needs to be addressed.” The same concept could also be applied to system valves that should not be operated, or other types of assets in Cartegraph.

Also, by integrating with Esri’s ArcGIS platform, we’re able to map and disable features based off tasks in Cartegraph. If a fire hydrant is out-of-service, we’re using Automation Manager to disable the GIS status for that asset. The feature then appears as out-of-service on our public GIS mapping application, and we use this to notify both the residents and fire departments.

  1. Start simple: identify the low-hanging fruit.
  2. Browse through automation triggers and help documentation.
  3. Identify organizational processes that could be more efficient.
  4. Write processes down to identify workflows.
  5. Use a clear naming convention for your automations.
  6. Remember to set permissions.
  7. Don’t be afraid to connect with and learn from other users


In February 2018, Daniel participated in a webinar for Cartegraph Asset Management. He discussed and demonstrated how the organization used OMS and Automation Manager. At that time, he projected savings of at least $63,000 in labor cost for the 2018 annual hydrant inspections by processing the tasks through OMS and automating portions of the process. The workflow was evaluated step-by-step to obtain the amount of time it would take to complete tasks with and without Automation Manager. In 4 months and 7 days, staff completed over 3,500 fire hydrant inspections. Annual inspections using the previous legacy system averaged around 9 months to complete. After the inspections were completed for 2018, the organization ended up saving about $110,000 by using Automation Manager!

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Jeff Neukom

Category: Asset Management

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