Heather mentioned that it is important the infrastructure manager must determine what you are going to use the software for.
She added that one should seek the software and evaluate whether you’ll be able to tell if what you’re looking at matches what it is you want to do. Then in this way you can get much closer to what you actually need instead of buying a software first, Heather added.
Using software is not equivalent to doing asset management
Heather explained that the myth Ross mentioned of how people equate software to asset management is part of that. Furthermore, the urgency or need to do infrastructure asset management spurs people to buy software right away, Heather added.
She stressed that it’s really about the thinking part that goes behind the software and it’s just a tool to help you do that thinking or that analyzing. Heather said it again that it’s not the same as asset management.
Organize state-wide purchasing to get discount
Ross explained that being a small country, New Zealand has got lots of very small authorities. And what he’d observed that New Zealand had organized national purchasing of software to get great discounts.
He said that the scheme was pitched around the mid to large-sized authorities and it worked really, really well for them. However, Ross said that the small “guys” couldn’t support the software. It was either too complex or just too much overhead for them, he added.
Be clear about the EULA (end-user license agreement)
If you’re going to buy a new software, you’ve got to be very clear about the arrangement, Ross advised. Furthermore, Ross said that if you’re buying a bureau service and somebody else is doing all of the work, then get the costs all sorted and do it that way you want it. But you’ll find that the cost will be quite a bit more than you initially think.
Buy the software that you would really use
Ross explained that if you’re trying to get somebody else to do all the thinking for you, then that’s a problem in itself. Because you’re actually not going to ask the right questions in the first place. So you’re going to get the wrong answers to the wrong questions and pay quite a lot for that.
But if you’ve got software that you — even if you’re buying it off the web as a ‘software as a service’ or whatever – that you’re going to be using it as an in-house resource and in doing that, that’s quite a good result, Ross explained.
Consider sustainability of usage and support
Be it in-house software or web purchase – you’ve got to buy it at a level that you can support it and sustain it long-term. There’s absolutely no use having only one person in the organization that knows how to use the infrastructure asset management software.
And then they leave and where are you? Or one person that builds that black box himself and then he leaves, how does anybody else use it?
Ross concluded that the key message there was simply make sure that whatever infrastructure asset management software you buy, you can sustain using it and get software support as an agency or an authority over a longer period of time. Otherwise you’re just going to waste your money, he added.
PHOTO CREDIT: 59th Street – Columbus Circle Subway Station Entrance by Caruba via Flickr Creative Commons License