Effective operations and maintenance (O&M) support the provision of services and bolster sustainable economic development. The following three strategies will enable a sustainable O&M environment for governments to deal with a burgeoning global demand for economic and social infrastructure.


Economic infrastructure – transport, water, electricity, and telecommunications - enables socio-economic development with the support of social infrastructure – government buildings and public facilities.

Across the globe population growth, rapid urbanisation and aging legacy infrastructure are placing greater demands on city governments. While a global consensus maintains that infrastructure is crucial for sustainable economic development, governments still try to solve the problem by funding expensive new capital projects. Constraints on public budget and inadequate project control/implementation however negatively impact new ventures with dire consequences for service delivery.

In times of economic uncertainty, more efficient and effective infrastructure asset management practices are imperative. According to a 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) report, the solution lies in the too-often neglected domain of O&M.


The authors of Strategic Infrastructure: Steps to Operate and Maintain Infrastructure Efficiently and Effectively 1, maintain that authorities need to make the most of their existing asset base to increase asset productivity and longevity. The existing political bias towards funding new assets results in:

Neglect of maintenance and asset resilience

Unnecessary user costs

Negative environmental and social externalities

The GAC Infrastructure Chair and Managing Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction, Thomas Maier, emphasizes the need for cities to harness the economic value locked away in their existing asset base. According to Maier, “O&M is part and parcel of high-quality service orientation for users” that “drives their willingness to pay for services and thus underpins funding sustainability”. Moreover, it is imperative to extract this value over the entire planned life of an asset.


In a bid towards more holistic infrastructure lifecycle asset management, the WEF report 2 highlights three broad strategies that enable a sustainable O&M environment:

1. Increase the utility of infrastructure

Apply demand side management

Reduce downtime

Apply a customer-centric approach

Use smart technologies to enhance user experience and refine asset performance

2. Decrease the total costs of infrastructure:

Implement lean automated processes

Optimise procurement and outsourcing

Conceptualise and embed sustainability into routine operations

Enhance stakeholder communication and cooperation

3. Increase value of infrastructure over its lifetime

Invest in preventative and predictive maintenance

Control excessive asset consumption and stress

Enhance disaster resilience

Prioritise life-cycle management approaches

Enhance efficiency of project delivery


IMQS supports systematic lifecycle asset management with its Maintenance Management Module. The GIS-centric digital O&M solution integrates, automates and unifies all maintenance-related data sources, processes, and reporting. Users gain an informed and interactive view of their O&M environment, including early warning signs of asset failure and potential material shortages based on available stock-levels.

As an integrated and spatially enabled solution for Incident Reporting, the Maintenance Management Module:

Facilitates planned scheduled or unscheduled maintenance

Enables the notification of responsible teams with correct incident information

Helps reduce the risk of making decisions based on dissimilar data sets

Supports informed decision-making

Enables coordinated workforce execution

In the long run, IMQS’s spatially enabled, digital Maintenance Management Module bolsters governance and helps to cut operations costs in half. For a more in-depth picture read our blog on Rustenburg.