Cloud enablement, Industry insights

Using the power of tech to address SA’s infrastructure woes

Using the power of tech to address SA’s infrastructure woes

Local government infrastructure planning is critical in ensuring capital projects are planned and budgeted effectively. As demand for services at a municipal level increases, local governments are expected to do more with less. This trend is further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the shortcomings of several municipalities.

The key to the success of any capital expenditure project in the public sector is transparency – ensuring all stakeholders are kept up to date throughout the process, from start to finish. One way of enabling this is by utilising Software as a Service (SaaS).

It is not simply a case of purchasing an off-the-shelf package, but rather partnering with industry experts who can drive the process in a manner which is beneficial for infrastructure projects.

Novus3 is an advisory services company, based in Pretoria, South Africa. Through its CP³ (collaboration, planning, prioritisation, performance) web application, it can assist both the public and private sectors with expertise in infrastructure capital investment plans, budgets and fiscal impact simulations.

This SaaS solution enables businesses and the public sector to transform the way infrastructure projects are managed. All stakeholders now have the ability to oversee the complete project.

CP³ is a cloud-based software system that enables city managers in the public sector to ascertain and align projects to the city’s vision, therefore prioritising capital needs against city objectives. It analyses the relevant data, before advising which of the infrastructure projects (put forward by different departments within a city) should be implemented.

It also provides a birds-eye view of the city’s consolidated capital investment needs, so areas of greater demand stand out and can therefore be prioritised. This is especially important when different departments are pushing their projects. This can become a critical factor for the respective municipality and the city manager, who, with a limited budget has to decide which of these projects should be implemented.

The software is also used to track the progress of the relevant projects. This enables stakeholders to zoom in on separate projects, in real time, obtaining immediate status reports applicable to that relevant project.

Some of CP³’s initial users included the three largest cities in Gauteng, South Africa: the City of Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

“A key aspect in the success of this Software as a Service offering is the choice of cloud provider, so we migrated the application to the AWS cloud,” explains Jaco de Vries, principal of operations for business solutions at Novus3.

“As a result we can take advantage of AWS reliability, security, and as we look towards our own future expansion, the AWS global reach provides a world-class cloud offering.”

Expanding its reach into the private sector Novus3, partnered with software service provider, BBD. Being another AWS advanced partner, BBD was a perfect fit. Since becoming a strategic vendor, BBD has helped stabilise and build reliability into Novus3’s flagship software application, CP³, and was instrumental in the migration of the CP³ application into the AWS cloud environment.

BBD executive Andre de Witt says, “Using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2), we were able to implement CP³ on the AWS cloud. AWS EC2 is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud and is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers. This simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction, at the same time providing you with complete control of your computing resources. It also lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. We implemented Amazon’s CloudFront services which is a web service that speeds up distribution of both the static and dynamic web content. This has improved the operating platform of CP³. As cloud usage increases, opting to migrate CP³ to AWS has boosted end user confidence in Novus3 providing assurance for customers that the application and customer data are secure.”

James Scheepers, Novus3’s principal operations: product solutions concludes, “By choosing BBD and AWS, we have been able to upscale CP³ so we can equip clients in the public sector to make the right choices when it comes to choosing and implementing infrastructure projects. It is transforming the way in which they think about their capital investment and expenditure, as well as the way in which they plan and structure their budgets. Large organisations in the private sector can also benefit from this software in the cloud because it gives them a clear overview of projects in real-time. Enabling them to also ensure the project is running on schedule and within budget.”

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