Trimble snaps up Cityworks for asset management

Oct 3, 2019 | Hot Topics

I am often asked what municipalities and other owners of bigger/older/not-all-digital assets can do to get in on the whole digital twin thing that the media (and I, to be fair) keep going on about. My usual message: start somewhere, with what you have. Figure out what you can learn from that, and what you don’t have enough info about. Then make digital what you need to reach the next set of conclusions — and so on. Eventually, you’ll have a twin of what you need. It may take 10 or 20 years, but it’ll fit your needs and not some outsider’s vision on your behalf.

There are so many tools to get started on something like this, depending on exactly what we’re talking about — and one just got a tremendous boost, as Trimble announced today it will acquire Azteca Systems, aka Cityworks, which makes enterprise asset management (EAM) software for utilities and local governments.

Trimble says Cityworks’ solutions are “used by more than 700 utilities and local governments”, including some of the “largest cities in the US”, and that “EAM is a … system of record relied on by organizations to address a wide range of applications in infrastructure development, maintenance and permitting. Cityworks is a leader in the mid-sized utility and local government market segments in North America.”

I’ve known about Cityworks for years, starting with their relationship with ESRI, the GIS powerhouse. Today, Cityworks has grown into a web-based, GIS-centric asset management solution that’s targeted at the public service industries –whether run by municipalities, as in roads and bridges, or by commercial entities, as in power and gas. The offerings span everything from mapping the asset network ,to managing permitting and other paperwork, to field worker solutions via mobile devices.

Why Cityworks, why Trimble, why now? Trimble says “The combination will provide a comprehensive digital platform—with real-time asset intelligence, workflows and analytics—for transforming the way governments and utilities prioritize infrastructure maintenance and construction investments … Customers will benefit from integrated solutions that will enable them to realize improved infrastructure performance, increased productivity and better return-on-investment associated with infrastructure construction and operation.”

That’s pretty much the EAM value proposition: knowing what you have, what’s going on with it and how to best keep it running.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but I’d estimate Cityworks’ revenue to be under $20 million — so it’s not likely to move the needle much at Trimble. But it seems to be part of Trimble’s strategic move to more closely tie itself to asset owners, as it did with the e-Builder acquisition last year. After all, something that takes 5 years to design and build may have a 50 year operating life — a lucrative part of the cycle to sell into.

Trimble says the transaction is expected to close before the end of 2019.