Fixing municipal service delivery with Solution House’s Incident Desk
By promising to improve poor service delivery for any local authority that deploys My Incident Desk, Solution House Software is solidifying its position as the premier urban management and public safety software solution in South Africa.
It’s a serious claim and an important point. “Many municipalities struggle with service delivery,” says Tiaan Janse van Rensburg, director of Solution House Software, owner and developer of My Incident Desk. “It’s a sore point in many South African cities, but by no means unique as we have already assisted many of the largest and most complex South African Special Rates Areas (SRA) in the major metros.”
Skills, cost and voter demand
Janse van Rensburg highlights severe budget and skills constraints as key challenges hampering South African municipalities’ service delivery. Meanwhile, a rightfully impatient public want to see real improvements quickly. “Implementing service management or public safety software solutions are usually multi-year projects with budgets running into tens of millions of rands. These projects require prolonged political will and continuous availability of specialist skills,” explains Janse van Rensburg.
“My Incident Desk addresses all these issues as a powerful no-code, cloud-based platform,” he says. “Hosted and preconfigured with a full array of service categories, it is affordable and easy to deploy, even with the paralysing financial and skills challenges facing our cities.”
My Incident Desk comes pre-configured with over 2 000 service categories from which city management can pick to manage in a specific precinct or area, Janse van Rensburg explains. “My Incident Desk offers a best-of-breed solution, refined over 10 years by our urban management users.”
The service menu includes municipal services, maintenance management, metro police services, emergency incident management, complaints and operations, traffic management, social services and homeless people management.
But how is quick rollout possible with such an advanced service delivery platform, complete with smartphone apps and tools?
As My Incident Desk is cloud-based, it requires no installation and runs happily on both desktop and mobile devices, Janse van Rensburg says.
“It can be rapidly deployed on existing infrastructure. A municipality simply selects the services they want to start off with and are able to expand their solution from the menu at any time.”
He explains the process starts with a consultation with the municipality, to decide which services it wants to commence with. Next, municipal boundaries and wards are created on Incident Desk, service groups are matched to municipal departments, and users are loaded. After that, users are trained on both the desktop application and mobile worker service app, with the solution then being branded and deployed internally. Once the municipal service teams are comfortable with the solution, it can be rolled out to the public in the form of a public app – all within a matter of weeks.
Making municipal service delivery easier
My Incident Desk comes with many integrated tools that support better service delivery.
- Mapping and geo-fencing of municipal wards allows logging and mapping of service calls. Service teams can be routed to the precise location, both to verify that the call has been attended to, and to create heat maps for reporting.
- The system tracks the live location of service calls and teams, allowing the closest and best suited team to accept the service call, be dispatched, and report on their progress and completion of the call. This function can also be used for Metro police and emergency teams.
- An asset management module using QR codes enables easy loading of vehicles and other assets onto the platform for completion of daily check lists. The platform has a recurring maintenance management function integrated with the smartphone app.
- A homeless people management function integrates a POPIA-compliant facial recognition solution to assist the most vulnerable of society. Homeless people can be enrolled with their permission and their personal data captured using the app, allowing their service history to be retrieved in real-time and new services to be logged. The Incident Desk facial recognition solution also removes double counting of homeless people and provides accurate real-time reports on how many homeless people there are in an area.
- Broadcast push notifications can be sent to residents updating them on service delivery and outages. If a public user logs a service request via the app, the municipality can respond directly to them with an update via the app which is cheaper than SMS.
Janse van Rensburg says the efficiencies and proven service delivery impact of My Incident Desk is good news for voters and local authorities alike.
The platform is already the leading private urban management and public safety platform in SA, with many areas under management in Cape Town, the City of Johannesburg and eThekwini.
But smaller municipalities benefit too.
“Easy, relatively inexpensive and quick to roll out, My Incident Desk allows any municipality to get ahead of the many issues bedeviling service delivery in a very short time,” he concludes.