Buenos Aires Province Goes Digital to Help Update Aging Infrastructure

SAP S/4HANA helps Buenos Aires Province modernize bridges, sewage, roads, and more.

Buenos Aires Province covers more than 307,500 square kilometers and 17 million citizens — it is Argentina’s largest province, governing 40 percent of the country’s total population. But its aging and indebted infrastructure needed help.

When a new administration came to power in 2015, a key priority was to invest in and modernize the province’s flagging infrastructure.

Florencia Valia is in charge of planning for the province’s Infrastructure and Public Services Ministry. “Previously, there was not enough investment in our infrastructure,” she says. “When we came to office, we evaluated the deficit, which amounted to more than $30 billion.”

Valia’s team found that most of the province’s roads were in poor condition, water and sewage services needed to be improved, healthcare centers had deteriorated, and many towns in the province faced the risk of flooding.

The Ministry oversees all public works for the province, including everything from roads and railways to dams and energy – all things that are essential to citizens’ daily lives. After assessing the Ministry’s financial situation, Valia’s team created a plan to fix the infrastructure, which included short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

To support modernization, the Ministry, led by Roberto Gigante, has invested $6 billion in infrastructure. But the province needed a way to help ensure that public works were completed on budget and on time. “We wanted a modern and agile system that would help us manage public works and oversee the entire process from beginning to end,” says Valia.

In her previous role as general director of Controlling for the City of Buenos Aires, Valia’s agency relied on Internet of Things (IoT) technology from SAP to help monitor water levels during rainstorms and avoid flooding accidents. The goal was to make Buenos Aires a smart city. For this province-wide program, the government turned again to SAP, partly due to its experience with the public sector worldwide.

The Ministry uses SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform to run more than 3,000 projects across hydraulics, sanitation, architecture, housing, energy, agriculture and other areas. The province currently uses SAP S/4HANA modules for finance, project management, and plant maintenance in the cloud.

“In the past, we didn’t have transparency into data regarding our infrastructure investments and projects,” Valia says. With the new software, the Ministry has systemized its processes and stores all related data centrally in SAP HANA. This gives employees better visibility into the progress of public works projects.

“We get trusted information about both the physical and financial execution of the works in real time,” says Valia. Since the team monitors key indicators throughout the process, they can take corrective action immediately to fix issues as they arise.

Nurturing the Next Generation of Talent

As part of its modernization plan, a mobile app was also developed to audit public works projects. The Ministry has engaged students to help with this and signed an agreement with seven Argentinian universities to provide scholarships and practical experience to 90 students focused on engineering, architecture, and related studies.

The Ministry is also committed to training its employees in new digital tools, already educating 400 staff members.

Asked about future goals, Valia says, “We want to keep collaborating so we can achieve the digital transformation for the province and continue bringing the state closer to citizens.”