the trend to move to Cloud-Based Applications in the general consumer market
started several years ago, it has not been widely adopted by the small local
government market. However, this has started to change with 2017 budgets.
more municipalities are looking to upgrade to cloud-based applications, as a
result of the “Greying of Government”. These Baby Boomer leaders, who are also
the end-users in most small local governments, are starting to retire.
Generations X and Y, and the Millennials, are stepping into those leadership
roles; they are looking for modern technology solutions that are more familiar
to them. For the remaining Baby Boomer and early Gen X leaders, the idea of
changing the way their organization computes can seem scary and unnecessary.
Typically, budgets are tight, staffing is light, bandwidth is limited, and the
perceived overall resources that would be needed to make this kind of change
are just too overwhelming. Many benefits support this trend to move to cloud-based
“Work from Anywhere”
obvious benefit is the ability to work from anywhere, which can be highly beneficial
to small local governments that are typically lightly staffed and looking for
ways to get more from less. Having the flexibility
to take your work where you need to go means that your staff will have a less
restrictive environment, allowing them to blend their work and home lives. Employees
tend to spend more time on work projects when they can make an easier transition
to their home life needs. For example, if an employee has a personal commitment
that requires them to leave precisely at 5pm, even if a project is not
complete, they will most likely complete the work that evening if it can be
done at home. This flexibility increases
productivity as projects tend to be completed, rather than left unfinished to
pick it back up the next day.
Millennials expect to have this option in the workplace, and the
organizations that do will have a competitive edge over those with a more
restrictive work culture.
“Better Use of Resources”
governments are typically staffed lightly, and this is most prevalent with IT
resourcing. It is not uncommon in small local government for the IT resource to
be a functional staff member within the organization as well. The amount of time they have to devote to IT
troubleshooting and maintenance is minimal. When moving to Cloud-Based
Applications, you remove a potentially large drain on that functional resource
and transition it to a technology partner explicitly focused on IT.
staff usually means that the necessary resources and knowledge base to manage
software updates is lacking. Keeping
current on patches is vital to minimize the risk of cyber attacks. Moving to a Cloud-Based Application means
access to automated software updates. As
part of the managed cloud services, experts on the application are in place to
work on any issues, resulting in less downtime and better stability.
“Lower Capital Expense with Access to
On top of
the savings received from a staff resource not having to deal with applications
on your network, you also save on the hardware expense of housing those
applications. It can be very difficult for a small local government to budget
the upfront costs to build a server network that can support housing a shared
application and the network trafficking needs required. Cloud-Based Applications
remove that upfront cost burden and move it to a more manageable shared
partnership, which also results in access to better and more current technology.
potential of data loss is something that affects every entity in the public and
private sectors. Providing a solution
for this is very challenging for small local governments with their limited human
and capital resources. Being able to utilize the redundancies and
cloud server backup policies of the shared environment allows access to needed
Disaster Recovery without any of the requisite management resource and
It is our
belief at USTI that the small local government market is now ready to start
adopting the trend occurring in other markets to move to Cloud-Based applications.
USTI launched its USTI Connect Cloud solution in the United States for asyst in the 3rd quarter of 2016 and
has already started assisting a number of existing customers with “Stepping Up”
into the cloud with their existing asyst
data. USTI plans on launching its USTI
Connect Cloud solution in Canada for asyst
and Keystone in 2017.
Aptean welcomed veteran marketing expert Leo Tucker as the company’s new Chief
Marketing Officer. We sat down with Leo to chat about his background,
his early impressions of Aptean, and how he spends his time outside the office.
Q: Leo, can you
start by telling us about your background and the path that brought you to
Leo: I’ve been
fortunate enough to work with technology companies for more than 20 years. I’ve
worked with some of the largest companies in the world, like IBM, as well as mid-sized
companies like Aptean. I was a product manager in the late 90’s, and grew my skillset
to eventually manage every function of marketing, from lead generation, to
product marketing, to communications and more. Immediately before joining Aptean I served in a similar
capacity as the global head of marketing for PGi, so I’ve been fortunate to run
all aspects of marketing globally over the course of my career.
Q: What inspired
you to pursue a career in marketing?
Leo: After I graduated
from business school in the mid ‘90’s, it was apparent that technology was
going to be a great place to focus my career. I had the opportunity to work at
IBM, which gave me my first exposure to technology products and services. After
that, I joined an Atlanta-based company called S1 as a product manager. The
role I had was 98 percent product marketing.
It required me to understand each product’s key differentiators, what
message resonated for each product, who we should be concerned with from a
competitive perspective, and which new markets we should enter. I found the products interesting, but I fell
in love with the strategy behind all of these questions – and I realized that’s
where I wanted to focus my career.
Q: What excited
you most about the opportunity to join Aptean?
Leo: When anyone is
trying to decide whether to join a company – whether they are fresh out of
college or well into their career -- it comes down to the team. From top to
bottom, the team here at Aptean is top notch. Kim Eaton is a fantastic leader,
and the vision for the company and the business model is fascinating. I’m
especially impressed by Aptean’s focus on how to make strategic acquisitions
that create a whole that’s greater than the sum of the parts for our customers.
Another exciting thing about Aptean is
that under Kim’s leadership, the company has become even more customer-centric.
Every company talks about putting your customers first, but I’ve rarely seen it
put into action the way it is at Aptean.
Q:You’re still getting your “sea legs” at
Aptean, but in these early days, what are your initial observations about the
company and the CMO role?
laser focus on the customer that Kim introduced means that we have spent less
time in recent years on what you might call traditional lead generation. Aptean has great products and customer
relationships as a result of this strategy, so customers are choosing to stay
with Aptean and expanding the business that they do with us. This has been exactly the right strategy for
Aptean. But we’ve reached a point where we
need to spend some cycles reinvigorating our demand generation function to add
new customers as well. In addition, the brand hasn’t been refreshed in a while,
and the time has come to think more deeply and creatively about how we tell our
story. It’s going to be a really fun
Q: As a marketer,
you work alongside technical experts and need to speak their language. How do
you stay current on technology in order to convey the value of products to
Leo: At the end of the
day, it comes down to understanding who your buyers and your users are – and
then communicating in a language that makes sense to them. In my career, the buyers and users have been
on the business side, so I’ve had to understand their business challenges and goals,
and how to translate technical features to address their goals and challenges. So
I’ve always seen the marketing role in a technology company as being the
translator – translating technical capabilities into solutions.
Q: One of Aptean’s
strengths is that it provides products to customers across a broad number of industries. Is it challenging as a marketer to keep up
with so many different industries and truly understand each customer?
Leo: From a marketing
perspective, it has to be a two-level approach. First, we need to have a strong corporate
identity that can serve as an umbrella across all of the different products and
services that we offer and to all of the different industries we serve. Second,
we need to translate this identity at the product level and apply the right
messages to individual business challenges that we’re trying to solve. And of
course, it means that our marketing team has to stay very closely aligned with
our product team so that we’re always synced upon how to convey the value of
what we do to clients, and also relay customer feedback as we continue to build
and iterate on our products.
Q:As fast as the tech industry changes, how
do you balance the need to deliver the products that customers say they need
today with investing in the products you believe they will need tomorrow?
Leo: It’s a critically
important question, and a balance that many, many companies struggle with. Our basic approach at Aptean is to start with
understanding the business challenge we’re trying to solve for our customers. If a new technology is cool – but we can’t
envision how it will help our customers today or in the near future - it tends not
to be our top focus. It’s tempting to
place big bets on emerging technology to stay ahead of trends, but if you can’t
draw that clear line between what you’re investing in and how it will tangibly
help your customers, you’re not going to be successful. We also take special
care to look at some technologies in the macro sense – to identify the
capabilities that we need across our products and across all the industries we
serve – but we primarily think about how to apply our technologies to specific
client needs and use cases.
Q: Let’s talk
about culture. What kind of company is
Aptean? What’s it like to work there?
Leo: One thing that
became apparent from day one is how well-communicated and understood Aptean’s
vision and priorities are across the company. It’s so common in companies of
Aptean’s size, and particularly with Aptean’s complexity, for there to be confusion
about priorities, strategy, and how everything fits together. Kim and the executive team have really
excelled at conveying the vision at the companywide level. And this takes away roadblocks, because we
are all clear where we’re going. So as a result of that, the culture is extremely
collaborative. And there’s a tremendous amount of energy. When everyone knows the
direction they’re heading, it really lends itself to productive conversation. And,
from a purely personal perspective, I felt welcomed and comfortable at Aptean
right away. There is a great warmth and
camaraderie here that I’m excited to be a part of.
Q: You are active
in the Atlanta-area community. Tell us about your work with the Atlanta
Leo: It’s been a real
honor to be on the board of the Children’s Museum for six years now. We’ve just completed a multi-million dollar
renovation, and it’s a jewel of downtown Atlanta. My children were frequent visitors to the
museum when they were young, so when a friend asked me to join the board, I was
excited to do it. Not surprisingly, I was asked to help with development and
marketing, which has been a lot of fun. The museum really focuses on learning,
through structured and unstructured play, and I’ve seen the tremendous impact
is has on the community. There’s also a good lesson there about volunteering in
ways that leverage your skills to help others. There are endless ways to make a
difference, but I find that if you focus on the things you are best at, you’ll
have the greatest impact and enjoy yourself.
at peak performance and getting the most out of assets is a key objective for
many companies. Implementing the right software solutions is how Best-In-Class
companies are continuing to excel.
Investing in a maintenance contract ensures that your company’s critical
software is always at peak performance.
Considering software maintenance
is similar to purchasing car insurance. The type of coverage you purchase directly
correlates to the support and security you will receive in the event of an accident. Purchasing liability coverage will provide
the minimum amount required by law, but that minimal amount may not be enough
protection, which can result in a significant out-of-pocket expense. Purchasing
comprehensive coverage may be costly, but you are protected should anything
happen to your vehicle through no fault of your own. For example, if you are involved in an
accident where you are at fault, liability insurance will pay to repair the
damage to the other car, up to the limits of your policy; you will be
responsible for any cost above that and for the cost of repairs to your own
car. Comprehensive coverage, on the
other hand, would pay for repairs to both vehicles.
A software maintenance
plan allows the same peace of mind as comprehensive insurance, the security of
knowing that you have the necessary tools to allow
your company to gain a general competitive edge. When customers think of maintenance, the
first thing that comes to mind is access to technical support via phone, email,
or the web support portal, but typically there is so much more. Customers who invest in Aptean maintenance have
access to the Self Service portal, which provides access to a wealth of
information. The resources include articles, support incident submission,
management and reporting. The portal
also provides educational recordings, product downloads and documentation, and
a community base where customers are able to communicate with one another. Through
the portal, maintenance customers have access to view and manage company
profiles, access to industry and technical bulletins, and the access to subscriptions
to receive updates about their products and Aptean.
of our products, Aptean also provides a full catalog of courses through Aptean
University for all maintenance customers. Through the use of this resource,
maintenance users will have 24/7 access to diverse video libraries that help
educate and encourage employees to be well trained so that they have the
ability to super charge systems and processes.
also means having access to upgrades on solutions, which means that your company
has state-of-the-art functionality to continue performing at their best. These upgrades include the newest releases,
as well as any hotfix updates and service packs. Customers are able to receive
access to new features and functionality that can help position your company to
better meet your business objectives while implementing the latest technologies
and best practices. Customers on
maintenance contracts also have the ability to offer insight into the product
roadmap. Customer advisory boards comprised of passionate hand-picked customers
are able to provide their opinions for the direction of the product.
Investing in maintenance will ensure that your business has the
coverage, support, and security it needs to operate at peak performance
and ensure you are getting the most out your
software solution from Aptean.