Small Local Government and the Move to Cloud-Based Applications
August 29, 2017
Even though 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 started to change with 2017 budgets.
More and 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 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 applications.
Work from Anywhere
The most 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 5 p.m., 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 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
Small local 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.
Limited 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 Better Technology
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.
The 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 knowledge.
It is our belief at Aptean USTI that the small local government market is now ready to start moving to cloud-based applications. USTI launched its Connect Cloud solution in the United States for asyst in 2016 and in Canada for asyst and Keystone in 2017, and has helped a number of existing customers with “Stepping Up” into the cloud with their existing asyst data.