Bad Puns, Netflix, and What it Means to be a SAAS-y Government

By Billy Burle, VP Sales and Marketing

Is your view of SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) a little “cloudy”?  If so, I’ll see what I can do to help clear the air. Maybe shed a little sunlight on the situation.  Ok, ok, I’m done with the bad puns. But seriously, the SAAS / cloud services model can have a huge impact on how you run your office and in turn impact the level of service you provide to the public.  Unfortunately, these terms have been thrown around so much in the last two years that they have almost been degraded to buzzwords, just noise we’re all starting to ignore.  Buzzwords aside, let’s take a closer look into what SAAS really is and what it offers.

What is SAAS?  Cloud SAAS

The definition of Software-as-a-Service as defined by Gartner is “software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at anytime on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.”  Well if you’re still reading that means you didn’t fall asleep during that definition. Let’s try to simplify that a bit.  Think of it as “software on demand”.  Consider various web-based mail services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail and compare them with Microsoft Outlook.  Those web-mail services are a form of SAAS.  You get all the features of an email service without having to install the software on your computer.  You just login through the internet and you’re off and running.  You don’t have to do anything to make it work – it just works.

Another example you are probably familiar with is Netflix, the media streaming service that has revolutionized home entertainment.  No longer do we have to buy, or upgrade hardware such as VCRs or DVD players.  No longer do we have to buy movies and create spaces to store them all.  For that matter, no longer does someone in the house have to know how to program the VCR.  Netflix is certainly an example of software and content on demand.  It just works – without me having to do anything.  I pay a small monthly fee and Netflix is in charge of keeping it running, keeping up with streaming technology, integrating it with other services, upgrading it, and increasing accessibility.  Because it’s a service as opposed to software, the data and tools can be accessible from many devices such as your TV, computer, phone and tablet all with a login and password.  If you don’t believe this has been a huge disruption then I’ll meet you at your local Blockbuster.

Government and SAAS

While watching Netflix in the courthouse is not going to better serve the public, there are lots of other SAAS choices that are geared towards better governance.  I know it has become cliché to say governments have to do more with less.  However, cliché as it may be, we all know it’s still true!  How much time, energy, and money does your group spend on maintaining, administering, upgrading, and fixing hardware and software installed on location?  What if it was your trusted vendor’s job to handle it?  What if all you had to do was access the tools you needed through a browser just as easy as accessing Netflix through your TV?

It’s no wonder many government agencies and companies are currently researching SAAS / Cloud offerings.  In fact, due to the tremendous benefits to our customers, we’ll soon be offering a SAAS version of our land records management suite – DREAMaps Online.  Just as streaming technology allowed Netflix to revolutionize family entertainment; SAAS and cloud Services offer you the means to revolutionize the way government operates – you can have more, do more, and be more with less.

Has your government organization switched to any SAAS / Cloud models?  If so, share your story with us, we would love to hear form you.

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