Software as a Service (SaaS) is revolutionizing the technical landscape in government, offering a new way for users to access computing applications. Between 2010 and 2015, the federal government spent nearly $26.1 billion on cloud computing and state and local governments spent over $640 million. As cloud computing continues to grow within the public sector, SaaS use will continue to increase alongside cloud adoption rates, offering improved access to critical business applications for all users in federal, state, and local governments nationwide. But SaaS solutions are not just for technical users nor are they limited to one department or office within an agency. Read on to learn how Software as a Service works for all types of government employees.
SaaS for City Officials
For non-technical users, like city officials and planners, SaaS can be thought of as simply hosted software that requires only an Internet connection and a browser. It’s likely that users without a technology background think of SaaS services as “on-demand software,” “hosted software,” or “cloud-computing” services. These users aren’t wrong to think these things, but there is more to SaaS. With SaaS solutions, there’s no need to install software on a server or on your local machine, you just need to sign up for the service and access it via the Internet. When you access your SaaS solution and save information, it’s stored in a remote location so that you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection. This provides flexibility and mobility for service users. Even more, SaaS as a whole is evolving into a broad industry – there are thousands of companies delivering solutions, like Salesforce and BasicGov, who provide on-demand software for commercial and local government customers.
City planners, officials, and other government employees with non-technical backgrounds are realizing real benefits from SaaS solutions – whether they know the mechanical details or not. To learn more about how Software as a Service solutions are revolutionizing the way state and local governments do business, watch this video and download this whitepaper from Salesforce on how NJ Transit transformed services to connect with citizens in new powerful ways using SaaS tools.
SaaS for IT Managers
The National Institute of Security Standards of Technology (NIST) Information Technology Laboratory has defined SaaS as one of a few possible service delivery models within the scope of cloud computing. It provides consumers with vendor applications, running on a cloud infrastructure. These apps are then available via a variety of consumer devices. Consumers don’t manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure, but there is the option to offer customers user-specific application configuration settings. This type of service delivery offers IT managers the flexibility to run applications and have quick delivery to end-users.
Even more, SaaS makes IT procurement easier for decision makers. Traditionally, choices about technology procurement and implementation included drawn-out discussions of how the organization would install and support the requested software. If it did not fit into the existing infrastructure or required special resources to manage, the request for the software would often be denied. But, since SaaS is constantly updated, government IT managers don’t have to undertake costly, time-consuming deployments or maintain cumbersome legacy systems. New applications can be made available to business owners and citizens alike with minimal impact on already taxed IT systems. And because SaaS is customizable, IT leaders don’t have to worry about getting locked into yesterday’s applications.
SaaS for CTOs and CFOs
Because SaaS solutions are sold on a renewable, per-user subscription basis, payments are spread out over time so there is significantly less risk of costly failures traditionally associated with enterprise software licenses that require large, up-front payments. And, because SaaS exists on the Internet, government customers aren’t saddled with expensive, laborious deployments. In fact, Salesforce found that customers are able to complete tasks nearly 5 times faster at half the cost of enterprise based solutions. Without this impact on city resources and human capital, the cost and time to install decreases dramatically and citizen services can be implemented and optimized with ease.
Read more about how SaaS is increasing productivity while improving management efficiencies by downloading this ROI case study from the State Department.
SaaS for Cybersecurity Officers
Security has been raised as a barrier to wide adoption of cloud and SaaS solutions. While it is true that data lives outside your organization, it may actually be more secure. Many SaaS vendors have state of the art cybersecurity practices and technologies that are not used in local or state governments. Security and privacy are intrinsic to the SaaS model so government customers may even face fewer concerns about data leaks than with traditional software. SaaS vendors comply with industry defined best practices for securing access to your system and data. Data is backed up regularly and stored in a secure location using the latest security features. Authentication features are built in, both for users and for devices, and data encryption keys come standard on many services, like Salesforce.
Find out more about how the DoD has secured the correspondence management with Salesforce by watching this webinar on-demand.
SaaS for State and Local Government Agencies
SaaS is a new way of designing IT to work for the people who use it day in and day out, which in turn makes your organization and staff more efficient. Overall, SaaS advantages for state and local governments include:
- Affordable monthly subscription per user without large capital expenditure
- Less demand for new in-house IT resources
- Easy sharing of information across teams
- Integration with existing systems
- Increased accessibility for users
- Improved reliability and back up of critical data
For more details on what local governments should know about SaaS check out this whitepaper from BasicGov or watch these on-demand Salesforce webinars on how the Department of Energy, the State of Ohio, and USAID are increasing operational efficiency and citizen service with SaaS. And be sure to register for free for Salesforce’s World Tour, coming to DC on April 28th, 2016 to learn more about SaaS.