Exclusive Q&A With AWS and Tyler Tech

November 04, 2021 by Meredith Trimble

Exclusive Q&A With AWS and Tyler Tech

The public sector’s shift to the cloud has been steadily evolving. At Tyler Technologies, we’ve kept pace with this evolution to support our clients along their journeys.

A key component of Tyler’s cloud approach is our collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This strategic partnership began in 2019 in large part because AWS and Tyler are better together. Joining the global leader in cloud technology with the largest exclusive provider of software to the public sector just makes sense. Tyler can leverage the AWS infrastructure investment and experience to deliver the very best cloud experience to our clients who are ready to be there.

To gain more insight into this collaboration and how it benefits Tyler clients, we recently posed some frequently asked questions to Russell Gainford, vice president of cloud strategy and operations, Tyler Technologies, and Alec Chalmers, director, EdTech, Pub, GovTech, for AWS. Their answers follow below.

The COVID-19 pandemic arguably accelerated moves to the cloud — for Tyler and our clients. In what ways were our cloud developments accelerated and how does that benefit our clients?

Russell Gainford: Between December 2019 and June 2020, the population of U.S. employees working remote jumped from four to 42%. This rapid shift during the pandemic put immense pressure on IT leadership to quickly enable secure connectivity for all critical systems. Organizations that were already in the cloud had an advantage: cloud technology provided seamless remote access to data and systems the minute buildings were closed.

The cloud is not new to Tyler. We’ve been developing cloud solutions for more than 15 years. The majority of our solutions can already be deployed in the cloud. And, every year, more and more of our clients are choosing to implement their solutions there. Last year, when presented with cloud deployment options, nearly two-thirds of our clients chose the cloud option, so we’re really following their lead. Our clients’ IT departments know they need less hardware to run systems deployed in the cloud, and finance departments know cloud-enabled system costs are steady and predictable. For software users, the cloud offers more flexibility and allows us to innovate and deliver more features to support their operational needs.

Why should Tyler clients care that Tyler’s solutions are cloud-native or cloud-enabled? What is the bottom line for them?

Gainford: As I just noted, cloud-based solutions give departments and agencies more predictable budgets with reduced IT infrastructure expenses. They enhance security, provide more diverse disaster recovery, and facilitate compliance with federal standards like CJIS. They enable departments to use data as a strategic asset in the design, management, and delivery of innovative programs and services. And, finally, cloud-enabled solutions create better connections between departments, across agencies and jurisdictions, and especially between governments and the constituents they serve.

What is superior about utilizing the AWS cloud, in particular, and why should this matter to Tyler clients?

Alec Chalmers: AWS deeply understands the requirements that government-serving companies have, since we work directly with many ourselves. Many government agencies have to balance economy and agility with security, compliance, and reliability. In every instance, we have been among the first to solve government compliance challenges facing cloud computing and have consistently helped our customers navigate procurement and policy issues related to adoption of cloud computing.

Additionally, AWS is reliable, interoperable, and scalable, which gives clients flexibility and security.

What is the strategic, long-term value for jurisdictions that have Tyler solutions as well as other applications in the AWS cloud?

Chalmers: Whether through open data initiatives, public safety modernization, citizen service improvements, or infrastructure programs, governments are turning to the cloud to provide the cost-effective, scalable, secure, and flexible infrastructure necessary to make a difference.

The long-term value is in scalability, and in future-facing costs. Each AWS solution is scalable and flexible, making constituent services more readily available to those who need it. And, over the long term, this creates cost savings for clients, which allows them to continue investing in their constituents’ needs and wants.

Does operating in the cloud or using cloud-enabled solutions offer distinct benefits to different public sector practitioners in different areas of government operations?

Gainford: For any type of user, the cloud offers enhanced flexibility, connectivity, mobility, security, and scalability. These benefits manifest themselves differently according to a department’s mission and constituency. In public administration, for instance, ERP and Civic Services cloud-based solutions have most recently enabled remote work and met increased community engagement needs. Self-service portals, remote payroll access, mobile apps, digital workflows, and data and insights are examples. In another example, digital workflows and remote capabilities are important to schools as well. But in that environment, the benefits are seen in managing absences and substitutes, capturing accurate attendance, or optimizing bus routes.

What is the intersection between cloud and cybersecurity? How can the cloud make governments more secure?

Chalmers: Cloud empowers governments to confidently run their systems with flexibility and top-of-line security. Additionally, by building on AWS, you can improve your ability to meet core security and compliance requirements, such as data locality, protection, and confidentiality with its comprehensive services and features.

AWS allows governments to automate manual security tasks so they can shift their focus to scaling and innovating for constituents. All customers benefit from AWS being the only commercial cloud that has had its service offerings and associated supply chain vetted and accepted as secure enough for top-secret workloads.

Can governments have fully modernized and optimized operations without the cloud?

Gainford: Cybersecurity, just discussed, is an important component of a complete, modern government technology stack. So, too, is the cloud. The “GovTech Stack,” as we call it, is simply a government’s digital foundation. This foundation is something that agencies can build over time, and it enables our Connected Communities Vision. It integrates workflow, tasks, and processes, and strengthens information-sharing across multiple departments so staff can easily communicate, collaborate, and make data-driven decisions. These connections are also critical for engaging the public. Transitioning to the cloud allows all of the elements of a GovTech Stack to be fully realized.

Can you talk a little about how the cloud facilitates scalability and why that matters?

Chalmers: Government agencies continue to grow and change in response to community needs. This often requires more of government technology systems. Departments need systems that are responsive and scalable. Cloud-enabled solutions are not bottlenecked by an inflexible and aging hardware infrastructure.

How does the cloud affect software releases and that user experience?

Gainford: This is very important to our clients. Clients want releases that constantly provide them with the latest and best features and bug fixes without having to wait months to digest the next big update. And, to work most efficiently, they need software releases that won’t interrupt workdays or require reading volumes of release notes to simply do their jobs. More timely and stable software releases, or continuous deployment, provides the best possible user experience and can only be realized in the cloud.

What made Tyler Technologies an attractive partner, and what does Tyler bring to AWS?

Chalmers: Tyler has a deep understanding of cloud and its clients’ needs, and our partnership and strategic collaboration encourage greater engagement for the benefit of public sector customers. AWS and Tyler are committed to continuing to create the scalable, resilient, and secure solutions that the public sector requires.

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