Moving Beyond Challenges, Together
April 27, 2020 by
A Connected Future in the Cloud
In the tumultuous past months, the unique ability of local governments to best serve their communities has been apparent in full effect. Time and again, our clients have weathered unprecedented circumstances with grace and grit, agility and innovation. Elected and appointed leaders, along with those on the front lines, have maintained critical core services while adding on tremendous new responsibilities under the most challenging of circumstances.
We are proud to have among our clients true pioneers in creatively leveraging mission-critical technology systems – across schools, courts, law enforcement agencies, municipalities, and state and federal agencies – to provide uninterrupted service and respond to their communities’ needs. Whether it was adding a COVID-19 category to existing 311 systems, using school bus transportation software to facilitate student lunch delivery, leveraging data to inform action and communicate with the public, or exploring virtual courts to keep justice going through video technology, our clients were at the forefront of accelerating digital opportunities for service.
Old paradigms were already shifting. Prior to the public health crisis of COVID-19, governments had begun to embrace modern technologies to transform operations. These transformations broke down silos for greater efficiencies and new insight. It was exciting to see and celebrate the new internal and external connections that were moving our Connected Communities Vision into reality.
A new context quickly emerged that expedited these advancements. Stay home orders and social distancing immediately changed the way governments continued operations and engaged with their constituents. As an unfortunate result, outdated tech stacks and their limitations became more obvious, highlighting critical capability gaps. And, as this GovTech video explains, the pandemic also exposed cybersecurity vulnerabilities already present in the public sector.
Strong government technology stacks, however, enabled early wins and will be essential for continued sustainability and scaling new paradigms. These stacks – government’s digital foundation – contain:
- Integrated administrative and business management systems
- Two-way citizen engagement tools
- Modern data storage and integration
- Data analytics for actionable insight
Encircling these four key elements are robust cybersecurity and privacy controls along with an enterprise-wide cloud architecture.
We’ve been purposefully working toward this model for more than a decade. Our goals have been to meet the needs of an evolving digital world and to support our clients by reducing complexity and making their jobs easier.
Prior to our clients’ new context of navigating COVID-19 challenges, for example, we noticed they were already choosing to deploy their systems in the cloud. Last year, nearly 60% of all North American enterprises relied on public cloud platforms. We purposefully kept pace with rapidly evolving cloud technology.
Accelerating a move to the cloud allows organizations to take advantage of its many capabilities that bolster all core areas. During the COVID-19 crisis, it was a big problem to have a critical server locked in an office where staff couldn’t go. As we move out of that crisis and into the future, there are other benefits. Not only does the cloud mitigate security risk – with built-in disaster recovery, security compliance, and remote updates – but it can also improve the agility of government to respond quickly to other rapidly evolving situations.
In the Cloud
Examples of governments in the cloud are expanding almost daily. The State of North Carolina and Washington, D.C., were early pioneers in moving their operations to the cloud. Tyler client Bexar County, located in San Antonio, Texas, recently moved from on-premises only to a hybrid-cloud model that offers many benefits, including a reduced physical IT footprint, capital cost and infrastructure replacement avoidance, and newly streamlined workflows with relevant information accessible to all stakeholders.
In keeping with our goal of best supporting our clients and their communities, Tyler offers multiple hosted solutions today that are either cloud-native or cloud-enabled. Our powerful Socrata and web-based public access portals, for example, operate solely in the cloud. Our SaaS and e-filing solutions have an established track record and are the largest in the space. Last year in Courts & Justice, for instance, we saw our clients move away from on-premises hosting to operating 67% of their case management projects utilizing Tyler solutions in a SaaS environment. The average user count in this set for SaaS increased an astounding 837%, moving from just 300 users to nearly 3,000.
In other words, just like our clients, Tyler is ahead of the curve and ready.
A Connected Future
It has become increasingly apparent that residents and decision-makers cannot afford to navigate across multiple silos to get timely, accurate information. Organizations that implement strong government technology stacks bolstered by a common cloud infrastructure will benefit from successful integration and data strategies that make operations smarter and more sustainable. This confluence is critical to navigate disruption and to be ready for what comes next.
With our new reality shaped by the recent crisis, it’s more important than ever to create efficiencies that reduce costs, bridge workforce gaps, and facilitate problem-solving partnerships. We are here to help in exciting ways, such as with our partnership with AWS, that will continue to unfold.
Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Together, we can strengthen our foundational infrastructure and break down limiting silos to meet challenges head-on and ensure thriving communities and a more just society.