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Government and
Software-as-a-Service
Rebecca Woodbury
Senior Management Analyst
San Rafael, California
Dan Ralley
Assistant City Manager
Upper Arlington, Ohio
Cloud-based permitting for
forward-thinking governments
The digital government platform
Digital is the
new normal
People expect it
“The American people expect to interact with government
through digital channels such as websites, email, and mobile
applications. By building digital services that meet their needs,
we can make the delivery of our policy and programs more
effective.”
- U.S. Digital Service
It changes perception
Which of the following would change positively if government improved digital
services?
● “My belief that government is forward looking” (73%)
● “My overall satisfaction with government” (72%)
● “My willingness to engage with government” (72%)
● “My belief that government is efficient and effective” (70%)
● “My confidence and trust in government” (62%)
Source: Accenture, “Digital Government”
Choose software
before services
Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
“Software as a service (SaaS; pronounced /sæs/) is
a software licensing and delivery model in which
software is licensed on a subscription basis and is
centrally hosted.”
- Wikipedia
Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
● Web-based
● Frequent and/or recurring updates across one platform
● Scalable approach to delivering services
● Subscription-based pricing (monthly/yearly)
● Centralized hosting (“the cloud”)
● Service/support
Services
● Bespoke, custom development
● Large upfront costs
● Paying hourly, fees for service
Questions to ask
● Do you need (really) customized development?
● Do you have budget for recurring/ongoing customized
development?
● If yes to above question, will this be maintained internally
or by a third party?
● If internally, do you have great developers/designers/IT
managers that can maintain AND continually upgrade? (If
no to this question, you should use SaaS.)
Appoint a leader
Appoint a leader
“Assign one leader and hold
that person accountable”
- Digital Services Playbook (USDS)
Roles
● Product leader/owner
● Digital officer
● Innovation officer
● Communications
Functions
● Project manager
● Coach
● Product evangelist
● Product owner
(Source: 18F)
Get buy-in
Get buy-in
Core team:
● Elected officials
● Management
● Staff
Get buy-in
Focus on:
● Community engagement
● Service delivery
● Platform approach
Set guiding principles
Guiding principles
City of San Rafael:
● Authentic and responsive engagement
● Transparency
● Accessibility (user-centered design, mobile-friendly, ADA
compliant)
● Continuous improvement and learning
Simplify procurement
Procurement traps
● Traditional RFP process
● Over-specifying
● Copying another city’s requirements
● Buying before trying
● Closed communication
● Unproductive criteria for evaluating a vendor
● Large group of uninvolved stakeholders
Productive procurement
● Know what you want
● Be flexible
● Publish an RFI to unearth alternative options
● Ask to try before you buy
● Consider monthly/annual ‘subscription’ options - SaaS
eliminates need for RFP, large/one-time purchase
● Consider staff time invested in decision process to your
bottomline
Build the team
Build the team
● Cross-agency
● Give them freedom (overtime, etc.)
● At start, give them ‘get out of jail card.’
● Give them autonomy.
● Question decisions - peer review.
● Prepare your team for criticism.
● Make them feel appreciated, doing something really
awesome (take to lunch, etc.)
Focus on the user
Service-focused
● Emphasize what you do (payments, jobs,
issue reporting)
● De-emphasize personality/agency-focused
approach
User-focused
● Follow a common look and feel (pattern library)
● Use feedback mechanisms (polls, surveys)
● Employ and monitor analytics
Think mobile-first
Responsive design
Why mobile
● Mobile usage is increasing
● Build once (saves time, money)
● No need for stand-alone app
● Search engine friendly
Go BETA
BETA
“The objective of this phase is to build a fully working
prototype which you test with users. You’ll continuously
improve on the prototype until it’s ready to go live, replacing or
integrating with any existing services.”
-GOV.UK
Why BETA
● Lets you incrementalize (start small and evolve)
● Allows government to engage with public, get feedback
● Is more transparent
● Limits surprise factor for residents
● Lower stress on staff updating their processes
● Encourages experimentation
Update your status
‘Done/Doing’
To keep residents informed, San Rafael posts regular
‘Done/Doing’ status reports on accomplishments and
upcoming work.
Analyze
Analyze
● Identify your mission objectives
● Align objectives with metrics
● Measure events that show user success
● Tools (Google Analytics, Piwik)
Default to open
Open
● Open culture
● Open knowledge
● Open source
● Open data
Open employee culture
Open organization
“An ‘open organization’—which I define as an organization that engages
participative communities both inside and out—responds to opportunities
more quickly, has access to resources and talent outside the organization,
and inspires, motivates, and empowers people at all levels to act with
accountability. The beauty of an open organization is that it's not about
pedaling harder, but about tapping into new sources of power both inside
and outside to keep pace with all the fast-moving changes in your
environment.”
- Jim Whitehurst, “The Open Organization”
Not All Clouds Are the Same
- Or -
How I Came to Find Webforms
To Be Local Government Cool
Upper Arlington Needed...
● Permitting System that encourages
electronic submissions
● A better user and customer
experience
● Remote Access for in-field reporting
Not All Cloud-Based Products Are the Same
● Client/Server with SaaS option vs Exclusively
SaaS vendors
● Software Business Models Are Changing
● Nimble Software Development
Why is the Cloud Such a Game Changer
for Government?
● Implementation Time is Greatly Reduced
● Lower Risk
● Faster Updates
● Maintenance Responsibility Shifted to Vendor
● The rise of the new ‘GovTech’ industry
Choosing Carefully
Best Practices
● Use test environments
● Talk to peers
● Carefully Examine Licensing Model
● UI/UX matters
Government and Software as-a-service
Government and Software as-a-service
Agile philosophy
● Vendor: Customer = Partner
● Implementation means the opportunity for
internal process improvements
● Customer feedback → better product
Government and Software as-a-service
Government and Software as-a-service
Key Takeaways
● Vendors That are Exclusively Cloud Based
Have an Advantage
● Lack of Legacy Code Base Allows Nimble
Changes to Meet Customer Needs
● Webforms Can Drive Huge Increases in
Efficiency
● UI/UX Matters
Questions?
Thank you!
luke@proudcity.com
rkeyser@viewpointcloud.com

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Government and Software as-a-service

  • 2. Rebecca Woodbury Senior Management Analyst San Rafael, California
  • 3. Dan Ralley Assistant City Manager Upper Arlington, Ohio
  • 7. People expect it “The American people expect to interact with government through digital channels such as websites, email, and mobile applications. By building digital services that meet their needs, we can make the delivery of our policy and programs more effective.” - U.S. Digital Service
  • 8. It changes perception Which of the following would change positively if government improved digital services? ● “My belief that government is forward looking” (73%) ● “My overall satisfaction with government” (72%) ● “My willingness to engage with government” (72%) ● “My belief that government is efficient and effective” (70%) ● “My confidence and trust in government” (62%) Source: Accenture, “Digital Government”
  • 10. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) “Software as a service (SaaS; pronounced /sæs/) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.” - Wikipedia
  • 11. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) ● Web-based ● Frequent and/or recurring updates across one platform ● Scalable approach to delivering services ● Subscription-based pricing (monthly/yearly) ● Centralized hosting (“the cloud”) ● Service/support
  • 12. Services ● Bespoke, custom development ● Large upfront costs ● Paying hourly, fees for service
  • 13. Questions to ask ● Do you need (really) customized development? ● Do you have budget for recurring/ongoing customized development? ● If yes to above question, will this be maintained internally or by a third party? ● If internally, do you have great developers/designers/IT managers that can maintain AND continually upgrade? (If no to this question, you should use SaaS.)
  • 15. Appoint a leader “Assign one leader and hold that person accountable” - Digital Services Playbook (USDS)
  • 16. Roles ● Product leader/owner ● Digital officer ● Innovation officer ● Communications
  • 17. Functions ● Project manager ● Coach ● Product evangelist ● Product owner (Source: 18F)
  • 19. Get buy-in Core team: ● Elected officials ● Management ● Staff
  • 20. Get buy-in Focus on: ● Community engagement ● Service delivery ● Platform approach
  • 22. Guiding principles City of San Rafael: ● Authentic and responsive engagement ● Transparency ● Accessibility (user-centered design, mobile-friendly, ADA compliant) ● Continuous improvement and learning
  • 24. Procurement traps ● Traditional RFP process ● Over-specifying ● Copying another city’s requirements ● Buying before trying ● Closed communication ● Unproductive criteria for evaluating a vendor ● Large group of uninvolved stakeholders
  • 25. Productive procurement ● Know what you want ● Be flexible ● Publish an RFI to unearth alternative options ● Ask to try before you buy ● Consider monthly/annual ‘subscription’ options - SaaS eliminates need for RFP, large/one-time purchase ● Consider staff time invested in decision process to your bottomline
  • 27. Build the team ● Cross-agency ● Give them freedom (overtime, etc.) ● At start, give them ‘get out of jail card.’ ● Give them autonomy. ● Question decisions - peer review. ● Prepare your team for criticism. ● Make them feel appreciated, doing something really awesome (take to lunch, etc.)
  • 28. Focus on the user
  • 29. Service-focused ● Emphasize what you do (payments, jobs, issue reporting) ● De-emphasize personality/agency-focused approach
  • 30. User-focused ● Follow a common look and feel (pattern library) ● Use feedback mechanisms (polls, surveys) ● Employ and monitor analytics
  • 33. Why mobile ● Mobile usage is increasing ● Build once (saves time, money) ● No need for stand-alone app ● Search engine friendly
  • 35. BETA “The objective of this phase is to build a fully working prototype which you test with users. You’ll continuously improve on the prototype until it’s ready to go live, replacing or integrating with any existing services.” -GOV.UK
  • 36. Why BETA ● Lets you incrementalize (start small and evolve) ● Allows government to engage with public, get feedback ● Is more transparent ● Limits surprise factor for residents ● Lower stress on staff updating their processes ● Encourages experimentation
  • 38. ‘Done/Doing’ To keep residents informed, San Rafael posts regular ‘Done/Doing’ status reports on accomplishments and upcoming work.
  • 40. Analyze ● Identify your mission objectives ● Align objectives with metrics ● Measure events that show user success ● Tools (Google Analytics, Piwik)
  • 42. Open ● Open culture ● Open knowledge ● Open source ● Open data
  • 44. Open organization “An ‘open organization’—which I define as an organization that engages participative communities both inside and out—responds to opportunities more quickly, has access to resources and talent outside the organization, and inspires, motivates, and empowers people at all levels to act with accountability. The beauty of an open organization is that it's not about pedaling harder, but about tapping into new sources of power both inside and outside to keep pace with all the fast-moving changes in your environment.” - Jim Whitehurst, “The Open Organization”
  • 45. Not All Clouds Are the Same - Or - How I Came to Find Webforms To Be Local Government Cool
  • 46. Upper Arlington Needed... ● Permitting System that encourages electronic submissions ● A better user and customer experience ● Remote Access for in-field reporting
  • 47. Not All Cloud-Based Products Are the Same ● Client/Server with SaaS option vs Exclusively SaaS vendors ● Software Business Models Are Changing ● Nimble Software Development
  • 48. Why is the Cloud Such a Game Changer for Government? ● Implementation Time is Greatly Reduced ● Lower Risk ● Faster Updates ● Maintenance Responsibility Shifted to Vendor ● The rise of the new ‘GovTech’ industry
  • 50. Best Practices ● Use test environments ● Talk to peers ● Carefully Examine Licensing Model ● UI/UX matters
  • 53. Agile philosophy ● Vendor: Customer = Partner ● Implementation means the opportunity for internal process improvements ● Customer feedback → better product
  • 56. Key Takeaways ● Vendors That are Exclusively Cloud Based Have an Advantage ● Lack of Legacy Code Base Allows Nimble Changes to Meet Customer Needs ● Webforms Can Drive Huge Increases in Efficiency ● UI/UX Matters