When I began building government software in the 80s, the goal was to create a highly integrated set of applications on a common platform. This was the vision that led to the term Enterprise Resource Planning or (ERP). ERP was intended to provide real-time information from across functions and departments to facilitate resource planning.
As I speak with local governments today, I am surprised by how complex enterprise software has become. This isn’t a result of new requirements and capabilities. In many ways the complexity of local government software is a result of the consolidation of the industry and the exploitation of maintenance fees. Instead of applying innovation, creativity, and capital to building enterprise level software, vendors raced out and did acquisitions and mergers to check the boxes on RFPs and Marketing brochures and websites.
Today’s government ERP systems are a maze of pieces, parts, and platforms. While the companies with capital made the decision to buy versus build, entrepreneurs rushed out to create a lot of “shiny objects” that enticed customers with a vision of what was possible. While these point solutions made the entrepreneurs and the Venture Capital firms backing them a lot of money, they only complicated the situation for customers. I would challenge anyone to look at the software integration diagram for a medium sized city and not be confused. The technical diagrams are even worse.
If you spend $5-10 million on a government ERP today, you can forget about bringing your legacy data to the new system. You’ll be told to keep the old systems (and platforms) until the end of the records retention period because it is too difficult to migrate.
At TownCloud we are different. TownCloud wasn’t built to be sold in just a few years or to be the next press release for a Private Equity firm. We made an investment in a modern, multi-tenant platform that is designed to last for decades. The components of our architecture are designed to accommodate future technology as it becomes available. We have broken applications down into their smallest and simplest components. We share data and software components across all applications. Enhancements made to one component are immediately available across the enterprise. Most importantly, having a clean slate has allowed us to focus on the core functions of the systems. You’ll never hear us say “that’s just the way it works”. Every function has a purpose, or it has been eliminated.
TownCloud’s enterprise applications are unique in the fact that we build them for simplicity on a state-of-the-art platform. The results are stunning. TownCloud Agenda was the first Govtech app that could be live in under an hour. Our Website app can be launched in a day. Our customers are receiving immediate value that they can see for themselves.
TownCloud is proof that the future of Govtech doesn’t need to be complicated.