Online Business Applications

It has been said we have to do more with less. Recently, I read an interview with Zach Nelson, CEO of Netsuite, wherein he told how one evening, while playing World of Warcraft with his son, he became convinced the internet infrastructure was ready to support online hosted business applications. Initially, organizations resisted the idea of putting their most valuable data online. Netsuite survived by selling to smaller organizations willing to use a hosted application. Then the recession hit. With tighter budgets, organizations were eager to find ways to save money. For online hosted business applications like Netsuite, their moment had arrived. The “Cloud” became the new hot IT thing. In just a few years, perceptions have changed and now even large organizations are embracing online applications like Netsuite.

The same economic forces that propelled the growth of Netsuite and other online business applications are affecting public organizations and local government. For years, online systems struggled to match the performance and user expectations of traditional client server systems. But things have changed. The recession and the need for cost reductions accelerated large investments in the development and infrastructure needed to support online systems.
Cityworks Server is designed to support access from the web or online. The typical deployment of Cityworks Server is on-premise. Just like any online system, Cityworks is accessed via a URL. Some people have started to refer to online systems deployed on-premise as the “private cloud.” The server hosting Cityworks Server can be deployed just as easily off-premise or on the “public cloud.” One of the great benefits realized by the Cityworks Server online architecture is the ease with which Cityworks can be propagated throughout an organization. It is not unusual for an organization to triple or quadruple the number of users after they transition from Desktop or Anywhere to Server because it is so easy to provide access. Indeed, “Cityworks Server  explodes through an organization.”

At the Virginia User Group meeting, I listened to a presentation given by Pattie Clayton about the deployment of Cityworks Server in Danville, Virginia. They expanded from 30 users to 130. This is not unusual. At the South Central User Group Meeting, Robert Wachel of Highland Village, Texas, told how they deployed Cityworks to 65 field staff. We all laughed as he told how a hiccup in their system resulted in their field crews claiming they couldn’t do their work without Cityworks. Justin Cure shared how Longview, Texas, deployed Cityworks Server to over 200 staff. These are great examples of doing more with less. Why? Cityworks helps your staff become more efficient in managing their daily work.
Whether you deploy on-premise using a private cloud approach or off-premise using a public cloud approach, online systems are your future. Client server architecture has had its day, but that day is in the past. For online designed systems the future is now and the cost savings are real and are driving their rapid adoption.

Going forward, an even stronger driver for online designed systems is the efficiencies gained from mobile staff staying connected. The availability of persistent network connections continues to expand at a rapid pace. The consolidation of satellite entertainment and internet networks with local cell and Wi-Fi networks promises affordable access for even rural areas along with failover network access during natural disasters or other emergencies.
Online designed systems are changing the world of software as we have known it.  The use of these systems is spawning new approaches for gaining efficiencies, and will inevitably lead to unforeseen productivity gains for businesses, public organizations, and local governments. Being connected and online is one way we can do more with less. Or, another way to say it is, being connected and online will help us continue to provide high quality services during these times of limited resources — doing more with less.

By Brian L. Haslam, President & CEO, Azteca Systems, Inc. — Cityworks

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