Councils today have a couple of choices when it comes to technology solutions for core finance, property, and rating functions. Cloud offerings from TechnologyOne and Civica are two examples you’re probably already familiar with (and may even be using).
But although these cloud platforms offer some advantages compared to on-prem alternatives, they also have a few limitations Councils need to be aware of.
Core vs. Service Delivery
We’ve heard from some of our customers that these companies are aggressively promoting their SaaS systems as “all in one” solutions — that, once you invest, all of your tech-related functions will be accounted for, to the degree that you may no longer even need an IT team.
Most Councils recognise that that type of promise isn’t realistic. Core SaaS solutions are great at handling Councils’ finance, property and rating functions. But that’s not all your IT infrastructure needs to deliver. Your Council may also need to manage event bookings, space rentals, waste management, aquatic facilities, and even library system applications — these fall outside of the core system support and Councils need specific solutions to deliver these services.
What that means is that you’ll need to provide for these additional capabilities on your own, either through in-built systems or via integrations with other third-party solutions. And unfortunately, because most Core SaaS solutions require multimillion dollar implementations with substantial upfront costs, your Council may find itself without the available money needed to support these additional services.
So how do you deliver all of the services your residents count on if you don’t have cash on-hand? Microsoft Azure can help.
The Benefits of Microsoft Azure for Councils
Pairing Microsoft Azure cloud with Core SaaS solutions offers Councils a number of benefits — not the least of which is the ability to leverage cloud computing functionality without as large of an upfront investment. Instead, Azure’s consumption-driven pricing model means Councils pay based on the resources they actually use.
Beyond that, though, there are four key benefits Councils will want to be aware of when it comes to Microsoft Azure.
Improved speed-to-value is fuelled, in part, by a reduction in the effort associated with account and device provisioning. Within the Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment, for example, Councils can allow anyone to come into their operations, log in to a virtual desktop, and get to work — quickly and securely — without extra work by the IT team. If your Council works with large numbers of contractors, this can be especially impactful.
- Councils are able to gain direct access to provision and configure Azure services, which may not be possible with third-party Core SaaS solutions.
- Because Microsoft retains responsibility for the underlying hardware, Councils can focus on service delivery, rather than infrastructure maintenance.
- Councils gain the ability to provision new solutions in minutes, not days, with Microsoft Azure.
Planning cycles can be reduced and undertaken at a solution level, vs. every 3-5 years.
Many of the Councils we work with find that, because they’re able to be in Microsoft’s Data Centre — rather than relying on third-party tools for infrastructure planning — they’re able to have a lot more confidence and comfort in their IT environments.
- Migrating to Microsoft Azure requires no upfront commitments and no long-term contracts.
- With Azure, Councils are able to reduce risk through better controls and clear, timely governance mechanisms that are natively delivered on Azure (and that Councils may not have the budget to implement after migrating to a Core SaaS solution).
- Because Councils have access to ‘unlimited’ cloud resources, they’re better able to plan and deliver critical projects (they’re also able to avoid false assumptions on critical services like backup and disaster recovery).
- Councils gain confidence in their IT infrastructure as Microsoft-backed solutions are independently verified and backed by SLAs (this may be why Azure is ranked as the most certified public cloud).
Many Councils find themselves operating under budget constraints and looking for cost optimisations — even as they’re being held responsible for seeking innovation and identifying ways to integrate ‘as-a-Service’ models across the entire business. Yet, as noted above, they’re often doing so with a lack of CAPEX available to deliver infrastructure in the way the business expects.
Because Microsoft Azure operates on a consumption model, costs across longer periods are often just a fraction of what you’d need to otherwise buy upfront or budget for in terms of infrastructure.
Here’s how Azure supports cost optimisation at Councils:
- Microsoft Azure operates on a ‘pay for what you use’ structure with consumption-based pricing that has no minimum pre-commitment.
- Azure lets Councils leverage term-based subscriptions for savings on compute and licensing costs.
- Further, there’s no upfront investment required in server and storage hardware.
- Councils can be rewarded by staying on the latest generation hardware by being able to access more performance and capacity at a cheaper unit price.
In fact, one Council we worked with was able to drive up to 80% savings on unit costs after migrating to Microsoft Azure.
Finally, Azure’s wide adoption facilitates greater innovation, as Councils can easily find either freely available information on how to solve their problems or external support with technical expertise on the platform.
In addition, Microsoft Azure expands innovation potential through:
- Access to higher value cloud solution types, such as PaaS and SaaS.
- Azure training and certifications, which can enhance team capability, capacity and productivity.
- Mass market skills availability, which means they no longer need to seek out ‘IT unicorns’ with experience on unique combinations of technologies (for instance, a Council that has Dell hardware, VMware hypervisor, Commvault backup solutions, Palo Alto firewalls, and Juniper networking equipment).
Getting to Microsoft Azure through Codify’s CloudLift
Whether you’re trying to decide on the right path forward or you’ve found yourself needing to deliver critical services amidst budget limitations following a SaaS ERP implementation, Codify can help.
We know that, when we work with Councils — particularly the ones that are on TechOne and Civica — they may not have massive amounts of money to work with, but they still need to understand what’s next for them. Codify’s CloudLift assessment can provide an evidence-based, fully costed enterprise application roadmap that helps your Council understand what you need to do, and when you need to do it.
For more information on the CloudLift assessment process — which encompasses discovery, cloud solution planning, cost estimation, and migration roadmapping stages — visit our CloudLift page or reach out directly to Codify’s team of cloud specialists.