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It’s all about the Technology Platform


February 26, 2016

That’s the narrative in the enterprise software industry: Forget about features and functions for a minute. Think: capabilities. It’s what the technology foundation can do to extend functionality, to adapt to change and reform, to future-proof the organization.

Public Financial Management is no different than any industry domain in this regard: Your technology platform (or platforms) are either adapting to your needs or holding you back.

The myth is only large multiple-industry vendors have “platforms.” (Everyone else is Tier 2 or 3 – worse – “best-of-breed” – as if being best is a bad thing) This notion is dangerously misleading because many technology platforms are showing their age. Leading industry analysts, the Gartner Group, calls many leading ERP vendor platforms “legacy.”

Industry-Specific Technology Platforms

We realized, 10 years ago, multiple-industry technology platforms were a compromise. Sure, you could customize these platforms to meet your unique needs. But, why should you? The scope of customization for a single domain, such as government, meant code customization could be virtually eliminated. And, we were proven right.

That’s not to say our technology foundation, the FreeBalance Accountability Platform, is limited when compared to Tier 1 ERP platform capabilities for the public sector. In fact, the recognition of technology trends enabled us to develop a remarkable platform for our applications. It’s enabled us to build up a product footprint that is orders of magnitude larger than pre-2008. We released a technology brief earlier today.

FreeBalance Version 7 Technical Brief by Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Technology Platform Criteria Used by FreeBalance

We eliminated legacy code and leveraged good practices in software architecture:

  • Modern software architecture to future-proof software applications and optimize performance and scalability
  • Open system to enable integration and provide maximum choice of technologies to governments to optimize costs
  • Use of a consistent platform to support a unified Enterprise Architecture (EA) across government to optimize the information technology investment

Our focus was to help governments to maximize their software portfolio investment:

  • Adaptable software that supports the progressive activation of new functions and features to adjust to PFM reform – configuration – not customization
  • Technology leapfrog through the unified design of the FreeBalance Accountability Platform ensures integration of controls and automates decision-making, audit and transparency information
  • Comprehensive and integrated approach, often called “unified“,  to achieve a full return on governance

The FreeBalance Accountability Platform is extensible to product government investments and partnerships:

  • Combination of the best of COTS and custom, a “hybrid approach”, through accelerated development and sustainable progressive activation and FreeBalance good software development practices
  • Tight integration of custom development with off-the-shelf FreeBalance modules that meet government requirements
  • Product co-innovation for the development of new applications with FreeBalance as a partner

Long-term cost reduction (Total Cost of Ownership) was a significant design factor:

  • Reduced IT costs by reducing the number of applications and application platforms within the GRP Portfolio
  • Reduced IT risks through smooth upgrading
  • Reduced cost for additional functions because of the unique pricing model that leverages the existing investment in FreeBalance software

I hope that you have a chance to read through the technology brief to help you to evaluate enterprise technology platforms.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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