FreeBalance has noticed a dramatic increase in the adoption of cloud technologies by governments and Government Resource Planning (GRP) providers are winning the race. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cloud offerings are noticeably behind the curve while there has been an explosion of software designed for the public sector in the United States. Special cloud products for transparency and citizen engagement are also growing worldwide.
Why Are GRP Cloud Options Better?
The Problem(s) with ERP
The challenge for any provider of cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering is to provide generic functionality that meets broad customer needs. The pre-cloud ERP market was characterized by software customized to deal with complexity. Today, the SaaS market is all about simple and vanilla. No matter how loudly ERP vendors repeat the ‘run simple’ myth, the simple truth is that ERP is complex.
ERP SaaS vendors are adding some industry functionality, but the public sector is their lowest priority. This observation comes through reading product announcements from leading ERP vendors where private sector industry packages are provided well before anything for the public sector. The result is that governments who have highly customized ERP systems operating on-premises find their vendor’s SaaS offering insufficient.
The underlying platforms for many of these solutions differ between on-premises and cloud, meaning that the software is not portable across deployment options, which increases vendor lock-in. In addition, many of the product suites include ‘acquired’ modules that were developed on different technologies which makes interoperability difficult.
Lastly, ERP vendors are trying to force customers to the cloud because this recurring revenue generates more profitability in the long run. They also charge more to support legacy ERP systems and won’t commit to improving feature sets, which they position as ‘reducing the number of product innovations’. Some vendors even limit usability and database functionality unless deployed on proprietary technologies.
GRP Clouds Meet Government Needs
FreeBalance’s GRP cloud solutions use a single web-native technology, the FreeBalance Accountability Platform™, to support deployment portability. In other words, there is no difference between on-premises and cloud functionality. The FreeBalance Accountability Platform™ supports deployment portability across all types of deployments, including public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and on-premises. This means that customers can easily move their applications and data between deployment environments without having to worry about compatibility issues.
FreeBalance Accountability Platform™
The FreeBalance Accountability Platform™ was designed from the ground up using a web-native architecture. This technology design benefited from our deep global government experience. We realized that multiple deployment methods would be used. We also realized that massive configurability was possible when focused on a single “industry” or “vertical market”. This means that the out-of-the-box functionality is highly flexible to meet public sector needs.
To be clear, when we talk “configuration”, we’re not configuration-washing by suggesting that scripting or call-outs are configuring. The public-sector configuration options that we provide include:
- Parameters and business rules for every component used
- Fully adaptable language and terminology, including multiple language support
- Fully adaptable help functionality
- Custom domain support for adding additional tables, fields, and business rules
- Adjustable menus and reports
- Low-code workflow
We also fully support any code customization required for any government, exceeding the industry standard. No need to manage orphan code. Of course, the benefit of FreeBalance is that our products improve thanks to every new customer. And, the benefit for FreeBalance customers is to take advantage of new functions and modules designed through engagement with peer governments.
We also realized during the design of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™ that legacy ERP systems were highly monolithic. (The majority of ERP sold today is legacy.) Modules may use shared code and the same platform but were difficult to interoperate. The warning sign is the need to use “metadata management” tools to make modules from the same suite seamlessly integrate. We used a more modern component-level service orientation where every module shares the same underlying components that we call “government entities“. This provides seamless interoperability and a single point of metadata confirmation. Most importantly, the approach facilitates integration with other subsystems, whether deployed on-premises or public cloud.
On-Premise Deployment With OpEx Flexibility
Governments have tight information security legislation and some countries would never allow confidential accounting or human resource data to be deployed on a public cloud. Nevertheless, many governments do not want to pay the up-front costs for on-premises software. They’d rather use Operational Expenditure (OpEx) funds to spread costs out over time while enabling the flexibility of increasing or reducing users as required. A lot of on-premises software remains unused as “shelfware“.
FreeBalance provides an onsite SaaS pricing option. Governments can deploy software on-premises while paying what amounts to rent, similar to public cloud options. And, unlike most alternatives, modules of FreeBalance Accountability Suite™ can be easily migrated to public clouds should legislation change in the future.
In summary, FreeBalance’s approach provides the same functionality no matter the method of deployment, thanks to:
- Single portable platform
- Highly configurable approach
- Built-in interoperability
And, governments can take advantage of operating expenditure or capital expenditure options with FreeBalance.
To find out more about FreeBalance’s GRP cloud options, please get in touch.