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This is the second of a two-part post about Software as a Service (SaaS) for performance management. In the first part I provided an introduction to SaaS, defined what it is and touched on some of its applications to performance management. In this second part I’ll detail the various benefits of SaaS including but not limited to cost-effectiveness, reliability, and ease of deployment.

SaaS Benefits
Here are the benefits of SaaS for Performance Management:

• Cost-Effective and Affordable
• Secure and Reliable
• Easy to Deploy
• Easy to Learn
• Low-Risk Investment
• Simple and Scalable
• Controls Costs

Cost-Effective and Affordable
How would a busy agency support a sophisticated technology used to manage its performance? They could rely on a SaaS vendor to maintain the technology for them. SaaS is the easiest way for government agencies that use technology to manage performance to get up and running quickly. All they need is a Web browser. For a low subscription cost, workers can enter, monitor and report on performance metrics using a Web browser. The public has Web-based access to reports. The agency has no server costs and no backups to maintain locally.

Secure and Reliable
Because SaaS vendors serve many clients, they invest more resources than a typical government agency in equipment and expertise to maintain reliability and security. Many SaaS providers leverage co-location datacenters, which offer highly secure, redundant hosting environments and off-site back-up systems. These are often “greener” solutions through the use of server virtualization and multi-tenant applications. Most SaaS providers offer service level agreements with information about privacy and data security, including: the physical security of servers and data, redundancy, back-up services, network security, and the location of the servers (hosting the application from at least two sites prevents loss of service in case of a fire, power outage, loss of Internet connectivity or other issues that typically cause a disruption in service).

Easy to Deploy
By leveraging cloud computing, SaaS applications can be turned on as needed because there is no client-side infrastructure to buy, install, configure, or maintain. When users log in they see what they need based on their role in the system, and the administrator simply adds new users by creating a new account.

Easy to Learn
SaaS helps government centralize information while distributing control. Instead of manually gathering metrics in separate formats, the information is entered in a consistent manner into a central repository. Workers and the public have role-based access to appropriate data and reports. They are empowered at the proper level with the needed data.

Low Risk Investment
Because SaaS-based solutions deliver service online and have a common code base, the setup and implementation for an agency is minimal. An agency can essentially test the service without a significant outlay of capital and time.

Simple and Scalable
The SaaS application can be rolled out to a few users or departments at a time. Once others are ready they can easily be added to the system. Since the SaaS provider developed the system capabilities they make the updates available to all customers, not just the ones that reported the issue.

Controls Costs
The greatest benefit for customers is the ability to control costs. The estimated price for an installed enterprise solution for a large government agency is more than 1/2 million dollars with at least 1 year implementation time, plus annual line items for support agreements, dedicated full-time employees (providing support), and hardware costs. With SaaS, the customer is able to start small and have a solution up and running in a matter of weeks. In addition there is a predictable amount to pay each year (usually paid monthly).

The Real Opportunity Is Change
Transforming today’s challenges into opportunities requires smart leadership and strategic use of technology to save time and money while capturing performance metrics that will allow an organization to improve over time. A reliable software as a service provider that specializes in and understands the unique needs of the Performance Management environment can help government produce better results today at a fraction of the cost of enterprise software. Performance management software costs should never be a deterrent in developing your jurisdiction’s program.

This was originally published in the Performance Management blog Measures Matter.

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