Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivers cost savings and automatic functionality updates for forward-looking municipality
With an abundance of natural resources, good schools and a convenient central location between St. Cloud and Minneapolis, the City of St. Michael is a family-friendly enclave with a lot to offer residents looking for a balance between rural and urban lifestyles.
FINANCE DEPARTMENT SEEKS EFFICIENCY AND FUNCTIONALITY
The City of St. Michael has a small administrative team, and opted to outsource their IT management responsibilities to an external firm to streamline available resources.
Hosted on the City’s server since 2008, St. Michael had decided several years ago to stay on their current version of software rather than update to a newer version. Shortly thereafter, this decision posed some challenges to the City’s operations, and functional improvements were needed. “It became inevitable that we had to update,” says Sue Ferbuyt, Assistant Financial Director of the City of St. Michael.
ONE OPTION, MULTIPLE BENEFITS
The City approached Accela to discuss their upgrade path. One option quickly stood out as the most appealing – migrating to the cloud. In May 2017, St. Michael transferred their data and processes onto Accela’s cloud-based solution, and the benefits were immediate.
With the migration, St. Michael receives regular and automatic software updates, ensuring they always have the latest features and functionality. This allows staff to focus on their day-to-day work, rather than navigate technical matters or manage external IT consultants.
Data security was another consideration in St. Michael’s decision to move to the cloud. Ferbuyt continues, “You know, in this day and age, data security is always a concern; it just seems like people come up with new [threats] every day. But we feel that Accela has the right things in place, things that we would have had to put on our own servers if we would have upgraded our on-premises installation.”
Accela SaaS also made the most financial sense for the City, which had held off on upgrading existing hardware and software following the latest financial recession. By going to the cloud, St. Michael was able to forgo costly equipment purchases that would have been required, in addition to security software, for an on-premises upgrade. Savings were found in the monthly maintenance fees, too, especially after eliminating hardware, software, IT consultant time, security and manpower costs.
In the cloud, St. Michael has more capacity and flexibility to focus on the community, not only on IT matters and software upgrades.