Moving your recreation management to a computer from a three-ring binder was a revolution. That was then.
By today’s standards, that solution has limitations that impact both your patrons and your ability to serve them. And it centers around your local computer server.
Don’t get us wrong. Servers are great and necessary. What isn’t necessary is for you and your department to keep and maintain them. They take precious resources and time away from your key objectives and organizational goals, inhibit performance, ability to scale to demand, and actually have increased risk factors compared to the alternative. That new alternative? It’s cloud hosting.
Hosting a Better Way
If you’ve used common email applications like Gmail, you’ve used cloud-hosted applications. Cloud hosting, hosted, cloud, Software as a Service (SaaS) are all terms used to describe the same thing. With cloud hosting, the actual application resides on servers in multiple locations that reside outside of the organization. Users then employ an ordinary web browser to access the application wherever they are, just like you use your email. It’s simple and it’s powerful. Consider these benefits:
1. Meet Spikes In Demand
Remember when you opened camp registration or ticket sales and the “server crashed” under the load – or at least that’s what IT told you? To address that with an on-premise solution you’d have to upgrade your servers far beyond your everyday needs at great expense just to be prepared for these rare events. While these events might not happen often, they can greatly impact your patrons and reflect poorly on your organization. Hosted solutions offer inherent scalability and are able to spread that load across multiple servers to ensure seamless service to your audience without additional costs.
2. Enable Next-Generation Communication and Workforce
Would you like to send weather alerts and cancellation notifications via SMS directly from your phone? Would you and your team appreciate the ability to work on-site or remote locations outside of the office? Because cloud hosting enables users to access and operate the system anywhere they have an internet connection they can respond in real-time from anywhere.
3. Reduce Dependence on IT
If you have dedicated IT resources that’s great – but do they provide 24/7/365 support? Is maintaining servers, performing system backups, and doing system upgrades for your department at the top of their to-do list? Cloud hosting takes those maintenance types of tasks out of the organization and places them with a dedicated team that continuously monitors and manages all of the applications and servers so your team doesn’t have to. Now they can focus all of their energy on creating the best experience for your community.
4. Minimize Risk Factors
Cloud hosting applies security best practices across the network. That means you have the security resources of a much larger organization without the cost, ensuring you and your patron’s data is secure. Additionally, because the remote servers are in multiple locations, they are insulated from impact by weather, floods, or other local events that could compromise your data and information.
5. Maximize Your Solutions
Hosted solutions provide opportunities for participation with third-party vendors to further enhance your solution. For example, if you need to integrate an electronic payments feature with your Vermont Systems hosted solution, you can select from a variety of vendors where we have established integration. This enables you to fine-tune your capabilities without custom coding. Additionally, updates and fixes to those programs can be implemented without heavy lifting from your IT resources, ensuring that you are operating with the latest versions.
6. Budget to Your Needs
Few if any parks and recreation departments are flush with cash. Parks are visible and people are watching. It’s important to spend what funds you do have the most efficient way possible. Cloud hosting enables you to keep your headcount to a minimum. But also because it is SaaS – emphasis on the Service – it enables the solution to appear in budgets as a monthly recurring cost (a service) and not a large capital expense (purchase of a server).
What’s Happening Now?
As of today, one report states that “94% of enterprises use the cloud.” According to research giant Gartner, “almost 50% of US government organizations are actively using cloud services.” That same Gartner report lists delivering services efficiently and achieving cost savings as the top two reasons behind cloud adoption. The question isn’t if – the advantages are overwhelming – but when parks and recreation departments will follow suit.
To see if now is the right time for you to take advantage of Cloud Hosting, download this checklist or schedule a consultation here.