In this series, guest columnists respond to one of three topics selected by ELGL co-founder Kent Wyatt. This week Paul Felton, OpenGov, addresses common misconceptions about cloud-based budgeting software.
As many of you know or are learning, budgeting and planning in the public sector can be a huge challenge. Not only is it mission critical to have a budget or a “plan” in place, but getting it done in time, with no mistakes, and in a collaborative environment that includes all of your stakeholders, is a requirement. On top of that, many agencies struggle to figure out how to track performance against that budget throughout the year, collaborate internally, and then communicate effectively with the public.
OpenGov offers our partners a cloud-based, collaborative software solution for building a budget, complete with personnel cost forecasting, and tools for analyzing budget performance, and non-financial data as well (think how many arrests made last month, or permits granted). And lastly, we provide a platform to share that data publicly in the form of a story and solicit input from citizens to create a powerful feedback loop.
Below are the top 3 misconceptions that many governments have about adopting cloud-based budgeting software like ours:
- “It will take too long to deploy”
- Truth: We are not deploying a new finance system or ERP. Our system sits on top of an existing finance or Public Works system to pull data. Our cloud platform then hosts or sits on top of your current systems, and our deployment methodology (and team of real people) work to have you up in just a few short months.
- “It’s too expensive”
- Truth: The ROI on cloud-based budgeting software can save the equivalent of multiple FTEs (read this case study to see how one of our customers is saving $70k annually). It also helps identify where resources can be better allocated and can reduce the time spent working on the budget by 50%.
- “We will have to go to RFP”
- Truth: Many government entities think they have to issue an RFP for software purchases. However, today many states offer procurement services through associations like NASPO (National Association of State Procurement Officers), and many software, hardware, and services vendors have already been vetted for governments to pick from.
I hope dispelling these 3 misconceptions may help as your government, school district, or special district government considers adopting a new budgeting and performance software solution to become more effective and accountable!
ELGL C0-Founder. Interim Communications Manager for the City of Tigard, Oregon.