4 Tips for Choosing Software for Local Governments

by | Jun 22, 2023

Councils and local governments have the responsibility of putting local communities at the top of their interests. Setting up technology environments and software systems are not excluded to this rule. It’s important that the technology providers that are chosen by local governments are trusted and can collaborate with them on the requirements they need to meet their goals. 

Any software process needs to ensure customer satisfaction is still a priority and all security guidelines are met as well. Technology can often bring around significant changes in the ways of working but it can also be highly significant in saving time, money and benefiting lots of different stakeholders. However, it can be quite a lot of pressure sourcing technology for the long-term and ensuring it ticks all the boxes whilst meeting your budget. With that in mind, we’ve provided a short list of key reminders to help you during this process. 

Here are the four key tips that we think local governments should think about to help narrow down software providers during the research process: 

  • Get Security Stakeholders Onboard Early 

Local governments are often dealing with sensitive, personal or meaningful data. Having strong security protocols and standards is of the upmost importance, so the software will need to comply with these standards. Usually a Chief Security Officer (CIO/CTO), a leadership security stakeholder or an IT team will be involved with the security compliance of choosing a software. It’s important that you get them on board early and collaborate with them to ensure they understand what each party is looking to tick in the software and so they are invested early doors. By having smooth initial conversations of what is required with your internal and your external stakeholders, it means that any security documentation doesn’t have to be such a tedious back and forth process. It also means that there is a shared responsibility to make this project a success at each stage. 

Tools that can protect your data to several different layers of protection and offer automated security features such as security threat intelligence can be helpful for ensuring you stick to your high security standards and there are less chance of threats. Solutions that also offer different levels of user permission rights for viewing, accessing or sharing data helps with managing security concerns and can help with the management of visible analytics. Tools can also have incident response alert systems and controls to send signals to key stakeholders of security concerns or risks. Automated compliance in software tools also reduces the manual work on a security/compliance team. 

  •  Consider All Accessibility Factors

How your different applications or software is accessed is hugely important to its success. Accessibility standards over the five to ten years have become even more updated to ensure users can have equal opportunities to use technology in the same way. If your application is quite complex or restrictive it can also put users off and they will get fed up with it. Likewise, if the technology needs to accessible to the general public, consider the accessibility points of entry to using the application. Is it easy for people of different ages? For disabilities such as visual impairments or colour blindness? With the working world being hybrid, technology often needs to be more robust and flexible to work across different locations and for several types of devices. 

  • Evaluate Your Budget Constraints

There will often be allocated budgets for certain technology projects and software subscriptions. Consider the average levels of costs for that particular software as SaaS tools can hugely vary in price depending on what the software is and what it is needed for. Once you’ve mapped out the costs, consider the different options you would consider (including any service level agreements – SLAs) and align these prices to the best options you’ve found based on if they’ve met all the other requirements. Although there are standing pricing models, more often than not, software companies will tailor costs to your needs so don’t be afraid to consult with the company up front and tell them what your budgets are and to start a negotiation process. 

  • Create and Implement An Adoption Strategy

How reliable and easy to use the software is can help with user adoption. If there are lots of malfunctions, outages or risks this can often lead to more issues such as reduced productivity. But this is not the only thing to consider for making sure your software is adopted and utilised well in your organisation and beyond. Consider any training investment or support required to ensure any stakeholders know their responsibilities and how to access what they need. An adoption strategy is important to explaining why the software has been chosen, how it can help and when and where to get more support from software champions. Don’t overlook a proper adoption plan following on from the implementation as this not only allows you to encourage its success, but to learn from any product feedback issues, suggestions and new use cases. 

Are you looking for a GIS mapping tool or support to help with collecting visual data to overcome local governmental challenges? Then why not book a free 30-minute consultation with the INSIGHT GIS team.