City and State governments have been transitioning to cloud based solutions for several years. Most have completed their email migration to Office 365 or Google Workspace. They are also leveraging SaaS solutions where they can find a good fit with their specific needs.
What is proving more challenging, is finding a suitable replacement for certain key applications that were custom built on legacy platforms. These applications usually cover critical business processes, and often entail very specific approval or security requirements that can be hard for traditional SaaS solutions to meet. Many are eager to find options that will provide improved functionality, more flexible user access and will allow them to decommission their legacy platform and eliminate its support costs.
A major US Western City was looking at replacing a complex IT purchase approval application. Their existing system was no longer supported by the original vendor, and it was expensive to maintain. Due to the wide range of different purchasing situations the IT department faces, their approval application needed to be very precise and also very flexible. The approval process can be as simple as a single approval by the CIO through to a full review of up to four specialists and two formal committees. On top of that, the first committee can be replaced by an on-line process for emergency situations, and the CIO can force an immediate approval at most, but not all, stages.
The city hadn’t found a SaaS solution at a reasonable cost that could properly support the application’s complex approval process, and the executives were unwilling to significantly modify the approval process because it correctly implemented their needs. They didn’t have the time or budget to build a replacement application using traditional methods, so they were looking for a vendor who could help them transition to a cloud based system at a reasonable cost and in a short time frame.
They had heard that Low-Code and No-Code development platforms could be used to create applications much more quickly, and hence at a greatly reduced cost. However, they were unsure if they could support their complex requirements. They attended a GW Apps webinar that focused on building workflow-centric applications with No-Code and they decided to evaluate it further to determine if it could be an option.
What was proving more challenging, was finding a suitable replacement for certain key applications that were custom built on legacy platforms. These applications usually cover critical business processes, and often entail very specific approval or security requirements that can be hard for traditional SaaS solutions to meet. Many are eager to find options that will provide improved functionality, more flexible user access and will allow them to decommission their legacy platform and eliminate its support costs.
After some detailed discussions it was clear that GW Apps workflow and security capabilities would be able to meet their needs, and also allow them to significantly modernize the application. They were also pleased that the GW Apps team could thoroughly analyze their existing applications and help them properly detail their application needs.
We analyzed their existing application and found over 3,000 lines of code, 30 forms and 60 views, along with many other minor design elements. One of the main benefits of a No-Code platform is the speed with which new ideas can be prototyped and evaluated, making it very effective for use as part of a rapid prototype development approach. When new ideas came up in meetings, it was often possible to create and demonstrate a prototype as the ideas were being fleshed out in the meeting. This way, ideas could be discussed, validated and approved all in a single meeting. As a result, we helped the City build a simpler and more agile workflow that still meets their process, audit, and reporting requirements.
While the original application was already a web app, it had an old and fixed user interface (UI). The new GW Apps version allows users to access it via tablets and smartphones while maintaining full functionality. This means users can review and approve no matter where they are or what device they have to hand. The GW Apps version also has a much more modern and attractive UI design.
ROI and Benefits
The city was able to design and deploy the replacement solution in less than 3 months. Most of the elapsed time was spent scheduling and waiting for meetings with key staff and for the CIO review sessions. The actual design and build time were less than 80 hours: An 80% cost and time savings over a traditional application development project.
The city gained multiple additional benefits:
- Cloud based application running on a leading cloud infrastructure.
- No hardware to purchase, maintain or troubleshoot.
- Eliminated the significantly higher licensing and support costs of the prior platform.
- They will be able to make design updates and improvements themselves, further reducing costs and also increasing flexibility and business responsiveness.
- Availability to build new web applications on the platform without incurring additional fees, creating an even greater ROI.