Futureproof: Choosing software for today and tomorrow

For a long time, conventional thinking in public safety technology said that futureproofing wasn’t possible—that agencies should largely focus on meeting today’s needs when they choose technology systems, because anticipating future needs wasn’t really possible.

Today, an overwhelming number of tools (both out-of-the-box and industry-built) suggest this line of thinking may be outdated. And while it may not be possible to predict exactly what an individual agency will need in terms of capability or infrastructure past a five- or ten-year window, there are ways to ensure the systems you invest in offer longevity, flexibility, and scalability.

The cloud enables a product that grows with you

A degree of futureproofing is only possible because of the cloud. Cloud technology removes the requirement for the software and associated servers to be on site. No longer requiring each agency to have a local server with the memory, computing power, and storage needed to push various applications, the cloud makes it possible for any task—even heavy ones—to “pipe in” via offsite services and appear on your screen seamlessly.

This allows software developers more control over the long-term condition of the products they provide. In the public safety IT environment, updating software on local hardware—especially if either are old enough to be considered legacy—can be an immensely frustrating process, resulting in challenges and snags that might leave an agency running older software far longer than it probably should. Content served over the cloud, meanwhile, can be endlessly patched, tweaked, and improved upon, with no disruption for the end user.

Cloud technology is more secure when providers such as AWS ensure needed updates are made and risk points are continuously focused on and mitigated against. But these continuous updates are not restricted to fixing bugs and improving security, though both are important benefits of cloud-backed delivery. It also means that the people making applications can push whole new features out over time, allowing the software to adapt to the changing needs of its users and utilize the latest technology, information, and best practices.

Modular solutions allow you to scale

Just as a software solution itself needs to adapt over time, to be truly futureproof, an individual organization’s utilization of the product must also be adaptable depending on its goals, resources, and maturity. A comprehensive solution divided into à la carte modules will allow you to add and remove “sections” of a product as your requirements evolve and help you avoid the pitfalls of point solutions.

Say a firefighting agency, trying to cut training costs and add functionality, chooses the Acadis® Readiness Suite to replace their legacy training solution. At first, they only need the eLearning-focused modules; as time goes on and their academy training program expands, they can quickly and easily add modules that help manage their scheduling, housing, and inventory tracking, with no cumbersome reinstalls in their local server IT rooms.

That’s just one small-scale example; apply it to the untold thousands of potential use cases that agencies face every day, and you start to see why a solution that grows with you is important.

Bet on companies, not individual technologies

It is possible for organizations to lock into a tool that evolves as their needs do—but only if they go with a company capable of supporting the change. With any major software or platform purchase, you should be evaluating the provider just as much as (if not more than) the features and capabilities.

While cloud distribution and modular software allow companies to evolve their solution, not all companies put forth the effort to do so well. That’s why it’s smart to bet on a company with a proven record of innovation, not an individual bit of technology. You should be confident that the solution is continuously improved in ways that create tangible benefits for you and your industry. Especially with generic solutions that target customers with vastly different needs than your own, it may be difficult to convince a company that your use case is a necessary update. Only software companies tuned into your industry can keep up with your changing needs.

When you partner with Envisage, you get a solution that has been developed, refined, and continually improved using input from people in public safety. That means you get a tool that suits you today, has modules you might need later, and will continually evolve and add features that users request. Plus, our technology is built secure from the ground up and continually evaluated for security benchmarks such as FedRAMP authorization and AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency.

Futureproofing is possible, but only if you find companies you trust to guide you into the future.

Posted on Jan 7, 2021