Businesses depend on software and infrastructure to drive innovation, revenue, and productivity. Unfortunately, a lot of the heroic efforts and successes that go into supporting these efforts go untold, which leads to rework.
These stories need to be shared—that's why we kicked off a web series and podcast for Quali called QualiFYI, where we will be interviewing industry pioneers and thought leaders in the space to get their perspectives on all things Environment as a Service, DevOps, environment provisioning, and more.
In the first ever episode of QualiFYI, I was honored to be joined by Ben Higgins, Technology Integration Manager, and Adam Scheuchzer, Director of Technical Services at Tyler Technologies. Check out the video below to get a look into how they use Environment as a Service.
QualiFYI [ep. 1]: Tyler Technologies Leaders Share Secrets to Shortening Sales Cycles with EaaS
Tell us a little bit about who you are and why people should care about Tyler Technologies and the great work that you do every day.
Ben: So Tyler Technologies is the largest software developer focused exclusively on the public sector. So all of our clients are towns, schools, water districts, that sort of thing. We really care about that market. We are constantly trying to improve the services that we make available to it.
Adam: Yeah. And I think just to add on to what Ben talked about is, as you talked about affecting everyone, if you look at the impact of what our software can do…it's helping the citizens of these organizations, it's helping the school, the students and that sort of thing. So if we can deliver software and services in a more cost effective and more impactful way, it could just help the tax payers to get more for their dollars that they have to spend. And it's a great mission to have, absolutely.
There's a new initiative to accelerate environment provisioning using Environment as a Service. What brought about this change?
Ben: Tyler is going through a growth phase right now. In the past, we've been a company of acquisitions. A lot of our products were not originally developed by us but were acquired via that process. And we're re-evaluating how all of those products work together and making sure that the integrations are tight so that you can really, again, maximize the functionality of how your work order software connects to your ERP software.
So there's a lot of complexity that goes into that and there's a lot of effort that goes into maintaining the places where people can do their work here as far as training prospects or demonstrating the software or doing QA or support of these things. So if you have 25 or 30 different applications that need to be in a cohesive unit, having the expertise and all of the hardware and everything else that goes along with that gets really complex really fast. The ability to build a thing and a blueprint that and then make copies of it however many times that you need for all of those different use cases becomes really invaluable.
Adam: Sure. I think that the things that Ben was talking about are great in terms of challenges that an individual organization has and challenges that we have in a company, but also one of the initiatives that we're working on is a vision of connected communities.
So, we talked a little bit about where Tyler is a company that's working with towns and schools and governments. One of the challenges that we have is a citizen might have services from a number of different municipality areas. They might go to work in a neighboring town. And if you look at the needs of that citizen and what Tyler can do to help them in a connected community situation, it's bringing those services together with multiple towns and multiple districts and multiple organizations, and that's a very big challenge. It's not something that's really easy, but it's a vision that we have here at Tyler to get a lot of those services together to be able to help our customers and ultimately our communities work better together.
In a testimonial video for Quali, you said, "We are on a mission," we being Tyler, "to transform enterprise sales by changing the way our prospects experience our product for the first time with on-demand self-service environments." Can you tell us why it's so important to nail the prospect's first experience, especially in your industry with the public service?
Ben: It's really important to nail that the first time because, well, perception is everything. The public sector, they're very risk averse. They want to know that there's safety in changing their software situation. They're beholden to their citizens and the money that they've paid in taxes to make good choices. So being able to demonstrate that the product works the way that it's expected to, that it's stable, that it user-friendly and a bunch of other things that aren't really associated with that per se. That's critical. If we have environments that are not consistent and salespeople or our demonstration consultants are having problems in this one or that one or it's different from environment to environment, that doesn't turn into...that's not a good show.
Adam: Yeah, I think just to go on to Ben's point there, it's the case of the customers that we're dealing with…they're stewards of the dollars, the tax payer dollars. So they don't have that ability to have an oops and write off $1 million in a bad deal. It just doesn't happen. They're going to be voted out of office, there's going to be in the newspaper. It's very visible, the process of running a city or a town or a school district. So that's the... When Ben is talking about risk averse, that's really the environment that we're talking about.
So our business is really based upon showing results. Our customers need to see it actually work. They are not going to be sold on a PowerPoint. They need to see the process work in production. They need to see other municipalities be successful with what they do, because at the end of the day, that's what they're going to return to their constituents with is this is our decision that we made, this is why we made those decisions, and this is going to be a success for our organization. So those are the kind of the playground that we're playing with in that sales environment. So it's pretty important to have that environment as a service as Ben was talking about.
How do on-demand and self-service environments play a part in this specifically?
Ben: We're able to really tune a single thing that is repeatable. We're able to make clones of this thing into however many sales environments are required on any given day to show the software in a predictable way that aren't going to throw the solution consultants off kilter. They're all going to work, there's not going to be a lot of, oh, let me check this or switch over to this other thing. There's a lot less smoke and mirrors in order to do a good show.
Adam: I think that to add onto what Ben is talking about, our procurement process for our customers, they oftentimes hire consultants and with their process of doing RFPs, requests for proposals, the demonstration portion, a lot of times we're dealing with a situation where it's all scripted. So they've given us a script of this are the things that you need to show that your software can do.
And going to Ben's point about the repeatability, if we have a sales consultant, their time is limited so they have maybe a number of hours or a day to get this scripted demo ready. They want to make sure that if they're in there doing the process when they're in front of a customer, that that process works the exact same way. And the work that they do, they'd like to leverage it for other business if some of the same consultants have the same scripts to be able to use. So it's very important to have that strong foundation for the presentation software.
When you hear environment as a service, what's the first word or phrase that comes to mind?
Thank you so much for your time today. As always, such a pleasure to work with you and we really appreciate you being such thought leaders in this space. Thank you for your time.
Ben: Thanks, Arta.
Adam: Thank you.
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