When we talk with local governments about their websites, online forms, payments and general digital service offerings, and how ProudCity can help them better serve their communities, we’re often asked how we’re different from similar providers, particularly ones that are more established.
Here’s how we’re different.
We have holistic principles
Our fundamental principles are that government technology must be:
- Sustainable: Digital services that grow, constantly improve.
- Scalable: Digital services that expand, easily connect to other services.
- Open: Digital services that inspire transparency, engagement, collaboration.
- Iterative: Digital services continuously responsive to user feedback.
- Empowered: Digital services that gives government full control designing the community experience.
ProudCity believes the culture of governments and how they engage with their communities are based on these fundamental principles and not just features or technical aspects of a software product.
While other government website providers may have principles, ours are firmly re-enforced by our approach to technology and product development with deep emphasis on continuously helping to improve all of the communities we serve.
We provide recurring, universal product updates
Every two weeks, every government on the ProudCity Platform receives the same software updates at the same time under the same subscription pricing established at the beginning of the contract.
As a true government software-as-a-service provider, ProudCity believes recurring updates — including new features, accessibility, mobility, security and maintenance updates and bug fixes — should be universal and timely. All records of our updates are publicly available and posted to our blog immediately after the official release.
While some government website providers may universally update certain aspects of their product, such as the backend content management system, none do this holistically. Ultimately, governments are left with partial updates, particularly related to tools that should empower them to be more effective in managing public-facing aspects of their websites. What eventually happens is websites become less secure, less mobile-friendly and less accessible.
We integrate Digital Government Network Feedback
ProudCity takes in feedback from all governments and incorporates these into the platform, where everyone benefits from these updates. Whether you’re a town of 1,000 or a county of 1,000,000, shared problems being solved locally are distributed to every government on the ProudCity Platform.
ProudCity believes a community-based Digital Government Network Feedback approach to user input and product development is integral to product that best serves communities. These continuous feedback loops, based on government input and anonymized user data, is what informs overall platform experience to the benefit of everyone who uses it.
By employing a model of one-off product launches, traditional vendors are unable to incorporate best practices and community feedback into a single, unified platform. Governments purchasing this approach must have larger resources and budgets and rely on manual intermittent technology updates, at the risk of incurring future accessibility, mobility, data portability and security fails.
We adopt Digital Government Platform Standards
ProudCity believes that by establishing baseline platform requirements, all governments can better understand current industry standards and stay aligned with these throughout the lifecycle of product use. We also believe these standards will compel traditional vendors to follow suit and be more proactive in offering better products to governments.
These standards include:
|Continuous feedback loop||Yes|
|Ubiquitous platform updates||Yes|
|Recurring release schedule||Yes|
Traditional government website vendors are inconsistent in their adherence to standards, often just following specifications provided in a request for proposal response, taking a more reactive approach to deploying modern best practices. Even when they do integrate new standards, they do so incrementally for future customers or by request, often leaving past customers out of compliance, many times unbeknownst to government leaders unfamiliar with industry best practices.
We offer free trials
ProudCity provides every government a no-obligation free trial to test-drive the platform before making a decision to purchase. Because our foundational technology is truly platform-based, we can stand up a new test instance and give multiple users access within hours if need be.
We believe governments should test-drive all technology products before actually purchasing to ensure full understanding of how it really works, beyond just a product demo. This enables governments to make technology decisions with confidence, knowing your are spending budget well-aware of what you’re getting.
Very few, if any, government-focused website providers offer free trials. This is because most or all of these vendors offer highly bespoke services, which means more resources are required to set up a test instance, so the practice of offering free trials is impossible to efficiently execute, and governments only realize what they’re getting into after they’ve purchased the product.
Want a free trial? Contact us, and we’ll get you started.
We have transparent pricing
As a true software-as-a-service provider, ProudCity believes governments should have access to transparent pricing without the need to talk with vendor representatives and subsequently fall victim to endless pestering by aggressive sales teams.
Most government website providers are opportunistic in their pricing, whether it’s based on budget insight (“What a coincidence, your budget allocation for this is exactly what it would cost us to do.”) or undercut based on future potential to upsell and do more bespoke work.
We’re open source
ProudCity is proudly open source, licensed under the GNU Affero GPL license, version 3.
While this may seem unimportant to the average, non-technical government leader, it’s critical to note that open source requirements are increasingly being incorporated into federal, state and local government technology policies (examples include the U.S. Government and the state of California). Reasons for government open source policies include elimination of vendor lock-in, increased innovation opportunities, ultimate technology flexibility, a culture of transparency, to name just a few.
Most government website providers operate under a proprietary license and data structure, making it difficult, impossible even, to gain access or fully and seamlessly migrate to a different hosting provider in the event the current service fails to meet your needs. This leaves many governments stuck using the same platform for years, decades even. It also eliminates the possibility of truly operating within a culture of true openness, transparency, engagement and collaboration.
There are many others, but these are fundamental and, on the whole, defensible differences between between ProudCity and other government website providers, particularly those that have been in the market for an extended period of time and operate on antiquated business and technology models.
If you have further questions about how ProudCity is working to serve governments and their respective communities differently than traditional, antiquated approaches, contact me directly at [email protected].