|eServe(TM) brings integration, innovation and accountability to all aspects within a district.
|THE VISION | REFORM ACCOUNTABILITY | WHAT IS A HOSTED APPLICATION?
|A 'hosted application' is an on-demand software-based service and solution distributed and managed from a central data center. Software Outfitters, Inc. hosts eServe(TM) and our customers access it through the Internet. District users only need a web browser to connect to a virtual location to gain access.|
A common set of user-friendly interfaces provide access to the multiple applications provided through eServe(TM). All applications, hardware upgrades, maintenance, and integration are provided by Software Outfitters. eServe(TM) was designed from the ground up to be hosted and delivered as a service over the Internet. This model radically changes software development and deployment because only one version of the software code need be written and managed for a single platform and configuration, allowing deployment over the Internet to all school district users simultaneously.
School districts are always faced with budget challenges. eServe(TM) offers cost-conscious school districts access to high-level, professional expertise, the ability to deploy new technologies rapidly with fewer problems, the ability to shift the IT burden and maintenance to Software Outfitters, and opportunities to take advantage of the latest applications and technology Software Outfitters has to offer.
A primary advantage of eServe(TM) and the hosted application model is the reduction in up-front capital requirements and long-term capital investment. Because investment in a server is not required and existing access hardware can usually be used, software and server upgrades are also included in the service contract fee.
Software Outfitters offers school districts access to a high-end application with reduced implementation time. Complex in-district implementation can take many months to complete in-house, while Software Outfitters can minimize downtime during implementation and ensure a seamless change. Software Outfitters will also provide upgrades more frequently and at less cost.
Hardware and software system administration is substantially reduced, and Software Outfitters assumes maintenance responsibilities for the eServe(TM) application and the host servers.
Reduced IT staff support.
Software Outfitters provides the technical expertise, relieving the shortage of skilled IT staff and allowing internal IT departments to focus on implementing internal applications and providing in-house support. This is wonderful for districts with a shortage of IT personnel.
eServe(TM) eliminates the need for a district to purchase any licenses required for the application and avoids the cost and labor associated with developing, operating, and supporting in-house solutions. Because Software Outfitters charges a set fee, costs for eServe(TM) are stable and can be projected over the life of the contract.
Lower cost of ownership.
Software Outfitters purchases and maintains servers and provides all IT administration related to the server, including backup, technical support, database utilities, and maintenance. According to Gartner Inc., a provider of research and analysis on the global IT industry, hosted applications can reduce cost of ownership up to 30% by lowering hardware, labor, and support costs.
More current functionality.
Software Outfitters can update and enhance eServe(TM) much more rapidly than if the application was housed and deployed within the school district. Software Outfitters produces and provides many releases per year, compared to the usual one per year at best when applications are deployed internally. The cumulative effect of these updates over several years, and the lack of cost to the school district to incorporate these upgrades, along with adherence to changing rules and regulatory compliance, can be staggering.
Access to data.
Authorized users can log on to the network and access data from any location, including office, classroom, remote sites, or home. Remote access requires an Internet connection and a personal computer, as well as password and other security measures.
Integration of existing legacy systems.
It is not unusual for a school district to have numerous types of information systems along with the student management system. eServe(TM) sits on top of most any existing database and integrates, providing usable information in ways the existing applications cannot. eServe(TM) may allow your district to extend the life of the legacy systems by providing extended access and functionality.
A frequently cited and justifiable concern about the use of hosted applications is the security risk associated with transmitting data over the Internet and housing student information, especially special education information, externally from school district servers. Software Outfitters takes several measures to protect the security and privacy of sensitive student data, consistent with best practices in the banking industry. Software Outfitters uses a virtual private network. Student data is encrypted while traveling to and from each site. The student data is then decrypted at the Software Outfitters data center meeting requirements in areas covering administrative issues, physical safeguards, technical security services and mechanisms, and electronic signature standards. In addition, firewalls at both ends of the connection help to protect both the school district's and Software Outfitter's networks. Access is allowed only to users with a registered log-in and valid password. In addition, valid users are only granted access to areas and data allowed by their security level, as defined by the appropriate school district personnel.
A hosted application service like eServe(TM) can utilize the Internet to get mission-critical information to users on a 24/7 basis with a much more rapid implementation time compared with in-district solutions. The hosted application service can provide an affordable way for school districts to quickly implement cutting-edge technology, lessen strain on IT staff, and leverage information already in existing legacy systems (i.e. student management system). School districts with limited capital resources, stretched IT staff, and a need for flexible information management and analysis solutions will benefit the most from adopting the on-demand hosted application service model offered by Software Outfitters, Inc..