At Consultation Manager, we made the decision to go to the cloud in 2005 – before it was ‘a thing’. We called it ‘web-based software’, which was admittedly far less cool than ‘cloud computing’, which Google and Amazon started promoting in 2006 and ‘Web 2.0’, which was popularised around the same time.
But what do these terms really mean? Well, at the risk of disappointing you, they mean: ‘web-based software’. They mean that your data is stored in a remote data centre along with the core software that runs your applications.
Back as far as 2003, before we ‘went cloud’, we received many requests from clients working on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to create stakeholder management databases. Stakeholder Engagement (or Community Consultation) was and remains a key component of the EIA process and it was vital that all stakeholder submissions were accurately recorded, responded to and reported on.
We developed these early databases using Microsoft Access and installed them on our client’s networks. It quickly became apparent that, since stakeholder engagement information was collected by nearly every field team working on the EIA and, since these teams were from multiple different organisations, that a network-based stakeholder engagement database had severe limitations.
And, since our clients needed access to this information and the government agencies responsible for approvals needed assurance that the community was being engaged effectively, there was a strong need to share this information among geographically dispersed teams.
Finally, as the network-based systems we created were widely dispersed, we faced a significant challenge in rolling out any updates or improvements to the system.
The clear solution was to move the platform to the cloud.
Delivering Consultation Manager as a cloud platform provides you with significant advantages:
Stakeholder engagement is often a collaborative process conducted by multiple organisations working from multiple offices. Network-based systems simply cannot compete with the geographic availability of a cloud-based system.
Cloud-based platforms facilitate the use of mobile devices to connect to your dataset, allowing you to show your stakeholders a key document while meeting with them in their homes or access data on a remote work site.
Many of our clients improve confidence in their engagement process by providing corporate or regulatory stakeholders with read-only access to their systems. Allowing these key stakeholders to monitor your engagement process can build enormous confidence.
Cloud-based platforms are centrally managed and maintained, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with rolling out product updates.
‘But what about data security and data sovereignty?’ I hear you ask … well, there’s a whole other post on that.
Colin McEown, CEO
Learn how organisations in your industry manage their stakeholder and community engagement data. Download the free information sheet for your industry.
Notes from the CEO: Data Security, Sovereignty, our commitment to you
Notes from the CEO: Information Silos and the Key Person Problem
7 Benefits (and some Common Pitfalls) of Stakeholder Databases
DIY or Buy? How to Choose a Stakeholder Management System