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Demystifying Platform-as-a-Service for Government

Five simple steps to help you spend more time and effort on innovation.

by William Sanders, Oracle / September 14, 2018

Throughout my career as an Information Technology (IT) professional, I have visited many federal, state and local government agencies to explain benefits of technology modernization to both IT and line of business (LOB) leaders alike.

I’ve noticed that most people easily comprehend the benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) within their own technology experience. When you’re uploading photos and videos to a service for safekeeping, that’s IaaS. When you’re tracking your personal expenditures with consumer-grade accounting software and calculating your annual tax returns, that’s SaaS.  

Many understand the value of SaaS and IaaS, but don’t understand how to make the best use of Platform as a Service (PaaS) in their IT environments. That’s because PaaS has no real consumer equivalent. However, PaaS is very much the secret sauce behind innovation.

What is Paas?

So what is PaaS? In plain English, PaaS is the tooling that allows you to build, run, connect, manage and discover innovative possibilities among all of your IT systems, both in the cloud and on-premises. That means that you can instantly gain the benefits of cloud computing that are changing government agencies, such as mobile apps, better security and the ability to instantly respond to changes in regulations, without weeks of rewriting code and enduring lengthy testing cycles. In some cases, the tools are meant for IT professionals to use; however, in many cases, the tools are specifically designed for the LOB to be able to implement and use themselves, with little to no assistance from the IT department.

As with  most government agencies, your IT systems are typically comprised of a confusing mix of deployments and technologies, including on-premise, public and private cloud environments. PaaS can pull all that together for you to minimize costs, increase the pace of meaningful change, and maximize the value you get from both the technology and the efforts of your employees.

Citizens and government employees expect the same range of tools and experiences introduced by the commercial sector. Line of business must innovate on behalf of their teams, and demonstrate measurable change.  PaaS gives public service agencies ways to lower costs while improving flexibility and operational agility – consuming modular but integrated tools “as a service.” As a result, agencies do not need to focus on building out a platform for development, operations and innovation; the cloud does it for them.

5 Steps to Spend More Time on Innovation

At Oracle, we want you to spend more time and effort on innovation – activities that move enable your organization’s mission – rather than continuing to invest a disproportionate amount of time and energy on activities related to “keeping the lights on.” Here are five simple steps to get started:

  1. Think about how your agency is currently running, and imagine the most innovative and impactful change that you could make.
  2. Enlist the help of your IT professionals to reimagine a better, more responsive agency.
  3. Replay the webinar I hosted on the  Understanding the Power of PaaS for Public Sector to further understand how PaaS is able to help you modernize, better respond to constituent demands and regulatory mandates, and demonstrate how your organization can achieve significant financial savings.
  4. Send the link to your IT team, both staff and management, and invite them to talk about how you would like to run your program.
  5. And if you need more information or help, email me at

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