By now, you've probably heard a bunch of people talk about "the cloud" and "cloud computing." But the definition of the cloud is as hazy as the term itself. For parks and recreation directors, we're going to provide a definition and discuss why it's important for you to take notice. Let's clear up some of this cloud talk:Cloud computing: Software that is delivered over the internet without the need for in-house servers or system maintenance. To access applications in the cloud, all you need is an internet connection and log in credentials.Alternative phrases for the cloud: Software as a Service (SaaS), fully-hosted, on-demand software.An example: Gmail. Do you have a Gmail account (or Yahoo, etc.)? All you need is your username and password to access your email from anywhere. You don't have to worry about having software downloaded onto your computer or servers to hold and process all the information. This is the same setup for any cloud-based system, including fully-hosted recreation software.Why it should matter to P&R agencies: There are many benefits for parks and recreation agencies as well as the local governments that they fall under:
- Reduced costs: Cloud computing systems do not require hardware/servers and, therefore, also do not need constant maintenance from IT or outsourced support.
- Improved Access: Just like how you can log in to Gmail from anywhere, fully-hosted rec software allows you to work from home or on-site at rec centers, parks, and events.
- Flexibility: Adding modules is about as simple as flipping a switch. If you want to start with online registration and a few others, you can do that. And later, if you feel like adding facility reservation, you can when your organization is ready to take that step.
- Automatic updates: Updates shouldn't take you through costly and painful downloads and on-site visits because it all happens on the software provider's end and gets passed to you over the internet.
As a parks and recreation director, you can help make life easier for the IT department that supports you while contributing to overcoming the budget crunch. By the way, you and your customers will feel many of the perks as well. Is it time for you to move to the cloud?Click here to learn more about how the Activity Cloud could help you.