"Change has to start somewhere," said Suraj Kika, founder and CEO of Jadu, before announcing that his company will no longer be charging for upgrades to its web platform - saving his local authority customers an estimated total £1m in realising their digital ambitions.
"Kill upgrades, release often and save the public sector money," is Kika's mantra. "Making upgrades faster will move local government on further. APIs can be released faster, new features can be released faster and security updates can be shipped faster.
"All of that should be the responsibility of the vendor. The commercial benefit is customer loyalty, case study and good will."
Coventry City Council has just moved to the new iterative platform 'Jadu Universe Continuum' alongside a re-design of their corporate website, part of a strategic focus on the digital customer experience and wider transformation programme. According to Coventry's chief executive, Martin Reeves, "The web should be the channel of choice for Coventry City Council and needs to underpin everything we do. Our priorities are to the people we serve and it's essential that we focus on the channels and devices they choose."
Adds Reeves, "Local Authorities need to keep ahead of the digital curve. It is essential our web platforms can stay up to date in order to meet our customers needs to access council services online.
"We are really pleased that Jadu have innovated with much faster updates and continuous improvement in support of the Council's digital strategy and desire to be more Agile."
Explains Kika, "Through Continuous Delivery, we can keep customers like Coventry City Council up to date with the latest feature releases measured in days instead of years. We've seen the last of big bang upgrades to our platform and our customers have welcomed the move. We would like to see larger IT firms in the sector doing the same."
Julian Bowrey, Deputy Director Corporate & Digital Communications at DCLG and joint SRO for the Local Digital Programme, welcomed the announcement: "This is really exciting news. At our recent Local Digital Trends event Jadu and other suppliers supporting the programme were very keen to do more to help local government meet a challenging future by using digital more effectively.
"I am delighted to see Jadu showing such great leadership, helping to move local government on faster and further. And I will be interested to see whether other suppliers pick up the gauntlet that Jadu has thrown down!"
Based on Jadu's research on the cost of external IT support and internal resource costs, move to continuous delivery is estimated to save the 70+ local authorities using the platform over £1.2m in external and internal costs. "That's a lot of money that can be re-invested into innovation," says Kika.
Jadu has reinvented the release cycle for its new Universe Continuum platform of web content management (Jadu CMS) and data capture (Jadu XFP) enterprise tools to use an Agile, iterative release process. This means that the software a council uses to power its web channel can be updated to new versions in weeks rather than years, with little effort and resources, reducing the overall cost of updating the software by up to 70%.
Adds Kika, "I hope the Government software industry takes note. We all know that we can release faster and cheaper. Time to let go of software stranglehold and invest in the goodwill and good karma of customer loyalty. Solve the pain and we all gain."
Read Suraj Kika's blog post on how this move to a continuous delivery model came about: