RightNow Secures a Cloudy Future in Government


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You know a trend is maturing when the government jumps in. Not that there aren’t forward thinking people in government, but let’s face it, things don’t exactly happen at warp speed. Unless Obama is driving it.

No word yet on whether Obama told his minions to get SaaSy, but RightNow is one vendor that has developed a strong government business over the years, now helping over 155 public sector clients provide better service at lower cost, through online knowledgebases and self-service. We take these sorts of things for granted today, but I remember many years ago interviewing pioneering RightNow government customers who had a tough time selling this approach internally.

While SaaS has become well accepted in business and in many government applications, there are still some hurdles to overcome. Like complying with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and a DoD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP).

Seriously, we should have the tech industry and government play Buzzword Jeopardy.

A couple of years ago RightNow stopped selling conventional/installed software to new customers and focused on the SaaS model. But, some 30% of its government organizations had security requirements beyond what SaaS covers.

Not anymore. RightNow just announced a “high security” option that is security/buzzword compliant, and should help move more federal government operations to SaaS. As a taxpayer, I like that.

Laef Olson, RightNow’s CIO, says they worked on this effort for more than a year. One benefit of the SaaS approach is reducing the burden of certification and accreditation (C&A). You see, with conventional software, each agency has to handle this individually. With RightNow’s SaaS solution, the C&A is in effect bundled in.

No word yet on whether CYA can be ordered as an optional feature, or whether earmarks are involved.

I’m made my fair share of jokes about the government over the years, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Agencies are working hard to be more nimble, open and (let’s hope) cost effective. And RightNow is stepping up to do the grunt work required to keep our info secure.

No word yet whether RightNow has a SaaS solution for the trillion-dollar deficit, but let’s give them another year to work on that.

Meanwhile, it looks like RightNow has strengthened its position as the leading cloud-based CRM vendor to government. The work required to comply with complex security requirements should make for a nice barrier to entry for other SaaS vendors.


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