Category Archives: Software as a Service

Over the Counter Licenses

A demonstration of how Citizenserve can help you offer instant, over-the-counter licenses to your constituents.

Instant, Express, On Demand, or Over the Counter Licenses describe a Licence that does not require review by the issuing agency. Citizenserve can configure your citizen portal to allow your constituents to apply and pay for an instant license online, then receive their licence in an email, or download it from the portal.

Citizenserve General Technical Features Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for general technical information about  Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

2.1.1. Describe your software licensing model.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is only offered on a subscription basis.

2.2.9. Provide details on what browsers, browser versions are supported and what Windows operating systems are supported.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is device and browser independent and can be used on any modern browser.

2.3     Servers and Databases

2.3.1. Describe the server environment required for your solution.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.

2.3.2. Describe the server minimum specifications (e.g., OS, RAM) needed for each of the required servers.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.

2.3.3. Describe the database versions, and patch levels supported as of January 2020. Include a sequence of preferred databases supported by the vendor based on the most stable and best performing platform for the solution.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.  End users can use any device and any browser to access the software.

2.3.4. Describe any database CPU and memory resource requirements. Include an architectural diagram that illustrates the database architecture.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is only offered as a Software-as-a-Service solution; the City will not require additional hardware or databases. We do not share diagrams of our database architecture for security reasons.

2.3.5. What are the file standards for database server files?

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.

2.3.7. Please provide any installation documentation or standard operating procedures.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is provided as a Software-as-a-Service solution; the Citizenserve staff maintain and support the application and database.

2.4     Integration and Service-Oriented Architecture

2.4.1. Describe the solution’s ability to support single sign-on using an on premise and cloud Active Directory to authenticate employees/users.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve supports the use of Active Directory for authentication and will provide integration to the City’s Active Directory for an additional fee.

2.4.2. Describe the solution’s import/export feature capability at the application level (above the database layer) and through the application interface.

Citizenserve Response: All reports can be exported to a CSV or PDF file format.  Imports are usually accomplished through SQL scripts and need to be customized based on requirements.

2.5     Software as a Service

2.5.1. Please describe in detail the company’s policy for handling the customer’s intellectual property.

Citizenserve Response: We only work with State and Local Government jurisdictions.  Customers own their data in all cases.

2.5.3. Describe the availability of metrics for the City of Redmond to measure consumption of services, such as bandwidth.

Citizenserve Response: The Citizenserve subscription includes unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited processing and unlimited support.  We can provide reports on data size or setup monitoring on the City IP address, but we do not use the information for billing purposes.

2.5.5. Describe the options available for exporting data from the SaaS solution for external interfaces.

Citizenserve Response: The City can request and obtain a copy of its data at any time and there is no charge to get a copy.  The copy is provided in Microsoft SQL Server format.

2.6.6. Provide the SLAs for system availability.

Citizenserve Response: From inception Citizenserve has been a pay-as-you-go subscription and a 99.99+% up-time has been maintained for 17 years.  Any customer recourse for unacceptable service is subscription cancellation.  We have never had a customer cancel a subscription based on system availability or performance.  Our customers are not locked in to multi-year contracts.

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Infrastructure Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about the infrastructure behind Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

2.2     Infrastructure (Citizenserve is only offered as a Software as a Service solution)

2.2.1. Describe the infrastructure architecture for the network, end user devices (PC / Laptops), server, storage, and operating systems that comprise the solution. Include architectural diagrams.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.  End users can use any device and any browser to access the software.

2.2.2. Describe the data centers supporting the solution for the City of Redmond. Include location and the redundancy and high availability architecture design.

Citizenserve Response: The main data center is Iron Mountain in Phoenix. Data and application servers are replicated to an Iron Mountain facility in Edison, New Jersey. Data and application servers are replicated locally in the primary data center, so we don’t have to move to the secondary facility if there is a hardware failure.

If a server fails, we have a backup server. If the facility fails, we have a geographically diverse backup data center.  If our data center provider fails, we have a standby facility capable of restoring operations in less than an hour.

2.2.3. Describe any WAN bandwidth requirements for connectivity between the City of Redmond’s network and the vendor.

Citizenserve Response: Any contemporary internet connection will work.

2.2.4. Describe any unique network requirements (LAN or WAN) for optimal operation of this solution.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a 100% browser-based software application and can be accessed from any desktop or mobile device.

2.2.5. Describe the network design requirements to ensure there are no latency issues.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a 100% browser-based software.  Any contemporary data plan is sufficient to use the software.  Performance is continually monitored regarding the software bandwidth and resource requirements to identify areas of improvement or bottlenecks.

2.2.6. Describe your solution’s backup protocol.

Citizenserve Response: Incremental backups or logs are made every 15 minutes and the logs are kept indefinitely so data can be restored to any point in time. Full backups are performed twice weekly and whenever a new version is released. Full backups are always test restored in read-only recovery mode to allow for logs to be restored if necessary to the backup copy. Database consistency checks are performed regularly with offline copies. At least one full copy is maintained per month for historical archiving.

The main data center is Iron Mountain in Phoenix. Data and application servers are replicated to an Iron Mountain facility in Edison, New Jersey. Data and application servers are replicated locally in the primary data center, so we don’t have to move to the secondary facility if there is a hardware failure.

If a server fails, we have a backup server. If the facility fails, we have a geographically diverse backup data center.  If our data center provider fails, we have a standby facility capable of restoring operations in less than an hour.

2.2.7. Describe the RTO/RPO’s for restores.

Citizenserve Response: System Recovery Time Objective (RTO) on production servers for minor failures such as a server failure is less than one hour. RTO on production servers for major failures such as a data center failure is four hours. System Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is 15 minutes on application servers and database servers.

2.2.8. Provide an application and web services diagram illustrating the different components and functions of the solution. Include details on firewall requirements, servers, security, database integration, and software.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a multi-tenant cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solution.  No server hardware or software is required.  End users can use any device and any browser to access the software.

2.2.9. Provide details on what browsers, browser versions are supported and what Windows operating systems are supported.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is device and browser independent and can be used on any modern browser.

Reporting Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the reporting features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.13   Reporting

1.13.1. Describe the capability to provide standard reports for operational, managerial, and executive reporting.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve includes a robust offering of standard reports; in addition, the development of an unlimited number of custom reports is included in the subscription.

1.13.2. Describe the solution’s capability to provide ad hoc tools or templates that provide the ability for users to create their own reports based on available elements.

Citizenserve Response: There is a built-in end-user reporting wizard in Citizenserve that allows non-technical users to design their own reports and share the reports with others. The reporting tool supports the use of custom fields on the application forms. End users can create their own tabular, map, chart, and merge reports.

1.13.3. Describe the solution’s ability to support both ad-hoc and scheduled reporting.

Citizenserve Response: There is a built-in end-user reporting wizard in Citizenserve that allows non-technical users to design their own reports and share the reports with others. The reporting tool supports the use of custom fields on the application forms. End users can create their own tabular, map, chart, and merge reports.

If the City prefers, users can request the creation of a custom report at any time as part of Citizenserve’s unlimited support. Citizenserve has same-day turnaround on most reports. Our staff will create a SQL script in a stored procedure that is rendered by the software and can contain process features and HTML. The SQL scripts create maximum flexibility.

Scheduled reports are available for an additional fee.

1.13.4. Describe the solution’s ability to allow for the creation of actively updating dashboards for both internal users and external customers.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve provides multiple, actively updating dashboards to enable your users to quickly obtain the information they need, and can configure other dashboards as part of our unlimited support. The user dashboards are flexible and configurable, and can be configured to meet the specific needs of individual users filling different roles.

1.13.5. Describe the solution’s analytics capabilities, both native and integration with Business Intelligence tools, such as Power BI.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve uses Microsoft SQL Server as its database engine.  A copy of the database can be provided for data warehousing and business intelligence purposes.  Unlimited custom reports are included in the subscription and an end user report writing tool is built into the software.  Reports can be exported as Excel or CSV files for use with end user analysis tools.