This is a very good question. I personally have designed and implemented both windows and web enterprise systems. Three years ago I would have said go with Windows. I was concerned about these web-systems since 1998 to 2007, the slow query speeds when dealing with the large amount of government records, Browser issues, and especially the security problems. You don't want to log into your web-based enterprise system and see Commercial Viagra Permits being issued with Sex inspections and tasks over due! Your City or County commissioners wouldn't be very happy, along with the cost of cleaning up the millions of bad data records…. those bad web bots can cause serious destruction when a database exposed to the web and is compromised. Along with the huge expense of implementing these systems, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is a lot based upon the government processes that are so unique to that government. Since 2007 forward my concerns on web-based systems are gone… based on NEW Technology!
So it’s a very big decision based upon your business rules, and the technology direction your government is moving towards. The only true differences in capabilities I have experienced between windows and web based implementations is the fact that the web-based system is installed on a server in ONE PLACE, while the windows system is installed on every computer that needs to run it. Both web and windows system designs still connect to the database server and communicate to other systems the government is using like GIS, Tax Assessor, Special Magistrate Court, and anything else the government needs to leverage.
Keeping the latest version of the windows client on all 500 Plus computers can be a challenge, we solved that many years ago with our Auto update system, but the web-based system you don't need the client updates. Also what is nice with the web-based system is when you have that one painful computer that never works you know it’s not your system causing the problem. IT cannot pass the blame to your department or the vendor. From the Vendor's point of view it’s easier to release updates. You update the server, not all the workstations. Make sure the web-based system does not require some client install; our web-based systems do not. If you have a vendor proposing a web-based system that requires a client install run away from it! I would focus on .Net Web-Applications.
As SaaS (Software as a Service) takes over the Market, its good to have web-based systems that can leverage these future systems. I also noticed it was easier for the users to learn the web-based system than the windows-based system. Training was a lot easier! In the field operations was very easy, and painless since we used the same system in the field as we did in the office.
Software companies today pitching that web-based systems are bad, are behind the times. We here at Adept Technologies have both Windows and Web-based Enterprise systems with the exact same functionality. If the customer wants the Windows system they can purchase it, if they want the web-based system they can purchase it, in some cases they purchase both. If I was tasked to make the decision of purchasing either a web-based or windows-based enterprise system to run my organization I would purchase the web-based system. Not only a web-based but a Private Cloud Web-based system. This system runs outside your firewall exposed to all the nastiness and scary bots and hackers. Just image the nightmares your IT department will have, until they are trained on this new technology. Our web-based systems are unique. It is even being used by scuba-divers in the field doing underwater inspections. I don't think the windows-based system would work…hard drives don't like water and extreme pressures.
Functionality is the same across both platforms, however we have noticed the query speeds of the ADO communication between users read and write functions are faster on the web-based systems. We also gave the windows data grid feel of our web-based systems; I personally like the paging functionality in the web systems.
There is no single right answer when choosing Windows versus Web, but many contributing factors might lead you to one solution over another.