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What a difference a year can make.

Remember this time last year when we all declared 2020 as the year of clear vision? With a list of goals in front of us, we welcomed the year by daring to dream of what the next 12 months could hold if we could just keep a grip on our own motivations and plans.

But when 2020 started unfolding in unexpected, devastating ways, we declared it the worst year many of us have ever experienced. A pandemic, civil unrest, a tumultuous election, social isolation, lost jobs and, worst of all, lost loved ones, seemed to be the common thread among our nation – it seems we were unified by widespread hardship.

Yes, 2020 was, to say the very least, difficult. It has left many of us uncertain about tomorrow, let alone hopeful about 2021. But to say that our vision wasn’t cleared, or that our hindsight in 2021 is not 2020, would be amiss.

What 2020 Taught Us About Technology

Over and over, you’ve heard our pleas to protect your records, documents and data safe in a Cloud, or at least somewhere in a digital, environment. We’ve touted the transparency of ECM and even upheld its mobile accessibility for Judges on vacation, constituents, or insureds at the scene of an accident. We’ve outlined natural disasters and fires that have literally demolished offices and carried away people’s information into the eye of a storm.

But 2020 took what we knew about our technologies and expanded on it tenfold. Here’s a handful of transformations that occurred over the last 12 months that, honestly, we never saw coming:

  • The same OnBase system that safeguards and manages your office records being used as a successful contact tracing tool in Ottawa County, MI – achieving a more than 91 percent response rate of their more than 50,000 digitally administered surveys, consequently returning more than 6,900 hours back to overwhelmed nurses and overall patient care.
  • A significant drop in default court cases and more positive relationships between Judges and citizens – all because justice had to be transformed  from a geographical place to a virtual process that be conducted from home thanks to online dispute resolution.
  • The electronic signature platform TrueSign serving as a key element in end-to-end digital transformation. When the pandemic struck and we had to rethink every step in our processes, signing contracts, affidavits, court orders, insurance claims, marriage licenses, and every other document became a focal point. To do our part and support our customers with the best possible platform, we took TrueSign “beyond the dotted line,” equipping users with QR Code capabilities to eSign documents in real-time, or in front of necessary witnesses. And with low-code integration, TrueSign falls in line with your existing digital systems, supporting a truly end-to-end paperless, remote, and mobile environment.
  • Our paperless records management system supporting a police department during riots, keeping the families of officers connected to the department’s Executive Director, who was working from her apartment, and informed about the wellbeing and location of their loved ones.
  • Leveraging the collaborative power of OnBase and Workview to establish a unique “Take Me Home” process in Fort Bend County, TX. The public portal allows families of loved ones with special needs to set up a profile, complete with an annually updated photo, demographics, a home address, emergency contact and their unique conditions, that is accessible to law enforcement. Doing so improves encounters between law enforcement and individuals with cognitive impairments, such as those with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Down Syndrome and other special needs, who may wander away from home or whose special needs might not be immediately apparent.

In other words, even we had been missing the capacity to which the technology that we use every day could be transformed into make-it-or-break-it resources in times of dire need. 2020 taught us to dig deep and get creative about solving real-world problems.

More than that, it strengthened our relationships with our customers. It taught all of us what “partnership” actually means, and revealed the humanity behind digital tools.

No, technology is not about having a flashy system, or even just about process efficiency. It’s about keeping us connected and staying afloat regardless of what the world might throw our way.

What We Can Do In 2021

Rightfully so, we are all feeling the angst of an uncertain world. None of us can make heads or tails of what comes next or when that “next” moment begins for you – every person in every part of the world is moving at their own pace toward a brighter future. So what can we can do to alleviate some of the anxiousness fogging our days and lean into whatever truly is next?

Be prepared. Your hindsight is still 2020 – take away learning lessons from your experience so all these difficulties weren’t faced in vain.

  • Network. Reach out to your business partners and friends to check-in, and also ask about the changes they made to their business models. Bounce ideas off one another and share contact information of helpful vendors or resources.
  • Make your list of resolutions. What are the pain points causing you to fear the future? Disparate systems your staff can’t access from home? Compliance standards and audits? Remote capacity? Write it all down so you know exactly what it is that you need to work on. Getting problems and ideas out of your head and onto a to-do list eases your stress and compresses everything into a manageable, comprehensive list.  
  • Partner. With your list in hand, start interviewing tech partners to help you accomplish your goals. Ask your networks for recommendations, read reviews, and talk to the people behind the business. What kind of support will you be offered? How involved in implementation will you be? Do they provide data conversion and, if so, what is their experience?
  • Seek funding options. We’re all on a budget and trying to save as much as we can. Look into government grants, CARES funding, or payment plan options from various tech partners. Funding an invaluable preparedness plan might be more within reach than you think!

2020 was rough, but it was also the year we all thought it would be: seeing clearly, especially the things we needed to change. So harness your hindsight and transform your uncertainty into confidence not only for the year ahead, but in all circumstances. Wishing you all your best year yet!