A Note from the Heart of Texas
I’m writing you from the currently bruised state of Texas where my wife, children and I have been living in the eye of this unforeseen disaster.
Notice that I said “the eye” and not the heart – that we are currently bruised, but still fighting. I am very proud of my state and the strong people who call it home. They are the heart of Texas, and our comradery and spirit is what has kept us going amidst blackouts, unsafe drinking water, energy rations and all the other devastation we’re currently facing. We appreciate your prayers, as all Texans know recovery will be a process, but we will make a comeback soon with our reputable Texas strength.
If you’ve been following the news coverage about this storm, you will see a lot of finger pointing. Some outlets report that our legislation failed us, some say we haven’t paid close enough attention to climate change, and others blame the energy supply companies for not getting us back up-and-running quickly. Truthfully, I don’t know that there’s actually one, or any, single target who should bear all this liability – none of us saw this coming, and Texas’ historical weather patterns wouldn’t have ever predicted this.
Rather than further dividing our people, we need to identify and fight the root challenges. And the primary culprit, the common thread stitched in all the news coverage and exclaimed by our communities, is unpreparedness.
Most Texans, myself included, don’t worry about extreme weather conditions. We don’t have Florida’s history of hurricanes or Wisconsin’s thick skin for -30 degree days – if I’m being honest, we’ve operated from a place of “that won’t happen to us – we don’t need to think about it.”
And so, from households, electric co-ops and utility districts, state and local legislature and beyond, none of us were prepared to deal with what we’ve been dealt. Working in the technology sector, I tell all my customers to budget and plan for disaster preparedness and recovery. I’ve heard incredible stories about government entities sustaining critical operations and reaching their constituents throughout the pandemic simply because they were equipped with the means to work remotely. Even in places of riots and civil unrest, where disaster struck of man-made consequence and not Mother Nature, people were scared and blindsided, but they had the tools to keep on keepin’ on amidst the turmoil.
So, to me, it’s very clear why this happened – not because of one person or one entity, but simply because we were not prepared for what was coming our way.
It’s been a few days since Texas was hit with the brunt of the storm, and the outlook every day is getting better. While I’m hopeful and relieved to soon return to some normalcy (not boiling snow water, for example), there are many, care-free operations I will not be returning to. My only ask in penning you this write-up is that we all take a page from Texas’ book and learn not only resiliency, but also to be ready.
Have you been, or would you be able to keep in touch with your constituents regardless of circumstance? Are their records and personal information safe when the electricity goes out, or the water comes flooding in? Can your staff maintain both their income and their safety by working remotely should threats of a pandemic or a riot close the office doors?
As this past year and, now, Texas have taught us, we need to ask these questions and find the solutions. If a winter storm can put up a fair fight with the tough state of Texas, anything could happen to your community too. Partner with people who have experience in disaster recovery and pool their expertise with your knowledge about what kind of operations, be it Cloud storage, centralized records accessibility, integrated work order systems, self-service options for the public, ESRI or others, your entity needs to withstand the worst of the worst. What, in your budget, is more important than ensuring the safety, strong will and withstanding of your staff and communities? This is one investment where the return is immeasurable.
Trust me, I’m living it.
To all my Texan readers: stay strong. I’m in this fight too – we will get through this. And to all our friends watching: thank you for your continued prayers and support.
From the heart of Texas,
Worth a Look: Building Crisis-Resistant Digital Government
Just two months into 2021, and it’s clear that unforeseen circumstances are, ironically, still to be expected.
The pandemic aside, our nation has also persevered through a historically tumultuous election, civil unrest, and several natural disasters, including wildfires and the unusual winter storm wreaking havoc on Texas.
In the timely read “Building a Crisis-Resistant Digital Government,” Route-Fifty outlines how governments can stay prepared by reframing their thinking, operations and budgets to sustain continuity and quality constituent service in every situation.
Disaster Recovery? Keep Your Strategy in the Clouds
Weather, unfortunately, does not evolve – the threat of natural disasters will always be a constant. But with the timelines of peoples’ lives on the line, courts, clerk’s offices and government agencies have advanced their preparation and resilience tactics to continue functioning amidst, and especially after, distress. Disaster and document recovery plans reassure not only staff, but also constituents whose records, histories and FOIA needs become of acute concern
The Scary Thing About a Paper-Based Office
What scares you? Spiders? Horror films? To us, walking into a paper-dependent office is worse than being pushed into a haunted house. In this episode, we’re talking nightmares-come-to-life when natural disasters, fires, floods and more destroy years’ worth of paper records and office know-how, and the scary costs and consequences of recovery and rebuilding.
Transform Your “How,” Digitize Your “What” and Your “Why” Will Surface
In a recently penned article, Hyland’s Glenn Gibson turns digital transformation on its head with a new-found perspective: digital transformation is simply how you optimize – digitizing your operations is the real destination. Once you’re there, your organization better serves constituents, dedicates staff time and talent to higher-level initiatives, achieves compliance with flying colors, and so on.
So many of us hear, think and discuss “digital transformation” like it’s the goal when we should be relying on it as a roadmap to growing and staying relevant. As Glenn points out, many newer organizations were “born digital,” meaning they didn’t have to migrate to the Cloud – their business was developed there. Their reach wasn’t extended by mobile applications – apps were the initial strategy. These organizations navigated the pandemic well because they weren’t just dabbling with the idea of digital transformation – it was their original map.
Digitally transforming legacy infrastructure not only helps you reach goals, but it’s a competitive edge that, as Glenn puts it, is no longer just an initiative, but an imperative – to stay ahead of crises and disasters, and to stay relevant in a world where up-and-coming entities are “born digital” and, therefore, outpacing traditional governments with their first step.
With a notepad in hand, we encourage you to expand on Glenn’s perspective in his original blog, “If digital transformation is a journey, what’s the destination (and are we there yet)?”
What Can We Do For You?
ImageSoft has been bringing affordable, adaptable enterprise content management systems to state and local governments for quite some time. Our industry-leading solutions for government offer automated workflows, improved speed and efficiency, reduced costs and proper compliance.
ImageSoft is ready to help your organization reap the benefits from integrated enterprise content management.