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Authored by Katie Feldt, Marketing Communications, ImageSoft         

As I’m writing this, there’s a winter storm advisory in effect and, at least, a foot or two of fresh snow on the ground – all before 9 a.m.

A homegrown Michigander, this kind of weather is no stranger to me. As a matter of fact, I used to wish for these days so my family could enjoy a long weekend up north, sporting battery-warmed socks and watching families of Elk cross only a stone’s throw away from our snowmobiles.

It’s been a few years now since we’ve done that. I’m married with a baby on the way and, just in time for us to move across town into our new home tomorrow, this snow is weighing heavy on my heart – instead of watching for Elk, I’m cursing that groundhog’s shadow.

“Marie Kondo” That Legacy System

Maybe it’s all the donating, sorting and tossing I’ve been doing the past few months in preparation for our move, but this jumpstart on Spring cleaning has me in a Marie Kondo, “consolidate-all-the-things” type of mood. Even if you’re not mid-move, I’m sure you’re also just longing for sunlight instead of reaching for your lamp at 7 p.m.

In the spirit of changing addresses and tiring of snow-heavy processes, I couldn’t help but think about our friends at State Agencies. As much as I griped about all the “stuff” we had to go through and box, state agencies have it worse – sometimes their records, files and notes are literally boxed and on shelves, or sometimes they’re siloed in various, disconnected legacy systems. Either way, they’re often inaccessible to both the customer and the staff trying to help. I’m all for a good scavenger hunt, until it’s for a citizen’s data that you don’t have access to and your “customer-focused,” “innovative” agency is caught with egg on its face instead of in a pastel basket.

To defrost our winter slump and prepare for a truly lighter season ahead, I’m encouraging our state agency friends (i.e., the “Departments of…”) to spring into a more simplified way of going about your business processes. In a true, “Marie Kondo” fashion, this three-part blog series will guide you toward a simplified core system that keeps your agency compliant, constituent accessible and efficient from end-to-end.

Part One: Consolidating Your Agency’s Systems

Consolidating existing business applications, such as ESRI, Cityworks, and others into a single, electronic workflow prunes your process of dead-end operations, including duplicate data entry, document hunts and spreadsheets galore.

With much more room to grow your clear vision of efficient, compliant and customer-centric practices, your agency blossoms with optimally productive staff and use of time, easy-to-prove compliance efforts, and better relationships with the people you service.

While the digital solutions we offer and implement for state agencies are not cookie-cutter and scale to meet your department’s specific needs, there are core blueprints of the system that organically solve for the challenges of operating on legacy systems. The first, modeled after our consolidation effort, is a centralized data hub.

Organize from the Inside Out: Connected Systems and Self-Service Portals

Hub… repository… tom-ay-to…tom-ah-to…

Either way, a centralized data hub/repository simply means staff, from one dashboard, can swiftly key a search for customer or project information and the centralized data source populates the information for them. Customer information, project specifics, audit trails, notes – you name it, and it’s most likely living within your core enterprise system. This one, centralized hub operates from a secure, Cloud-hosted environment to connect all existing business applications and integrate with third-party systems so that staff has 24/7 access to files and information – regardless of whether they’re working in the office or remotely.

A hub, in itself, is already a 180 from your siloed, legacy system, right? That’s not even the best part. Consolidating your data into this centralized, indexed environment allows your agency to extend self-service to your customers. With a public-facing, self-service portal empowering constituents to securely upload their own documents or files, and a rules-based workflow routing them to the appropriate clerk, agent, or respective department, the buck stops with you – it’s the end of backlogged phone calls and bottlenecked production.

See You Back Here for “Seamless Sweeping”

That’s it for today – no highly technical talk about the nitty gritty of systems. Just some refreshingly airy talks about the simple, state agency life.

Join me back here for part two of “Spring Cleaning for State Agencies” where we’ll lightly sweep over seamless integrations and task transitions.

Maybe by then, it will actually look a little more like Spring outside our windows too!