I’m always skeptical of calendared seasons – very seldomly does the first day of Spring actually seal off snow, ice and downright cold for a solid six months. I anticipate some “fools’ Spring” weather to slowly inch its way into my daily forecast, but I’m always waiting for the weatherman to hit me with “expect 2-4 inches tomorrow.” This is why, while many open their pools over Memorial weekend, I’m just finally summer-proofing – packing away my shovels and snowblower for the season.
With the garage door open and some warm breezes pushing the smell of neighborhood BBQs under my nose, I’ll find any reason not to go back inside – even if it means consolidating my garage a bit. I’m a woodworker in my spare time, so this gives me an opportunity to set my workspace up for my summer projects: re-positioning the lathe, table saws and planers to make the workspace more efficient, and organizing the lumber by species and size to prepare it for the next project. I’ve spent many open-garage nights building desks for my grandkids and home décor for family and friends. I take a break each winter, and the workspace becomes cluttered and disorganized with the remnants of home maintenance projects.
I imagine, as you begin to reopen your departments to the public after a year-long shutdown, you, too, are working through some hefty “spring cleaning” efforts – not only re-organizing your offices to be compliant with reopening safety standards but, like me, also shaking your head at the way you’re spending your time and simply thinking, “why?”
Previously a government employee myself, I can think of two “why?” moments right off the top: pens and signing templates.
- Pens: With increased efforts to be more conscious of hygiene protocol, your office probably has a place for “clean” pens and “used” pens, or maybe you’ve allotted ridiculously extra budget for a continuous supply of pens so that, as people use them, they keep them. I’ll be blunt – If I were your purchasing department, I would be losing my mind over spending so much of my time forecasting for pens!
- Signing Templates: So now you’ve got all these cleans pens for your constituents and internal staff to use to sign all the various documents that ebb and flow each day: HR documents to employees, forms from the DMV, construction and transportation paperwork, grants, vendor contracts – the list goes on. In addition to the time it takes to circulate these documents, have recipients’ wet ink a signature and manually return them, it takes even more man-power to mark “sign here” lines, checkboxes and other signing posts on every. single. document.
May I offer a breath of fresh air that solves for both?
The newest release of our electronic signing software, TrueSign. I won’t waste your time explaining how it innately solves for your pen problem, but users are now also equipped with a new feature: TrueSign Templates. In a nutshell, TrueSign Templates provides users with a library of their frequently used, pre-templated signing documents. Available as a drop-down feature, all your common signing templates are ready to be pulled and electronically sent for signing – no recreating the wheel. Users will create each type of signing document (i.e., consent forms, inspection paperwork, procurement documents, etc.) only once – it’s then stored in this drop-down library for whenever you need it.
As you start to clean up one of your “why” areas, you’ll likely stumble across more. Pretty soon, you’ll start pulling everything out into the center and re-organizing from the ground up. Because, as we all realize during spring cleaning season, it’s easy to complicate and clutter: manic email inboxes, siloed information stuck in accessible spreadsheets, etc., – all these processes that you thought were working become unmasked and now serve as hard-stop hurdles. Clutter comes naturally – it’s the simplifying that’s difficult.
So, as you work through consolidating efforts, existing business applications, evolving compliance efforts and more, I want to remind you to step away from it all (i.e., outside the messy garage) and start to seriously consider how to simplify for the long-term, sealing off brutally cold re-orgs forever – not just a few months.
I would recommend starting here – on our recently published State Agency webpage. An entire page dedicated to consolidating and automating state agencies, it walks you through the opportunities to centralize data, one-click task transition with automated workflows, easily integrate with business applications like Esri, Cityworks and others, safeguard compliance with built-in checkpoints and mobilize accessibility for staff and constituents.
All this talk about reorganizing and decluttering has given me a little spring fever…I’m going to get started on that farmhouse trestle table I’ve been meaning to do – I know I have a bunch of reclaimed Ash board feet around here somewhere. The heavy work doesn’t start for a few more months so, if you want to gripe about the weather, spring cleaning and maybe even simplifying your state agency – I’m all ears.
Worth a Look: Fiscal Recovery Funds at State and Local Levels
Informed by the House of Representatives and Congressional Research Service, The National Association of Counties (NACo) has publicized a breakdown of the projected recovery funds that will be allocated to each state as well as their individual counties.
These funds, a part of the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act, can be used to equip your agency with crisis-resistant technologies that support remote work, secure and contactless document exchange, and digitized data that is retrievable from any secure internet source – safe from fires, floods and other disasters.
The estimated funding is organized and publicized by County-level estimates and state summaries here.
Spring Cleaning for State Agencies (Part One): Consolidation
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.
Eliminating the Junk from Government Records with Donnita Week, City of Bowling Green
With records that stretch back for decades, especially in larger cities, there just comes a point where the space to store it all simply runs out. So what do you do then? Donnita Weeks, senior systems analyst for the City of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is taking us through the steps of her city’s digital decluttering – and how they made it happen for a more effective and efficient government.
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