Last week I attended the annual conference for the Voter Registrars Association of Georgia. This is the group of government officials who ensure that you get every chance to vote and that your vote counts. They are dedicated officials from 159 counties who spend their time trying to provide a better voting experience, striving to meet the ever changing voting laws, dealing with demanding candidates, dealing with razor thin budgets from county commissioners, complying to state elections regulations, dealing with special interest groups concerned about voter fraud, and of course dealing with the ever friendly voting public. Some think that those in the elections office only work during an election. I am here to tell you that they never stop working.
This year’s big topics included redistricting in the counties and preparing for next year’s presidential election. Everyone agreed that next year’s elections will be a challenge. They all believe that the voter turnout will increase over past presidential elections. The challenge for most will be how to handle this increased voter turnout with a decreased budget and less resources. With fewer resources, funding to pay the temporary workers needed to process early voting and absentee voting becomes harder to find. This fact has elections officials taking a serious look at how technology could help streamline and quicken the steps to process voters.
One particular solution at the conference that drew high interest was a way to speed up the early voting process. The product, called EasyVote, is used to speed up the application process for early voting. When a voter in Georgia wants to vote early they must fill out an application before they are issued their ballot card. This is traditionally an area that bogs down the process with a voter needing help to fill out the application or the poll worker not being able to read the voters handwriting. EasyVote speeds up the process by having the voter give their drivers license to the poll worker to run through a hand held scanner that reads the information off the license and automatically fills out the information on the application for the voter. All the voter needs to do is sign it. This removes the hassle from the voter and since the application is electronically filled out, the poll worker has no issue in reading it. The result is a happier voter, a less frustrated poll worker, and a voting line that moves quicker. For the election director there are also reporting capabilities built into EasyVote that enables them to quickly produce information for candidates or the state election office.
With technology products like EasyVote and others, what was traditionally very manual and people oriented in elections, is now moving towards automation and experiencing what the benefits of integrating technology into their work processes can do. This is Sivad’s mission, finding the manual bottlenecks that slow the work process, decrease employee productivity and become very costly and offer the technology solutions to fix them. I will still be the first to say that technology cannot replace people, but technology can be strategically placed to assist people in better performing their jobs. Especially in today’s budget strapped economy we all need ways to better perform our jobs. We might lose people to layoffs, attrition and other reasons, but we never lose the volume of work. We still have to find ways to offer the service our customers expect.
I encourage any industry or job function that has not looked at how technology can assist them, to see if there are solutions out there that can save time and money. While technology cannot solve every problem, I have seen enough times to know that it can make a difference. The key is to understand how your business runs and where it falls short. This is your starting place to see if the right technology can make a difference. Good luck!
Photo by Sarae via Flickr
After my last blog post on finding a trusted advisor, I ran across the blog I have linked below. This was posted from a company called, Ultimus, and discussed how sales representatives from software technology companies treat and should treat customers. The writer of the blog discussed how we need to communicate differently to our customers by not using the technology lingo that only the people in our office understand. I thought this was a good addition to my previous post and wanted to share it with you.
I received a number of emails in regards to my last blog where I discussed finding a trusted advisor. All the comments were very similar, “how do I find this trusted advisor”. In this blog post I will try to give you a few tips on how to find your advisor.
When you look for someone to help navigate the technology landscape, it is important to search for a person who has the following traits:
Now that you know what to look for, where do you find your advisor?
If you are an executive, your concentration is on the bottom line. Increasing revenue and profits year after year is why you are there. I believe without a doubt that technology should be a part of your strategy. The issue is that there are countless products and solutions in the marketplace and salespeople who will tell you anything you want to hear to make the sale. Your trusted advisor will help guide you through available solutions and be there long after the initial sale. This person can be already on your IT or business staff or maybe it is an outside vendor or consultant. Take the time to find the right person and your revenue, profits, and employees will thank you afterwards.
Photo from Shivf1 on Flickr
I recently read a press release from the IT research analyst company Gartner. They discussed a study of 1600 CIO’s who were asked about 2010 IT budgets, technology priorities and business priorities. While the response on budgets was flat at best, I thought their business priorities echoed what I have been seeing in the marketplace. The top three business priorities were as follows:
1. Business Process Improvement
2. Reducing Enterprise Costs
3. Increasing the use of Information and Analytics
This validates what my customers are telling me. Executives are tired of hearing their employees say “Well this is how we have always done it”. Today’s technology is too flexible, affordable, and easy to use. There is no reason why any company should not take a serious look at how technology can reduce manual processes and duplications of effort and increase employee productivity.
If you haven’t looked at technology because you don’t know where to start, I understand. There is a vast amount of technology products and vendors available to the marketplace. Each one spins their technology to be the best. While the last thing you want is to meet with salespeople every day who will bring in nice brochures of their products, you do want to find someone who understands the technology landscape. This person, which I call the “trusted advisor”, will discuss your problems and educate you on types of technology to solve them before they ever drill into a specific product.
Technology has become a driving force for competing and surviving in any industry. If you haven’t look how it can change your day-to-day business, its time that you do. So go find your trusted advisor to lead you down the greater productivity path. Happy hunting!
I have linked to the Gartner press release for anyone interested in reading it.
Gartner EXP Worldwide Survey of Nearly 1,600 CIOs Shows IT Budgets in 2010 to be at 2005 Levels
Photo from Minasodaboy on Flickr
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