Authored by Paul Gorman, Account Executive, ImageSoft

How would you sell a book? 

If you are reading this, I am almost certain that you are not going to start a business selling books; but, if you were, how would you do it? 

We all know that innovation has impacted this business so the very idea of a book-store (that is, a physical location that has books in it that customers can visit, browse and buy books), might not be on your list of immediate requirements.  You might not even need physical books to start a business selling books.  It may be because Internet innovation started here early, but the sale of books has to be the leading candidate for the most altered business model in the past 20 years.  Book selling went from not only physical locations to virtual locations, but also to virtual products.

As you may have guessed, I am an avid reader.  And now, on my e-reader (I use Kindle), I can carry dozens of books with me when I travel.  Actually, I can buy, read and carry books with me, which I could never do in the past.  The book industry has made it as convenient as possible for me to access and use their product. 

Graveyard Processes Bury Businesses

It goes without saying that when an industry changes, you either change or die. The list of national chains that did not change include:  Bookstop, Borders, Waldenbooks and Crown Books. There may be hundreds of small book-selling establishments that are gone.  This is the graveyard of the book-selling business. Even as I write this, there are a couple of other booksellers that are teetering.

I think government and quasi-government agencies have the same primary driver as the one that transformed the book business.  It has become expected by customers that they will access content, make decisions, act on those decisions and use the product wherever they are on their preferred mobile computing device, their home computer or work computer – and this is the minimum expectation constituents have today.

Government agencies are not alone. Every industry is feeling the heat of these rising customer expectations.  If you are a member of the technology team, you must look at your resources and determine how you are going to deliver on these expectations; or you are going to join the graveyard of your industry. You should take it as a given that your constituents and customers expect to be able to communicate with you directly on their mobile devices – even if your agency has not traditionally done business this way, you are going to need to get to this position. 

Mobile Technologies You Need to Embrace, Implement and Use for Every Government Process:

  • Electronic Forms that can be filled by a constituent from a smart phone, tablet or PC: Putting a PDF form on your website and expecting the customer to print and fill it out is going to make them angry – they expect to fill it out and submit it online.
  • Document attachment features to submit supporting documents with fillable forms: If you require supporting documents, let them attach supporting documents to the form they can electronically fill out and submit.
  • Electronic delivery of content requests: If you have a requirement for public records requests, you need to deliver them electronically. Or, better yet, make as many of them self-serve as you can.
  • Interactions with constituents wherever they are and wherever the government staff are located: Constituents can buy or sell a car from their back-porch, so nothing you are doing is any more complex than that. Constituents expect to be able to access government regardless of where they, or the government staff, are located.
  • Mobile government workforce: everything that can be done remotely by staff should be done remotely. If you are in IT, one of your customers is the government worker. You cannot provide them the tools to succeed without the right infrastructure – if they fail, they will blame you.
  • Electronic signature processes: Every type of signature (internal, external staff, external-constituent, external-vendor, etc.…) should have the option to be done electronically. Don’t get trapped in an electronic signature solution that does not allow you to address 100 percent of your signature needs.
  • Constituent interaction tracking: Phone, email, form, letter, online meeting, in-person meeting – in short, every form of constituent interaction.  Constituents are going to expect you to know what they discussed the last time they contacted the agency as they do at the Apple store, on Amazon and literally every on-line retailer. You need this.

While government agencies don’t end up in a business graveyard like a bookstore, government IT staff can face the equivalent.  It may not look like it, but there is an easy way to address these customer expectations.

To Deliver on Customer Expectations, Mobilize Government Processes

This daunting list of technology requirements all have one thing in common: they all center around mobile content.  Delivering your products and services to a mobile platform is not going to be possible without a content suite that provides this functionality.  If you don’t have a content suite and you are relying on your current line of business solutions to manage content, you are faced with a huge challenge to deliver on these customer expectations. 

ImageSoft provides content solutions, including OnBase, which easily integrate to your existing business processes and provide the mobile interaction your constituents are demanding. Add OnBase to your technology toolkit and you’ll make accessing your services easier for your constituents while making delivering on these solutions easier for you.  Imagesoft also provides the electronic signature platform TrueSign, which turns your smartphone into a signature pad to deliver on all your mobile signature requirements. With real-time QR-code signing in video conferences and a straight-forward pricing model that doesn’t nickel-and-dime you for every user, legacy eSignature options truly don’t compare – don’t get docu-swindled.

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