Our 'Local Government Best Practices' series profiles innovators in the public sector who are bringing digital transformation to their municipality.
Today we're featuring Daniel Wyskochil, Business Process Analyst for the Village of Schaumburg, IL.
I've been with the Village for about 3 years now as an Analyst, but I wear many different hats. One of my biggest hats is that of "innovations expert," thinking outside the box, outside the government space. That entails bringing in and architecting solutions that satisfy government problems in a different way than has historically been done.
How did you get involved with local government?
I am not a government lifer; this is my first public sector role. I've been in technology and finance, which worked out for the best because the Village wanted that outside look. That's been my behind-the-scenes task: to develop private sector-like solutions for public sector problems. I wanted to get away from working for-profit, and more into working for service. As an employee, it's easier to do your job with a smile on your face when it's not just to push dollars around but to make an impact. In municipal government, it's your neighbors, family, and friends. I grew up in Schaumburg, so it hits close to home that I am helping to make interacting with the Village a better experience for everyone.
How did you first hear about SeamlessDocs?
Having been in Finance, technology is always at the forefront. There was a push toward digitizing workflow in my previous roles, but not so much in the public sector. It was through some research on my own looking for innovative solutions to age-old problems that I stumbled across SeamlessDocs. I dug in, asked questions in early 2016, got basic information, liked what I saw, and wrote an internal use case attributing my private sector experience to make the case for what I thought SeamlessDocs could do for the Village. I liked that SeamlessDocs was newer, and I saw in you a partner that could grow with us. I didn't want to contract a big corporation that would demand we take their product or leave it. SeamlessDocs offered a new solution that could be organic, live, and grow.
Why did you decide to go paperless?
Schaumburg is a robust municipality with resources, but when I started out, there still wasn't that electronic interaction happening between municipal staff and residents, or between staff and staff. There was paper pushing, there were archaic forms that were photocopied 15 times and scanned in. I knew I needed to simplify workflows and get rid of paper. Plus, Schaumburg has a big push for environmental activism, and paper processes were an obvious problem that 10/10 employees within the Village believed could be done better. Eventually, this slow whisper turned into a full conversation.
Beautiful Government doesn't just preach collaboration and cohesiveness, but actually shows results through those facets.
What was implementation of SeamlessDocs like?
There was some internal hesitation at first, since SeamlessDocs was a new thing we had to learn to make it beneficial for us. But my implementation was focused on those who had the strongest appetite and desire, such as the HR department, since they're one of the biggest users of documentation and signature-based workflow. We demoed a couple internal HR forms used on a daily or weekly basis, and we started small and simple – 4 or 5 different forms over a few weeks.
We got feedback, SeamlessDocs added new features and functionality, and then we witnessed a snowball effect of usage. I started to back away and allow HR to run with it, implementing forms at their own will. HR has since developed 50+ forms & workflow on their own, and SeamlessDocs is picking up among other folks in other divisions and departments. "Crawl, walk, run" was a critical approach for us.
Name one form or process that's been changed by SeamlessDocs
I'm currently digitizing a business license application that all business have to complete regardless of size or scope. In going digital, we found that there are other ancillary processes in the background that could be automated. Before the application, for instance, an occupancy inspection must occur, and a certificate of occupancy must be issued. These were all disparate processes and forms that could result in a negative customer experience. If we have a business owner come in to complete a business certificate of occupancy form and schedule an inspection, they have to come back after the inspections and speak with the Finance department. Applicants were complaining that this was redundant and inconvenient. We now simplify it into one electronic form to provide the customer with all the information they need to input upfront.
What's your favorite SeamlessDocs feature?
I've got a few. I like the if-then conditionals when I'm using the web forms, because we have a lot of processes with if-thens. Being able to custom tailor the experience is a big win for us, because it helps create a simple process if that's what it needs to be. My other favorite feature is the Wizard, because front-loading PDF docs with data pulled from a web form joins the best of both worlds.
Advice for another municipality just starting out with SeamlessDocs?
You want to have either one or a group of people that from Day 1 embrace SeamlessDocs, understand the product, and get their toes wet. Then go out and champion the product, find your cheerleaders and get them on-board right away. Make it a partnership, don't just go in as IT. You've got to be collaborative to generate ideas, but also allow cheerleaders to cheerlead to rest of organization and get other people to buy into it. Shift government paradigms through positive word-of-mouth experiences, then the product sells itself.