Is Government Ahead of the Game When it Comes to Technology?

Interesting question, isn’t it? Within the past 30 days I have had more interaction with government entities than I have had in the past 30+ years…combined. Within the past 30-days, I miraculously figured out how to accomplish the following: obtain a marriage license, apply for certified copies of my marriage license, begin my name change process, start a LLC, file for a FEIN, and setup payroll. From firsthand experience I can tell you, “No.” Government is certainly not ahead of the game when it comes to technology. In fact, they might be farther away than they know. I would almost argue that there is no way for them to even catch-up.

The first task at hand was obtaining a marriage license. Not too complicated, right? Wrong. So many little steps, terrible websites, broken links, and paper, that one is surely to get confused. Let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?


Obtaining a Marriage License: Before the Ceremony

I recently got married in the State of Wisconsin, where I currently reside. After spending far too long on heinous out-of-date websites, trying to research and clicking on broken links, I gave up. I asked around and found another couple getting married a month before me. Luckily, they had hired an officiant that provided them with a document describing exactly what was needed to get married. However, the document left two important items off it. One of those items being; payment needed to be in cash. Cash? Who carries cash anymore? No, there isn’t an ATM in the government building. You have to go outside the building and use your phone, because you can’t get a cellular signal from within the building and lookup where the nearest ATM is. The second was proof of address. Since I had been waiting until after the wedding to get an updated driver’s license with my new last name and address (rather than waiting in line at the DMV for hours, twice), I needed to step outside again (for cellular signal) and pull up a digital copy of a bill that proves my address.


Obtaining a Marriage License: After the Ceremony

Make sure you address, stamp, and drop that envelope containing your license into a mailbox within 3 days or else… Let me get this straight, you want me to put this paper document, with my personal (not to mention my parent’s, my new husband’s, and his parent’s) sensitive information on it, in the mail? The same mail that could not deliver all my wedding invitations at 100% accuracy rate? The same mail that is nicknamed “snail mail” for obvious reasons. Do you want me to write my credit card number on there for you too?

One would think that currently, a person should be able to use basic technology to securely send a digital version of the license to the government office immediately. The technology is among us, but why can’t it be that simple? One thought is of the old mindset; “if something isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Another train of thought may be, “technology is too expensive. It’s too expensive to pay for upfront, and all the time you spend training your employees to adapt.” Both could be true statements, but many may argue they are not good enough excuses to use today.

Typically, when a new technology is introduced to the market, there is quite the price tag associated to it. However, sending secure documents electronically is not new technology, and once you get staff trained up to speed, think of how efficient they will be. In the end, a huge time saver. Now imagine how efficient staff would be, not only if documents could be sent electronically, but if all the documents could be automatically classified, and indexed! Your staff would be able to achieve and surpass organizational goals. They may even be happier at the office, not handling such time-consuming and mundane tasks. Let’s not waste anymore time, and learn more about this wonderful technology! Learn more about automated document handling.

About the Author: Tera Madigan

As a designer of experiences, Tera strives to bridge the gap between the user's needs, the physical world, and innovative technology by creating intuitive and engaging cross-channel experiences. By gaining valuable insight from people's motivations, behaviors, and attitudes, she enjoys analyzing findings to quickly iterate on ideas to help develop amazing products and experiences that meet real human needs--needs that they may never have thought about. She is an experienced Creative Leader who has a strong record of building and implementing successful branding, digital marketing, and eCommerce strategic plans. Tera has first-hand experience with starting and leading programs that have substantially increased awareness and driven large growth in eCommerce, UX, Web/App Design, and Digital Marketing for leading brands. She has a strong talent for understanding "the big picture" and leading large diversified and cross-functional teams in a large corporate setting as well as a fast paced, nimble and agile startup environment.