Right now most of our business processes are manual and paper based resulting in literally thousands of person-hours being wasted on error prone data entry and paper shuffling. We spend millions of dollars procuring and maintaining, old, antiquated, and overly complex systems that can be replaced with new, cheaper, and easier to use web based systems. Do you spend countless hours updating/managing spreadsheets, entering data from paper forms into computer systems, or shuffling papers between people for signatures? There is no need for this in today’s digital world. Many of these workflows/business processes can be put quickly online with platforms like QuickBase or automated through simple scripting. We need to deploy agile software development teams throughout the government to help digitize and streamline our business processes. These teams would additionally provide expert computer consulting services. Right now you can call the Help Desk when your computer breaks but there is no one to call when you need help optimizing and transitioning your paper based workflow/business process to an easy to use online system. It makes no sense to print out a PDF form and then hand it to someone or scan and email it somewhere – that should never happen. With QuickBase many of these forms can be put online in a matter of hours.
This idea is being piloted right now by the CIO in the Office of Administration who has created a SoftWare Automation and Technology (SWAT) Team. The SWAT Team is composed of a Team Leader and four interns and in five weeks using a rapid and agile development methodology the team has completed almost 20 projects including a goods and services purchase routing system, a tour management database, an off-boarding tool, an inventory management system, and a repair request management system. We need to expand the program and the recruiting effort and deploy SWAT Teams throughout the government.