Connecting state and local government leaders
It used to take months to license health care professionals in Wisconsin, but after migrating to the cloud, staff can now easily process more than 200 types of credentials and licenses.
Prior to moving to the cloud, it sometimes took the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) several months to grant new licenses to professionals across various fields, including health care.
But thanks to the state’s pandemic relief funds DSPS staff were motivated to modernize their licensing processes and move to a cloud-based system in time to handle the expected surge in licensing applications from those graduating and entering the state’s medical workforce in May 2022.
After the influx of federal funding, the state “jumped in with both feet” to move to the cloud, DSPS Secretary Dan Hereth said during a panel discussion at the Salesforce World Tour in Washington, D.C., last week.
In just six months, the agency deployed an occupational licensing system using the cloud-based Salesforce Customer 360 Platform for Government, a self-guided application process that helped alleviate the workload on agency staff responsible for more than 200 types of credentials and licenses.
The platform allows licensees to create a profile, upload documents and pay fees. Their information is then automatically sent to a DSPS reviewer, who can either send the application for approval or contact the applicant if further information is required. The software is compatible with mobile devices and is more user-friendly than the previous, paper-based application process, which often created delays.
The platform also provides data insights for agency staff: Hereth said DSPS has already learned that if applicants do not return additional paperwork within two weeks when requested by a department reviewer, the likelihood of them doing so at all goes down by half. Insights like that allow agency staff to focus their attention on the more engaged of the 10,000-plus professions who apply for licensure every year.
Moving away from legacy technology can still be a difficult process, even when upgrading from a paper-based process whose flaws are widely acknowledged among agency staff. DSPS Assistant Deputy Secretary Jennifer Garrett said there must be a clear, deliberate transition away from the old workflows into the new process, even if there is reluctance among some staff. Otherwise, she said, “you’re just going to undermine your success with your new system.”
Wisconsin’s shift to the new system also meant engaging with the various stakeholders in the licensing process, including those administrators and teachers at the state’s educational institutions who Garrett said see themselves as “very integral” to getting their students licensed by DSPS. Part of the rollout for this new platform meant educating those individuals about how the department would get them on board and help them understand why the new model would be more efficient.
“We didn’t realize how actively engaged they were in the credentialing process for their graduating students and recent hires,” Garrett said.
It can be tough for government agencies to choose a technology vendor, especially for complex projects like moving their processes to the cloud. Hereth said he has encountered too many technology companies who are willing to promise agency heads they will be able to do anything so long as they are given enough money.
Instead, Hereth said government leaders should prioritize cloud vendors that show a “willingness to be dynamic,” give advice on what should be built and are willing to continually innovate and pivot when change is needed.