In the Field: What we learned at iGo Winter 2018
One of the greatest privileges I enjoy in my work is to attend industry conferences. At these conferences, I not only have the honor of meeting the most interesting and friendly election professionals, but I also get to attend educational sessions that are generally informative and enlightening.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending the International Association of Government Officials (iGO) mid-winter conference, right in our hometown of San Diego, CA. I met so many new friends and was impressed with the conference format that included roundtables, vendor workshops, and other interactive sessions.
Perhaps because it was so close to my tech-lovin’ heart, Gerarda Culipher’s talk on “Being a Public Servant in the iPhone Era” was my definite favorite. Gerarda, Chief Deputy Clerk of Fairfax, VA, gave insight into what it means to be on - as she called it - the (b)Leading Edge in serving the constituents that chose you as their leader.
In the spirit of sharing knowledge (and encouraging you to attend future events with me!), here are a few highlights from her presentation that really stood out:
Are you on the edge, the forefront of innovation? If you’re doing business as usual, it’s possible you’re not living up to the hopes of those who elected you to be their leader.
Expectations: If a technology is slow or has clunky navigation and appearance, generally a user will assume it’s broken or not secure.
When procuring technology, understand the difference between modifications, configurations, and customizations (hint, customization is the MOST expensive, but according to Gerarda, not always necessary!).
Include stipulations for speed, responsiveness, issue resolution, and performance in all technology contracts.
Have a grasp of what it takes to maintain the investment in technology. Human capital is 90% of the effectiveness on a procurement of technology. Make a case for hiring someone at $40,000 a year to maintain a $1,000,000 investment!
22 states report that they are facing contracting budgets. But money can be found when it comes to technology.
Most important skills for staff to learn are project management, SQL programming (unless your system is NoSQL…kinda like Everyone Counts’ VRS- shameless plug!).
Are there costs associated with future upgrades/versions? Be sure those are included in initial procurement discussion.
This presentation was timely and informative considering so many states and counties are looking to update their voting equipment. Gerarda suggested a lot of really good points to think about!
I’m looking forward to being an exhibitor and student at the bigger iGO Annual Conference in July for even more fantastic education and interesting conversations. I hope to see you there!