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White Paper Explores Department of Motor Vehicles’ Process Gains

The California Department of Motor Vehicles’ work last year with two IT vendors that quickly enabled it to deploy the Virtual Field Office is the subject of a recent white paper.

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A recent white paper examining a critical deployment by one of the state’s linchpin departments offers one of the clearest explorations yet of how its work with two IT vendors helped transform citizen engagement as COVID-19 took hold.

The tight timeline for the work, which led to the creation of the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ Virtual Field Office (VFO), occurred during the early months of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic led to the shuttering of brick-and-mortar field offices. But by working with SimpliGov and UiPath to examine two key areas of process, the department was able to chart its path forward despite not being able to resume full-scale in-person interactions. Among the takeaways:

  • Integrating existing legacy systems was key to creating “up-to-date digital services,” according to the paper, “The California DMV’s Digital Leap Forward: Accelerating Government Digital Transformation through Automation.” In an interview with Techwire last month, DMV Director Steve Gordon emphasized the need to “wrap these legacy systems” with a modern interface, letting DMV “get caught up on service and self-service transactions — and lay the groundwork for larger modernization projects.” The pandemic, he said, “forced us to really double down on the technology.”
  • The integration between DMV systems, “SimpliGov’s workflow automation, online form and electronic signature” platform, SimpliSign, and UiPath’s robotic process automation (RPA) platform, per the white paper, accomplished more than just enabling digital processes and “end-to-end process automation.” Integrating with payment platforms let payments “be done separately from the initial request,” creating higher security via a validation step between SimpliGov’s platform and UiPath’s bot.
  • The VFO was developed March 15, the two IT vendors said last month in the white paper. User acceptance testing with SimpliGov got underway March 23 and customer relationship management with its platform was finished the following day. DMV debuted the VFO April 2 with initial workflow processes. Among the pieces of the process, the submission step sends “completed SimpliGov online form data” to UiPath bots through a secure integration that reduces manual data entry at DMV. The vendor’s platform connects to the UiPath bot through APIs to validate residents who complete forms, simplifying the introduction of workflow automation and online forms at the front end and RPA on the back end, and helping ensure security. “SimpliGov is integrated with DMV’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform,” simplifying the way the state connects that CRM to automation and online forms and making the trust process “more efficient and secure.”
    DMV is “… trying to automate as much of that for the work line as possible and have the human be the excepted process wherever it takes somebody cognitive … ,” Gordon said, referring to the process as an “(artificial intelligence) AI, this machine vision, (optical character recognition) OCR, RPA sort of production line.”
  • Migrating processes online and automating them improved data quality, moving aspects of document and application verification off paper by utilizing technology and saving DMV staff hours. Additionally, SimpliGov’s solution offered analytics dashboards that tracked requests in progress, completed and pending or under review, improving visibility. Digitizing data also yielded improved readability and up-front quality improvement that permeated to the back end. DMV aims to keep form “exceptions,” for those that need technician review, to under 10 percent.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.