Blog

Our blog isn’t about us. It’s about you. We discuss business challenges and real issues human service agencies and caseworkers face everyday. You’ll find traditional human services software articles about things like document management for human services and social work technology. But you’ll also find inspirational stories to boost caseworkers’ spirits and tools to help agencies find and gain support for technology in human services.

Team Northwoods's Articles

Team Northwoods
Our team of human services experts cover key topics and trends impacting the industry and help agencies gain support for modern technology solutions.
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Posted Monday, August 23, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Build vs. Buy: Why COTS is the Smarter Choice for Human Services

Many human services agencies falsely believe their technology needs are so unique to justify building their own custom solution. In the long run, however, this could be a very costly mistake. A commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product that can be configured to meet your needs and evolve over time can almost always do the job—with a considerably smaller strain on resources and faster time to value.

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Posted Thursday, August 12, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Engagement vs. Efficiency: Which Matters More for Economic Assistance?

Economic assistance program leaders are typically motivated to modernize their technology for one of two reasons—improving client engagement or increasing caseworker efficiency. Both are important, but which one has a larger impact across the agency?

I’ll give you a hint … that’s a trick question! If you evaluate technology through just one of these lenses, you may inadvertently hinder your agency from realizing its full potential.

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Posted Friday, July 30, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Connect the Dots: How Traverse Supports Kinship, Trauma-Informed Care

Child welfare caseworkers need to know how technology supports their practice, priorities, and daily work. Otherwise, it’s just another obstacle standing in the way of their mission to help kids and families. Keep reading for a preview of how Traverse, our cloud-based document management, forms management, and mobility software for child welfare, supports kinship and trauma-informed care—two things we know caseworkers want to learn more about.

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Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Answering Your Commonly Asked Cloud Questions for Human Services

I recently read a Forbes article about government and the future of cloud. This line caught my attention:

“For many, cloud adoption is no longer an ‘if,’ it's a ‘when.’ The benefits of the public cloud are becoming too great to ignore.”

While I agree with this statement, I’m not so sure human services is as far along as other government programs. Human services is recognized as a top candidate for cloud migration, but there are still plenty of counties and states still in the process of wrapping their heads around what—if any—cloud-based technologies are right for their needs.

I know many of you still have questions and concerns about the cloud, so this post will help address them.

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Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Celebrating Social Workers: A Roundup of Resources You Need to Succeed

Social Work Month is one of our favorite months of the year. We love shouting from the rooftops about the superhero work you do to support and empower vulnerable kids, adults, and families. You are a shining light, a beacon of hope for those who need it, and we thank you for all that you do.

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Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
technology is sweet,
but is it really helping you?

You know that technology has the potential to modernize service delivery and drastically alter how you interact with clients. Too often though, human services agencies commit to technology that doesn’t end up delivering on the value it promises. 

Just as two solutions are never quite the same, neither are two vendors that provide them. Even if companies (or their tools) look similar on paper, dig a little deeper and you’ll find subtle nuances in how each one approaches their business. It’s these nuances that will have a significant impact on your project’s success.

Below is a list of questions that can help you separate a strategic partner who truly wants to help your organization grow over time from a run-of-the-mill vendor that’ll move on as soon as your transaction is complete.

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Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Readers' Choice Recap: Top Blog Posts of 2020

As another year comes to a close (thank goodness!), it's time to recap our top blogs of 2020.

Below is a countdown of this year's posts that our readers found most insightful. Remember, you can subscribe any time to make sure you never miss out on future content.

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Posted Monday, December 14, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Mitigate Risk, Maximize Results with New Human Services Technology

Technology for health and human services has gone from a nice to have to a must have. Agencies want to modernize their technology to manage the ripple effects of COVID-19, but struggle to figure out how. Revenue hits. Budget cuts. Furloughs. All of these make it increasingly difficult for agencies to fund new projects.

The good news? Getting new tools in place is not only possible but can be done in a way that provides both quick results and footing for better outcomes in the future. It just takes a bit of strategic planning, creative thinking, and business savvy.

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Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Getting the Green Light: Justify Spending on Human Services Technology

Is your human services agency planning to purchase new technology in 2021? In today’s world, agency leaders struggle to justify the need for new technology amid budget crises while IT leaders have been forced to cut many planned expenses in order to focus on the few that directly support COVID-19-related initiatives and precautions.

A comprehensive and compelling business case that presents three critical components—hard return on investment (ROI), non-quantifiable benefits, and the social/community impact of your purchase—may be a determining factor in whether your request gets the green light.

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Posted Monday, November 9, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Dear Social Workers, Thank You for Showing Up.

Social workers are some of the most resourceful, creative, and passionate people in the world. It’s just one of the reasons we're so appreciative of your unwavering commitment to serve on the frontlines. No matter the circumstances, you’ve always risen to the occasion to prioritize your communities and, most importantly, keep kids, families, and communities safe. Thank you for being a source of stability and strength for the families who rely on you.

We know it can be hard to stay positive and keep fighting given everything going on in the world right now. We want to share some stories and quotes about the amazing work that’s done, as well as the support and encouragement that’s been provided, in hopes that it helps boost your spirits on tough days. Read More