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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.

Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Strategies for Success: Realizing the Value of Cloud Technology for Human Services

As human services agencies have grown more comfortable with the idea of cloud technology, the conversation has shifted from “what should we do?” to “how do we get it right?”

In our experience, your agency will be more successful if you have a solid answer to that second question from the very beginning. If you recognize the difference between moving to the cloud simply to check a box and doing it in a purposeful, thoughtful way, you’re more likely to find a solution that provides long-term value and return on investment for both your agency and the community you serve.

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Posted Thursday, January 13, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2022

Over the past several years, this blog post has become a go-to resource for readers looking for information about the best industry conferences to keep up to date on key issues, trends, and topics impacting human services.  

Well, like everything else, COVID-19 continues to impact many of the conferences and events we would typically recommend. Since things remain up in the air as we start the new year, many organizations are still figuring out their plans for moving forward. Despite all that, we want to provide some information to help you find the best events to fill your schedulein person or virtually.

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Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Links We Love: Best Practices for Modernizing Human Services Technology [Resource Roundup]

You want to read up on the important topics and trends impacting human services, but that’s much easier said than done when you’ve already got so much else on your plate.

Sound familiar? If so, we’ve got you covered.

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Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2021 by Team Northwoods

How to Solve Your Human Services Agency’s Cybersecurity Problems Before They Start

If you work in IT, the words “data loss” likely send shivers down your spine. If you work in IT for a human services agency, the stakes are even higher. No one wants to be responsible for a security breach or data leak that compromises your system integrity, threatens your clients’ privacy, or delays your agency’s ability to deliver services to the people who rely on you.

Of course, there’s the financial aspect to consider as well. Did you know ransomware victims in United States spent an average of $2.09 million in remediation costs in 2020?

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Posted Friday, September 17, 2021 by Rich Bowlen

Finding the Way Forward: What's Next for Human Services?

How do you plan for the “new normal” when normalcy no longer exists?

Yes, it’s a bold question and a tough concept to consider. But it’s reality. As I have continued to meet with numerous directors of local and state agencies throughout the country, there is still a lot of uncertainty and confusion.

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Posted Monday, August 23, 2021 by Jason Wintersteller

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 Wednesday, July 7, 2021 by Don Abney

To Code or Not to Code: What Platform is Best for Building Human Services Software?

Years ago, when I was leading technical teams at Nationwide Insurance, they launched the marketing slogan "Life comes at you fast." Some of the developers in the company quickly adopted the phrase for our own purposes. It rang true as we navigated the never-ending parade of new technology and new ways to design software.

It was, and still is, confusing to know what tools and methods to adopt. And we are the software people! If it’s confusing to us, it’s likely a dark art to the rest of the world. Some of the latest tools on the scene that we know people are still wrapping their heads around are low-code/no-code software development platforms. We thought it might be useful to share our thoughts on how they might benefit our readers.

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Posted Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Can County Human Services Agencies Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan for Technology?

The answer is: no, the U.S. Treasury’s Quick Reference Guide does not list technology modernization as an allowable use of funds. But, neither does it list technology modernization as an ineligible use of funds. Since recipients have broad flexibility to determine how to best use this funding to meet the needs of their communities, it may help free up other resources for technology instead. Here’s how.

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Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

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 Monday, December 14, 2020 by Team Northwoods

How to 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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