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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 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 Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Coronavirus Relief Fund Questions for Human Services

Editor's note: The deadline to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund has been extended to Dec. 30, 2021, and this post has been updated to reflect that change.

While the Coronavirus Relief Fund established under the CARES Act is meant to provide much needed aid to state and local governments tasked with responding to COVID-19, questions remain about how the money can be properly spent.

We’ve spoken to human services directors in several states about using the Fund to improve telework capabilities for public employees to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.

Time is of the essence to help your frontline staff continue serving your community safely, so we’ve answered some common questions around how to take advantage of relief funds below.

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Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2021

Over the past five 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 many things, COVID-19 forced many of the conferences and events we would typically recommend to cancel or transition to virtual events last year. Since things are still uncertain as we head into the new year, many organizations are still figuring out their plans for moving forward. The good news is, a lot of virtual events and learning opportunities have also emerged to fill the void. 


This year may look a little different, but we still want to provide some recommendations to help you find the best events to fill your schedule
in person or virtually. We’ll continue to update this list throughout the year as new information and opportunities become available. 

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Posted Monday, December 14, 2020 by Cale Bryan

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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Posted Thursday, September 3, 2020 by Greg Tipping

Economic Assistance Technology Roadmap: Are You Heading in the Right Direction?

The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) recently released a special statement calling for administrative relief for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies.

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Posted Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Team Northwoods

How to Buy Human Services Technology (Even During a Crisis)

Buying technology for human services can be hard, especially for agencies that have never done so before. (Of course, working through this process amid a global pandemic and economic instability adds a new layer of complication!)

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Posted Monday, July 6, 2020 by Rupam Chokshi

Prioritizing Technology in Human Services and Preparing for What May Be Next [Lessons from COVID-19]

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for human services in many ways.

Initially, it forced agency leaders to rethink how and where mission-critical work could be done, as well as which tools and technology were truly essential to support this new way of operating. Now, the focus has shifted toward determining the best way to allocate shrinking budgets and limited resources to sustain these changes and navigate the new landscape for the long term.

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Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2020 by Rupam Chokshi

Hey Alexa, How Will Human Services Technology Change in the Next 10 Years?

For many, the new year signals a fresh start. A clean slate. The opportunity to think or act differently. What if we applied this same mindset to human services technology?

What if we stopped feeling restricted by outdated systems, processes, and policies, and focused instead on what we can do today that we couldn’t do in the past?

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Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by Mark Washington

9 Tips for Financing Human Services Technology Projects

Editor's note: this post was originally published on August 15, 2017. We recently refreshed the list to give you twice the amount of helpful tips! 

Human services agencies face several hurdles when it comes to investing in technology.

Yet, even when resources are limited, it’s not impossible to come up with the money to purchase and maintain innovative technology solutions. (Plus, the short-term cost won’t seem so bad once you realize the long-term value of your investment!)

All it takes is a little upfront planning and creative thinking.

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Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Team Northwoods

The Northwoods Guide to IT Solutions Management (ISM) 2019

APHSA’s IT Solutions Management (ISM) for Human Services Conference is hands down one of our favorite conferences of the year. It’s a great opportunity to hear from experts at all levels of government about the most important IT topics and innovations impacting human services.

That said, we know ISM can also be overwhelming—especially if you’ve never been before.

We asked our team to share their advice to help you make the most of the 2019 conference, including tips for first-time attendees, sessions we suggest adding to your agenda, and of course, all the ways you can connect with Northwoods. We look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee!

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