If there’s one state agency that could use a boost of technological innovation, it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles.
From state-to-state, the agency that manages identification cards, vehicles and driving privileges is a powerful arm of the government. The DMV knows when we get a traffic ticket or have been involved in an accident. It knows who owns our cars and who insures them. It has copies of our fingerprints.
And yet, the DMV in most states still operates in an inefficient and outdated way – walk in, take a number and have a seat, regardless of how simple or how complex the transaction might be.
I was visiting the DMV recently, sitting among those who were waiting for their number to be called, when I noticed that some of my fellow drivers were killing time by tapping away on their smartphones and tablet computers. Imagine, I thought to myself, if the DMV could take advantage of those same advanced technology products to accelerate the less-complicated transactions and help those with more complicated transactions to barrel through them in half the time.
As I sat there, I started to imagine this DMV nirvana and realized that it doesn’t have to be some sort of futuristic dream. Technology for turning this vision into reality – notably, VMware’s View Client for the iPad – already exists and could be the springboard to pull the DMV into the 21st Century.
Technology for Business Transformation
VMware is a big advocate of business transformation via IT transformation and, with some imagination, the DMV could benefit from similar thinking. What’s needed, first and foremost, is support for the right sort of thin clients on an already advanced device. That’s what schools across the US and other parts of the world are already doing, expanding access to their information and streamlining key processes such as student registration.
The results include processes that are faster, more efficient and less prone to error, as well as more satisfying to students and other stakeholders. There’s no reason that a state agency like the DMV couldn’t realize the same cost and time savings, along with improvements in citizen satisfaction.
Imagine There’s No Waiting
My imagination started to run wild with possibilities for a transformed DMV. Imagine if…
… the DMV became an iPad-powered kiosk at the shopping mall or grocery store where simple transactions – such as renewing your registration or driver’s license – were handled in two minutes instead of the entire afternoon. I can picture an Apple Store-like process where iPad-carrying clerks use the iPad and its technologies, such as the built-in camera, to snap a new driver’s license picture or verify a fingerprint securely and quickly.
… the iPad revolutionized vehicle verification. The DMV could outsource the duties to a trusted, iPad-carrying third-party vendor who comes to you and your vehicle on your schedule, just the same way a notary public makes house or office calls. The iPad client would allow the vendor to access the data associated with the vehicle, make corrections or changes to the data and then upload pictures of the vehicle, its identification number and license plate. In 10 minutes, the process would be finished.
… car dealers were able to access the necessary databases and process all of the digital paperwork on-site, issuing license plates, registration stickers and updated registration cards before the new owners drove away.
…driving schools had the ability to administer written tests, certify and upload the results, grab a fingerprint image and snap a picture of a new driver – and completely eliminate the need for a trip to the DMV.
Keeping Things Simple
None of this is to suggest that the DMV be shut down and all of its operations outsourced. Certainly, there will always be complex transactions that will require an office visit. Lost title certificates, multiple ownership transfers and salvaged vehicles are the sort of transactions that need more time and expertise. But why should those folks bog down the rest of process, forcing those of us with simple transactions to wait for hours just to hand over a couple of documents and payment to a clerk?
Imagine if DMV offices became the size of nail salons or coffee shops and moved to strip malls where folks with appointments could come to take care of those more complex transactions.
These types of changes don’t have to be the pipe dream of someone whose imagination went wild during an extended wait time at the DMV. This vision can be reality today – and another example of how advanced IT technology can benefit not only businesses and public agencies but also the people they serve.
Colleen McMillan, Director of Global Public Sector Solutions
To learn more about our public sector programs, you can follow us on Twitter @VMwareGov and @VMwareEdu or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/vmwarepublicsector