Paperless Productivity – Episode 4 – Automation We’re Thankful For

Kate Storey:                       Welcome to the paperless productivity podcast, where we give you the tips, tricks, and know how, to solve your biggest workflow challenges, and bring greater productivity into your workplace everyday.

Technology has become such a standard part of so many of our lives. Sometimes it can be hard to remember a time without it. In fact, for today’s children, they have never known a time without it. Toddlers are swiping through nursery rhyme apps and iPads as easily as they’re flipping through pop up books. Going digital has benefited our lives in many different ways personally and professionally. And today we’re talking with Kevin Ledgister, image soft marketing manager, to count through the many forms of technology that we’re so very thankful for.

Kevin, it’s good to talk with you today.

Kevin Ledgister:                Yes. It’s great to be back.

Kate Storey:                       Great. Well tell me, so what are some of the areas of your life where you have seen a big improvement thanks to technology?

Kevin Ledgister:                Well, before I get into that, I’m going to tell you this little story. One of the first movies that I ever went to with my wife was The Hunt for Red October. And for those of you who are movie buffs and I’ve seen this movie back in the eighties, there was this great scene in there where the captain who is played by Sean Connery and his first officer, Sam Kneeler are in the captain’s quarters, and they’re actually defecting to United States and they’re dreaming about life, what it’s like in United States.

And the first officer tell of his one of the things on his bucket list, which is he wants to buy this RV and go from state to state. And that was his big dream and he looks at this company and says; “So I can go from state to state with no papers? Meeting identification not required? Like in every state as it was in the old Soviet Union?”

And the first … And the captain said; “No papers.” And I thought that was kind of interesting. And that line for whatever reason is always stuck out to me is this whole question of no papers and really living free. But it was kind of almost prophetic in terms of where we are today. And one of the things I’m very thankful for as being someone that travels quite a bit for my job, is the fact that I no longer had to deal with paper as I’m traveling, especially when it comes to by Air.

And you think about this, it used to be that, we have to have paper tickets, and we have to go up to the ticket counter, and have them print off a boarding passes for us, and we had to go through that whole rigamarole which just took up and ate up so much time, and now we’re doing all this stuff with mobile apps and check ins and if for some reason that you don’t like the seat that you got, you can just go right on your phone … Smartphone and change your seats or … Now with the system that we use in our company, One the great things is, when I book a reservation, it automatically sends me an outlook invite, that goes right on my counters, got my itinerary attached, so I get automatic reminders and it’s just such an automated process.

I used to work for another company where I was … When I started with the company and they said, “Get ready for your road warrior days.” And this is of course is back in the early 2000s. And they told me and says, “You’re going to get to the point where you’re going to show up at the ticket counter.” And the gate agent is going to ask you, “Where are you going today”, so they could verify the print off your boarding pass, and you’re going to draw a complete blank.

And I said; “There’s no way that that would ever happen.” And sure enough, a few months into the job, I, … From traveling … From week to week, I stood up at the ticket counter and the gate agent asked me; “Where are you going?” I drew a complete blank, and I said; “I don’t know, please tell me.”

Kate Storey:                       No!

Kevin Ledgister:                It was the funniest thing. But I’m just so glad today that … When we do air travel, that is … So much of it is automated, and there was one time where my flight was actually delayed. And because it was delayed I was going to miss my connecting flight, which means I was going to not make it to my destination.

So while I’m in line, and they’re starting to make … We’re starting to board this plane, even though it was late and I’m wondering like, “Okay, will I get to my next stop and figure out things from there.” I get a phone call, they already book  enough fly, they already updated my boarding pass and everything.

It was such a pleasant experience that I was able to make that change. So really happy for that as somebody that deals with that paperless change as opposed to having to go to another gate and then get another boarding pass, and getting that printed out and then you lose it, it gets crushed. It’s such a different in travel today. So I’m really thankful for that.

Kate Storey:                       Yes. Having that kind of convenience. It will definitely makes travel so much easier, and much less terrifying when you realize you might’ve forgotten your tickets at home or like you said, the misconnection or something. And that kind of convenience is really stretched to other areas where there are a lot of logistics involved [inaudible 00:04:22].

Kevin Ledgister:                There is. When you think about it and just various areas of our life …. In my line of business we deal with government agency is a lot. But just from constituent perspective, think about this, and I know what it is my state, I don’t know what is in your state, where you’re from, for those of you are listing. But … We get to renew our stickers online.

So it used to be that you get a card in the mail, and you have to fill that out, and send that back, and then you wait another week, and then you get to surf in the mail again. And now I just go online and punch a couple of things in it. They have my information already there, have my credit card information, I just click a couple buttons, and then two or three days later my renewal stickers for my car shows up and I’m good to go.

The last time when I changed the address on my driver’s license, and usually I know going to DMV, is not a pleasant experience for many people. Is just … It’s just not a fun thing. And I walked into a DMV, and I walked up the information desk and said; All I want to do is change the address on my license so that when I go anywhere they can verify, that … When they said this is my correct actress, they can copy off my car, don’t have to dictate it to them. And they said; “Just go to that kiosk over there, punch a few things in, put your license number in.” And I did that, and punch [inaudible 00:05:31] license in. They made me [inaudible 00:05:32] in my new address, and that was it.

Within a week I had my brand new license, had used my existing photo, everything’s updated, and I was a good to go. And it was just such a much more pleasant experience.

Kate Storey:                       So much easier.

Kevin Ledgister:                So much easier than dealing with all the forms and papers in the past. Thinking about in … Think about from a court perspective too, and there’s something that I’m seeing from a professional perspective. One of the things that we’re seeing a lot of interest in court justice, this idea called online dispute resolution or ODR, is a Lingo speak for that.

And that may include many things. But for the average person, what that means is let’s suppose you get a speeding ticket, and you wanted to contest that speeding ticket. There was some evidence that was there that was just … They were just clearly kind of show, that maybe the officer got it wrong, or that you had some good reason why you shouldn’t be considered, or whatever.

Used to be that you’d actually have to have a court date set, you have to take time off of work, you’d drive down to the courthouse, deal with parking, get in there, and you had to sit there and wait through, everybody going through the line until your time came up and then you were able to make that appearance and take care of that. And … It was just a whole long process. Took a lot of time out of your day.

Now what allowed the courts are doing is they’re looking to this technology called online dispute resolution where you just go online, and maybe if a picture, or a document, or reasoning where you could just upload it to that, you can respond to the ticket that you got. You can say, here’s the reason why I think the officer got it wrong and that type of thing. And submit it to the court. And within minutes or hours, whatever, a law enforcement individual can actually review what you actually wrote, and either take down the ticket or actually make the charges stick.

Or they can wipe it out completely. And they could say, yes we see that there’s enough evidence here to suggest that maybe the officer possibly got it wrong, or maybe the officer did get it right, and your evidence is not sufficient to overturn it. Or maybe they’re just going to drop the ticket down because you decide to respond anyways and the court had mercy upon your poor little soul.

So those are things that we’ve just see happening that makes justice assessable to other people. That by taking the drive of paper other process, it does make things a lot easier for people to resolve a lot of these things and to get on with your life. So I’m just really comfortable, all the things that are happening along those fronts.

Kate Storey:                       Yes. That’s really incredible because in the past, the secretary of state, or the DMV, or your local court, really aren’t places that most people would have described as efficient, or easy to access, or making it any pleasant experience.

Kevin Ledgister:                No.

Kate Storey:                       And really only because there’s so much content that they’re working with for each person. So it was hard to corral that paper together. And so going paperless really has been making a big difference for everyone, both employees in those spaces and for the public that they serve.

Kevin Ledgister:                It certainly is. And it’s really making make accessible. And one of the things that just occurred to me as you were talking there, Kate, is that, there’s a lot of people in this country who are not from here originally, they speak a different language. And so by providing some of these paperless options or online options, a court can afford to have 20 different people that speak 20 different languages sitting there. Or the DMV can afford to do that.

But when you make these services available online and through digital environment, it’s much easier to provide those translation services. So I think that’s just a great thing for everybody.

Kate Storey:                       Greater accessibility, right?

Kevin Ledgister:                Yes.

Kate Storey:                       Absolutely. And what are some other areas where digitizing documents has made a big difference on both sides of the desk?

Kevin Ledgister:                Well, one of the things that we see is an education, and this is something that I’ve noticed just going through this whole process because I had to … We just went through some things from a personal perspective and I had to enroll my son in a online school.

And usually that process has been … Now I remember when I went to school, it was all paper. Everything was just flying back and forth, stamps, letters, envelopes. It was a major process. And to enroll them in this school and get everything done, it was so pleasant. First of all, I had to sign an agreement. Well, usually that means they mail your agreement, you print off, and sign it, and then [inaudible 00:09:51] send it back.

And we need to get him enrolled very quickly. So they just send me the documents electronically. It was all signed electronically through DocuSign. My Id was verified through whole process. So within a minute, I had him enrolled in school, which was fantastic.

Kate Storey:                       That’s amazing.

Kevin Ledgister:                And then in terms of the … The only thing that was somewhat paper based, and … Is the fact that the official transcripts have to be sent by paper. However, one of the things that we’re seeing, and we actually have one of our customers, is doing this electronically where they’re providing transcripts electronically now. Where you can actually request a transcript from that school, and they have an official process where they can actually provide electronic seal and certify that this is a copy of the official transcript as they have online. And schools are accepting that and using that.

So now that whole process can be speeded up. [inaudible 00:10:46] not only does it make a lot easier for the schools to respond, it’s also a lot better for the students that are trying to apply and trying to get into various schools. So we’re seeing more and more of these things that are going and are increasing in usage. They’re just making these types of transcript … These type of transactions, so much more efficient, so much more better.

And then you can’t forget the personal side. I just think for myself. And I go back 10 years ago in terms of what was life like? Well, I had an iPod for my music. I carried Palm Pilot for my schedule. I had a pager so that my office could notify me. And then I had a cell phone with a 60 minute per month cell plan. So that-

Kate Storey:                       [inaudible 00:11:34] right? [inaudible 00:11:35].

Kevin Ledgister:                No. Oh my goodness.

Kate Storey:                       [inaudible 00:11:37].

Kevin Ledgister:                I can remember just going through that. I’m looking for a payphone because of my … I don’t want to use [inaudible 00:11:41] my cell phone. But to think about the … All those different devices that we used to carry, you said access is now all contained within one device. And it’s been 11 years. 11 years and a couple months since the first iPhone was introduced.

And then we got the android phones and then everything just changed, from there on it. And now that’s a big question in terms of what we need to do. Whether you’re a government organization, or court, or your Business Insurance Company. Whatever you are, you’re always thinking about how can we help our constituents because so many people have a mobile phone.

You could be below the poverty line. Most … A lot of people below the poverty line, they have a mobile phone and that’s a great way for organizations and businesses to reach out to them and interact with them, is that we can leverage that technology now. And so I’m just so thankful for that. It makes it so much easier for me. When I travel now, I just got one device, and I think a lot of people are just thankful for the fact that we’re not like Batman on … With a bad hairdo carrying all that stuff around a belt.

Kate Storey:                       But the tool that would be kind of cool, I guess?

Kevin Ledgister:                It is kind of cool.

Kate Storey:                       But to combine it all into one device is certainly a little easier.

Kevin Ledgister:                It is a lot easier. It makes a lot simpler and it … Yes, life is just better.

Kate Storey:                       That’s pretty cool. Okay. So I have to know just while we’re talking about Batman and in cool technology and everything. I want to know what technology are you personally thankful for? Like what makes the biggest difference in your life?

Kevin Ledgister:                Okay. Well I’ll tell you something that has made a huge difference in my life. You’re going to laugh at this, but GPS with real time traffic updates. It has literally saved my marriage. Well, we used to go on long trips, and I would carry a map book, and we would get … For instance stuck in the city Chicago, stuck in some big city, and you’re trying to figure out, okay, we’re stuck. Is there a better way around this? We’re going to head through rush hour. What are the alternate routes? And my wife would be sitting there trying to figure out where it’s going to go? And I … We’d have this frustration like, which way should I go? She’s, well, “I don’t know. I’m not sure.” And even when we got our first smart phones that had a map on it, it didn’t give you turn by turn directions.

So you get to … It will be so funny. I had a … She just had a flip phone at the time and, so I’d hand her my phone and she said, “Well, this map is too small. The screen is too small.” [inaudible 00:14:08] glasses. And she said, “Well, I didn’t bring my glasses.” “Well, how could you not bring your glasses?” Because … I mean we would just get into these arguments every time we’re on a trip, and now with GPS with turn by turn directions.

She has a smartphone. I have a smartphone. And it has just revolutionized our travel. Now she is my wonderful copilot. She’s looking at things ahead. She’s telling me here’s the gas station coming up. Here’s the restaurant coming up. Here’s the … The traffic is going to stall. You might want to eat … Now they’re getting realtime traffic updates, which is good, but before that she would even say, “Hey, if you take this road, you can cut a lot of that stuff out.” And it’s just made some challenges so much more sweeter. So that technology has saved my marriage. It’s been the biggest life changer of all and now it’s enjoyable to take personal trips with my wife.

Kate Storey:                       And I bet that’s a benefit that they never even considered. That this would be a marriage saver as well, as a time and efficiency saver.

Kevin Ledgister:                When we said death … Till death  do as part, they didn’t say until we get GPS.

Kate Storey:                       Right. Exactly. Well, personally for me it would have to be the ability to set reminders on my phone just by pressing the button and speaking into it. That has helped me out so many times. Same thing just for every little thing for … Reminding me to call somebody on their birthday, or checking it out on a work project, or just remind me to turn on the crackpot in the morning.

It’s … Sometimes it’s just the little things that make a big difference in life. So-

Kevin Ledgister:                It is. It really is.

Kate Storey:                       Yes. Well, and on that note, if you haven’t already, I’d like you to set a reminder. Just subscribe to the podcast. You see what I did there? So you won’t miss an episode of paperless productivity. We’ve got some great guests coming up and different ways we’re exploring how going paperless can make a difference in your work and in your life. We’ll see you next time.

Thanks again for joining us today for this episode of paperless productivity. This podcast is sponsored by image soft, the paperless process people. Which you can learn more about at imagesoftinc.com. That’s imagesoft I-N-C . com. Join us next time where you learn how to harness the power of technology, supercharged efficiency, and accomplish your organization’s goals.