Modernization Benefits Everyone
Minnesota DPS and FAST Enterprises partner to upgrade services
The relationship between the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and FAST Enterprises began in 2018, when modernization was needed in driver services to meet the REAL ID legislation deadline. While the system needed to launch on an extreme time crunch, FAST rose to the challenge and met the deadline. Later, when Minnesota mandated an update to its vehicle services program, FAST was selected.
“We already had great experience with FAST, and with them already managing our driver services system, it was an easy and informed choice,” says Emma Corrie, director of Driver Vehicle Services at DPS. As of November 16, 2020, Minnesota has one integrated system of record for driver and vehicle services.
These changes and updates didn’t come without challenges—the pandemic caused many issues. However, working together, FAST and DPS were able to implement several programs with great success. Due to health concerns, social distancing and limiting in-person contact was vital. So FAST created a virtual lobby for customers.
“The lobby allows a customer to scan a QR code [to check in], and then they can wait anywhere, allowing people to disperse,” says Ken Buna, associate partner of FAST Enterprises. The customer then receives a text when it is their turn, which limits contact with DPS staff and other customers. While this was created in response to COVID, it isn’t temporary, Corrie says. “The virtual lobby is now integral to how we do business.”
In a continued effort to limit in-person contact, FAST also created a pre-approval process for REAL IDs. “We implemented the ability for a customer to pre-apply for their driver’s license and submit their required documentation online,” Buna says. DPS staff can then review those documents to make sure they are valid. If the documents don’t meet the requirements, an e-mail is sent informing the customer of any issues prior to visiting an office. According to Buna, DPS is receiving “around 200 applications on average each day,” shortening transaction time at DPS offices. Customers are happier because they no longer run the risk of having the wrong documents.
FAST not only helped DPS with public services, but internal pandemic needs as well. They were able to pivot all classroom training for the new vehicle services software to 100% virtual. DPS business partners and DVS staff could train securely anytime, anywhere. This transition made these trainings archivable and will have a life beyond roll-out of the system for new employees.
In fact, COVID and the forced shift to a virtual/self-service model has created an appetite for change.
“When you have an adverse situation, if you can mine gold out of it, why wouldn’t you hold on to it?” Corrie asks. So many of these “temporary” programs will have life post-pandemic. And people in Minnesota have had positive responses to the efficiency these online options present.
While a few programs allowed during COVID will end due to legislative requirements, modernization has made things easier and faster with higher accuracy. Additionally, since FAST has implemented programs for 17 other states, these jurisdictions can share information and exchange best practices, making services stronger across the board.