For the better part of 20 years, Alex Johnson has served in a number of roles within the political arena. A start in campaign-related work evolved into a strategic role in state government affairs. More specifically, analyzing how state governments are effectively and ineffectively run, and quickly becoming an advocate for more efficient government “business.”
“When I talk about efficient government, it’s about educating lawmakers and governors on the effect policy can have on the business needs of operating their state,” says Johnson. “That can take many forms. For example, it could be working with healthcare providers and lawmakers to uncover roadblocks to public access, ensuring citizens receive the best possible coverage and care. Or it may be working with solution providers, such as PayIt. So say states need a partner in economic development, we can help guide policy but also bring the right technology partners to the table to engage the right parties effectively.” In this way, Johnson finds himself as a conduit between business and lawmakers.
When Johnson was first approached about the PayIt mobile platform, he says it was one of those ideas you swear must already exist. But digging deeper, it was clear it didn’t, and that opened a world of possibilities. “It was an aha moment for me,” says Johnson. “Discovering that here is this great solution, moving government in a forward direction with mobile technology that can make them more efficient and a better experience for citizens, and yet it’s not being used.” It’s now his goal to educate state officials on the PayIt platform’s far-reaching value.
Says Johnson, “More and more people are migrating to mobile devices. It just makes sense that as we continue to access the internet through these devices, we want responsive platforms that are interactive and easy to use.” Unlike private businesses that anticipate or adjust quickly based on consumer behavior and demands, government tends to evolve technology as a last resort.
But surveys show that citizens’ generally rate government interaction negatively—it’s too big, too slow, hard to navigate, and they’ll only do it if they have to. “What’s exciting is turning that notion of government on its head,” says Johnson. “Allowing state agencies to reach people at a very responsive and personal level where they couldn’t before. So if I’m a constituent with a specific problem, instead of searching through pages and pages of a website or wading through paper processes, I can access the PayIt app to solve my problem instantly.”
One of PayIt’s key differentiators is a “mobile first, citizen first” philosophy. That means a user experience in a mobile app (not just a mobile-enabled website) designed for ease of use and consistent performance citizens can count on. As a solution provider, PayIt helps states become more responsive to the people, not held back by bureaucracy. The alternative is spending state funds on a program that costs much more but doesn’t deliver on a more satisfying citizen experience.
“PayIt has an opportunity to radically improve the government services experience—to turn activities like the DMV, applying for permits, paying parking tickets into something incredibly positive.” says Johnson. “It’s also an opportunity for state leaders to be seen as visionaries and innovators within the broader public sector. And last but certainly not least, it’s an opportunity to drive revenue for the state. As citizens interact more often, more frequent transactions follow and that drives additional revenue opportunity for state and local governments. And that’s a win-win outcome for all.”