Civix Reimagines the Voter Experience and Modernizes Its Voter Solution Using AWS
When public sector technology company Civix decided to modernize its voter management software, which helps users find election information and view near real-time voting results, it saw an opportunity to simplify its architecture and improve the voter experience. To achieve that goal, Civix decided to start by improving voters’ accessibility to information using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Using the AWS Worldwide Public Sector Digital Innovation (AWS WWPS DI) Program, Civix worked backward from the voter to gain a better understanding of their needs and devise a solution to solve their most pressing challenges. The company used AWS GovCloud (US)—which gives government customers and their partners the flexibility to architect secure cloud solutions—to optimize its internal development process and create the Intelligent Voter Information System (IVIS). IVIS is a software solution and mobile application that makes important election information, such as voter registration status and candidates’ details, readily accessible from computers, smartphones, and smart speakers. Now voters have access to all the election resources they need from one trusted source that also delivers automatic notifications about upcoming deadlines and other information. And as a result of building IVIS on AWS GovCloud (US), Civix has a library of reusable backend cloud services—including automatic notification features—that are highly configurable and simple to implement across other solutions in its portfolio.
The technology we developed during our engagement with the AWS WWPS DI team has set us up for the future success of our company. IVIS brings game-changing functionality to voters’ election experiences.”
President of Government Business, Civix
Working Backward to Improve Accessibility for Voters
Founded in 1979, Civix provides highly secure transactional software for state and local governments, including solutions that provide election information to voters. The company manages the information of approximately 25 percent of registered voters in the United States. It has always been dedicated to providing solutions that meet each state’s unique election laws. In the past, dedicated project teams built and maintained each implementation. As its customer base and feature requests grew, Civix found itself maintaining nearly 130 different code bases—some of which were 25 years old. This operational model presented significant challenges: it was difficult to achieve large-scale innovation across the company’s entire customer base when the few individuals familiar with a given system were busy maintaining legacy infrastructure. Civix needed to rethink the way it designed and distributed its solutions. To do this, it engaged AWS to evaluate everything from its product development process to software design and implementation with a fresh perspective and renewed focus. The two teams began with an Executive Visioning session, in which Civix examined its goals and existing systems to gain clarity and focus. Further, the session inspired support from key decision-makers in the company. “The executive visioning session gave us the support and investment that was necessary to take on this project and succeed,” says Mike Wons, president of government business at Civix.
Following the Executive Visioning session, Civix engaged the AWS WWPS DI team to dive deeper into its Executive Visioning goal of “Leading on Accessibility.” Civix also included one of its forward-thinking state customers, which was keen on improving accessibility for its voters, in the transformation. The AWS WWPS DI team led Civix and its state customer through the “Working Backwards” innovation process, starting by exploring voters’ needs and working backward from there to devise solutions that solve customers’ biggest pain points. This process helped Civix clarify its value proposition and better understand the needs of its customers. During the “Working Backwards” workshop, the AWS WWPS DI team worked with Civix to identify two customer personas: an older voter with limited technological experience and a younger, digital-native, first-time voter. Civix set its focus on improving accessibility for both personas, designing a straightforward solution that created increased transparency and access to election information for all potential customers.
Civix refined its design until it focused specifically on capabilities that would bring the most value to voters. “We were in strong hands working alongside the AWS team throughout this process,” says Benjamin Teuchert, elections team lead at Civix. Once it had a clear development plan, the company began building the solution on AWS and completed the first implementation just 6 months later. “Taking a good idea and turning it into a practical solution is difficult,” says Wons. “Making that process more straightforward was one of the biggest benefits of our engagement with the AWS team.” The result was IVIS, Civix’s new solution that brings all of a state's election management software solutions and internal systems together seamlessly and gives voters the access to every voting resource they need on their smartphones and smart speakers.
Accelerating Deployments and Improving the User Experience
By engaging the AWS WWPS DI team, Civix improved the voter experience with an innovative solution that local and state governments can configure to meet their specific needs. For example, one state working with Civix prioritized outreach to increase voter engagement. “Things have long been done by mail,” says Cory Biggs, development lead for election applications at Civix. “We started digging into how we could better communicate with voters.” To achieve this goal and increase voter engagement in that state, Civix implemented automatic election notifications that proactively alert voters about important tasks and deadlines for upcoming elections, including voter registration and mail-in ballot deadlines, polling locations, and more.
This renewed focus on the customer’s needs also resulted in faster software development. By designing IVIS with reusability in mind, Civix can deploy its solution for new clients much faster than before. “Clients are used to these types of systems taking years to roll out,” says Wons. “We’ll be able to do it in 90 days.” As a result, Civix has positioned itself to take on more new customers and onboard them rapidly. Moreover, the company expects these optimizations to pay off in other areas of its business. One example of this is the automatic notification functionality, which will be made available across all of Civix’s products.
Security and agility are also key priorities for IVIS. “Security is at the core of everything we do,” says Wons. “We’ve done a lot of work to deliver a secure experience.” The solution also has to be agile and easily adaptable so Civix can quickly adjust to ever-changing regulatory requirements and meet voters’ evolving needs. IVIS offers a wide range of configurable components to state and local government customers and packages them as a single, unified web-based experience. “Voters will now have a personalized, trusted, one-to-one pipeline experience for election information,” says Wons.
Preparing to Launch a Reimagined Voter Experience
Civix plans to start by rolling out IVIS to a handful of state and local governments and is excited about sharing the value of IVIS with more customers in 2022. “The technology we developed during our engagement with the AWS WWPS DI team has set us up for the future success of our company,” says Wons. “IVIS brings game-changing functionality to voters’ election experiences.”
Technology company Civix delivers software and services for various public sector needs, including elections, ethics, business services, grants, critical infrastructure, and more. Civix has offices across North America.
Benefits of AWS
- Anticipates accelerating deployments from years to 90 days
- Built the Civix IVIS solution to reimagine the voter experience
- Increased accessibility to real-time, relevant election information
- Modernized design and user experience
- Improved accuracy of election information by surfacing information directly to voters
- Made it simple for voters to update their information
- Implemented automatic notifications for voters
- Developed simple-to-configure, reusable backend components
AWS Services Used
AWS GovCloud (US)
AWS GovCloud (US) gives government customers and their partners the flexibility to architect secure cloud solutions that comply with the FedRAMP High baseline; the DOJ’s Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Security Policy; U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); Export Administration Regulations (EAR); Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) for Impact Levels 2, 4 and 5; FIPS 140-2; IRS-1075; and other compliance regimes.
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