We are thrilled to announce that Casey Coleman has joined Salesforce as Senior Vice President in our Government Solutions team. Casey joins us from Salesforce integration partner Unisys, and before that was CIO at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). In this role, she will lead our global government industry team building strategies and partnering with customers to implement the innovative solutions available through the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, helping transform the way governments, their partners, and stakeholders deliver services around the world.
We sat down with Casey for some background on her time at GSA and what she has in store for Salesforce.
What drew you to Salesforce?
When I was the chief information officer at the GSA, we were customers of Salesforce, growing our implementation over multiple years to automate workflows and modernize our internal applications. So as a customer (and then later at Unisys, as a partner), I've seen first hand the value of the Salesforce platform in aiding digital transformation.
What was your experience with Salesforce like as a customer?
The GSA is one of the most under-recognized government agencies, but they have an enormous role in the proper functioning of the federal government. GSA is responsible for providing business services to other federal agencies, managing tens of billions of dollars in revenue, including the federal fleet, federal office space, as well as federal telecom and IT contracts.
We implemented Salesforce at GSA to serve our customers - other federal agencies - and better manage our relationships with them. We started small and scaled within a matter of weeks to cover the entire agency, about 13,000 people. We were able to move and see value very quickly, modernizing legacy applications, travel and training requests, and administrative processes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m from Texas, and grew up in the Lubbock area, a very rural part of the state. My family is a cotton farming family, so I grew up raising livestock and tending to farm duties. I think that instilled in me the ability to wake up early, work hard and keep going until the work is done, because on a farm, there's no stopping - you work until it's done.
How did you get started in public service?
I got involved in public service when I was a junior engineer at Lockheed Martin. I had the opportunity to move to Washington D.C. on an engineering fellowship, and I spent a year on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide, working in the House Energy and Commerce committee. I developed a love for public service and the opportunity to take on a mission and a challenge that is larger in scale than almost anything else you can tackle.
I returned to government service after several years in the private sector, and joined the executive branch at the U.S. General Services Administration, where I spent 12 years, 7 of them as the chief information officer.
What was your most exciting time working in the executive branch?
The most exciting moment of my time at GSA as the chief information officer was when we executed the migration to Salesforce and began our digital transformation. This was when the Obama Administration had issued the cloud-first policy, and we were the first government implementation for an agency-wide cloud solution.
We moved off of an old platform that was in need of upgrades, and would have been an expensive implementation to move to the latest version. So we decided to cut the cord and be the first agency to go to the cloud. In doing so, we were charting untested waters. We had to go through the legal issues, the data ownership issues, and figure out the migration to the cloud and how we support security and mobile requirements. It was a great team effort, and once we had it all figured out, the migration went almost flawlessly.
After that, we became the reference account for a lot of other agencies and other governments that wanted to know how to do the same. We gave case studies to over 50 different organizations -- international, state, and local governments -- that wanted to do the same thing. That was thrilling.
What are the trends that you think are driving governments and the public sector United States right now?
One of the big trends driving the public sector and governments around the world is digital transformation. Government agencies have legacy systems that are providing critical services around the globe, but these systems are based on technologies that have been in place for 30 or 40 or even 50 years. And they're working, but they're very difficult to update, the skills to maintain them are becoming hard to find, and customer and citizen expectations are changing.
Citizens expect the same experience in dealing with government services as they do in the commercial world and in their personal lives. And so their need for mobile and rapid and easy-to-use services is higher than it's ever been. And governments are struggling to meet those expectations. So the trend for digital transformation and being able to move to platforms that are easy to implement, that work in the cloud, that work on your mobile device, and are secure and can provide government service in a trusted capacity are at the top of my list.
What excites you about coming to Salesforce and how are you excited about helping our customers?
I certainly hope that, in joining the Salesforce Ohana, I can bring the voice of the customer and the perspective of what our government customers are dealing with. I believe I understand their mission, as well as the constraints in which they're operating. I understand the stakeholder environment as well. In the government sector, you have many different stakeholders -- not just shareholders or customers. You answer to the broader public, the investigatory and oversight community, the media, and many other stakeholders. So I understand the kind of scrutiny and the public trust that our government customers have to maintain. I hope that I can reflect that and help our sales teams and our associates around the globe with their government customer accounts.