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Digital Transformation

By Overhauling the Tech Used To Manage Grants the State of Utah Grew Trust With Constituents

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) migrated disparate systems to a singular, integrated digital platform so citizens can get the resources they need.

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Public sector leaders have had to adapt to a changing economic landscape with the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Keeping their communities safe while propping up their constituents is no easy feat. The country received a lifeline with $2 trillion in assistance from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Workers, families, and small businesses all sought relief, but the influx of funding spurred public sector organizations across the country to find technology platforms that could help them better organize their processes for vetting applicants and getting that funding into the right hands as quickly as possible. 

Migrating disparate systems to a singular, integrated digital platform allows government leaders to establish a quicker, more efficient process that’s easier for both government employees and their constituents to navigate. 

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) turned to technology to help them create transparency in their grants management and loans process and get their communities the resources they needed. Here’s what they did to establish a more efficient operation that led to meaningful community impact and improved government-constituent relationships.

1. Increase consumer confidence

Only 20% of U.S. adults say they trust the government to “do the right thing” just about always or most of the time, which creates a barrier of tension between government officials and their constituents. With an increased focus on how government officials are serving their communities, an efficient grants management platform can encourage confidence in funding programs and demonstrate how the government works in its constituents’ best interests. 

“Consumer confidence rate is critical to helping businesses reopen,” said Ben Hart, deputy director of the Utah GOED. “People need to know they will be in an environment designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and that their jobs are secure enough to allow them to spend money.”

Hart and his team at the Utah GOED used Salesforce to help them act quickly and provide funding from CARES Act monies like the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Utah’s COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program. The platform allows applicants to search and apply for grants easily and streamlines the review and approval process for employees. This speeds up the grants lifecycle and gets funding out into the community as quickly as possible. With greater visibility into program performance and fund distribution, employees can ensure the funds go to the right places while community members can see how committed their officials are to lifting up the community.

2. Free up employee time to pursue innovation

Outdated systems can cause employees to waste valuable time on monotonous tasks like data entry and pulling reports from disconnected sources. A streamlined platform reduces the need for employees to spend their time on those monotonous tasks. By using an instance of Service Cloud, Utah GOED employees were given a 360-degree view of every applicant, and automated prompts quickly guided them through the review and approval process. The efficiency brought on by the platform allowed employees more time to pursue activities that boost mission impact.

One of those activities was the creation of In Utah within the Salesforce platform. In Utah is a public service campaign focused on reactivating the local economy and engaging constituents by making current health guidelines readily available and keeping best practices top-of-mind. “We were able to bring that branding into Salesforce and give business owners ideas on how to create a safe and healthy environment inside their stores, restaurants, etc.,“ said Kristen Jensen, GOED director of business intelligence. “The easier we make it for people to stay vigilant, the more confidence Utahns will have in resuming more familiar lifestyles, which is good for the health and well-being of our state — economically, physically, and emotionally.”

3. Help communities thrive

Whether they’re for a business owner or an individual who relies on the business remaining open, these funds are critical to ensuring everyone has access to goods and services that they need. For many, grants offer a lifeline when navigating an economy impacted by the pandemic.

“We are talking to people who are scared and who are vulnerable, making for conversations that are very human and very personal,” said Kori Ann Edwards, GOED managing director of operations.

Having an efficient and unified platform for grants management means the GOED can deliver funds to the hands of the right people and businesses when they need it, giving communities the necessary support in order to thrive.

“This [platform] has given us direct insight into program impact. We have seen how much our team can accomplish, how far a ‘can-do’ attitude can take us, and how many people we can help,” said Hart.

Learn more about how Public Sector Solutions for Grants Management from Salesforce can transform your grants management processes.


Andrew Randall is the Vice President of Product Management in Salesforce Industries' product division. For the past five years, he has served U.S. and International Public Sector markets in various product management roles. In his current role, Andrew is responsible for product management of Government Cloud environments, International Public Sector offerings, and Public Sector vertical applications.

More by Andrew

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