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Governments Should Take a Cue From Apple’s App Store To Create Better Constituent Experiences

illustration of government office/ public sector workers helping people

As the public sector upgrades its technology to serve citizens, it needs to provide superior user experiences with support structures to encourage the public to use the technology.

Government leaders and constituents are calling on government IT to modernize and adopt cloud-based technologies in response to digital transformation in the wake of COVID-19. Traditional paper-based processes like grants management, licensing, permitting, and inspections are transitioning to digital platforms to heighten speed and scale, and meet the needs of a younger, tech-savvy population. As a result, IT leaders are partnering with mission owners to usher in digital transformation faster than ever before.

But moving from paper to digital can be difficult. In fact, one-third of companies that have adopted cloud-based technology say the shift brought about little to no improvement in their organizational effectiveness.

A successful transition to cloud-based technology relies on not only choosing the right technology but also reimagining your processes to support a digital platform and rethinking the user experience. Former FedRAMP director Matt Goodrich says governments should consider four key measures when evaluating a cloud smart service provider, one of them being the presence of an ecosystem of support. This idea of community can be a key differentiator between a successful integration and one that fails to launch.

Early on, to address the needs of our customers, Salesforce made customer success a core value. We champion this by bringing together a community of knowledgeable industry leaders and tech experts to help governments execute successful digital transformations. This community includes not only innovative technology but also access to a wide support network to achieve the mission needs of government organizations. 

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Get started with public sector solutions and increase citizen engagement.

Here’s how our community helps governments and their constituents succeed in a digital landscape.

On-demand custom app solutions

Much like Apple’s App Store, governments can find relevant mobile and web-based apps with just a few clicks in the Salesforce AppExchange. With an app available for nearly every need you can think of, governments can use apps to improve the user experience when interacting with constituents. Apps can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each government’s constituents, with the already-established compliant environment meaning security is built in.

Our AppExchange is a fast and easy way to extend our platform, building responsive and stronger connections between citizens, employees, and government services. All apps listed on the Salesforce AppExchange have successfully passed Salesforce AppExchange Security and Review. In addition, government agencies can browse common government solutions and filter by FedRAMP authorization to find the right compliant application for their needs.

For example, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a vaccine clinic management system application quickly and efficiently on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce Government Cloud. Residents can schedule flu vaccine appointments, and all apps using Government Cloud Plus meet privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure resident health data is handled properly — building trust between the government and its constituents.

Trailhead and Trailblazer Community groups

Along with digital transformation comes a need for workers with the skills to support these new initiatives. However, there are critical skills shortages across government, especially in technology and cybersecurity. With the adoption of current technology driving greater interest in the public sector, government officials need to rethink their teams. Governments should prioritize cross-skilling and upskilling their workers to prepare them for the demands of the digital world.

Salesforce users have access to helpful learning tools like Trailhead, an online platform that allows employees to skill up through hands-on modules, activities, and challenges. Employees can practice using the Salesforce platform and make customizations without impacting any consumer-facing information. They can then transfer this experience to the real-world and use digital tools to better serve constituents.

Salesforce users also have access to the Trailblazer Community where you can connect with Salesforce employees and other public sector leaders to discuss topics relevant to government. You can also post ideas for product improvements, find solutions for known issues, and even get answers from our internal support system.

Government-focused Trailblazer community groups and roundtables offer a place to meet virtually to share experiences and best practices around industry trends. In these groups, government personnel have a place to find support and gain valuable insight from Salesforce MVPs and Community Group Leaders who share their expertise and help everyone in the community succeed. These insights empower government employees to use their skills to create solutions that best serve their communities.

System integrators

Governments use a variety of technology systems, and oftentimes each is designed to handle a different mission function or provide a different service. However, older legacy systems can cause data to be disconnected, resulting in disjointed data, untimely service, and decreased value for constituents.

We can help break down silos and work to bring government systems together on one platform. And since Salesforce is widely adopted by organizations in both the public and private sectors, you have access to a leading network of system integrators who have vast experience implementing Salesforce solutions for governments. They’ll make sure your systems are connected to deliver fast and fully-integrated service for your constituents.

Take for example Acumen, a system integrator who helped one state job agency digitize a form based process to better serve their constituents and promote job creation and growth. With Salesforce 360, Acumen unified cross-department data into an integrated platform and helped the customer accelerate their time to value. With a connected view of their systems, the agency was able to build a path to long-term success in an all-digital world.

Security compliance and trust as a foundation

Governments are charged with collecting and protecting critical, confidential information such as tax, medical, and employee data. As such, security will always be one of the largest obstacles for governments to overcome when managing a widespread digital transformation. Governments at the federal, state, and local levels need a system designed to meet the highest security standards for cloud computing.

When evaluating security, constituent trust is an important outcome to consider. Citizens entrust their governments with lots of personal information and data, and they have a high level of expectation for their government officials to properly safeguard it. Maintaining the highest level of security is key to building constituent trust as you transition to digital-forward processes and platforms.

Salesforce Government Cloud Plus is a dedicated cloud environment for U.S. government agencies and contractors to enable compliance and drive innovation. Authorized at the FedRAMP High and Moderate impact levels, it runs on AWS GovCloud (U.S.) to leverage AWS’ world-class infrastructure as a service capability. With Government Cloud Plus, government organizations benefit from best-in-class security from two of the most trusted names in public cloud technology while maintaining transparency into how their data is being handled.

Preparing for a digital, work-from-anywhere future

While the pandemic may have accelerated timelines, the shift to digital was inevitable and will continue to gain momentum in the coming years. “We are entering a new world, an all-digital, work-anywhere, live-anywhere, educate-anywhere environment. And we all realize the past does not equal the future,” said Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO.

For governments, adopting new digital platforms and processes is imperative to keep up with quickly-changing constituent needs. Cloud-based technology brings your processes together, making it easier for government leaders to respond with speed and deliver better service for their constituents.

Digital transformation isn’t straightforward, and public sector organizations need a strong ecosystem of support to navigate obstacles they may face. With access to a cloud-based ecosystem of support including AppExchange, the Trailblazer Community, and more, we make sure governments have the tools to provide effective, secure service and build stronger relationships with their constituents. 

Learn how platforms like Salesforce provide a community of support in government modernization efforts.

Jason Louth Sr. Director, Public Sector Product Management

As a product manager, Jason develops leading cloud solutions for the U.S. government with a focus on enabling compliance and unlocking innovation. Prior to joining Salesforce, Jason spent 14 years with Deloitte Consulting leading software implementations for the federal government including CRM, HR, finance, and robotic process automation.

More by Jason

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