It’s no secret schools and governments are notoriously slow to migrate to new technologies. That is unless you’re the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) — a group of forward-thinking folks responsible for providing technology solutions and advice to help the state’s educational, local, and government entities fulfill their missions. The DIR is busy building easy-to-use, cost-effective apps with Salesforce. Now, 125+ state agencies and thousands of local governments and schools can take advantage of the latest social, mobile, and cloud technologies to help the citizens of the Lone Star State succeed. The Salesforce Platform helps Texas rapidly develop cloud apps that can run on any mobile device, and is key to the organization’s strategy for helping state agencies help its citizens. “If you want state agencies to move to 21st century technology, you need to keep it simple to implement and use,” says Todd Kimbriel, Chief Operating Officer. “So we adopted a Salesforce first policy for our development team.” The DIR originally began using Salesforce to manage procurement contracts so agencies from all over the state could take advantage of pre-negotiated deals for everything from desktop computers to monitors to professional services. Since that time the organization has built 25+ new apps manage asset tracking, budgeting, help desks, portfolios, and more. Adding new apps with the Salesforce Platform is faster than with traditional platforms. “With Salesforce we can build apps in three weeks that would take at least 18 months with other solutions,” says Kimbriel. Developing new apps with Salesforce is not only fast — it’s cost-effective, key to the financial stewardship that is part of the DIR’s mission. “Salesforce helps us ensure that every dollar is spent as effectively as possible,” Kimbriel explains. “With Salesforce we can continue to add more and more apps for the same fixed fee, locking down costs but expanding the technology value.” And, since many of the apps are built by administrators, the agency is spared the staffing costs of more specialized developers.
As more and more Texan agencies want to enable work-at-home and bring-your-own-device strategies, the DIR is increasingly focused on building mobile apps — like a new legislative bill tracking tool lets agency executives see real time updates of legislation status from their smart phones and iPads so they can speak to program elements at any time. Or for employees to record and submit timesheets and get supervisor approval, all from the road or while waiting to testify during the legislative session. The DIR is also leveraging Salesforce Chatter, making it even easier for employees to communicate and collaborate from the road. “I haven’t had a need for a custom application yet that we weren’t able to meet with Salesforce.”