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“We are the heartbeat of the state’s local business community,” said Ben Hart, Deputy Director for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We serve as the liaison between business owners and state operations, helping small businesses grow during good times and survive any storm brought on by the bad times.”
GOED’s mission is to enhance the quality of life by increasing and diversifying Utah’s revenue base and improving employment opportunities. In other words, it manages programs, funding, and services designed to make it easier for Utah’s entrepreneurs to open a business as well as attract new business opportunities to the state – helping to increase employment opportunities and strengthen the local economy, “even during unprecedented times like we’re in now with COVID-19,” Hart continued.
“We have been answering phone call after phone call with a business owner in tears on the other end trying to not only save their dream but also keep their staff employed. They invested everything and all of a sudden it's gone,” said Kori Ann Edwards, GOED Managing Director of Operations. “We are talking to people who are scared and who are vulnerable, making for conversations that are very human and very personal. Thus, our team has become even more passionate about our work, because we see the big picture impact. We see how much it helps both the individual and the community when we can provide COVID-19 relief, fast.”
Utah GOED uncovers the obvious objectives and surprising strategies.
Introducing a single, versatile platform for managing COVID-19 funds.
GOED launched a loans and grants management platform on the Salesforce 360 Platform for Government. It is a cloud-based, CRM-style platform that gives the team the tools they need to manage the disbursement of relief funds, from origination to reporting. “It also aligns our business priorities and IT best practices,” said Kristen Jensen, GOED Director of Business Intelligence, “making our technology investments relevant and our business requirements actionable across each and every step:”
Step 1 – Front-end customer log in.
Business owners looking to apply for a loan, grant, or other financial support are given a log-in credential to access the platform and create a profile in Experience Cloud, Salesforce’s online, self-service portal product. The business owner is guided through a series of fields that capture critical information about their business, followed by a second series that then completes the application for funding specifically. The business owner can log back in at any time to check for status updates or answer questions as their application moves through the review process.
Step 2 – Back-end review and approval.
The profile and application are automatically transferred into GOED’s instance of Service Cloud, Salesforce’s CRM product optimized for customer service and case management needs. Service Cloud presents the details of the business in a 360-degree, profile-like setting, giving GOED a complete view of the applicant. Automated prompts guide GOED through the review process, Knowledge articles surface related FAQs and information, integrated Chatter bulletin boards allow staff to tag subject matter experts, and push-notifications alert everyone when it’s their turn to take action. Chat bots facilitate live conversations between staff and customers alike, bringing a real-time element to the Q&A that otherwise might chip away at timely deliveries.
Step 3 – Reporting.
Einstein Analytics, Salesforce’s Artificial Intelligence tool, was layered on top of the platform, giving GOED the ability to surface loan or grant information via integrated dashboards. The team is using this to report on where funds were spent, spot trends, pinpoint catalysts, and develop data-driven insights on how best to help the Utah business community survive COVID-19.