The NIF launched a user portal on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce Customer 360 Platform for Public Sector that manages the bi-directional communication flow between NIF and the scientific community. The team uses it to support the proposal process, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. “We also use it to manage our internal mailing list,” said Fournier. “It allows us to target communications to the universities, private companies, laboratories, and our internal departments. Additionally, it allows us to put our resources in a centralized location outside of our firewall that can be referenced by external team members.”
Here’s how the solution works:
From the (proposer) user portal, powered by Experience Cloud, a scientist can submit a proposal to NIF through structured templates embedded within the portal that guides them through the submission process. The proposal’s submission triggers the administrative role.
Meanwhile the dashboard functionality provides the user (proposer) complete visibility into review status along with other updates. The portal informs users that proposals must be submitted by a specific time along with the required complementary support materials. It keeps the submission process essentially on-track," shared Fournier. The administrator would then assign the reviewer the proposal to assess per their area of expertise. The reviewer logs into their portal to see a list view of all assigned proposals and their respective statuses embedded within the dashboard. Sales Cloud stores all user information in alignment with the corresponding proposal validating the user’s (proposer) credentials. Service Cloud supports the case management functionality that powers the reviewer workflow, looping in all cross-functional stakeholders as needed. This is the same functionality that supports the NIF administrators who are responsible for communicating the request for proposals, managing proposal intake, and reviewer assignment distribution. User roles and privileges are enforced by the platform ensuring that each role's interface aligns with their corresponding workflows and tasks.
Metrics within the solution are extracted from populated fields, generating tables and reports on trends year-over-year on the volume of proposals submitted and the primary responders (for example, university partners, research laboratories, and other departments). This helps the NIF team determine how to best target their proposal communications. “I like to see the response trends from different types of users,” said Fournier. “For example, if I notice a trend that all nuclear physicists in the Midwest have stopped responding to us, I know that we need to revamp our communications strategy. This is vital to the mission of NIF: to support the nation’s long-term security by engaging the right talent and getting the next generation of scientists into the system.”