City governments play a big role in helping businesses set up shop and expand—creating jobs and fueling the local economy. But the process of starting a new business can be daunting, so the City of Boston decided to use new social technologies to help entrepreneurs even more.
Built on the Force.com platform, the Boston Business Hub gives small businesses easy access to the information they need—and helps their questions get answered by the right people, right away. In creating the Boston Business Hub, the City had to tap into its own entrepreneurial spirit. “Our goal was to break down the silos of information so that our business development professionals could be more nimble and collaborative in serving Boston’s entrepreneurs,” says CIO Bill Oates.
Previously, upstart businesses had to contact multiple agencies to get everything they needed. Today, the Boston Business Hub creates a single point of entry for entrepreneurs, creating more transparency, streamlining the process, and saving valuable time.
By operating internally as a socially connected organization, the City of Boston improved internal communication, keeping staff up to date and helping everyone provide the best possible information and service to business owners. “We’re using technology to enhance the human touch, not eliminate it,” says Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
When questions come in through the Boston Business Hub, constituents are immediately routed to the right business development professional. The staff is fully connected to provide the best answer or solution via its internal social network. “We promise an answer to all inquiries within 2 business days, and we easily beat that deadline with the help of Salesforce and Chatter,” says Rafael Carbonell, Deputy Director for Boston’s Office of Business Development. “It works so well that we’re increasingly using Chatter to manage projects for our constituents.”
With such success sharing information socially among its staff members, the City is more frequently tuning in to social channels to get feedback and ideas for the Boston Business Hub right from their constituents: Boston entrepreneurs, business owners and business assistance professionals.