Modernizing legacy systems and processes is a key component of innovating public sector services. However, government’s transition to modern architecture is frankly just not as simple as it is for commercial counterparts. There’s a saying that goes: “in life, there’s an app for that. In the government, there’s a form!” This goes to show the extent to which government’s digital services have to grow. While the disparity between commercial and government customer services is apparent to most users and providers, it really takes agency advocates and the right solution to evolve past outdated service models.
Maturing, developing, nurturing, and expanding government services in cost-effective, efficient ways was one of the key topics at Salesforce’s recent World Tour DC. No other testimony drove this point home more powerfully than the conversation with Ilario Pantano, Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs for the state of North Carolina. With the fourth most expansive military presence in the country, the North Carolina VA boasts an impressive cutting-edge package of veteran services and resources that are tailored to their 800,000 vets and dependents. However, this level of service for N.C. vets is a relatively new development; in 2015, the organization went from relying on paper records stacked in filing cabinets to a fully interactive portal, NC4VETS, all on a limited budget.
In 2013 and 2014, over the course of 15 months, the N.C. VA restructured its outreach capabilities while building new, state-of-the-art technological services, providing Veterans, their family members, and transitioning military personnel with the most up-to-date resources and information. The tool is even equipped with a geolocation function, allowing veterans to enter zip codes to receive a virtual map of services and resources located within a range. On top of that, it also encourages community interaction – non-profits and state agencies can upload their services and locations available to veterans. And all of this (plus more) is possible from anywhere, anytime convenience of a mobile device.
To further expand their services, the Division also launched as customer relations management solution using Salesforce. The system holds administrators accountable to veteran cases and is an effective, digitized, cost-efficient step towards becoming more results-oriented and ensuring that no veteran or dependent slips through the cracks. Through designing a new “Paperless Veteran” and “Paperless DD214” system on Salesforce, agency officials can feel confident that they’re meeting veteran needs. By reducing paper files and moving to a digital system, cases are more efficiently monitored, resolved, and streamlined. This simplified workflow frees up valuable human resources to focus on pressing issues, like ending homelessness for vets statewide.