When Revamping Public Engagement, Governments Can Use the Cloud

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials on Tuesday, September 9, 2015, in Charleston, to launch 844-HELP4WV, the statewide 24-hour substance abuse and mental health call line.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials on Tuesday, September 9, 2015, in Charleston, to launch 844-HELP4WV, the statewide 24-hour substance abuse and mental health call line. West Virginia Governor's Office / Flickr.com

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

A West Virginia state agency sped up its grant processing by building an app on top of a CRM.

WASHINGTON — West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources oversees around 1,000 grants worth about $240 million annually, and manual processing was neither quick nor good for morale.

Staff frequently found themselves sifting through stacks of paper to check on grant statuses, and data wasn’t being collected to identify reasons for the grant backlog.

Upset legislators’ and grantees’ inquiries weren’t getting answers, so the agency had Planet Technologies build it a business app on top of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM—CRM stands for customer relationship management.

“Grants are a pretty big part of what we do, and timeliness is of the essence,” said Starlah Wilcox, DHHR chief budget officer, during a breakout session at Tuesday’s Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in the nation’s capital. “We had grantees that were saying that they were going to go out of business.”

DHHR isn’t the only state government agency under pressure for more services and information “as fast as a human touch on a device,” said Planet Technologies Vice President Steve Winter, which is why more and more are exploring modernizing citizen engagement through cloud-based services.

Planet uses Microsoft’s CRM as an application development platform that takes projects to production 25 to 60 percent faster, he added.

At DHHR, a workflow has been established between the agency’s different bureaus dependent upon grant type, review times are shorter, and agreement changes are monitored via audit trails—improving accountability.

About 50 homeless shelters require grant funding each year, but staff personnel only have to type up the necessary info once and the rest populates when the grant type is selected. The app interfaces with DHHR’s accounting system to track when grant payments are made and how many.

App changes can be made on the fly by Planet, which emphasizes iterative corrections in lieu of feature releases.

At its heart, all CRM software manages people, places and things while providing decisionmakers with data-driven insights, which is why Planet can go from building an app for inmate complaints in Alabama to one for dog licensing in the borough of Port Allegany, Pennsylvania.

In the state and local government space, 80 percent of the apps built are case management apps, Winter said.

Departments can deploy the apps on premise or as a service and extend the CRM out to their constituency through a .net site or customized portals in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Planet’s mobile strategy involves providing the same user experience across iOS and Android devices.

If an agency lacks an app portfolio, a portfolio management solution is often the best first step to development.

“I never encourage boiling the ocean upfront,” said Al Smith, Microsoft public sector CRM architect. “Look for old excel spreadsheets … things you wish had mobility around them. Those are typically good targets to begin with.”

(Photo by the West Virginia Governor's Office / Flickr.com)

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

NEXT STORY: Cities and States Try to Crack Down on Distracted Bicycling

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.