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4 Best Practices for Building Trust, Improving Accountability in Public-Private Partnerships

Partnering with industry can make a difference in delivering the services citizens need. Here’s how Wyoming partnered with Salesforce to do just that during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When it comes to deploying new technology solutions, the private sector tends to move faster than the government. Accelerating the use of technology through public-private partnerships requires establishing and maintaining trust between agencies and industry partners to improve services for constituents. A strong and transparent relationship enables the government to evolve with technology and mission needs. 

This notion is particularly vital during a crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in both sectors had to go virtual overnight and enable a remote workforce while continuing business processes. Having the right tools already in place to make this switch seamless was key — and to make it happen required public and private organizations to work together. 

Two state government officials spoke at Salesforce’s recent virtual event, “Building Trust & Improving Accountability in Public Private Partnerships.” Here are their key takeaways on how partnering with industry can make a difference in delivering the services citizens need. 

1. Partnerships Help Get the Job Done in Crisis

At the onset of the pandemic, the forward-thinking IT team for the Wyoming Business Council, which is the state of Wyoming's Economic Development Agency, quickly transitioned to a remote workforce and developed a digital transformation path. 

So, when the council was tasked with distributing CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits for COVID-19 relief, it had the digital assets and technological foundation in place to swiftly allocate over half a billion dollars to Wyoming businesses. The council, however, didn’t act alone. 

“It was pretty incredible, really, to see our team come together,” said Josh Dorrell, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council. “And it wasn't just our team. I think there were a number of partners throughout the state in the various agencies at the state government level, and also private partners throughout the state that made a difference.”

The council used Salesforce to handle incoming applications and transform the data associated with the fund to be public facing, which important insights to citizens and business owners in the state. Salesforce also provided the security, user experience and scalability needed to execute the project.

“When those first applications began to come in and people were able to do that easily and have a good customer experience, I think it just built a lot of trust with our agency,” Dorrell said. “It built a lot of trust with the state, and it's something that was really important for the future for programs as well.”

2. Communication with Stakeholders Is Key 

While the council had the technological foundation to take on CARES Act fund distribution, it originally lacked capacity to pull off the project, said Shaun Jones, data manager at the Wyoming Business Council. So, the council had to upskill in a very short time, which included training employees to help design the system needed. 

Strong communication with stakeholders helped make this possible. Typically, when stakeholders asked the council for information, it didn’t have the resources to provide that traditional transparency of generated reports. In this case, it turned to dashboards, which added visibility into the process. 

“Our leadership got an increased understanding of what was going on, and so they were able to make good decisions,” Jones said. “It also allowed us to spot problems and shift our people to where they needed to be so we didn't have bottlenecks.”

Additionally, the council created a Google Data Studio dashboard with Salesforce to provide on-demand information to the governor and legislature. This method built a new level of partnership with those stakeholders and helped the council to distribute over half of a billion dollars by the year end.   

3. Application Transparency Can Speed Service Delivery

Innovation didn’t stop there. The council sought a better way to track internal application status’. To do so, it borrowed the idea of a pizza tracker from Domino’s, which allows customers to see where their pizza is in the preparation process.

“We decided to take that same concept and use it externally,” Jones said.

“It would let them know when they needed to provide certain information to us,” Jones said. “It drastically reduced the calls to our support team because they didn't have to answer applicants who were left in the dark because everybody had a good understanding of what was happening with their application.” 

4. Keep User Experience and Transparency at the Core of Transformation

Throughout the Wyoming Business Council’s digital transformation process, it adopted an agile software development process to run projects, which allowed the council to better focus on customers. The process enabled transparency and an intuitive user experience, which improved relationships with constituents and helped the council deliver a new quality of service to the state.  

“That idea of being able to put people into that one data source, that one user experience so that all of us internally and externally understand where we are in the process and can help people along and provide that consistency really instills trust, but it also makes sure that we're doing the best at every stage of the game,” Jones said. 

It ensures the council is capturing the right information and providing it back to stakeholders at various stages throughout the process. It’s a system the council will continue to use on big and small projects, alike. 

Data accessibility through the dashboards was also invaluable, and helped the council provide updated information as often as possible to stakeholders, including legislators and the governor’s office. The relief funds were too important to get it wrong, so having up-to-date data at stakeholders’ fingertips every day through transparent systems leveraging public-private partnerships helped keep businesses afloat. 

“So many decisions were made in a short period of time. And without that data, you're shooting in the dark, and we don't want to do that,” Jones said.

Learn more about how Salesforce can help your agency transform.

This content is made possible by our sponsor, Salesforce. The editorial staff was not involved in its preparation.

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