Government and public sector organizations provide the critical services and infrastructure that we take for granted every day. They also employ millions of Americans: over 18 million in state and local government and 2 million in federal government at last count.
That’s a big workforce to manage. To help their personnel complete key tasks such as filling out paperwork, tracking their time, and completing required training, many of these agencies rely on Salesforce and similar platforms. However, these tools aren’t customized to the specific needs of government or public sector employees, at least not right out of the box.
When it comes to user experience and compliance — a major concern for government organizations, and even more so given now President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce — many government and public sector agencies have been around for decades, meaning that legacy systems and data are an additional concern and integration challenge. The average employee spends 20% of their workweek looking for internal information. Switching between different platforms or hard-to-navigate applications makes simple tasks complex and impacts productivity.
That’s where Skuid comes in. We have deep expertise around Salesforce as it relates to the particular needs of government and public sector workers. And we have experience building real-world applications that make these employees’ lives easier, in turn boosting engagement and even contributing to retention.
Below, we’ll look at two examples of Salesforce app improvement through a public sector/government lens: employee portals and time-tracking applications.
Building easy-to-use and engaging employee portals
Internal employee portals or hubs are useful places to store important documentation, answers to common questions, and company policies. The U.S. Department of the Air Force (DAF) recognized this and decided to create a “hire-to-retire” portal for its 300,000+ personnel. The new application would bring key programs, policies, and information into one place, complete with strong UX and up-to-date functionality.
This was no small task, requiring massive upgrades to their current system and the migration of legacy systems to centralized platforms. Their first thought was to build the portal using Salesforce and systems integrators; however, that would require a lot of custom code and take too long.
So, the DAF’s Data Transformation Activity (DTA) group partnered with Skuid on a low-code solution that would take their Salesforce app experiences from dated and difficult to navigate to modern and streamlined. With Skuid, the DTA team created apps that connected to any data source while meeting user requirements. Within two days, the team had gone from wireframe to to delivery, and was able to rapidly prototype and improve as they went along.
Today, the portal serves over 575,000 active duty and retired military personnel and receives 300-400,000 unique logins each month.
Taking the headache out of time tracking
Time tracking is a hassle for everyone. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is no exception, and their Work and Time Reporting System (WATRS) application wasn’t making it easy to submit time.. The interface was described by users as “Craigslist-y” and hard-to-navigate.
Even more concerning was that the app was relying on a third-party integration that had created approximately 15 issues around 508 compliance. For federal agencies, 508 compliance is legally mandated and requires these organizations to make their websites and other digital information accessible to people with disabilities. WATRs, however, had an active 508 complaint on file for nearly two years, and ran the risk of having these issues escalated to Congress.
Given these high stakes and a tight timeline, the VA’s Digital Transformation Center (DTC) started working with Skuid on a low-code upgrade to the application. At first, they were hesitant about using a low-code toolkit, worried it would be difficult to maintain and deploy apps. However, those fears were soon put to rest. Within six months, Skuid and Accenture Federal Services created and deployed the updated WATRS app, which featured additional functionality and features while matching user requirements.
In addition, the new interface was much more visually pleasing. Users took note, now describing WATRS as “a modern system” and “more user friendly.” The new app was also fully 508 compliant, which was a huge relief for both the VA team and the many people who relied on their system.As a testament to the great work achieved by the VA and Skuid, Salesforce recognized the project in their 2021 Partner Innovation Awards.
Combining functionality and design
With solutions like Skuid, there’s no reason that government and public sector agencies can’t build consumer-grade applications in Salesforce. As we’ve seen, key employee tools like internal portals and time tracking apps can be quickly improved, revamped, and made fully compliant with little to no code. Leveraging human-centered design and our own expertise, we’re ensuring these agencies don’t have to sacrifice functionality for an intuitive and even delightful user experience.
Learn more about how Skuid is partnering with firms in the public sector to create apps that their users and employees love.