On April 6th, we hosted the “Coffee and Correspondence” Meetup at Busboys & Poets. John Gilroy, from Federal News Radio, and our friend Rusty Pickens, Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms at the U.S. Department of State and co-lead of the Salesforce Interagency Group, led a real discussion about how the government has real conversations.

As our “Coffee and Correspondence” Meetup came to a close, I was approached by one of our participants. She was energized from hearing stories of how other government agencies were able to bring innovation to their offices by leveraging cloud technologies but was struggling as to how she could do the same thing.

Maybe you can relate.

As you may know, many government agencies have invested in improving their CRM (Citizen Relationship Management) systems, and now leverage tools and practices used by corporations to better engage with citizens and each other. The new GSA Salesforce Implementation, Integration and Support Services BPA represents the ground-swell of desire in the government to using new technologies to better interact with and support the people they serve.

During the Meetup, people shared their struggles around security, cost, response times, and accuracy with technology and industry experts. John and Rusty helped connect these folks with agencies that have successfully innovated their legacy systems - and now work more efficiently and effectively.

Perhaps you share these pain-points? Maybe you’re frustrated by how many processes are captured in spreadsheets, or find yourself victim to the 80-20 rule - you spend 80 percent of your time tracking down 20 percent of items that seem to have fallen through the cracks. Or... your current system is not compliant, and you’re trying to decide if you invest in making an upgrade or use this as a catalyst to do something new.

Or you’re wondering - what really happens next? To help you answer this question, we’ve created an exercise that can help you get started on improving your correspondence management with Salesforce.

The goal of this exercise is to arm you with all of the information and ammunition you need to be a catalyst for change.

1. Pinpoint Your Pain-points

The best place to start may seem counterintuitive: look at your inbox and think to yourself - what's the most annoying type of email I’ll get today? If it is any of the ones listed below, technology can alleviate the issue: 

  • A manager asking "what’s going on with this?”
  • Regional offices ironing out miscommunications
  • Navigating the dreaded email trees (I love this video!)
  • Tracking down the right version of a document
  • Keeping a spreadsheet updated
  • A request for a report that can only be generated manually

2. Know Your Numbers

Many systems used today are overdue for costly system upgrades because they do not meet security, accessibility, or records management needs. It’s important that you take the time to assess your current systems and determine the operational and financial impacts that a new system will have. Know how much your current system costs to maintain, expand, its “processing” power, and ability to handle your organization’s workload. This helps you determine the requirements of your new system.

3. Befriend FITARA

As you think about next steps when it comes to your Correspondence Management solution, it’s important to understand the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). FITARA outlines an enterprise-wide approach to government IT investment, utilizes a more focused and “agile” IT investment strategy, promotes cross-functional partnerships between agency CIOs and key officials, and more!

So what does that mean for you? Leverage. FITARA is reforming the the way the federal government buys new technology by requiring agencies to streamline their processes for IT acquisitions. With FITARA, CIOs and IT departments within government agencies can operate more effectively and focus on IT and asset management to promote the value-delivery of technology investments and resource planning. FITARA also allows government agencies to leverage private sector organizations and best practices while reducing IT procurement related waste.

4. Intermingle with the Salesforce Interagency Group

The government has their own fed-only Salesforce interest group. They meet every other month and discuss important topics to folks like you - procurement, security, upgrades. It’s open to all federal employees and a support system for Salesforce newbies. Ask us how to get involved.

5. Watch A Demo

Acumen Solutions was the first Salesforce partner to have a solution accredited as a Salesforce FullForce Solution for Government. Correspondence Management by Acumen Solutions is our collection of features in Salesforce that directly alleviate pain points the government experiences when connecting with citizens and other agencies. We’re happy to give you a demo to share ways in which other agencies use Salesforce for Correspondence Management, giving you ideas on how our solution can transform the way your agency handles correspondence.

6. Meet Salesforce at the Salesforce World Tour

Attend this free event on April 28th and receive lots of info about the innovative things that are happening in the Salesforce ecosystem. You'll meet hundreds of people like you and learn cool ways people are using Salesforce. You can register here.

New this year: we’ve put together a Correspondence Management track that helps you learn the most you can about Correspondence Management. Ask us to send it your way!

7. Stay In Touch

We’re continuing our series of how to overcome Correspondence Management challenges next week with a guest blogger and Meetup leader, Rusty Pickens. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates!

Cristina Miller is a Director at Acumen Solutions in the Public Sector Practice. She holds a degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and enjoys inserting her New Orleans/Cuban eccentricities into DC life. Look for her on LinkedIn and Twitter; she would love to have a conversation with you!