Gaining department status in 1993, the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department (CABQEDD) helps promote and facilitate business development, create and implement economic development strategy, and strengthen ties with the private sector.
Offering support, services, and programs to gain and aid in the growth of businesses, the CABQEDD have created the infrastructure for Albuquerque to emerge as a market for businesses to thrive in.
In October, the CABQEDD was tasked with managing and disbursing a $10 million grant program that needed to support as many local businesses as possible by the end of December 2020. The department realized that to meet these expedited goals, they would need to update their current manual system of receiving, processing, and funding grants to a more efficient process.
The manual systems in place required hours of extra effort across multiple employees in the department, reaching out to businesses, directing them on how and where to fill out an application, recording applicant information into spreadsheets, processing qualified applicants, and finally sending the funds to approved businesses. A more automated option was needed to help make the application process easier for small business applicants, providing reminders and status updates on applications, and enabling staff to review, process, monitor, and report on the grant, application, and funding metrics quickly and easily. Adding to the challenge was a two-week deadline to publicly launch the grant program.
After a preliminary discovery phase with the department, MST Solutions designed and implemented a grants management application on Salesforce Sales Cloud with a Community portal and Docusign. Through this design, the department could automate the application process, identify the status of applicants quickly, and deliver grant agreement documents for electronic signature once approved. The sales path for the grant approval lifecycle provided grant officers with the guidance needed to efficiently process applications, as well as communicate with applicants on any errors or questions.
Additionally, the digitization of applications and processing automation allowed for comprehensive reporting, such as application status, the performance of grant applications processing, funds disbursement tracking, auditing of applications, and funds disbursement.
With Salesforce now acting as the foundation for grants management, the CABQEDD was able to streamline their process; over 1,600 applications were submitted and 1,000 small businesses were approved for grant funding. CABQEDD has disbursed all of the $10 million to local small businesses through the grant program. This has allowed local businesses to secure the funding they needed to keep employees and stay in business during the nationwide pandemic.
Additionally, with the onboarding of the Salesforce platform and Community technology, the department is now capable of managing their customers and constituents through a 360-degree view. Through this view, staff can provide greater levels of service while citizens can interact with the department virtually—when and how they choose.
Streamlined Application Process
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ACA partners with MST Solutions for sales cloud implementation to improve the salesforce platform’s user adoption. With this, ACA had a 360-deree view of the customer, eliminated repetitive processes and enhanced reporting capacities.