The Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) is dedicated to the management of state-owned lands and property. Established in 1915, the department ensures that State Trust lands and resources enhance value and optimize economic return for its 13 trust beneficiaries. By utilizing sound stewardship, conservation, and business management principles, state-owned lands are carefully managed for citizens today and generations yet to come.
ASLD is responsible for managing 9.2 million acres of State Trust lands, which include state schools and universities. The agency’s mission is to manage the trust in a minimally invasive manner while generating maximum revenues.
As part of a commitment to investing in the governor’s cloud-first strategy and leveraging the Arizona Management System process improvement initiative, ASLD identified the need to replace its paper-based processes with a modern, user-friendly, cloud-based technology solution. This would allow the department to serve its customers in a timelier manner and improve efficiencies and information sharing for employees.
The department selected MST Solutions to help navigate the complex transition, which included evaluating the Salesforce platform for current and future business roadmap requirements.
“MST Solutions was chosen because of their clear ability to listen to our needs, their demonstrated Salesforce expertise, and their modern project management approach. This formula was key to ensuring success in the first step of our transformation,” said Ryan Johnson, Chief Information Officer
Prior to the MST Solutions engagement, ASLD customers were required to submit paper applications in person or via mail. They lacked online visibility into the status of their applications and requests, leading to a significant volume of phone calls, in-person visits, and long wait times. Applications were processed sequentially, which increased information silos and processing delays.
According to Jennifer Spratling, Project Manager, “At an employee meeting, our commissioner expressed frustration at how difficult it was to find the status of an application and that it was time to change that. I was brought in as a member of the subject matter expert (SME) team to help transition our 100-year-old process into an electronic one.”
Guided by MST’s best practices in change management and user adoption, ASLD assembled an internal team, composed of the SMEs, and engaged staff responsible for processing customer applications, as this was determined to be the most critical business need.
MST initiated the project by assembling team members with expertise in Service Cloud, Community Cloud, and integration approaches with technologies like Document Management Solutions that required integration with Salesforce. At the same time, they reviewed ASLD’s existing suite of applications to understand the landscape and worked closely with the agency’s team to identify key stakeholders to ensure the appropriate requirements were identified.
A multiphase project approach was taken to focus on critical wins such as paper-based process reduction, document solution integration, document generation and management, integration with legacy applications, as well as geospatial integrations with ESRI ArcGIS and eSign.
MST also focused on transforming the customer experience. Working closely with SMEs and staff, they defined customer personas to understand the voice of the customer. This was key to managing customer adoption with a thoughtful change-management approach. MST also employed a “Design Thinking” model of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing. This was instrumental in significantly improving the way customers interact with ASLD through its online services.
The hybrid delivery model was used to execute the project. During discovery and design, the core SMEs as well as a broader group of SMEs were engaged throughout this process. This ensured proper visibility and feedback cycles while minimizing the hours required by the business.
Through a collaborative approach with agency leadership, subject matter experts, division management, and consultants, the project team scoped the land and leasing processes as a scalable solution that targeted substantial ROI for the agency. This evolution immediately enabled the agency to deliver scalable and consistent customer experiences in a way they couldn’t do before.
As a result, approximately thirty unique application types were digitized to a branded web portal with a modern customer-centric look and feel. Aside from land and lease application processing built on Salesforce Service Cloud and Communities, the cloud solution included integration to the legacy ERP, document management system, and several custom apps that provide project tracking for the commissioner’s office and the Real Estate and Trespass divisions.
Business value was delivered throughout—from workflow processing, document digitization and migration, integrations for online fee payment systems, and organizational change management. A community portal was created to help citizens submit and check the status of electronic applications along with an online payment system for application fees. Other benefits and accomplishments included:
“We can now deliver value as fast as the business needs it. As a result of the continuous improvement steps, we have really leaned into transitioning existing processes into Salesforce,” said Spratling. “Salesforce really shines when it comes to adding bells and whistles. Just a few examples include help desk tickets, purchase orders, and billing.”
The project, which was completed in several phases, helped ASLD optimize and strengthen their service delivery capabilities on one of their core processes that directly supports their mission. The agency is better connected to their customers, which allows employees to more easily service and respond to customers’ needs. Since the launch of the system, paper applications have been reduced by 95% and end-user adoption rates have increased to 98%.
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