There’s no easy way to put it. The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every industry, and the public sector faced more disruption than all the rest. COVID-19 accelerated the move to remote work, and contract tracing and vaccine management became the critical focus of Public Health agencies. And out of necessity, the government began to tackle digital transformation. In fact, we’ve seen organizations deliver applications four times faster than they had in previous years.
Digital transformation isn’t new in the public sector though. And historically, the government has lagged other industries in adopting DevOps, agile and other methodologies that support rapid delivery. So while COVID-19 was the urgent trigger to speed up modernization, how did IT teams actually achieve it?
In this article, we'll take a look at how DC Health, the public health agency for Washington DC, leveraged Salesforce and Copado to deliver at hyperspeed. And we’ll explore how teams can adopt this process to continue the momentum in digital transformation.
How digital modernization helped DC Health Combat the Spread of COVID-19
When the pandemic began to spread in 2020, no level of government had the technology or processes in places to manage the crisis. And like many agencies, DC Health began planning immediately. They turned to Salesforce and a trusted consulting partner to build a technology solution they call Contact Trace Force.
Typically, an application of this size and complexity would take at least a year to develop and launch, but DC Health needed the solution in the market in a matter of weeks. Not only did the team need to quickly set up an iterative contact tracing solution, it needed to ensure the solution was reliable. Because lives were—quite literally—on the line.
DC Health added Copado to the mix to ensure their development team had the visibility and tools they needed to accelerate their roll-out of contact tracing.
With Copado, the first iteration of the Contact Trace Force Application launched in less than two weeks, giving public health officials a jumpstart in slowing the spread of COVID-19. And within 90 days, the team had achieved the full maturity the application needed to enable 100% contract tracing within 24 hours of positive test. Supporting more than 22,000 calls per month, the application enabled 600 tracers to successfully identify and track more than 3,900 positive cases in less than three months.
The development team was able to achieve this through a structured approach that allowed them to move quickly while reducing risk. Ultimately, in those 90 days, the Salesforce delivery released more than 500 updates over 18 releases that continued to optimize the contact tracing procedures. One of the project leaders summed up how Copado enabled their team:
“When you have Copado in the project, there is a level of confidence that what you are deploying is actually the right set of components. When you don’t have it, you end up wanting to retest the entire application essentially when you finish your deployment just to confirm that the deployment went properly. That additional overhead is a big burden to the project.”
Copado enables companies to quickly and frequently deploy new features which is particularly important for DC Health and other public health organizations who are fighting to combat the global pandemic. The ability to respond to new regulations and new data in days rather than months is critical, and with Copado the project team has the flexibility to adjust rapidly.
Is low-code the future of modernization in the public sector?
The changes that forced the public sector to tackle digital transformation aren’t going away. From the permanence of remote work to the growing demands of citizens, the need for modernization will continue to increase. Regardless of the pandemic, the government provides critical services for its citizens. And by 2023, over 60% of governments will have tripled citizen digital services, but less than 25% will be integrated across organizational silos.
Salesforce provides the connected data and breadth of capabilities that the public sector needs to both modernize and streamline experiences across agencies. Couple this with Salesforce’s low-code model, and you’ve got a winning formula for better employee experiences, constituent experiences, and ultimately, better services.
And to maintain the speed that groups like DC Health found in 2020, teams need to go one step farther. With low-code DevOps, admins, developers and systems integrators are empowered to move at hyper speed while embedding compliance and security directly into their build pipelines. Simply, on its own, Salesforce gives the public sector a lot of horsepower. But with Copado, they also get the fuel.