The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :City of Walnut Creek
  • Department :Economic Development Team
  • Category :CRM / application management, Process Improvement, Workflow improvement

Project Summary

Expand the city’s ability to keep in touch with and support existing businesses by creating an engagement tool that tracks and manages calls, emails, and meetings with business owners.

Challenge Details

Business retention and expansion (BRE) is a core part of the City’s economic development mission. However, the existing tools for BRE – primarily phone calls, on-site visits, and emails filtered through various city inboxes – rely on 1:1 contacts between businesses and city staff and put the onus on businesses to remember what resources the city has to offer.

The City needs a tool that scales its relationship with existing businesses so that each member of the economic development team can support and track thousands of businesses at a time. The city has a willing test group with economic development staff, a vibrant downtown business owners association, an active Chamber of Commerce, and a diverse set of local employers.

Currently, business inquiries come in through many avenues and are not always aggregated into a central view of that business’s journey with the city. A business may call one staff member, show up at the Permit Center the next day, and email a third department. Staff members share information when they realize the overlap, but this is an informal knowledge share instead of a standardized process.

From a metrics perspective, the City’s economic development team aims to work strategically. For example, the team wants to scale its support to make sure it reaches the City’s biggest employers as well as its fastest growing. It also wants to reach out at strategic times, such as a few months after a restaurant has opened or on a long-time business’s anniversary in the City. Currently, this is managed in spreadsheets and ad-hoc lists or calendars.

Without a tool to track and scale business outreach, businesses might miss out on support that could help them to thrive in Walnut Creek solely because of the logistical hurdles of staying in touch with them on a regular basis.

The City is seeking a software tool that would function as an internal-facing business engagement toolkit. Similar products already exist that are oriented to the private sector, such as CRM tools; however, the City is looking for a program that is:

• Tailored to business retention and engagement

• A tool for strategic decision making because of its metrics on which businesses have engaged with the city and which have not

• Capable of aggregating and displaying information from other databases in the city, such as our business licensing tool and Accela permitting software

• Usable by a multiple members of a city team – Made with a simple, attractive and intuitive user interface so that it can be rapidly adopted