Blog Category: Announcement

Catalyst Launches the City of Toronto’s Salesforce 311

After 18 months of development, the Catalyst team is humbled and honored to announce our latest addition to our Salesforce 311 portfolio – the City of Toronto.

As part of this “Toronto At Your Service” modernization, constituents can now access Toronto 311’s nearly 600 service offerings through various convenient channels online. The deployment of Salesforce’s Social Studio tool will also enable the City to meet constituents where they are at – on Twitter – and enhance its ability to deliver customer service via social channels. As a result of our collaboration and revamp, there is now truly “no wrong door” through which constituents can receive service, and they can reliably expect a response from the City each time, regardless of how they initially reach out.

In the name of transparency, constituents can track the status of requests from start to finish and receive regular updates on the request’s progress via email and text. Constituents and staff alike will benefit from a Knowledge Base for easier access to City information, while more advanced reporting will support data-driven decision making that boosts staff productivity and constituent satisfaction.

The excitement will continue through the remainder of 2021, as our custom-developed 311 mobile app will launch in the near future to enable constituents to reach their local government with a few swipes and taps on their smartphone.

In celebration of the launch, Catalyst Founder and CEO Arvin Talwar noted, “Being able to provide Canada with a Catalyst 311 solution is incredible, not only because we get to show our commitment to our northern neighbors, but also because Toronto will see a great rise in their internal efficiencies and stronger relationships with constituents. Thank you to the Catalyst team for creating such an amazing solution for Toronto. We are grateful for the Toronto team’s partnership and look forward to nurturing the future of constituent engagement with them.”

In developing 311 solutions, the Catalyst team can fully demonstrate our passion for deploying transformative solutions that fully encompass how great public sector technology can, and should, operate for internal and external users.

We express our deepest thanks to the City of Toronto and Salesforce for their partnership.

For more about Catalyst’s approach to 311s, check out our “Tale of Two Cities” 311 webinar and our case study for our implementation of the City of Chicago’s 311.

The Next Gen of Government Technologists

We offer a full-time summer intern program for college students to loop young people into the government technology space as budding software engineers, digital media strategists, and business analysts. Real-world, professional experience is critical for students to succeed outside of college. Here at Catalyst, we recognize our duty for the next generation of government technologists and hope to provide them with this experience. Below, our interns – Katherine Buddenhagen, Ola Chmiel, Patricija Miskinyte, Jim Lizzio, and David Ostman – reflect on their summer internship and lessons learned from working in the government technology space.

Katherine worked on our Salesforce implementation for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. She remarked on the sheer impact of government technology, having worked first-hand with this agency holding the awesome responsibility of delivering clean water to a population of almost 2 million people.

The activities of our daily lives are increasingly based on technology-driven processes, and the activities of local, state, and federal government entities are no exception. The implementation of technology assets at any government level can help to increase public service efficiency, provide data-driven insights to inform process improvement, improve communication with the public, and more.

The result? Better quality governmental service and in turn, citizen welfare.

After developing a complete understanding of a client’s processes and pain points through conversation and observation, CCG teams prescribe and execute actionable solutions driven by innovative technology solutions to fit a client’s needs. By observing and participating in these processes, I have learned that, for technology solutions to realize their potential positive impact, the implementation must be purposeful, well-executed, and above all, client-driven.”

Katherine Buddenhagen

Ola, our Salesforce Business Analyst Intern working on the Toronto 311 project, echoes Katherine’s sentiment on the power government technology has. Through her work with Toronto 311, Ola has seen first-hand not only the extraordinary amount of people government technology can reach, but also the importance of a good public sector technologist.

Attributes that make someone a good public sector technologist are those that make up any reliable job candidate. The technologist must be creative and flexible, adapting to changes wherever necessary and coming up with ideas outside of the norm. Deadlines are also important, so it is imperative that the technologist is efficient with their time management and can make secure decisions under stress. They must be able to work well with others, communicate their needs, and show a certain level of leadership among the myriad of people they will be working with. Most importantly the employee needs to be driven. Technologists must have enthusiasm for the sector in which they are working, in this case, an obvious interest in government, politics, or current affairs. Throughout my internship with Catalyst Consulting Group, I have seen these attributes and more put to the test, positively impacting all of CCG’s many projects.”

Ola Chmiel

As many of our interns are new to the government technology space, Catalyst often offers a new perspective on government agencies and ways technology can improve them. Patricija, our Digital Marketing intern, reflected on her broadened view of social media, government, and technology.

As a communication and political science major, I am minimally exposed to technology for anything more than writing or research. My responsibilities this summer were geared toward social media and marketing, which I learned are important for not just us here in the private sector, but governments too for tasks such as constituent engagement or distributing information. My time here has increased my understanding of the capabilities of technological tools and the way governments can utilize them.

Catalyst Consulting Group has exposed me to the complexities of government agencies and the technologies needed to serve them. Both entities house much more information than I could have imagined. I am grateful this position has given me a glimpse of tools like chatbots, low code development, and other aspects that go into creating any modern, seamless system.”

Patricija Miskinyte

As the internship program comes to an end, not all our interns will continue to work in the government technology space, but the impact of our work will inspire many to return. Jim, a software engineer intern, observed the difference his work can make for improving people’s lives and changing the future.

Working in this space allows you to deploy larger public-facing projects that affect more people on a wider scale than creating internal private solutions. Some of the work that I have done has already affected thousands of people and grows every day. The government technology space allows me to help change society for the better and can be a great place for me to work with as I continue my career.”

Jim Lizzio

And as our intern class takes the next steps in their careers, the biggest takeaways are the lessons learned from the mentors at Catalyst, as David emphasized:

My favorite part is meeting up with and talking to my mentor Alec. He has shown me how to do my job, and he has helped me whenever I needed it.”

David Ostman

As technology grows in each sector of our lives, we must mentor the next generation of technologists that could change the lives of thousands of people all over the world. Thank you to our interns for a great summer at Catalyst! Our intern program could not exist without motivated, bright young students like you.

Catalyst Targets Middle Eastern, North African, and Southeast Asian Markets

Catalyst Consulting Group is pleased to announce our partnership with Manhattan-based investment bank Jahani and Associates as we bring our technology development and consulting services to the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Guided by regional connections held by the Jahani team, Catalyst is exploring opportunities with stakeholders in utility, transportation, and tourism verticals in several target countries.

This exciting new reach comes on the heels of our expansion into Canada and formation of our Canadian subsidiary.

“We are thrilled to work with Jahani and Associates to continue our international growth that started with Canada two years ago,” remarked Arvin Talwar, Catalyst’s Founder and CEO, “This partnership will allow Catalyst to leverage this momentum and penetrate new markets. Stellar customer service and improved efficiencies are universally valued.” Speaking on the partnership, Talwar continued, “We are grateful for the Jahani team’s guidance and look forward to the future.”

Joshua Jahani, Managing Director of Jahani and Associates explained, “We are seeing significant investments in technology, infrastructure, and growth in these regions. Catalyst is uniquely positioned to enter these markets to provide our clients with the most innovative and valuable strategic advice possible.” Jahani concluded, “We are looking forward to collaborating with Catalyst while deepening our existing relationships and fostering new ones with important stakeholders.”

For more information about Jahani and Associates, visit their website at https://jahaniandassociates.com/. You can learn more about Catalyst solutions deployed in North America at https://catconsult.com/portfolio/.

Catalyst Recognized by Salesforce for Excellence in Transportation

In late 2020, Catalyst was honored and humbled to receive a Salesforce Partner Innovation Award for our work with the Port of Seattle! We took home the prize in the “Travel, Transportation, and Hospitality” category. The Port of Seattle oversees Seattle’s seaport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and we had the pleasure of delivering a core Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud implementation for their team.

To celebrate, the Catalyst and Salesforce teams chatted about our work with the Port, as well as diversity in technology and innovation at Catalyst. Tune into the video interview with our Director of Solution Engineering, Alissa Ahn, right here, and be sure to read the blog post about our win published in honor of Asian American Heritage Month.

We send our deepest thanks to the Port of Seattle for their partnership since 2019. We also thank Salesforce for their work fostering this creative community, and we congratulate our fellow award recipients on their success.

Tune into our 311 Day Webinar

cross section of Toronto and Chicago discussing how the two cities provide 311 services

Check out our “Tale of Two Cities” webinar, in which we sat down with our partners at the City of Chicago and City of Toronto. We discussed how we leveraged the flexibility of the Salesforce platform to deliver two unique 311 systems tailored to each city’s respective needs.

Catalyst Launches Chicago’s New 311 System, CHI311

chicago 311

Chicago, IL – Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc. (Catalyst) is excited to announce the recent launch of the City of Chicago’s new 3-1-1 solution, CHI311. The new system was developed in nine months in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), 311 City Services (311), thirty-three city departments, and Salesforce. The new cloud-based solution consists of a Salesforce-based constituent relationship management (CRM) system, a new community web portal, and Chicago’s first-ever resident-centric mobile application. Chicago residents can visit 311.chicago.gov or download the CHI311 App for iOS and Android today to explore neighborhoods and submit new requests to the City of Chicago.

CHI311 is the product of intense collaboration with DoIT, 311, thirty-three distinct city departments, and Salesforce. “We are honored to be a part of this revolutionary system overhaul that was spearheaded by Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel,” said Arvin Talwar, Managing Principal and CEO of Catalyst. “This successful launch was a true partnership in every way, and we are humbled to be part of this journey.

Catalyst worked closely with over 30 city departments that interact with 3-1-1 to understand their operations and needs for the new system. Team members analyzed over 1,000 existing service request codes, the unique processes held by each department, and the external systems they use to dispatch and manage their service delivery.

To develop the new system, Catalyst leveraged Salesforce’s Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning to deliver an intuitive work order management system to support CHI311. “The Catalyst team put forth 110% over the course of the past year to create a system that provides meaningful change for Chicago residents,” stated Catalyst Managing Principal & COO, Timothy Smith. “We can’t thank DoIT, 311 and the citizens of Chicago enough for entrusting us with this truly transformational system implementation.”

CHI311’s cloud-based scheduling and dispatch tools replace paper-based processes and provide Commissioners and Alderman with real-time access to field worker data. Additionally, custom-developed code detects duplicate requests from users. This saves tremendous city resources by eliminating re-work, improving resource management, and preventing costly duplication of efforts by city field workers.

Similarly, the Chicago-branded community web portal and mobile app provide users with an intuitive and holistic view of all service requests worked by the City of Chicago along with the status of those requests. Through CHI311 users can now view requests created across the entire city providing more transparency than ever before on the work that is being done throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.

The new CHI311 increases city transparency, improves the city-resident relationship, and fosters communication and collaboration between city departments. Catalyst is excited to continue to work closely with DoIT, 311, city departments, and Salesforce to support the new system and push updates that consistently enhance and improve the 311 experience for all users.

Salesforce calls its community of partners and customers “Ohana,” the Hawaiian term for “family.” The Catalyst team is thrilled to have worked so closely with Salesforce and the City of Chicago, and we graciously extend the invitation to all Chicago residents to join the Ohana. You can visit 311.chicago.gov or download the CHI311 App for iOS and Android today to explore your neighborhood and submit new requests to the City of Chicago.

About Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc.
Established in Chicago in 1992, Catalyst has earned a stellar reputation as a consulting firm that leverages expertise in information technology and business strategy in both the public and private sectors. We are a minority-owned small business certified by a number of agencies and organizations across the United States. Our mission for 27 years has been to drive our clients’ organizations forward by transforming processes, increasing operational efficiencies, and maximizing return on investment.

Catalyst has a rich history of using technology to transform the way municipal services are rendered to constituents. Our service areas include, but are not limited to, Salesforce development, CRM system implementation, 311 system best practices, custom application development and support, mobile development, user experience, information security, and infrastructure support. Catalyst’s work on the City of Chicago’s 311 modernization is an initiative that holds the title of the largest Salesforce 311/CRM implementation in American history.

About the City of Chicago – Department of Innovation and Technology
The Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) is the City of Chicago’s central IT organization, providing a number of technology and telecommunications services to departments, the Mayor, Aldermen, residents, businesses and tourists.

DoIT supports Mayor’s Emanuel’s vision to realize Chicago’s potential as a city where technology fuels opportunity, inclusion, engagement, and innovation for all by:

• Facilitating creative thought to improve existing City processes
• Designing and implementing systems to power processes and services
• Leveraging data to drive decision-making and improve City service delivery
• Piloting and evaluating new technologies
• Producing and contributing to open source projects
• Supporting public access to technology at City facilities
• Building strategic partnerships

About Salesforce
Salesforce is the world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Our cloud-based applications for sales, service, marketing, and more don’t require IT experts to set up or manage — simply log in and start connecting to customers in a whole new way.

Catalyst Listed in Upcity’s Top 8 Salesforce Consultants

Chicago, IL – Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc (CCG) is proud to announce it was recently featured in Upcity as one of the Top 8 Salesforce Consultants in Chicago.

The UpCity team analyzed Salesforce consultants in Chicago to find the most reputable partners for small and medium-sized business owners. As an IT consulting firm, Catalyst has a team of experienced tech professionals that are certified in Salesforce. Catalyst has utilized the Salesforce platform in many projects, such as for the Cook County President’s Office, Service, Inc., and the current 311 modernization project with the City of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). The 311 modernization project involves moving the city’s 20-year-old 311 system over to Salesforce. Catalyst has over 10 years of combined experience working with Salesforce workforce management and over half the members of the Catalyst Salesforce team hold certifications in Salesforce.

As such, Catalyst is honored to be featured in UpCity’s list as a top Salesforce Consultant in Chicago’s thriving tech industry. We will continue to bring our extensive Salesforce qualifications, familiarity, and development experience to our clients to help them navigate the ever-changing waters of the fast-growing technology industry.

You can view the full list here.

About UpCity
Now in its seventh year, UpCity covers 300+ local US markets and Canada, ranging from major cities, like New York, to cities of approximately 75,000 people. With 150,000 small-to-medium businesses coming to its marketplace monthly and having vetted and validated over 15,000 agencies, UpCity is the most trusted, and most turned-to, source for local businesses seeking digital marketing agencies and professionals to help them meet expansion and customer acquisition goals.

UpCity helps agencies grow and run their businesses, via strategic counsel, scalable revenue and marketing services, and operations tools.

About Salesforce
Salesforce is the world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Our cloud-based applications for sales, service, marketing, and more don’t require IT experts to set up or manage — simply log in and start connecting to customers in a whole new way.

About Catalyst
At Catalyst, building meaningful, valuable connections with our clients and partners is just as important as the technology solutions we create. Taking the time to understand the ins and outs of your business isn’t just something we like to use in our sales pitch. It is embedded within the core values of our firm. It is the first step in our business approach and it is how we’ve sustained long-lasting relationships with our clients for the past 24 years and earned our reputation as a top salesforce consultant.

Each member of our team brings an innovative approach to the solutions we develop, is committed to your business and is easily accessible when needed most. Let us be the CATALYST that sets you on the course to success without compromising what makes you, you. For more information please visit our website at: www.catconsult.com.