Blog Category: Announcement

Catalyst Wrapped, Our 2022 in Review

Many look forward to the fresh start of a new year as the time to set new goals and start new habits. While this socially embraced, forward-thinking tradition is productive, it sometimes takes the attention away from reflection on the passing year. As we approach the year’s end, we feel it’s important to pause and dive into our most memorable Catalyst moments of 2022!

Introducing Catalyst Wrapped, our highlight reel of reached milestones, celebrating a successful year of challenge met with determination, growth and new heights! Check out the video recap here, and learn more about each milestone below.

A milestone birthday! Catalyst celebrated 30 years in business in May!
Since our beginnings in the basement of our CEO’s first home, we have grown to serve over 500 clients with elegant solutions. We have spearheaded award-winning work for the public sector, guiding governments along their paths to modernization. The last 3 decades have been defined with much success. Our birthday wish? We know we shouldn’t tell, but we hope the next 30 years are as sweet as the first 30 years!

We were in the Salesforce spotlight! Tim, our Managing Principal and COO, discussed our Toronto 311 implementation on a Salesforce webinar with Toronto!

Our trailblazing work with the City of Toronto didn’t go unnoticed. Of the several highlights, Catalyst’s very own, Tim Smith, Managing Principal and COO, discussed the implementation with the City of Toronto and Salesforce on The Salesforce Trailblazer Community Meeting Series.

And the award goes to…. Catalyst Consulting Group! We won our third Salesforce Partner Innovation Award for Public Sector!
Our team’s implementation of the City of Toronto’s 311 non-emergency services center, “Toronto At Your Service”, was recognized with Salesforce’s 2022 Partner Innovation Award for Public Sector. The award marks our third, having earned the PIA for Public Sector in 2019 and for Transportation in 2020.

This year, we’ve flown to new heights…and new places! Catalyst resumed on-site travel in Q3 and Q4!

We are excited to be visiting clients once again, as well as attending industry events, in-person! This year, some of our travel included trips to: Washington State, Houston, South Carolina, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. We feel our client relationships are strengthened when meeting beyond our computer screens, and we are grateful we had the opportunity to travel.

Our team members celebrated double-digit work anniversaries! Those who have been with us the longest celebrated 17 years!

We celebrate all of our team members’ work anniversaries, but 17 years calls for a special highlight. We want to thank Tim Smith and Mo Khan, Managing Director, for their dedication and hard work ethic throughout nearly 2 decades with us. Team members like Mo and Tim are what define
the Catalyst difference.

Hello, fellow government technologists! Catalyst sponsors the Engage311 Conference in Phoenix, Arizona in May 2022.

This conference convenes annually to talk about the power of non-emergency services to help cities and counties thrive. We were thrilled to spend time with leaders across North America to discuss how technology can boost internal efficiencies among staff, while deepening the relationship between public sector and people.

We’ve expanded our footprint! We now have contracts in 14 states, as well as in 2 cities and 1 region in Canada!

In 2022, we had the privilege of completing projects in American states we hadn’t worked in before, including Texas and Massachusetts. Beyond just the USA, we’re proud to share our Canadian presence has extended throughout Ontario, as we undertake 311 projects with the Region of York and Town of Oakville.

Hey, NYC! We’re especially excited to say we signed our first contract in New York City for system integrator services, which will go into effect January 2023.

We’re taking a bite out of the Big Apple, too! Our first New York City contract is slated to begin in January as we’ve been accepted into a Task Order pool as an approved vendor to provide support and enhancements to New York City’s technology ecosystem.

Sweet Home Chicago! We deepened our long-term partnership with the City of Chicago, launching a significant Salesforce CRM solution for the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

There’s no place like home! We are excited to continually serve the City of Chicago, expanding to their Department of Family and Support Services. As always, we are aiming for this project to set precedent for how we could best serve other cities in the modernization of their departments’ systems.

Welcome to the team! We’ve hired 27 team members this year, with 60% of them filling new roles.

Our Catalyst team has welcomed 27 new faces this year, and we are evolving as a company in the functions that we cover, internally and externally! This growth is testimony to the dedication and effort that each team member has brought and continues to bring to their work here at Catalyst and for our clients.

Thank you all for a great 2022! We like to think of Catalyst as a firm that belongs to its team, and we hope that you all celebrate these milestones as part of your personal achievements for the year. These accomplishments couldn’t have been achieved without you. We are looking forward to 2023 and are excited for what the future holds!

Giving Thanks with Catalyst Founder and CEO, Arvin Talwar

Dear Catalyst Friends and Family:

I love this time of year: food, football, family, and friends. It is everything I love, packaged in a nice long weekend.

It is also a great time to reflect and for all of us to take a pause and be grateful. No matter what you are dealing with, take a moment or more to look around your world and appreciate all the things that make you – you.

Me? I always try to focus on “the Journey.” Life is complicated and messy. There is always something that dominates your mind and cycles: family, work, health

Life happens when you are planning other stuff. This will never change. In my own life experiences, I focus on how to best deal with my challenges versus, “Why do I have to deal with them?” Not easy, but it works.

Part of the recipe to enjoying the Journey is being grateful.

We are all an amalgamation of our experiences. Our experiences are formed by all of those that we relate to or with. Think about that. There are 8 billion people in this world, and your journey and experiences are likely formed and driven by a handful.

If you spend time with these people, you probably like or love them. Otherwise, why are you spending time with them? I get we can’t ONLY spend time with people that positively affect our Journey. But, for those that do positively affect your Journey, be grateful and thank them.

For me, my family is my MapQuest for my Journey. They set my life route. It is what I try to follow…every day. Detours happen almost every day, but I usually always get where I want to go, guided by their love and support.

My Catalyst Family is critical to my Journey. I love and am proud of what we have built here at Catalyst. I get very excited as we welcome new family members. I want to thank all of you for being part of my Journey. I miss seeing our office full of energy, laughter, and, yes, tension. It was invigorating and exhilarating. I hope we continue our onsite office visits in to 2023. I am so grateful and so lucky to have you all in my 360.

I wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving. And please tell them how much you appreciate them and how cool it is to be on your Journey — with them.

Happy Holidays,
Arvin K. Talwar
Founder and CEO of Catalyst Consulting Group

Catalyst Is a Three-Time Salesforce Partner Innovation Award Winner

Catalyst Consulting, a proud Salesforce Partner, has been awarded this year’s Salesforce Partner Innovation Award for the Public Sector category. The team has been recognized for the implementation of the City of Toronto’s non-emergency service center, “Toronto At Your Service,” built on Salesforce. The award will be presented at Dreamforce on September 19-21, 2022, in San Francisco, California.

The Partner Innovation Award for the Public Sector recognizes Catalyst and the City’s innovative use of the Salesforce Ecosystem and dedication to enhancing the constituent service experience.

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.

Catalyst Consulting has been empowering governments by providing elegant solutions and implementations to complex issues since 1990. This marks the team’s third win, also taking the Partner Innovation Award for the Public Sector in 2019 and Transportation in 2020.

Reflecting on what contributed to the award win, Catalyst’s Founder and CEO Arvin Talwar noted, “We strive to treat every client like they are our only client.” The Salesforce Partner Innovation award highlights this approach and drive for elegant solutions within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Catalyst is both humbled and honored to win the Partner Innovation Award for the Public Sector, and the team thanks the innovative leaders at the City of Toronto for their partnership.

In Memoriam: Bill Brandstatt

The Catalyst team mourns the loss of our colleague and friend, Bill Brandstatt, who passed away on May 22, 2022.

Bill gave ten years of hard work and dedication to our team and will be greatly missed. He will be remembered as a great mentor to all of us at Catalyst, and more importantly, a beloved father, fiancée, son, and brother.

We will always cherish the time we had with him.

Please keep Bill’s family in your thoughts. Your support is deeply appreciated as his family and friends go through this difficult time.

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.