When demonstrating the application to our federal counterparts at the Veterans Administration, they commented not only how impressed they were with the deliverables but also mentioned that they were a little embarrassed that as the federal side, they are supposed to be out in front. But here in Utah, we’re leading the way in modernizing veterans cemetery management.
The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs faced the loss of a federal support contract for a kiosk physically located at the Veterans Cemetery just north of Camp Williams. The kiosk allowed cemetery visitors to enter the name of an interred veteran and be shown a map of where his or her burial site could be located.
The VMA approached the DTS Salesforce team about not only replacing the kiosk functionality, but taking a holistic approach to the entire workflow from being contacted by funeral home directors requesting a plot all the way to coordinating with the ground crew to ensure the ground and area were prepped for memorial services.
The DTS Salesforce team did business analysis, project management, development, application testing, and staff training as part of this project. The new application has replaced a physical ledger and 3×5 cards and automated the submission of reports to external entities. The physical kiosk is still functional, but a mobile-friendly webpage cemetery.veterans.utah.gov (with a QR code on site) can be utilized that integrates with Google Maps. The application displays relevant information about the veteran, and then guides the patron either to the section of the cemetery or all the way to the burial marker depending on what data is available.
Jim Bedingfield, the State VMA product owner, commented that this has been the best project he’s been involved in, whether DTS or private sector, in his 8 years with the state. He lauded the expertise and creativity of the DTS team.
The agency intends to enhance the application in the future adding an eCommerce portion allowing funeral directors to request a plot and pay for that plot via the website, and also more robust integration with the Utah Veterans Information System application which serves as a veteran record document repository.