Appirio has been promoting the idea of Software-as-a-Strategic-Weapon (SaaS-W). The basic premise of SaaS-W is that implementing software to achieve operational efficiency is no longer enough. The firms that develop software that differentiates themselves from their competition will win market share.
The idea behind SaaS-W is more than a marketing campaign to us, it is something we are betting our business on. For us to compete as an implementation partner, we have built and continue to develop custom apps that give our team a competitive edge. For the first time in one place, we reveal five of our custom Salesforce apps we use as strategic software weapons and hopefully give you some ideas on how your company can leverage custom CRM applications to beat your competition.
1. Gamification Engine
Appirio’s Gamification Engine (AGE) is an internal rewards and recognition tool housed in Salesforce and built on Force.com. Appirians earn points and badges on AGE for going above-and-beyond in their goals, reaching company milestones and being an influential employee overall. Employees earn points by completing “challenges” or being recognized by their managers for noteworthy performance.
Everyone has an AGE Profile (see screen shot), that in essence tells that person’s Appirio story – including interests, how long they have been an Appirian, what have they been doing recently, who they are recognizing, and so on.
Appirio is a company spread out across the world. Many of us work from home, or are constantly traveling to customer offices. Keeping the team unified and inspired is key to our business, and AGE does a great job keeping us motivated.
2. Appirio’s Product Templates
One of the keys to Appirio’s success is not “re-inventing the wheel” with every project that comes aling. Project delivery templates at Appirio represent known successful patterns and describe the type of work we expect to do for common types of projects. Each project template is stored in our force.com-built Cloud Management Center (CMC) Work Manager as a Product with supporting Components and User Stories. These Stories contain the description of changes we would make on a project, along with supporting tasks and test cases.
Business Analysts begin by finding the template product that most matches their current project. We have templates for Sales, Service, and a variety of industries (Financial, Media, and so on). When we clone the product, we choose the elements we want from the template.
3. Appirio’s Asset Library
The Cloud Asset Library (CAL) is a repository for technology and documentation IP created by Appirians. These assets allow us to deliver projects faster for our customers. We measure the amount of time our assets save through a Salesforce report and dashboard. In Q1 of 2014, for example, we saved 1,829.5 hours of labor!
4. Customer Data Vault
Sales people always run into situations where a prospect wants to know “where else have you done x?” To help our team answer this question, we have developed a custom app (again, on the Force.com platform) called the Customer Data Vault (CDV) – a library of searchable customer stories tagged with technologies and other project metrics. Also, Salesforce1 has made these customer stories available on everyone’s smart phone and iPad.
5. Mobile Docs
If you saw me at our booth at Dreamforce, there was something on my iPad I was constantly looking at (besides Angry Birds). This was our Mobile Docs application – a custom mobile library of our key documents, presentations and videos.
Mobile Docs uses a few custom Force.com objects along with Salesforce Content to push out relavant documentation to our team. The interface is cool too, and is configurable.