VRP recently won the global Salesforce Partner Innovation Award 2020 in the Manufacturing & Energy sector for our work with Rolls-Royce on the Yocova platform. Yocova is transforming aviation by providing data exchange, collaboration and a marketplace helping airlines & manufacturers to solve business challenges such as safely returning fleets to the air.
Every year, Salesforce recognizes partners for outstanding innovation in delivering transformative solutions and customer success. So we asked Will Lamb, our Managing Director for UKI and executive sponsor on the Rolls-Royce program for his insights on how VRP approached this award-winning project.
1. Think big, but start small
As with most Salesforce projects, it is best to avoid big bangs. We started with rapid prototyping to tackle a small but essential and technically complex architecture at the heart of the Yocova platform and delivered an alpha community to a controlled group of live members within 3 months. It was crucial to establish a vision early and empower decision making on functionality and features that would move us further towards the vision. Not all decisions were correct, but the rapid prototyping approach more than countered the possible inertia of endless design and specification.
2. Rapid prototyping approach
Amazon probably is the paradigm example of a business that assembles intelligent and highly skilled teams and backs them to deliver quickly without fear of being punished for changing direction later on. They are reaping the benefits of getting to market quickly and balancing risk and reward. The team Rolls-Royce assembled with us and its other partners was (and still is) exceptional. No idea was a bad idea, and thinking outside the box in our regular white-boarding concept sessions was actively encouraged. Very quickly a level of trust and empowerment was established, making this one of the most creative, compelling and rewarding projects I have ever been involved in.
3. Deliver benefits early and often
After the alpha launch, we worked hand-in-hand with the Yocova team to formulate a realistic and achievable roadmap, breaking down the features in iterative, regular releases that added value at every point. The rapid prototyping approach has been maintained, with designers testing out future roadmap concepts ahead of delivery sprints. The backlog was dynamic, prioritized often, and therefore flexible enough to adopt change according to market needs. When the pandemic hit, Yocova needed to adapt with the aviation sector as a whole and solve new business challenges such as how to safely return grounded fleets to the skies in a ‘planned and predictable’ way. Features and functionalities were added quickly and effectively to Yocova and the flexibility of our agile sprint team was key to this response.
4. Stable yet flexible teams
At VRP we have the scale, skill and experience across the Salesforce platform to be able to mobilize project teams quickly, providing the right types and level of roles according to client needs. Our UK team fosters deep client relationships and is in perfect sync with our technical delivery resources from Belarus and Poland. Company culture and employee well being comes first, and we therefore have the luxury of stability on long term projects. We have been able to ramp up and down the team easily to allow new areas of the platform to be covered as the roadmap determines and this makes our approach different to that of a GSI that needs to keep entire teams 100% utilized through the project lifecycle.
To a person, the entire VRP project team on Rolls-Royce deserves huge credit, especially our exceptional leads, Debbie, Dmitry, Mitesh, Jonathan, Alp, Alex, Tatiana and Anton. Moving from regular client workshops in person to fully remote working isn’t easy, but we have risen superbly to the challenge and are delivering even more effectively now than before.
5. Open communication
For a program of groundbreaking innovation, complexity and diverse organizational structure, open and honest internal and external communication is essential. Not all discussions are easy, but across the teams we have thrived in an environment and a spirit based on trust, skill, dedication and loyalty. This makes even the most challenging of hurdles possible to overcome.
Proud to win the Salesforce Partner Innovation award
Overall, I am hugely proud of our work with Rolls-Royce and all our clients. Leading VRP in the UK and spearheading our drive for consulting and delivery excellence as a Salesforce partner has been amazing. We have a long way to go, but winning these awards shows that we are doing the right things and providing services in the ecosystem that resonate with all types of clients.
Over a 20 year product and services consulting career, Will has worked the last 10 years in the Salesforce ecosystem, both on the client and partner sides. Will ran the Hi-Tech sector at Tquila (acquired by Accenture), establishing the first PDO in the UK and helping many ISVs innovate on the platform. On the client side he has run large enterprise programs helping businesses transform around Salesforce. Will joined VRP in 2018 to build up the UKI division and position the company as a go-to Salesforce partner.
Managing Director UKI