• June 1, 2020
  • By Dmitry Zhugin, chief technology officer, VRP Consulting

How to Build a Practical Industry-Specific Solution Using Lightning Bolt

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As the near-global lockdown continues, it looks like we’ll emerge into an era where business automation and digitization become the new normal. And yes, Salesforce should also shape up in view of the new market calls.

At VRP Consulting, we’ve long been passionate about Salesforce, with the whole kit and caboodle of enterprise workflow automation opportunities it offers. To stay in tune with the technology’s progress and contribute to the Salesforce community, last October we held an internal Lightning Bolt Challenge.

The idea was to stimulate the team to research the AppExchange’s Lightning Bolt solutions so that each employee could come up with their own innovative product concept. The winning suggestion would be built by a dedicated VRP Consulting engineering team and submitted to AppExchange. The winner? Presciently enough, it was a telehealth platform for doctors and patients to connect remotely—just months before the COVID-19 pandemic would make such platforms valuable and necessary for communities worldwide.

Each Initiative Welcomed

Let’s have a closer look at what comprises a Lightning Bolt solution. Such products include custom Lightning apps, components, flows, and Community Templates—or simply put, a user interface and a business logic. Lightning Bolt is a module that can be easily deployed to a Community Cloud.

Insofar as each of our employees has developed insight into the technology, for the challenge we decided to accept ideas from across the team, from engineers and manager alike. This way, we produced a pool of 19 ideas that were drawn from different standpoints—both low-level engineering and high-level business or strategic.

All the project entries were carefully analyzed, with 10 applicants accepted for the challenge’s final pitch competition. From a series of presentations, we chose the winner, a Lightning Bolt-powered community for healthcare services providers.

TeleHealth Platform for Doctor-Patient Engagement

While we couldn’t see the global pandemic coming, the idea of a telehealth solution resonated with the evolving digital-first trend even months ago. The winning concept belongs to our Salesforce developer, Sergei Kozak.

His platform enables patients to schedule appointments with doctors, clinicians, or carers, based on their real-time availability, specialization, qualifications, and more. On top of that, it looked like an additional Health Cloud value proposition. By implementing this template, any private company could launch a ready-to-use website, along with business logic, leadership pieces, how-tos, and best practices.

From Ideation to Completion

In just a week after the challenge final, we built a four-member development team, including the idea owner. To ultimately adapt the future solution to business and user needs, the team reached out for CTO, designer, and BA expertise throughout the whole software development life cycle. The engineering took around three months, and then the team proceeded with a security review.

Recently, the package PatientX made it to the AppExchange, where it’s available for a free download. The community-based solution is underpinned by both Aura Components and standard Salesforce functionality like Event Calendar, CMS Collection, and more. Intended for healthcare service providers, the system allows them to completely automate appointment processes while easily scaling and customizing the solution to their specific needs.

What’s in it for companies, on top of no-pay availability? Think of it as a simple out-of-the-box platform that offers all the basic functionality a medical center requires to establish a consistent workflow. Additionally, the team has implemented video call functionality that enables patients to contact doctors for urgent qualified help remotely. Quite what any telecom solution is expected to support in our times, we believe. Further development plans include continuous package upgrades and feature updates.

How Challenges Translate into Benefits

First and foremost, thanks to the Lightning Bolt Challenge we’ve jump-started our team’s willingness to improve their knowledge and grow innovation muscle. This was a win-win initiative for both the company and the employees, as we involved the applicants in a new project and added a consistent value-based product to our track record.

Notably, we also enjoyed the opportunity to test the waters with the Lightning Bolt templates. Though the experience was new for VRP Consulting, we believe it was a success, and the recently published branded product is tangible proof of it.

How to Make It to a Good Solution

So how does a value-powered idea come to mind (and fruition)? We asked Sergei Kozak, the challenge winner, for advice. Here are his three simple takeaways:

  • Think of the targeted issue from the standpoint of your personal experience. Review your previous projects and forget the “fake it till you make it” approach.
  • Let the solution be simple. Salesforce is exclusively positioned to simplify user routines, without taking much adoption effort.
  • Before getting down to business, try explaining your project’s idea to someone. Prepare a presentation and underpin it with a strong pitch; you’ll see it’s a terrific help when you need to sort out your thoughts.

So what makes Lightning Bolt such an ideal platform for innovation? From the vendor standpoint, Lightning Bolt templates can be used to build well-targeted, industry-specific solutions that are instrumental in meeting basic enterprise needs, increasing brand awareness, and showcasing expertise. From the clients’ standpoint, the Lightning Bolt library offers a wealth of free customized Community packages, be they healthcare, e-commerce, education, marketing, M&E, insurance, or other domains. This means you can help clients seamlessly automate their business processes during this turbulent period, whatever the target industry.

VRP Consulting’s team wishes you to take care, stay healthy and positive, and never be afraid to innovate—it’s worth it.

Dmitry Zhugin is the chief technology officer at VRP Consulting. Dmitry has been at the company for 10 years, starting as a Salesforce developer, moving on to Salesforce solution architect, and now serving as CTO. Dmitry has accumulated a rich well of practical knowledge and skills to efficiently manage the team’s engineering workflows and share his insights across specialized meetups, conferences, and webinars, as well as supporting and mentoring the newcomers while challenging their creativity with leadership initiatives.

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