Hack-a-thon: an event in which computer programmers and others in the field of software development, like graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software-related projects (Wikipedia).
Dominion Enterprises has held several hackathons per year over the last six years and one of these annual events is exclusively for internal employees to tackle internal problems. This year, the competition was kicked up a notch by offering $17k in potential prize money, the most ever awarded at an internal hackathon in DE history. This enticed the winners to integrate Salesforce into their apps as well as providing a solution to an everyday sales issue.
Sales is a huge part of what Dominion Enterprises does. Data and technology can empower your sales staff. All organizations have a current sales process that could be more easily solved through technology. The mission of this hackathon was to create a piece of technology that solves a current, real sales problem.
Each team was allowed to write code over a 35-hour time period. Within that time allotment, teams were required to create a product and have a solid presentation to sell their sales tool to the judges in only five minutes at the end of day two.
Forming the Team
Each team was comprised of a random selection of friends that came together based on strategy. One team at the event had a Product Development Manager (who created their presentation), a Database Developer (who worked on their API), a Front End/Full Stack Developer and an App Developer. While another team (short one team member) had an Engineer/UI/Full Stack Developer (who worked on their API and databases), Product Manager (also dabbling in Graphic Design), a UI/UX Developer and an iOS Developer. Most of the members on each team were doing tasks that they would in their everyday life at Dominion Enterprises, but they were also stepping outside of their expertise and gaining new experiences.
Day One: Start Hacking
Each team was equipped with a Salesforce Sandbox that contained a subset of production data. They were also provided a panel of Salesforce developers, including a Salesforce Platform Evangelist from Salesforce to assist them with their technical platform questions during the event.
The teams communicated with each other fluidly throughout the event via chat apps like Slack, or scheduled Google Hangouts if they were working with a remote member. During the first day, ideas were being turned into tangible results. It was exciting! Some teams ran into snags a few hours into hacking. These challenges ranged from issues with Salesforce queries to problems interacting with their API’s.
Day Two: The Presentation
The second day is when most teams began to think about their presentation and bring the small details together. Special features that were considered on Day One didn’t make the cut on Day Two. The judging panel was made up of Rusty Friddell (DE General Counsel), Robert Berndt (President of Dominion Dealer Solutions), Lori Stacy (President of Dominion Web Solutions), Bridget Cherry (CRM Manager), and James Ward (Salesforce Platform Evangelist). The judging was based on three categories: Revenue Generation, Readiness and Adaptability. From those categories, there were three possible prizes: Best in Show, Most Innovative and Most Polished with a total prize pot of $17,000.
The Winning Teams
Best in Show – Team Data Piper
Data Piper SRT is a prospecting and research tool. It utilizes the power of Google and Salesforce to find new and existing businesses, then analyzes key aspects to determine whether they are a good fit or not.
Team Data Piper: From left to right Allen Torrez (Hackathon Chair), Lucien Frelin, Krishna Ranga, Josiah Baker (Hackathon Co-Chair), Brandon Beigay, Anthony Bittle, Jose Mateo
Most Innovative – Team The Proud Boys
Whiteboard focused on improving an existing tool used in Homes.com Internal Tools that could save an Account Executive an average of an hour’s worth of work when trying to build an order.
Team The Proud Boys: From left to right Allen Torrez (Hackathon Chair), Raghavasi Cheedalla, Rahath Cherukuri, Franck Tchouambou, Josiah Baker (Hackathon Co-Chair), Corey Dixon, Chanakya Pallapolu
Most Polished – Team Nunchuck Ducks
The Fortuna Account Score is a ranking system that helps identify the ROI a dealer/account is getting from our services. The score is an aggregate comprised of the dollar amount the dealer is spending, how many leads, clicks, and impressions they are getting and how much inventory they have. Comparing the expected counts to actual counts and with metrics such as spend per lead, we can dynamically generate recommendations for up-selling a dealer or improving their ROI.
Team Nunchuck Ducks: From left to right Allen Torrez (Hackathon Chair), Derek Drummond, Chad Gray, Quentin Headen, Josiah Baker (Hackathon Co-Chair), Alicia Sedarski
As the event came to a close, the judges were impressed with the quality of work that came from Dominion’s employees. All of the hackathon participants gained a ‘bigger picture’ view of their businesses.
70.6% of the event participants had never worked with Salesforce before and learned something new about their business while 94% of those polled said that they would come back to participate in another hackathon event.
Dominion Enterprises employs all types of people with all types of different backgrounds and specialities. DE puts on multiple events like the Hackathon every year and it’s always a great and successful way to not only improve business, but to get to know others outside of your divisions. If you want to view our live feed from the final presentations, check out #DEHackSales or @DomEnterprises on Twitter!