Coming home from military service brings a host of challenges for service members and their families. Transition from military service to civilian life can be hard, without a clear path forward or dedicated support from their local community. Transitioning service members can offer tremendous value to the private sector, yet without support and assistance with navigation of available resources and services, their potential may be lost, resulting in frustration and isolation.
In 2014, two veterans envisioned a way to bridge this disconnect between transitioning military service members and their families, and local communities. They founded RP/6 (“RallyPoint/6”), an organization that serves as a rallying point for service members, veterans, and their families who are returning to civilian life. The organization engages a broad range of partners from the public and military provider ecosystem to collaborate and provide critical resources and support services. RP/6 is dedicated to helping clients define their next mission in civilian life, and take active steps towards their future.
On the Path Forward
RP/6 takes a tailored concierge approach to serving their constituency. Their core SCOUT program matches each client with a “Scout” (case manager) who helps them establish goals and an action plan for their transition, and supports them on every step of the journey.
To amplify client engagement, RP/6 wanted to develop an app that allowed clients to track and manage their own progress, as well as more easily communicate with their Scout. In early 2015, RP/6 consolidated their legacy business systems and processes. They moved all their operations, including case management, over to the Salesforce for Nonprofits platform with an administration interface built on Force.com. The new mobile app needed to tie into their existing Salesforce system in order to empower Scouts to follow their cases in real-time and more effectively help clients stay on course.
Planning for Action on Heroku + Salesforce
RP/6 and their mission inspired a group of Salesforce engineers to volunteer to build the new Action Plan app on behalf of the SCOUT initiative. Naturally turning to the Salesforce Platform, the team chose to build the new app on Heroku, which gave them the freedom to develop a highly engaging user experience.
With the Heroku platform, we were able to build a great user experience for our first app that we can easily evolve in the future. Kylee Durant, COO, RP/6
The development team consisted of a Heroku architect, front-end developers, UX designer, and RP/6’s Salesforce administrator. Over the course of approximately 5 months, and 187 hours of pro bono work, the team built a responsive mobile app on Heroku tied to Salesforce on the back-end.
The Action Plan app was built as a model-view-controller (MVC) application using Ruby on Rails to generate a responsive HTML front-end. This more traditional approach enabled the team to iteratively prototype, review, and get the app up and running quickly. The next phase will adopt a more modern approach with an API running on Heroku that serves a React or AngularJS front-end.
One key requirement for the app was real-time messaging. Allowing clients to message or chat with their Scout remotely would help maintain the momentum of their progress due to ongoing coaching support. As RP/6 was already using Salesforce Chatter internally, they chose to integrate it into the Action Plan app on Heroku. Clients see a Chatter-like interface within the app, and Scouts use their existing Chatter client.
All data synchronization happens using Heroku Connect. This enables data to flow freely between the Heroku app and Salesforce, supporting both client and Scout in real-time as they work together. On the Heroku side, data is stored in Heroku Postgres.
Heroku Connect allows us to seamlessly sync data between our client-facing app and Salesforce, so our case managers can follow their clients’ progress in real-time. Kylee Durant, COO, RP/6
Ready for Scale
With the Action Plan app, RP/6 has been able to greatly improve client engagement, moving from occasional touch points with a Scout to an ongoing and progressive conversation. Clients can fulfill their goals faster through a continuous coaching experience rather than rely on sporadic interaction with their Scouts.
The app launched in May 2016, and RP/6 has seen significant results in only a couple of months. To date, 20% of RP/6’s client base is now actively using Action Plan, and all new clients are provided access to the app. With Heroku, RP/6 can seamlessly scale their capacity to meet the growing numbers of transitioning military personnel.
Running our client-facing app on Heroku allows us to seamlessly scale our operations to meet the needs of a growing client base. Kylee Durant, COO, RP/6
With the new Action Plan app on Heroku, RP/6’s message to their clients is loud and clear: “We’ve got your back.”