It is a milestone year for us at Appsolutely! On December 19, 2021 we turned 5. It makes us especially proud to see that we continue to thrive. Despite the last two years of unseen challenges due to the pandemic, all signs say that we’ll continue to grow in all ways. This is also a good moment to reflect on our journey till now, the lessons we’ve learnt and celebrate our achievements.
Appsolutely was born as an idea when two employees at Salesforce - Jaap Branderhorst and Floor Knoups, felt there was a dearth of European Salesforce partners, that could enable ISVs to build their products for the eco system. Jaap Branderhorst, Appsolutely’s Managing Partner adds, “They were either not capable of doing a high quality implementation or able to offer high-quality products. Due to a lack of resources or maybe capability.” Their vision was to create an organization that would be more efficient and be able to show the remarkable possibilities that Salesforce could offer. Though Floor really had to convince Jaap to leave Salesforce, since he loved the people and the company. Floor Knoups, Managing Partner at Appsolutely, says “We wanted to build a great company where people could challenge themselves. A place people would like to work for and learn at.” This unwavering focus on people has been the driving force behind Appsolutely’s success. In the initial phase, we had the support of the McCoy Group, which laid the foundation for our growth.
“Appsolutely is a Salesforce Summit partner and a frontrunner in the Salesforce Partner ecosystem.” - Floor Knoups, Managing Partner at Appsolutely
Our People are our biggest strength
We have an exceptional team. For us, a long-term relationship with our people is very important. Employees like Harm Korten have been with us almost from day one and the team continues to grow. Says Harm “I was the second employee here. I was just excited to work on AppExchange, be part of a start-up. I like the fact that there is no or low hierarchy and we still retain the essence of a small company. I never saw any reason to leave for a new challenge.” Loan Nguyen, one of the most recent employees, came in with a clear idea of what to expect. “I knew another employee here, so I understood a little bit about the company. I knew I was going to work with lots of technical and smart people and I would also have fun with my colleagues.”
Besides reflecting our competencies, our employees also identify with our company culture. One of our core values, since the beginning, has been inclusivity. There are currently people of 14 different nationalities that make this organization. Jaap Branderhorst: “Of course there are challenges with intercultural communication but that is something we need to keep working on. We also know we want to work with people whose values align with ours.”
Appsolutely - 5 years of connecting people, knowledge, software and business
When individuals grow, your business grows
Another aspect of the people focus is nurturing talent and supporting personal growth. One of our initiatives ‘Appsolutely Grow’ challenges people to advance their skills since we believe continuous development as a professional is very important. Today we have more than 250 Salesforce certifications amongst all our employees.
These certifications and specializations were also a factor in Appsolutely becoming a Salesforce Summit partner. Floor Knoups: “The recognition that you’re working for a fast-evolving company and bringing the right quality to the market is a big pat on the back for the whole team. It’s a quality stamp. Appsolutely is a Salesforce Summit partner and a frontrunner in the Salesforce Partner ecosystem.”
Appsolutely Summer BBQ 2018
We also believe in encouraging employees to develop their soft skills. We have a learning platform where people can follow courses to improve on proficiencies like giving proper feedback, time management, handling stress etc. While yet another initiative – Appventures - encourages new entrepreneurial ideas. If someone has a new business or product idea, we want to explore it and see if it could be built into a product that we can launch in the market.
"We want to grow but as a result of continuing to do the right thing, not as the outcome we chase” - Floor Knoups, Managing Partner at Appsolutely
Facing challenges as a team
Team spirit is what got Appsolutely through the last two years. When the global pandemic forced a lot of companies to reevaluate their priorities, we managed to keep going without slowing down or taking a step back.
Jaap Branderhorst: “The best decision we took was either we go through it together, regardless of what it takes, or we don’t go through it at all. Every year temporary contracts were made permanent. We have taken other (some unpopular) measures, we worked together and did it as a team. It brought a lot of value to our organization”.
What also helped was the fact that we were already functioning with a hybrid work model. People could choose to work from the office, their home or the client site - making it convenient for people to work remotely if needed. Floor Knoups: “It was a decision based on trust. We don’t do micromanagement; we evaluate people based on the output. The idea was always to retain the best minds, not just locally.”
It is important to have fun
It is very important that our people connect outside of work, not just on projects. The 'Appsolutely Gezellig' team plans and organizes social activities for our employees. You can catch our team having monthly lunches together or at sports events where we play padel or go cycling and mountain biking. We have also organized ski trips, when travel was possible. Participation is voluntary but we’re happy to report that the turnout has always been high. We always welcome ideas from employees for these activities as well. For instance, at one of the monthly socials a Brazilian colleague cooked food from his country and made Brazilian cocktails for all of us. It was his initiative and while he felt welcomed, we all were able to participate in this wonderful experience.
Appsolutely Ski Trip 2019
Creating relationships not just a clientele
We apply the same thought and focus to our customers, as we do to our employees. We believe in long term relationships. The vision we have for the organization is to provide excellent service and inspire our customers. Floor Knoups: “We like offering our customers what they need, not just what they want. We don’t have an immediate fit with every customer but when we do, we can really deliver the best for them. We have a very knowledgeable team that is well versed in automating and improving business processes with Salesforce technology.”
One of our first clients was Stadlander, a social housing corporation. We helped them with various automation projects successfully, to make their customers’ journeys smoother and simpler. Says Henk Stoutjesdijk, ICT Manager, Stadlander, “What Appsolutely brought to the table was out-of-box thinking. They looked at the issues from the point of view of the customer, which is how we like to do things. Their thought process was very nontraditional. We have a relationship based on trust and we know we can rely on them.”
We just have one simple strategy for gaining customers. We believe that if you deliver quality, customers will find you. We get new projects through word of mouth and through this trusted network that we have been able to create.
The first Ride with Appsolutely in 2018
“We will grow, grow and grow – in the number of people, projects and technologies that we serve. - Jaap Branderhorst, Managing Partner at Appsolutely
What lies next? The roadmap for the next 5 years
When we look at the next 5 years, we see several challenges and opportunities. One of them is being able to grow without letting it affect the kind of organization we are. In Harm Korten’s words, “I’m interested in seeing how Jaap and Floor will keep the character of the company intact in the next few years”. We will keep on improving our processes and learning from the experience.
Jaap Branderhorst: “We will grow, grow and grow – in the number of people, projects and technologies that we serve. I would like us to focus even more on Product Development for the Salesforce AppExchange. It is, after all, part of our DNA. Going forward we want to be able to serve all clouds of Salesforce.”
Floor Knoups: “We always want to provide the platform for our people to develop. I think finding the right projects and customers - that fit with the team and where we can really apply ourselves – should evolve into organic growth of the organization. Growth should be the result of continuing to do the right thing, not the outcome we chase.”
We’re also in the nascent stages of being sustainable as a company. We have several programs in place that focus on lowering carbon emissions - whether it’s our hybrid work model or switching to electric lease vehicles. However, sustainability cannot be practiced in separate compartments. It must be a 360-degree effort. We hope to move further towards that goal and adopt it as part of our culture. This ambition is not just limited to the environment. We also aspire to be a more diverse team, and support opportunities for people who are distanced from the labor market.
Whichever area we focus on, the main guiding principle will always be the same - keeping people happy. Our biggest achievement is when our employees feel at home with Appsolutely.