Empowering Employee Success with Calendar Integrations David Hallinan Published: January 19, 2019 Photo by Form on UnsplashWe’ve seen an uptick in companies using Kloudless in the employee success space and thought we’d share one of their achievements. The company–we’ll call it WorkWell Inc.–chose Kloudless for its specific calendaring needs. Here’s some context:The CompanyWorkWell Inc. helps companies make their workers feel appreciated. They do this mainly through employee experience apps, referred to as the WorkWell Cloud, which reinforce employees’ sense of purpose, accomplishment and connection to one another.The Use CaseThe WorkWell Cloud manifests worker appreciation by acknowledging anniversaries and achievements. For example, an app could acknowledge an employee for repeatedly engaging in behaviors that improve well-being, such as exercise or meditation. This functionality requires reliable integration with cloud calendar services such as Outlook, Google Calendar and more. The ChallengeTo start, the company built an integration with Microsoft Outlook from scratch themselves. This build-out sequestered a full-time engineer and took six months to deploy, effectively delaying WorkWell Inc.’s overall product roadmap. Building integrations one at a time could have worked on a small scale, however, WorkWell Inc. boasts 12 million+ users across more than 150+ countries. So not only did WorkWell Inc. need reliable integrations, but it also required integrations at scale, with a variety of calendar services and feature options for its diverse end-user base.Since WorkWell Inc. is in the employee success business and not the integrations business, it did not hire a calendar integrations specialist to build out and maintain integrations to calendars beyond Outlook. Doing so would require at least two more full-time engineers’ salaries and another roadmap delay.So, in recognition of the growing importance to its business of integrations at scale, WorkWell Inc. sought a tool to save them the time and resources they would lose in continuing a one-off-build strategy. And since WorkWell Inc. is all about personal empowerment, their product leaders desired a solution from a company with similar values. SpecificationsAt a basic level, WorkWell Inc. needed a core set of calendaring features that worked out of the box with users’ native calendaring software. These services include Outlook Calendar, Exchange Online, Google Calendar, and Exchange Server. The use case mentioned further above demonstrates this need: If an app is to celebrate a worker for engaging in several consecutive weeks of exercise and meditation, it needs to identify when that exercise occurred in the past, when it will occur in the future, and how frequently it can be expected to occur. WorkWell’s app needs to sync all historical and new event data from the users’ calendaring system for this purpose, and then track any changes to these events. Ideally, this could be done using a common data model that abstracts away the specifics of each system’s protocol and data format. The WorkWell engineering team required a solution that would handle the various edge cases and inconsistencies that arise between different users’ calendar accounts while maintaining a highly responsive, low latency API layer to access and sync calendar data. Further complicating matters, WorkWell Inc. wanted to self-host the solution in their private network and connect to on-premises deployments of Microsoft Exchange Server in their customers’ networks. Why? Serving end-users from enterprise companies all over the world, including European countries, necessitated enhanced data privacy and security measures. And last but not least, since the company was growing so quickly, they needed a flexible pricing model that could adjust with the company as it grew.The SolutionWhile a couple solutions on the market met some of the requirements, Kloudless met WorkWell Inc.’s needs above and more. Given Kloudless’ expertise in the native cloud calendar service APIs, the Kloudless Unified Calendar API offered pre-built-in features that WorkWell Inc. would no longer need to spend time building out–everything from CRUD endpoints for event data to real-time webhooks. What’s more, Kloudless took care of maintaining the calendar service integrations so the WorkWell Inc. engineers wouldn’t have to. From there, the company expanded its use of the Kloudless Calendar API beyond achievement tracking to enable internal meeting scheduling. With a simple link share, employees could match up availability and set meetings in seconds. They were also able to add functionality to their app that didn’t come out-of-the-box in every native cloud calendar service API, such as monitoring activity changes for specific calendars. And once WorkWell Inc. built its integration, it leveraged the Kloudless Meeting Scheduler UI tool to customize the end-user experience to each particular scenario. For an in-depth look at how you might build your own Calendar UI Tool as WorkWell Inc. did, read the blog post here. Kloudless also proved the right choice for its ability to access Exchange servers behind private firewalls by deploying a Kloudless Connect proxy to the customer’s network. More specifically, WorkWell Inc. deployed a HA cluster of Kloudless Docker containers within its private infrastructure that could connect to both cloud and on-prem calendaring systems. Click here for a more detailed account of how to use Kloudless to connect to Microsoft Exchange server.ResultsWorkWell Inc. estimates that using Kloudless saved upwards of $75K and six months of development time within a year. Furthermore, providing such a deep level of end-user options within the WorkWell Cloud differentiates WorkWell from its competitors whose products are limited to automation rules and the functionality of the native APIs. Thanks to fast deployment of calendar service integrations at scale, WorkWell Inc. can focus on what it does best–helping workers thrive.