Stouffer, the operations manager for the Trek-Segafredo cycling team, must oversee the lines of communication between a staff of 50, all of whom can be scattered throughout the globe on a given workday. Shortly after finishing a stage at this fall’s Japan Cup Cycle Road Race, Trek’s cyclists might need to get in touch with team mechanics on site, engineers back in the U.S. and Stouffer from his base in Belgium. In prior years, a pertinent conversation between a rider and a mechanic or a technical director and a team doctor might get lost in the shuffle. But with Trek’s recent partnership with multinational software giant CA Technologies, such gaffes appear to be a thing of the past.
With CA Flowdock, the company’s team collaboration app for mobile, desk and web platforms, Trek can centralize all of its efforts with the nifty, cutting-edge tool. If 2008 Olympic gold medalist Fabian Cancellara has an issue with the Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical shifting on his revamped Trek Domane, his mechanics can communicate instantly with an engineer on the other side of the world, via Flowdock. The software contains a real-time chat room, a team inbox for e-mails and an efficient file sharing system for uploads and storage among other features.
While helping Trek-Segafredo communicate and coordinate a large volume of work in terms of logistics, travel information, marketing and social media, CA Flowdock also serves as a single source for rider feedback on new equipment advancement and testing that can be fed right back to Trek’s corporate office to accelerate the R&D lifecycle, said Dru Jacobs, Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing — Agile Management at CA Technologies. Just as critically, CA Flowdock provides a centralized site, in a single context or screen that cuts down on the overhead associated with managing multiple different work and communication streams.
“When we got CA on board, they presented us with this tool,” Stouffer said. “Right away our technical director shared this information with their engineers and you could see their mouths watering because now they would be able to get that information instantaneously.”
Unlike a NASCAR or a Formula 1 driver, Trek cyclists often play an integral role with product development before a new model hits the market. Cancellara, for instance, tested a version of the Domane while capturing the Strade Bianche in early-March, ahead of the highly-anticipated launch several weeks later. Constructed to reduce shocks or vibrations while a rider is seated, the Domane’s ability to handle cobbled roads or unanticipated bumps can be enhanced even further by suggestions from the Trek-Segafredo cyclists.
“A lot of that rider feedback can now be communicated and collected efficiently through Flowdock,” Stouffer said. “It’s really a time saver, the biggest thing for us is to be able to develop a product and get it to our riders quickly. From a Trek standpoint, the quicker we can get it to our riders, the quicker we can get it developed, the quicker we can get it to market.”
Early on in the negotiation process, Jacobs had a strong premonition that the partnership could have a “glove-like fit” for both companies. Besides working with 46 of Fortune’s Top 50 companies, CA Technologies also partners with all 20 of the world’s largest banks, 23 of the nation’s top 25 federal agencies, eight of the 10 largest defense/aerospace companies and nine of 10 leading pharmaceutical companies. Jacobs envisions CA Technologies’ relationship with Trek as analogous to its work with the aforementioned titans of the public and private sector.