(UK) and (US) Announce Strategic Joint Venture

Rockhop & Bespoke logos

For Release Time

Manchester, UK and Denver, USA — 03/25/24 Rockhop and Bespoke today announced they have entered into an agreement to create a premier global Automation & AI consulting company bringing together industry leaders across both countries. The combined group is being established to better serve international clients while expanding in North America and Europe. The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction under which Bespoke will contribute commercial insights, marketing and development to Rockhop, while both companies will share resources to better support existing business and open new markets.   

“We have been working informally with Bespoke for some time, and culturally it is like looking in a mirror across the Atlantic. Joining forces was an obvious and natural strategic decision for us both, and I am incredibly excited to have formalized the relationship.”  

– Todd Golden, Founder and CEO of Rockhop

“This is an exciting new chapter in our growth story and will enable us to better serve our client base through our greater global reach. Combining our skills, resource and expertise, provides both parties with the optimal launchpad for international success. The wealth of experience the Rockhop team has, along with our established Microsoft relationship, make it clear from both company views that we are better together.”

– Sam Bright, Co-Founder and CEO of Bespoke.

While the terms of this new venture were not disclosed, each company will continue to operate under independent brands within their respective markets. Both organizations will immediately begin to share resource from consulting to sales.

About Bespoke

Established in 2013, Bespoke has built a solid business model which centers on helping organisations become more operationally effective through automation, using Microsoft’s Power Platform. One of the only pure-play Power Platform partners in the UK Microsoft network, Bespoke celebrated achieving their Advanced Specialisation in low-code application development in 2023, along with becoming a Microsoft Managed Partner – both achievements being testament of their commitment to provide their clients with solutions that have a great impact on their business. 

About Rockhop

Rockhop is an AI and development consulting company dedicated to helping complex organizations transform their businesses with Microsoft solutions. We help many of the world’s most complex organizations envision, design, build and deploy data, analytical, automation and application solutions that help solve business problems, minimize costs and realize measurable results.

For more information, press only:

Kelly Humpleby ([email protected])

Power Platform File Storage Options


Power Platform offers various file storage options, each catering to different needs and preferences. Choosing the right file storage option is crucial for ensuring seamless integration, security, and scalability. In this review we’ll explore the strengths and limitations of key file storage options – Dataverse, SharePoint, Azure Blob Storage, and Network Drive. 


Dataverse is a cloud-based storage solution tailored for seamless integration within the Power Platform ecosystem. It provides a unified and scalable data platform. With robust role-based security controls, and a built-in relational data structure, Dataverse is an excellent choice for solutions deeply integrated into Power Platform. 



Integration effort: Easy to moderate depending upon specific security requirements, built-in connectors and integration with Power Apps and Power Automate.

Pricing: Among the pricier options, pricing varies per capacity.


SharePoint stands out as a versatile and scalable file storage option that provides great integration with Power Platform and various other Microsoft services. With an extensive range of features, it enables options for customizations and secure collaboration. 



Integration effort: Easy to moderate; built-in connectors; requires site security/access planning.

Pricing: Cost-effective, included in Office license.

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage excels in scalability and cost-effectiveness, making it a top choice for large-scale document storage within Power Platform. It offers high availability, durability, and strong data security.



Integration effort: moderate to high; built-in connectors, steeper learning curve for non-technical users.

Pricing: cost-effective, with pricing variations.

Network Drive

Network drive provides a simple and cost-effective file storage option, particularly suited for organizations with existing infrastructure. It’s straightforward to use for long-term storage, but it may come with limitations in security, scalability, and remote access.



Integration effort: low to moderate; built-in connectors; requires on-premises gateway configuration.

Pricing: Minimal for existing infrastructure

Other Options

Built-in connectors for popular file storage applications such as Box, OneDrive for Business, Dropbox, and Google Drive, offer additional flexibility for file sharing and collaboration within Power Platform. These options provide diverse choices for organizations looking to integrate with Power Platform based on their specific preferences and requirements. 

Shifts in IT for Successful Distributed Innovation

There is substantial evidence that distributing application innovation and development will return significant results for most organizations. According to a 2022 Forrester Research study, a 10,000-user composite organization would realize 140% ROI over 3 years from investment in Microsoft’s Power Platform to support distributed innovation and application management. At the same time, the composite organization would see a 74% reduction in application development costs and a 33% reduction in time to market, all while enabling retirement of 54% of their legacy applications. These are meaningful and tangible results, and my experiences with our clients reinforce these findings.

With that evidence, what could be stopping organizations from embracing what is often referred to as “low code” development or enablement of “citizen developers”? The hesitation I see is due in part to the cultural change that comes with organizational adoption of a low code platform, such as Power Platform. Our idea of IT’s function must move from owning and creating all artifacts to more of a platform approach, where the business has the tools to build for itself alongside the guidance and support of technical experts when they need it. In this new paradigm, IT supports and fosters the business to identify areas of automation and improvement while remaining responsible for owning the data sources and setting up guardrails to protect company data.

This paradigm shift is not only beneficial, but one could argue necessary to gain or hold a competitive advantage. IT simply does not have the resources or the perspective to develop innovations required at the pace of business. Those closest to the business challenges are more likely able to apply creativity to solving them, and the budget to innovate at the speed of business can only be fully leveraged when decentralized.

To see lower application costs and greater innovation, a shift must take place in how IT engages in most organizations. I see resistance to enablement of low-code development arising from a few concerns. Most common is simply change opposition. I often hear “that’s not how we’ve always done it” in these discussions. Add to that, fear of consequences that arise from giving up control. “What if someone in the business inadvertently shares too much data? IT will still take the blame.” In some organizations, it is a lack of confidence that the talent within the business can deliver meaningfully, impactful applications. Also, many of my customers are hesitant to explore licensing options of low-code platform technologies such as Microsoft Power Platform. This is more of an organizational responsibility question than one of costs to the overall business. Reconciling licensing costs with business leaders can be intimidating to IT, but IT has a responsibility to maximize the long-term benefits to the organization. With all of that, I am not surprised to see when IT turns off Power Platform capabilities within their tenants, but that is a mistake – leaving Forrester-level results on the table. In this article, I will discuss shifts that will help embrace low-code innovation, and highlight how to set up your organization for a true competitive advantage.

Shift 1: Bring Shadow IT Under the Same Tent

The first shift starts with the acknowledgement that there is latent talent within the business. That talent is derived from expert knowledge gained working on the front lines. The challenges these front-line employees face daily spark both urgency and innovation from those closest to, and most impacted by, these challenges. Low-code platform adoption requires faith in these front-line knowledge workers to innovate and execute. Over the hundreds of customers I have spoken with about Power Platform, I have been shocked by how many IT representatives assumed their business would have no interest in getting more involved in the development of solutions. If you have the same doubts, I encourage you to investigate the current state of shadow IT within your organization. Most IT organizations must constantly work to combat lurking applications and software usage outside of IT’s governance purview - it is seen as a threat, or at a minimum, a risk to quality. Forward-looking IT organizations see it as advantageous to have innovative, proactive stakeholders: if the business wants to respond to urgent needs by creating solutions, there is opportunity.

IT must embrace shadow IT, going beyond simply governance to full scale enablement. An example of an organization that has embraced citizen development culturally is Toyota. They have done a phenomenal job fostering a culture of employee education and empowerment while maintaining a structure for security. They have accomplished this “by democratizing development knowledge and helping both professional coders and non-developers quickly to create and iterate on applications.” Read their full story here.

Shift 2: Empowering Tools and Processes

Once established that the business can, will, and most likely already is creating their own solutions, IT can choose to become an enabler and not just a protector. An element of this shift is ensuring “makers” (application solutions creators within the business, often called “citizen developers”) have the tools to build for themselves. This requires a framework of tools and processes that can bring shadow IT closer to IT, working in a collaborative way. Too often the relationship is unnecessarily combative. With the right tools and processes for governance and data management, Power Platform can be an opportunity to both leverage and reign-in this innovation via approved, secure channels.

A core example of working with the business is setting up Microsoft’s Center of Excellence (CoE) including the apps which serve as avenues for users to request an environment, license, or engage development support. These tasks are a bit different than what IT is used to. These tools are complimented by well-defined processes to enable organized engagement, creation, governance, and security infrastructure underlaying how data is managed and shared, and proper lifecycle management to promote new or retire technology no longer in use. To hear how this can operate successfully at scale, listen to Accenture’s global IT director who supports 700,000 makers across the globe describe their strategy of keeping up with internal demands while staying protected: Power Platform – Power CAT Live - YouTube.

Accenture highlights how IT’s role is empowerment, enablement, and protection. This model scales effectively and puts IT as a point of escalation, not a gate keeper to automation. The image below, from a Rockhop marketing document, also provides a glimpse into the areas of empowerment for the business when successfully implementing a low code innovation framework.

Shift 3: Tailor Transition to your Organization

The final shift towards effectively tapping innovation throughout the business involves licensing. Many of the IT managers I talk to get hung up on the topic of licensing. Technical decision makers look at platform licensing in the headspace of “$5 for every user I want to use one app? Might as well just build it myself”. I see that view as short-sighted as this is a platform approach, a different way of doing business. The old view of licensing does not apply. This platform is best used to continuously develop tools for the business. The organizations that do this well will save on licensing by replacing SaaS subscriptions while also saving time through automation of repetitive tasks. In this model, we are utilizing the expertise of the business to think creatively to help move innovation forward. The per app license is a ramp up opportunity as organizations move from seeded licenses to a whole platform approach (per user). I advise my customers to not buy licenses before you need to utilize seeded licenses & give the organization runway to request licenses so that additions are justified and ramped up as appropriate.

The Opportunity

IT budgets cannot meet all the demands for the business while also innovating at a pace that keeps up with markets. To remain relevant, organizations must do more than an IT budget can accommodate. Further, to become competitive, we must tap into and nurture technical talent throughout the organization. Gone are the days where the only technical competencies reside within the confines of IT. In today’s world, everyone has a role in the creation of technical solutions. IT’s role must shift from doer of all things technical to enabler of innovation and protector of data.

By engaging with the business, or historically shadow IT, organizations can prepare themselves to leverage the tools and processes available today (e.g. Power Platform CoE). These shifts will open new opportunities for IT to focus on strategic enterprise applications the business depends upon while simultaneously retiring aged and eliminating redundant applications. Overall, IT has the opportunity to achieve more.

Power Platform - Common Scenarios for Measurable Impact

Power Platform is a suite of solutions from Microsoft designed to enable organizations to harness resources both within and outside of IT with low to no-code tools, thus unleashing innovation throughout an organization while speeding solutions development. The suite includes automation of workflows (Power Automate), application and web development (Power Apps and Power Pages), business intelligence (Power BI), and chatbots (Virtual Agents).

According to the financial analysis of an August 2022 Forrester Research report, a composite organization of 10,000 employees that leverages the capabilities of Power Platform would experience on average “benefits of $14.25 million over three years versus costs of $5.93 million, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $8.32 million and an ROI of 140%”.

There are a variety of reasons for this substantial return including leveraging latent talent throughout the business (“citizen developers” outside of IT) with a common language and GUI interface to simplify common development tasks, elimination of rogue or shadow IT, reduction of outages and errors through automation of common tasks, consolidation and presentation of data to inform business decision-making through a common Dataverse, lower cost of delivery and faster speed to market for applications, reduction of resources required to build solutions, retirement of orphaned and redundant applications, and the creation of more collaborative and effective “fusion teams” to build solutions that map directly to business priorities.

In this article, we will explore four solutions to common business scenarios that we have deployed with customers who consistently praise the measurable impacts. These solutions include automating invoice management, retirement, and consolidation of legacy applications, enabling data-driven decision-making, and enhancing human resources effectiveness with virtual agents.

Scenario 1: Automating Invoice Management with Power Platform

Businesses regularly receive invoices from vendors, resellers, and partners. They typically get these invoices via mail to an individual, or email to an individual or distribution list. These invoices are often lost in a human-intensive workflow, moving from buyer to finance AP, through an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system and eventually through financial institutions for printed and mailed checks or EFT. Many of the steps in the process are manual and prone to error or delay. The goals for automating the payables process include reducing administrative burden/costs while freeing time for more strategic endeavors, eliminating the costs associated with errors and rework, and establishing an audit trail to provide insights into approvals and processing times. These benefits prove to have a measurable impact upon businesses. To be clear, automation does not imply immediate or faster payment. Rather, it means that payment terms established on behalf of the business and expected by the vendor will be met with minimal effort.

How is this accomplished with Power Platform?

Leveraging Power Automate, invoices emailed to a distribution list can be read and processed. For paper invoices or email sent to individuals, both require manual forwarding to be processed and entered into a back-end finance or ERP system. A simple tool built with Power Apps can snap a picture of these invoices and automate the workflow, including approvals and entry into the back-end systems for payment. Power Automate can read and breakdown by AI (Artificial Intelligence) the invoice based on Machine Learning over time, and workflows can be applied for human and/or automated approvals based on set criteria. Approved invoices can be moved into any finance system, and approved invoices are automatically scheduled for payment.

After implementing a solution like this for one customer in just a few weeks' time, the measurable results were clear. “The ability to automate our invoice management process has freed up time not only for processing and approval, but also time spent responding to vendors inquiries related to lost or overdue invoices. My team and I can now focus on valued business tasks without the administrative burden” – Director of Finance, Global Manufacturing Company.

Scenario 2: Retirement and Consolidation of Legacy Applications

Software, particularly in a subscription-based consumption marketplace, is purchased and deployed throughout most businesses. For example, there are dozens of Marketing software packages, and most are evaluated and purchased by the marketing department. It does not matter if it is HR, finance, or building security, hundreds of applications are often floating throughout most organizations without the knowledge of, and outside the control of, IT. This “sprawl” leads to security and performance challenges as well as redundant purchases and orphaned applications that can be unnecessarily costly. Here is an example of one customer scenario in which they bought a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution that only partially met their business needs.

This customer, a global consumer goods company, needed to assign UPCs/ SKUs to variations of products that they design and manufacture. The SaaS solution they purchased was intended to address end-to-end project creation to delivery. In reality, there are features of the SaaS solution that they did not leverage while other requirements were not being met. Not only did customizing the existing solution come with ongoing costs that were unforeseen, but the limitations of this application delayed approval workflows by days leading to slower product to market.

In this case, the low costs and ease of use of Power Platform was a good fit to design workflows and data connections quickly and effectively. We helped this customer replace their SaaS based application with a Power Apps and Power Automate solution. The Power Apps solution was based on a model-driven app, which supports their business process flow. In addition, there are various supporting canvas apps that drive simplified user experience (UX). The app allows their users to create new projects supporting the products they design and manufacture. After they define the products and their variations, they can start a workflow approval request for a UPC/ SKU to be applied to the variations of products. Once approved, Power Automate communicates directly with SAP to request UPCs/ SKUs and apply them to the various products. Additionally, Azure Blob storage is utilized for newly uploaded product artifacts (images, PDFs, etc.).

The solution, which was quick and inexpensive to build with Power Platform, is providing measurable results to the business. In addition to elevated levels of confidence in the accuracy of UPC/ SKU information throughout various systems, UPC/ SKU requests and approvals now happen in minutes versus days. Add to that the significant cost reduction moving away from an expensive, niche SaaS application, and this customer realized a quick and significant return on investment.

Scenario 3: Enabling Data-Driven Decision-Making

Many of the insights that could enable businesses to improve operations sit latent in diverse and disconnected data sources. This often includes data hosted by SaaS providers, departmental Excel workbooks, and enterprise on-premises applications. Businesses often find themselves unable to connect and expose data from these varied sources, while those that can find themselves able to make informed decisions quickly. Businesses able to address this challenge effectively find themselves with a meaningful competitive advantage.

Many of our customers’ leverage Power BI, Dataverse and connectors within the Power Platform suite to pull together data into a common data architecture (Azure SQL, Data Lake, Synapse) while eliminating manual collection of data through automation and low-code applications. These organizations can leverage Dataverse to drive applications and automation scenarios. For example, processing of formulated data occurring off-hours, so that visualizations and slicing are ready for business decision makers when business is happening. This creation of standardized and common reporting scenarios, or “democratization” of data, not only gives every decision-maker and influencer within an organization the tools to be more effective, but it is also empowering and unleashing latent talent, harnessing more human intelligence throughout an organization.

Some concrete examples of how enabling data-driven decision-making can deliver meaningful and measurable results to businesses include:

Scenario 4: Human Resources Effectiveness Using Virtual Agents

By implementing Virtual Agents to offload common Q&A about employer benefits, HR can achieve significant measurable results, including:

Overall, implementing Virtual Agents to handle common Q&A about employer benefits can provide significant benefits for both HR staff and employees, resulting in improved efficiency, cost savings, and employee satisfaction.

To summarize, it is clear from our work with customers that Power Platform is a revolutionary step towards faster and more effective technical solutions to meet the demands of business in real time. Unleashing the power of human capital throughout an organization with a breadth of solutions and ease of implementation is a clear advantage for businesses. Our customers continue to realize a measurable return on their investment in these solutions from Microsoft. In this article, I highlighted only a few examples. If you are interested in discussing various other scenarios, please send a note to [email protected]. I am always a bit geeked-up to discuss how Power Platform solutions can drive measurable business value.

The Value of Values

I used to be that person. You know, the one who rolls their eyes every time company leadership begins mixing their word salad…”values, mission, vision”. Looking back, I realize that I wasn’t opposed to these concepts. Rather, I was put off by the execution. Many leaders have been through the exercise only because it’s something that their board required; perfunctory, and possibly even a nuisance to these leaders. And it shows in both the content and commitment to a shared vision, mission and set of business values within those organizations.

Yet in reality, I see these as important concepts when approached with the appropriate introspection and enthusiasm. Not just important, critical really.

In this article, I will focus on Company Values specifically, and I will highlight Rockhop’s values and what these values mean to us.

Company values aren’t a judgement of morality. These are business values. One company may value being nimble and flexible, while another may value being disciplined and structured. These aren’t religious or personal values, no…rather, these are business values that are specific to one business. Our business. And while often we see moral and ethical beliefs weaved throughout our values, there is no right or wrong for any business. There’s only what’s right for your business.

For us at Rockhop, our values are enduring and foundational. They serve as a guide in all we do. We hold them up to strategy, new hire candidates, partnerships and much more. We look to our values to help make the most difficult decisions, and those decisions are often made easier by having a framework within which to make them. While only one page of words, the amount of time and contemplation that goes into these values is significant. Values don’t change, so getting them right is of upmost importance. Equally important to us, never forgetting them. Leaning on our values isn’t a once in a while thing…I lean on them for decision making on a daily basis. We don’t publish them on websites and walls to prove we have them. We publish them to remind us to adhere to them always, in all we do.

Also important is to keep them finite, succinct. This is really for two reasons. First, and quite obvious I’m sure, is to ensure they’re easy to recall. In addition, it’s my belief that emphasis on what’s most important is part of this exercise for your business. If everything is important, nothing is. This is about priorities for your business’s character.

Below are four, succinct and profoundly influential values that guide us at Rockhop. I’ll expand upon each here, and wax poetic about how they manifest themselves day to day for us…

Excellence without Arrogance

Humility comes naturally to those confident in their abilities. We pause to listen because seeking to understand should always precede seeking to be understood. We embrace the learnings that come from fast failures and slow successes alike.

There are those who can’t wait to get the next word in during a conversation, a sharp contrast to those who actively listen. At Rockhop we hire for, and train, patience and understanding because we value those attributes both internally and externally. You will find this in everything from our sales methodology to our engagement model, from our people policies to how we structure strategy discussions.

To be clear, we are consultants. We have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge, and it would be very easy for us to think we know what the problem is and jump to a solution. However, experience has taught us that it takes time and an ego “checked at the door” to listen and learn to inform the best possible solutions.

Humility also means accepting that we learn through experiences. Naturally, that means occasional failures. We believe that a maniacal focus on learning also means accepting failure as an opportunity, We embrace failure internally, meaning we never fail on our customers’ time. In fact, we gladly pay for these opportunities to learn. It’s just our mindset.

Uncompromising Transparency

Knowledge is power, and we’re more powerful together when we communicate openly. There are no secrets among us, our partners, investors and customers.

Information, good and bad, is one of the most important tools we have in business. Empowered with information, we can make better decisions and make them more quickly. This means we don’t believe there’s such a thing as oversharing in business. It’s important, and has served us well, to reinforce the idea that it’s not just what you share, but how quickly you do that matters. To achieve such open and direct communications both internally and externally, leaders need to set an example through actions.

Why is transparency hard? Perhaps because it leaves one vulnerable to the visibility of both success and failure. We see a lack of visibility as a downward spiral to unhealthy risk aversion, so we encourage transparency. When risk taking is not encouraged, an organization loses it’s edge…it’s entrepreneurial passion. And yet we know from experience that with risk can come a multiplier reward. As such, we like rebels in our business. We want those who ask the tough questions.

Measurable Results

If we cannot identify how we will deliver measurable results to any customer or partner, we should not engage. We value and celebrate results, and we take pride in the impact our work delivers.

There’s nothing altruistic about a strong desire to provide a measurable impact. Professional services are invisible. One can’t demo a professional service, so we need to prove our value and earn trust over time. Since most customers would be eager to spend a $1 if they were confident that they would earn $2 or save $2 in return, we work to model impact on the front end, before contracts are signed.

We build this commitment to measurable results into our sales methodology and delivery execution model. It’s a series of questions we’re constantly asking…”what will this enable you to do that you can’t do today?”; ”what’s the impact?”’; “how can we measure that impact over time?”. This type of alignment provides confidence knowing our work will be of value, and that is the recipe for expanding existing client relationships (see, nothing altruistic about it).

What’s unique about Rockhop is that we encourage our teams to graciously bow out of opportunities with clients where we cannot mutually agree with a client on the measurable impact our work will deliver. Trust is at the heart of successful business relationships, and we are obsessed with earning it.

A Place We Like

We embrace diversity, demonstrate empathy, and seek fun. It starts with the team. Talent attracts talent and values attract similar values, but embracing our differences ensures we approach our work with an open lens. We expect that all “Rockers” will look back on these times as the best of their careers, and customers will recall a collaboration and level of expertise beyond any they have experienced.

It's easy to say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It is harder to accomplish. This core value hits home for Rockhop because our founders have worked together in everything from building boutique consultancies to taking global technology organizations public, and the consistent leading indicator of success across all company types is culture. When a company has purpose for which everyone feels both aligned to and accountable for, great things happen. Clarity of purpose makes work more fun and interesting.

The term “a place we like” has shifted in recent years. At one point it was all about modern office spaces with free food, massages and ping-pong tables. In a post pandemic world, the idea of “place” has changed as work became home and home became work.

Rockhop recognizes and embraces this evolution of “place”, and we try to ensure that distance doesn’t limit interaction. Whether it’s company gatherings, collaboration technologies or just great communications among colleagues, our “place” truly is wherever we are.

Finally, “place” is more than a location. It’s also the makeup of the people in that place. At Rockhop, we believe if we were all the same we wouldn’t need one another. We not only embrace, but actively build a place that brings unique perspectives from people of diverse backgrounds.

To summarize, it may be cliché to publish company values on a website or have them painted on office walls, however there’s nothing cliché about living one’s values. When a company has a foundation of shared values that are reinforced, lived true to and believed in by all, it is a powerful and effective framework from which to build strategy, teams, and governance that aligns with an identity. Everything then flows from there. Pride lends itself to quality work and commitment, which in turn leads to return customers and growth. Simple really!