OREANDA-NEWS. October 03, 2016. My dad, Monnie Cliffe, grew up on a 100 acre farm in Cappoquin, Waterford in the 1950’s. For Monnie, rising at 5:00 AM to milk the cows by hand was as natural a task to him as brushing my teeth with my electric toothbrush is for me today. Back in those days, field service meant picking stones out of fields, or harvesting grains in an annual event referred to as Threshing. Before the time of combine harvesters, teams of often 20+ farmers from the community would get together and harvest one farm at a time, as a team. The team worked to harvest your crop one day, and in turn, you spent a good portion of the summer harvesting other farmer’s crops in the community.

Threshing was a process. Harvesters pass to machinists, pass to chaff cleaners, pass to straw reekers, pass to grain baggers. Everyone had a part to play in order to keep the process running to ensure the grain was saved before the weather broke. One farmer's family livelihood depended on it. The greater the level of collaboration, the smoother the process, the better the crop yield.

Earlier this year, Salesforce announced its productization of field service, with Field Service Lightning (FSL). Now, don’t get me wrong, Salesforce customers have been running field service on our platform ever since the inception of Service Cloud in 2006. However, we’re now investing heavily in field service technology because we see this as an increasing area of need for our customers.  What does this all means? It means we have developed a dedicated field service roadmap, we are allocating more and more engineering resources to execute on that roadmap, we are continuously developing a product with industry-leading technology that includes 20+ years of field service expertise, and we’re increasingly connecting to customers with a mobile workforce across industries to understand their vision for end-to-end service.

FSL is not your average Salesforce product. FSL is a product that not only meets the needs for field service use cases standalone, but it also naturally cuts through the heart of all our other products.

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The Full Customer Journey

Consider the classic solar use case.

a) A prospect completes a solar energy savings calculator on a company website. A lead is created and passed along to a sales rep to qualify. A lead becomes an opportunity.

b) The prospect agrees to an evaluation and an agent travels into the field to do an assessment, a visit scheduled by a Dispatcher.

c) The agent meets with the customer onsite and captures the necessary details on a mobile device.

d) The agent quotes the prospect. The customer commits and sign-offs from a mobile device and schedules a time that might work for the installation.

e) The then customer, is given access to an authenticated experience where they can manage their appointments and suggest changes if needed.

f) The system intelligently finds the right team of resources to install the panels based on skills, availability and proximity to the site and dispatches the team with the necessary resources.

g) The installation team receives the work order, finds the best route to navigate to the site, executes the work, updates the work order, acquires customer sign off and submits the service report, all from their mobile device.

h) The customer can login to a portal to monitor the cost savings of their investment and get support if something goes wrong.

i) Operations managers can view real-time metrics on utilization, capacity, SLA compliance, to measure team performance. Success managers can pull in account solar panel performance and be

proactive with customer service. Sales managers can pull in billing details to help forecast revenue.

For most customers, each time you traverse the swimlanes of this process diagram, it means jumping into a new system of record for that specific job function.  

The Field Service Lightning Advantage

No other product that we offer at Salesforce inspires this level of cross departmental collaboration as FSL does. It brings our customers’ departments together and naturally expands a business needs conversation broader around the customer journey rather than talking about a point solution around scheduling for break/fix.

Why does this matter? Well, generally speaking, departments don’t play in the same environments. Traversing the process swimlanes in the solar example above normally means integration or moving data from one system to another. This can introduce multiple copies of the customer record, data redundancy, data inaccuracy. It can mean the need for ETL tools and data management strategies. It can mean you need business intelligence specialists & normally 24 hrs lag to see results. It can mean slower billing and revenue recognition often time 30 days after the service is performed. Or my personal favorite, +\\$1M IT projects just to develop and deploy a mobile app on Android and iOS. The total cost of ownership of your IT systems upon which you manage your customers can proliferate.

My name is Mike Cliffe, son of Monnie Cliffe, and I’m a cloud based software farmer in the silicon pastures of California and together with our team of Service Specialists, we are here to help you increase the yield on your crop of customers. To me, Field Service means something a little different than what it meant to my dad and his community in Ireland a generation ago. If your company has a scheduling or dispatching use case, ask your Account Executive for more information today. We love getting out in the field with you to understand your customer’s journey.