Field Service Lightning News From Dreamforce ‘18

Field Service Lightning News From Dreamforce ‘18

Field Service Lightning News From Dreamforce ‘18

By Camil Bourbeau, Vice-President at Nubik

This week is Dreamforce ‘18, the annual conference where Salesforce unveils all of the great new things to come with its family of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Field Service Lightning (FSL), Salesforce’s SaaS platform for enabling and supporting workers in the field with all of the information they need at hand to deliver exceptional, seamless customer experiences, is no exception. In fact, there was a full Dreamforce keynote dedicated to FSL this year, “Customer Success in the New Age of Service”. (It makes sense since Salesforce announced in February that FSL was the fastest growing product in its history.)

Nubik had numerous team members on site at Dreamforce and we took lots of notes. Now on to the update.

Customer expectations have changed

During the keynote, the topic of customer expectations was addressed. In essence, customers are expecting the same visibility that they get from Amazon (for example, the ability to order a box of Q-tips and monitor the entire delivery process until the package shows up at the door) to be available from the other retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers that they purchase from or subscribe to.

It’s the same dynamic when discussing taxis vs. Uber and the role that real-time information and visibility have played in transforming the customer experience, and thus customer expectations. In the case of a taxi, after searching for a taxi company (since most people don’t remember their numbers), you place a call to the dispatcher then wait for the taxi to show up. While you wait, you cross your fingers that the dispatcher understood your address correctly initially and that it was given correctly to the driver following that. You also hope that the dispatcher understood that you wanted to pay by credit card and that the driver’s machine isn’t “broken” again.

Contrast this experience with that of Uber. Since you have the Uber app installed on your smartphone, you hail a car with a few finger taps. You can see in advance what your driver’s name and appearance looks like, the ratings he or she has received, and when that person is expected to arrive. The pick-up spot is geo-located on a map and you entered your destination yourself, minimizing uncertainty. You can also see the expected cost of your fare, which will be charged to your credit card automatically. The availability of real-time information about the Uber itself prior to and during the delivery of service delivers peace of mind that was missing from the traditional taxi experience.

According to Salesforce, adapting the customer experience to be more like Uber, with the real-time information and visibility, will make the difference between a happy customer and a customer for life.

FSL Roadmap: 4 pillars for FSL development

Salesforce’s director of product management for FSL, Gary Brandeleer, presented the roadmap for FSL development during the FSL keynote. In it, he identified four pillars for the future development of FSL, with supporting new product features indicated below along with some of our own notes.

  1. Connected customers
    • Embedded service: Day of service experience
      • Customers can use a link to book an appointment.
        • Via Salesforce Community platform or text to FSL.
          • Customer answers a few questions, select from the list of assets those that are experiencing issues.
          • FSL pre-fills the address
          • FSL proposes timeslots
          • Customer chooses the timeslot and books
        • Messaging and FSL (pilot)
          • Customizable notification messages
          • Actionable notification messages
          • Proactive messages indicating that there might be a problem
  1. Empowered workforce
    • User guidance
      • The work order type can now drive a detailed “Guided action list” helping technicians know exactly what they need to do
      • Users can swipe to execute tasks in the workflow
      • It’s possible to embed a map of the customer’s facilities
      • Knowledge base articles can be attached to a work order based on the work order type
    • Mobile forms
      • The ability to create checklists that are available offline
    • Tab configurability and deep linking
    • Timesheets
      • Timesheets are automatically created based on technician activity
  1. Intelligent service
    • Predictive travel time (pilot)
      • Changes in traffic can automatically trigger route re-optimization
    • Advanced capacity management
      • Dispatchers will be able to limit the scheduling of specific work types. For example, not more than 80% of time can be allocated to maintenance type work order in order to ensure that there is room for break-fix work orders.
      • FSL can now also take van stock into consideration when scheduling work orders. If 2 generators fit in your trucks, FSL will not plan routes with 3 or more generators required.
    • Scheduling recipes
      • Recipes control when automation takes places; they are similar to a process builder
  1. Integrated platform
    • IoT Insights and FSL historical data chart
    • Einstein & FSL (work order enrichment)
    • Predictive duration for service appointments
    • Mulesoft for FSL


Integration with the Internet of Things

Some time was also spent addressing FSL and its ability to leverage the wealth of information generated by the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically,

  • IoT support will be integrated with the FSL mobile application
  • IoT data is now available directly in the dispatcher’s view via “IoT Insight”
  • IoT insight is now available directly in the FSL mobile application so technicians can know in real-time whether their efforts have fixed the problem or not

By the way, we wrote about business opportunities with the Internet of Things back in May.

Other new features

The following is an uncategorized list of some additional features that were recently added to FSL:

  • Resource optimization: you can now optimize specific resources as opposed to all resources
  • New FSL license types: Many organizations use subcontractors to fulfill work orders. There are now 2 types of FSL licenses to support this dynamic. There are those contractors that are managed so they are IN your instance of FSL. The second type is what we call capacity-based contractors who, for example, can provide 4 hours of work per day. You configure FSL to support them accordingly and they don’t need to access your FSL instance.
  • Palettes: You can now easily color-code specific work orders, enabling you to view critical or other jobs based on customizable rules and custom fields
  • Return orders: It’s now possible to create a return order from the mobile application
  • Mobile quotes: The field service worker can now create a quote directly from the mobile application, for example, for selling a maintenance plan
  • Automated work order creation: It is now possible to automate the creation of a work order. When a job is “close by”, FSL can automatically generate new work orders for planned maintenance, for example, maintenance that was set up quarterly.
  • Time horizon: With this capability, say 20 days ahead, you can have FSL automatically create the W1O to find the best technician(s) and plan accordingly
  • Custom offline priming: Salesforce opened this feature up to determine the exact objects to be primed for offline
  • Intelligent field service: custom actions can now be triggered directly from the Gantt chart

Changing mobile workforce

A recent industry survey by Emergence Capital indicated that 80% of the workforce is not tied to a desk, meaning that there is an immense new opportunity to transform the productivity of field workers by equipping them with smartphones and internet-connected tablets, mobile apps and cloud-based SaaS solutions that provide access to customer information, service histories, installation and repair manuals and more.

Read the news article, then visit for more insight.

Additional reading

We’ve written a couple of times about how Field Service Lightning can be used to transform field service operations for manufacturers and technology companies. If you haven’t read them yet, we suggest you open a few new tabs in your browser.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Salesforce has developed a Trailhead trail for Field Service Lightning.