Salesforce Poised to Strike with Its Field Service Lightning Solution (Part 1 of 4)

[This is part 1 of a 4-part series on the launch of Salesforce Field Service Lightning. Part 1 focuses on the composition of the new offering, within the context of the overall components that are designed to support Field Service Organizations (FSOs). Parts 2 through 4 will follow over the next few weeks.]

Note to Readers: While this document is primarily focused on the description, assessment and evaluation of the newly-launched Salesforce Field Service Lightning offering, we have attempted to also convey an understanding of the new offering within the overall context of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, including Sales Cloud Lightning and other key components of the company’s Lightning products.

The rationale behind this decision is that past Strategies For GrowthSM (SFGSM) research has revealed that many services organizations have historically been using various components of the company’s flagship Customer Success Platform products as tools for running their services organizations prior to the recent announcement and release of its Field Service Lightning solution. As such, it was our goal to adequately explain the potential interactions and synergies between and among the various Salesforce products as they are already being used by a number of Field Services Organizations (FSOs) to assist them in managing their overall business operations.

Also, a reminder that all non-SFGSM research is cited specifically by its source (i.e., published Salesforce documents and press releases, or published materials from other third-party sources). The remaining narrative solely reflects the opinions, perceptions, forecasts and assessments of the author

Salesforce Announces Its Spring/Summer 2016 Product Strategy / Expands Its Service Cloud Footprint to Include Field Service Lightning

On February 2, 2016, Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and self-billed ”world’s #1 CRM company,” introduced the next generation of its Customer Success Platform, Salesforce Lightning, and previewed its product strategy for the first half of 2016. However, for the Field Services Management (FSM) marketplace, the biggest news, by far, was the company’s extension of its Service Cloud footprint into the Field Service Management (FSM) segment through the introduction of Field Service Lightning – the company’s first formal foray into the multi-billion dollar global FSM market

In a wide-ranging and fairly comprehensive press release made available that day, Salesforce also announced the expansion of its Sales Cloud Lightning and Service Cloud Lightning Editions, along with “new packaging” and pricing models to provide its customers with “more customization and capabilities to accelerate growth. New Salesforce Lightning advancements announced via the press release included, “Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ, SalesforceIQ Inbox and Field Service Lightning. In addition, Salesforce announced new packaging for Sales Cloud Lightning and Service Cloud Lightning.

The official launch of Field Service Lightning was later announced, via a Salesforce press release dated March 15, 2016. This release confirmed the launch of the highly anticipated solution calling it, “a new field service solution built for today’s connected world.” It went on to state that “Harnessing signals from connected devices and customer data from Salesforce, Field Service Lightning is a modern approach to field service that is built for mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT). With Field Service Lightning, companies can now unite customers, connected devices, agents, dispatchers, and employees in the field with one powerful service platform to deliver a seamless customer experience from phone to field.

According to Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer, Salesforce, in the company’s original announcement, “Lightning is a game-changer for Salesforce and our customers. It is fueling an unparalleled level of innovation across our entire Customer Success Platform. No other company is delivering this kind of platform, ecosystem and user experience to enable companies to transform themselves and connect with their customers in entirely new ways.

The overall thrust of the original press release was to define, explain and promote the company’s Salesforce Lightning offering, as “One Platform, One Experience”. To do so, Salesforce led off with the explanation that it “has been on a continuous journey for the last 17 years to completely re-imagine CRM for the digital era. In 2015, the company launched the new Salesforce Platform – Salesforce Lightning, a powerful multi-tenant, next-generation metadata platform that provides a consistent, modern user experience across any device.

“With the Salesforce Lightning App Builder, business users and developers can quickly and easily build apps, and the thriving Lightning Ecosystem provides customers with a broad array of third-party apps and components for everything from financials to human resources, fully integrated with Salesforce. More than 90,000 customers and 55 partner components take advantage of the advanced features of Lightning today.

Sales Cloud Lightning – “Reinvented”

According to Salesforce, the company’s Sales Cloud is used today by “tens of thousands of companies worldwide” and, as such, “has become the world’s leading sales application”. Sales Cloud was the first of the company’s Clouds that was “completely reinvented by Lightning”. The “reinvented” Sales Cloud Lightning now “provides an entirely new experience for sales reps.

New advancements made to Sales Cloud in Spring/Summer, 2016 include

  • Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ – Built on the Salesforce platform and leveraging Lightning, SteelBrick CPQ is now part of Sales Cloud with the February 1, 2016 close of Salesforce’s acquisition of SteelBrick. Now Sales Cloud is the industry’s first comprehensive sales platform that offers everything from lead-to-cash, empowering salespeople to sell faster, smarter and the way they want
  • Lightning Voice – Natively embedded in Sales Cloud Lightning, Lightning Voice will empower reps to connect with prospects faster with click-to-call, auto-logging of calls, and call forwarding to take calls from anywhere
  • SalesforceIQ Inbox – SalesforceIQ Inbox turns employees’ inboxes into a CRM app by bringing the power of Relationship Intelligence to Sales Cloud users directly in their email. The intelligent iOS, Android and Chrome apps combine the power of Sales Cloud data with email and calendar, enabling sales reps to easily manage their email, leads, contacts and opportunities with proactive notifications and smart scheduling
  • Sales Wave App – Optimized for sales, the Sales Wave App delivers data-driven insights to reps on any device and empowers them to take action. With Lightning Actions in Sales Wave, sales reps can collaborate, create and update Sales Cloud records directly within Wave. New dashboards for pipeline trending, performance benchmarking and activity management help reps drive better performance and close more deals
  • Salesforce1 Mobile – Now with full offline capabilities for iOS and Android, Salesforce1 Mobile users can enter information anywhere, anytime and sync it when they are reconnected. With new, enhanced Wave Charts and Dashboards, Salesforce1 Mobile users now have the power of analytics
  • 20 New Lightning Sales Components – Lightning Components are the reusable building blocks of modern apps and can be as simple as single User Interface (UI) elements, or as robust as microservices with embedded data and logic. New Lightning Sales Components include Sales Path, Account Insights and Kanban, all designed to enable reps to sell faster and be more productive

While not necessarily a direct component of Field Service Lightning, the new advancements to Sales Cloud announced on February 2, 2016 are indicative of the various types of improvements that are being included in the company’s “reengineered” and “reimagined” product rollouts for the first half of 2016

Service Cloud Lightning – “Reimagined”

Salesforce goes on to explain that, “Service has changed rapidly over the last decade, expanding beyond customers contacting vendors via call centers to connecting through channels such as social, email, mobile and in-app experiences. Service Cloud Lightning provides companies with a unified service platform and ecosystem to ensure that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to create a memorable experience

Today, building on Salesforce’s leadership in service, the company is taking a significant step forward with new innovations for every service employee including:

  • Field Service Lightning – Organizations can connect their entire service workforce with tools for agents, dispatchers and mobile employees, giving customers a seamless service experience. Dispatchers can leverage smart scheduling to provide automatic, real-time assignments based on employee skills, availability and location. Service employees in the field are able to create and update work orders, and can also change requests and job status from any device, making them more productive than ever.
  • Omni-Channel Supervisor – Now call center managers have greater insight and visibility into their operations and agents’ workloads, enabling them to allocate resources to provide the best customer experience possible. Capabilities include real-time activity view, operational alerts, filtering and sorting capabilities and dynamic activity tracking and routing to help during high-demand service periods.”

Pricing for Field Service Lightning was also announced by Salesforce on March 15, 2016, starting at “US$135 for organizations that have at least one Enterprise Edition or Unlimited Edition Service Cloud License”.

Salesforce Customer Success Platform – Advancements

The company also announced that, “In addition to the innovations coming to Sales Cloud Lightning and Service Cloud Lightning, Salesforce’s Spring and Summer releases include more than 300 advancements across the entire Salesforce Customer Success Platform.”

New capabilities in these releases are to include:

  • App Cloud – The new Process Builder makes it easy for anyone to quickly automate business processes using drag-and-drop criteria and enterprise workflows. Additionally, new services for the Lightning Component framework enable developers and partners to easily build custom components for the Lightning App Builder.
  • Heroku Enterprise – CIOs need the flexibility and control to build, scale and manage the applications that connect brands with their customers. Heroku Enterprise enables developers to create connected apps using network, data and identity services shared across the App Cloud. In addition, new customer-centric big data services like private Postgres, Connect and Redis enable CIOs and their developers to easily harness and deploy the development tools that are essential to building trusted, modern applications.
  • Marketing Cloud – Creating 1-to-1 personalized journeys is how forward-looking companies keep customers engaged with their brand. New email marketing innovations deliver a content management system, updated email creation flow and an email marketing mobile app to help marketers accelerate the delivery of scalable and personalized email programs. Workbenches for Social Studio provide brands with deep social insight to inform marketing strategy, surface trends and uncover opportunities to engage customers. The next generation of Journey Builder will also deliver Predictive Journeys that use data science to learn and score a customer’s likelihood to engage.
  • Community Cloud Lightning – New Lightning Community Templates, Lightning Community Management and Integrated Live Agent enable companies to become smarter and more connected. Lightning Community Templates allow companies to create rich online communities in days, Lightning Community Management empowers the community manager with analytics and tools to foster community growth and Live Agent connects any self-service community directly to the service console to provide seamless customer support.

Overall, the basic premise of Salesforce’s introduction of Field Service Lightning is to ”Transform [the] customer experience with connected field service.” According to Salesforce, the main drivers underlying its entry into the global FSM market are, essentially, that:

  • Customer Expectations Have Changed – that the connected world has shattered expectations for customer service (i.e., through the combined impact of Cloud, mobile, social media, data science and the Internet of Things, or IoT).
  • The IoT is Forcing Customer Organizations to Evolve – that connected devices are redefining customer interactions with service (e.g., that 92% of executives believe they need to adapt their service models in order to keep up with customers’ needs).
  • Current Field Service Solutions Are Disconnected – that 54% of companies are using manual methods to handle field service; 1 in 3 service executives admit that site visits usually require a follow-up visit; and 77% of companies are still using an on-premise field service solution.

These are acknowledged as the main reasons for why the company has decided that the global field services market is one that:

  • Requires a more centralized, accessible and robust FSM solution, and
  • That Salesforce, through its Field Service and related Lightning offerings, can be the one company to deliver it all.

As a result, Salesforce has seen an opportunity to introduce its Field Service Lightning as a “Best-in-class solution to deliver a complete service experience,” built on the following three primary components – all on “the world’s #1 customer service platform”:

  • Connecting the entire workforce – i.e., putting agents, dispatchers and mobile employees on one platform to deliver 360 degree support.
  • Intelligently scheduling and dispatching work – i.e., automating scheduling based on skills, availability and location to optimize on-site service.
  • Tracking and managing jobs in real time – i.e., updating work orders, change requests and job status anytime, anywhere.

[Watch for part 2, to be published on our Blogsite shortly.]

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General Thoughts on the Likely Impact of Replacing Retiring Service Technicians with a “New” Millennial Workforce

[Bill Pollock’s response to the seventh of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, addresses some general thoughts on the likely impact of replacing retiring service technicians with a “new” Millennial Workforce.]

BA (edited): What other comments on the topic of replacing retiring service technicians with Millennials do you have that our readers should be aware of?

BP: The transitioning from a more mature, traditional (and fairly analog) service force to one that is more technologically-advanced is nothing new. We’ve all been through it before when, for example, we migrated from handwritten notes to Word Processing; from pen and ink spreadsheets to Excel spreadsheets; from telephone reminders to e-mails and texts; from printouts to electronic files; and so on.

Not only will we be able to get through this transition process again – but, it will be even easier than ever before as, for the most part, data, information and knowledge collected via yesterday’s technologies can fairly easily be leveraged into today’s (and tomorrow’s) technological world – simply via the clicks of a mouse and the use of memory sticks (or the Cloud). However, once again, the transition from analog to digital must be started sooner, rather than later, in order for the transition to be as seamless and smooth as possible. It no longer takes a generation for an existing team of field technicians to find themselves behind the technology curve – in fact, it may only take a few years, or less!

As a result, services organizations will continue to find themselves in situations where they are faced with the need to transition data, information and knowledge from a retiring team to the next generation’s millennials – on a virtually continuous basis! It is for this reason that services organizations must put into place a sound process for enabling these transitions over time, including an increased focus on the automation of all service processes; the introduction of new mobile tools and technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR); the introduction of an internal mentoring program that encourages interaction between the outgoing and the incoming technicians; and the recognition that this will be an ongoing process over time.

[Watch for the publication of the Field Technologies Technology Update Article, including interviews with four services industry analysts (including Bill Pollock) in the upcoming August, 2016 issue. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]

How Can the Presence of Younger Service Technicians (i.e., Millennials) Affect Mobile and Other Technology Deployments?

[Bill Pollock’s response to the sixth of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, addresses how the presence of younger service technicians (i.e., Millennials) is likely to affect mobile and other technology deployments.]

BA: How can the presence of younger workers affect mobile and other technology deployments?

BP: Simply by their nature, younger workers are typically more mobile than the existing service force – both physically and with respect to their use of technology. In the past, many of the traditional field technicians have been somewhat resistant to change with “Technology” representing the “T” word. However, millennials, by and large, are technology-friendly and well-prepared to utilize the state-of-the-art technology that is made available to them – both at work, as well as in their personal lives.

The use of mobile tools such as Augmented Reality (AR) in performing their service calls will be more natural to the incoming crew of technicians than it ever was for the technicians they are about to replace. However, there is more to the introduction of younger workers into the organization’s technician force than just technology – there is also the matter of chemistry!

In most cases, where a mentoring approach is utilized, the mix of younger and older technicians is not likely to present a problem; however, in some cases, the mix may look more like a dysfunctional Father-Son or Mother-Daughter family situation where there is often an underlying tension leading to periodic explosions of emotions! It will ultimately be up to the Services Manager and HR to work together to monitor and/or supervise such situations where the chemistry looks more like a dysfunctional family than a “band of brothers (or sisters)” all working together toward the same goals.

Overall, the presence of younger workers will almost certainly help in the deployment of new tools and technologies – but it will also require the presence of some of the older, more seasoned technicians to assure that the incoming crew has the same level of respect for the way things were done in the past with regard to customer interactions and other customer-facing situations. It’s not all just about the technology!

[Watch for more of Bill’s responses to the Field Technologies questions over the next couple of weeks. The publication date for the Technology Update Article is August, 2016. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]

How Can Technology Help Make the Transition Easier When Replacing Retiring Technicians with “New” Millennial Hires?

[Bill Pollock’s response to the fifth of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, addresses how technology can help make the transition easier when replacing retiring service technicians with “new” millennials.]

BA (edited): How can technology help ease the transition from an historical service technician workforce to one where retiring technicians are being replaced by millennials?

BP: Technology will be the key to an easier transference of knowledge between the retiring technicians and their replacements – but the process should be started well in advance of the technicians’ retirement dates. For example, it will most likely serve the organization well to move to an environment where their field technicians are gradually (or, in some cases, more quickly) brought up-to-speed with respect to the new technologies and mobile tools that are generally available to them.

Providing them with the mobile tools (e.g., iPads, Tablets, etc.) that will make it easier for them to record their activities, check on the status of work orders, post notes and reminders, etc. will serve to migrate them from an analog to a more digital world. This, in turn, will allow for an easier transfer of data and information from one technician to another – not necessarily an easier transfer of knowledge, but at least enabling the transfer of the data and information that will ultimately become knowledge once in the hands of the newer technicians.

Another way that some organizations have been able to transition through the “changing of the guard” with respect to field technicians has been by retaining some of their top technicians beyond their retirement from the field, and appointing them as trainers, mentors and/or advisors to the incoming crew of millennials. In the absence of more formal training programs (e.g., off-site classes, distance learning, self-study programs, and the like), these more personal, one-on-one, resources have been used by many organizations to fill a void that may otherwise surface during a period of transition.

Having a veteran (or two, or three, or more) accessible to mentor new hires is not new to the world of business – or sports! For example, it is quite likely that a professional sports team will have one or more veterans on their roster who can still play the game, while also serving as role models and mentors in the team clubhouse in support of the incoming batch of “rookies”. In fact, using this model will likely lead to an ongoing process where today’s rookies will become tomorrow’s mentors as they move through their careers, and accumulating their own experiential knowledge over time.

[Watch for more of Bill’s responses to the Field Technologies questions over the next couple of weeks. The publication date for the Technology Update Article is August, 2016. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]

What Knowledge Transfer Challenges Are Services Organizations Likely to Face When Hiring Millennials to Replace Retiring Technicians?

[Bill Pollock’s response to the fourth of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, addresses the challenges that services organizations are likely to face when hiring “new” millennials to replace retiring service technicians.]

BA (edited): What knowledge transfer challenges are services organizations likely to face when hiring millennials to replace retiring technicians?

BP: Knowledge transfer between the retiring generation and the new generation of field technicians is likely to be somewhat problematic in that the older generation is more likely to be categorized as “analog” with respect to their accumulated knowledge, experiential interactions (i.e., both with products and people), work-related notes, diaries, etc., while the newer generation is more likely to be defined as “digital”.

The retiring technicians may each have years of experiential knowledge that it would take years (or, at least, months) for their replacements to match in terms of breadth, depth and content. They may also have scores of notes taken on yellow pads, post-it notes and scraps of paper, as well as numerous documents constructed and printed out in a Word or Notes file. However, the millennials are more likely to use electronic means for capturing notes through a variety of iPad, iPhone and/or Android devices.

In the former cases, the transfer of information may be difficult due to the analog nature of the recording means used. However, in the latter cases, it may simply be a matter of transferring digital files from one technician’s devices to another’s.

The outgoing technicians may also have more of a propensity for collecting – and using – personal notes on each of their customer accounts than the incoming crew. Historically, most field technicians have had a full appreciation of how to “manage” their customers – even before the advent of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). To many, it made good sense to work just as hard to “fix the customer” while they were “fixing their equipment”. However, this may not be as prevalent among the new crew of incoming field technicians. It’s not that kind of world anymore!

[Watch for more of Bill’s responses to the Field Technologies questions over the next few weeks. The publication date for the Technology Update Article is August, 2016. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]

How Can Services Organizations Attract and Retain New Millennial Technicians?

[Bill Pollock’s response to the third of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, addresses how services organizations can attract and retain “new” millennial technicians into their existing service technician workforce.]

BA: How can companies attract and retain these new millennial technicians?

BP: The best way to attract and retain these new technicians is the same way that has always been used by services organizations – give them what they want! Historically, technicians wanted job security, a steady paycheck, a sound pension, ample vacation time, some respect within the organization, and a fair degree of freedom as to how they can relate to their customers. They also wanted support from the organization in terms of tools, training, documentation, product schematics, repair guidelines, call histories and the ability to control their own destiny with respect to ordering parts, checking in on the status of a work order, and an open input/feedback channel with management.

The new generation of technicians want the same things – but with a few omissions, and a bit of reordering. For example, most millennials probably do not believe there is such a thing as job security anymore – maybe not even a steady paycheck or a financially sound pension. Since most of them will have already been fairly immersed in various new technologies, they will likely want to be able to use the same technologies that they have been familiar with to be a part of their new job. This is where BYOD (i.e., Bring Your Own Device) may be somewhat more important today than it was years ago. Through these devices, the newer generation of field technicians will be able to more easily access all of the traditional tools for training, documentation, product schematics, etc. and, as a result, these resources will most likely be made available to them on a more flexible and less formal basis than in the past.

The best prospects for retaining new hires will be for the organization to keep pace with respect to assuring that the technology used at work is at a commensurate level with the technology used at home (i.e., for personal use, shopping, gaming, etc.). In the past, many of the “older” technicians were technology-averse; however, at present (and in the future), technology will be an added incentive for keeping the millennial generation happy.

[Watch for more of Bill’s responses to the Field Technologies questions over the next few weeks. The publication date for the Technology Update Article is August, 2016. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]

How Will Incoming Millennial Field Technicians Differ from the Technicians They Are Replacing?

[Bill Pollock’s response to the second of seven questions posed by Brian Albright, contributing editor, Field Technologies magazine. An edited version of Bill’s responses will appear as part of a Technology Update Article in the August, 2016 issue of the magazine. This excerpt, in particular, sets the stage for how millennials are likely to differ from the field technicians they will be replacing.]

BA: How are incoming techs (who are often much younger) different from the technicians they are replacing? How can field service organizations prepare for this new generation of millennials?

BP: It’s not so much how the services organizations will be able to deal with the new generation of millennials; but, rather how the new generation of millennials will be able to deal with the services organizations – many of which are likely to be firmly entrenched in somewhat old and archaic, not yet fully automated (if at all) service delivery processes; and outdated policies, procedures and guidelines for assisting them in doing their respective jobs.

Most millennials will already be proficient with today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology and will be poised to fully utilize Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to assist them in doing their job. However, if the organization they work for does not utilize a commensurate level of technology as an integral part of their service delivery model, the millennial technicians may find themselves effectively disengaged. Even a simple matter of millennial technicians favoring an Apple platform for personal use, but finding themselves saddled with a company-deployed PC-based or Android device may serve as a potential disconnect. In other words, they may end up loving their technology more than they love their new jobs – and this, too, could lead to a potential disconnect.

As the technology of AR progresses and is more deeply integrated into the normal course of performing field service, those millennials who had previously believed they were merely “slacking off” when playing their favorite VR and/or AR-based games, may now, instead, revel in the idea that are going to be paid to use the same technologies in their new jobs – how good is that!

The older generation of field technicians may also be different than the newer generation that will be replacing them in a number of other areas as well. For example, the older generation may be more amenable to taking orders or directives from their supervisors, even when they believe they are wrong in their guidance or decisions. However, millennials will probably be less likely to follow orders without raising a fuss every once and a while.

The older technicians will also likely to be more politically correct than their millennial replacements. To what degree this will impact their relationships with customers will ultimately depend on the specific individuals that are hired as replacements, and will not likely constitute a major problem. What this does suggest, however, is that the screening process for hiring new field technicians will need to be particularly on point!

Longer-tenured technicians may also have more annually accrued vacation days, and may need to utilize more sick days than new hires; but the new hires will likely require more time off for maternity/paternity leave, etc. They will also not have the same mentality with respect to considering this job as the one they will hope to keep for their entire working days. However, this is nothing more than reflective of the changing characteristics of a changing society, and should easily be handled as a matter of course by HR – and not necessarily by you!

[Watch for more of Bill’s responses to the Field Technologies questions over the next few weeks. The publication date for the Technology Update Article is August, 2016. A direct link to the article will be provided at that time.]