Running a Field Service Lightning Project (+ Project Template)

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The acquisition of ClickSoftware, the Tel Aviv-based field service powerhouse, sharpens the focus on Field Service Lightning, particularly for Consultants with some exposure to Service Cloud.

To get an idea of the potential explosion we’re about to witness, think CPQ in 2016 vs 2019. The acquisition of Steelbrick back in 2016 bought CPQ into the limelight, resulting in changing requirements from Salesforce customers, and an exponential increase in skills demand.

As a consultant, getting your Field Service wings can be intimidating due to the depth of supporting documentation available, and the lack of any real consultant-led knowledge base (compared to what’s available for the more established parts of the Salesforce platform).

As per usual,  the certification, while useful, is very different from the experience implementing and working with the tool in real-life.

However, the product itself is a masterpiece and visually pleasing. Consultants should see a strong future in it.

Best-Fit Use Cases

Unless you’re looking to develop your own custom plugins,  it’s important not to take the product too far outside of its original intended use. With that in mind, let’s kick off with some use cases.

Scenario Best Fit Process
Break-Fix / Repair Mobile resources attending customer sites for a single or small number of visits
Scheduled Maintenance Automated generation and scheduling of repeated maintenance visits in which the work is normally very similar each time
Sales Where you have Sales teams which focus on high-volume single visits, Field Service Lightning can be plugged into Opportunities with ease
Healthcare Regular or irregular care visits or execution of off-premise care plans.
Engineering Complex work but contained within a single or small number of visits

The FSL Project Template

When I ‘unpick’ a new Cloud I haven’t previously worked with, the first thing I do is sit down and map the whole process from a high-level perspective; with the wealth of information available on Salesforce, the looking at the whole piece in-depth can seem quite overwhelming.

Here is a best-fit process that we have seen frequently with our clients:

In most Field Service projects, there will be a wishlist that stretches far beyond the outer reaches of the budget. Considering breaking up what make up the minimum viable product, and what can wait, is often the best way to go. Here’s a table that explores what typically comes first vs. what can normally happen in a later phase:

FSL vs Service Cloud Projects: My Tips

Having worked on dozens of Field Service Lightning engagements and hundreds of Sales/Service Cloud projects, I have noticed a lot of commonalities from project to project, but also plenty of differences to be wary of when making the transition to FSL consulting:

More UAT Time

Allocate more time for UAT and post-go-live support. The product has more nooks and crannies than the other platform products, and the end-to-end process is more time consuming to build, test and demonstrate to your client stakeholders.

Exception Handling Diagnosis

Exception handling during testing can take more time as you’re looking in various different directions and through different parts of the system to diagnose the problem.

Creative Solutionising

There’s more license for creativity in solutioning with FSL than CPQ, for example. I have recently been involved in an airline-style “overbooking” extension to the core functionality – a requirement that wouldn’t spring to mind at first!

Ongoing Improvements

It’s an ongoing project – there are always ways to come back and improve on what’s been done. Clients should think in phases and take a long term view.

Deployment

Deployment is a 2 day+ process due to the system’s reliance on object data as one of the main inputs that drive the process.

Project Management

Deploy an experienced PM to manage change – FSL can be a massive leap of faith for those still using whiteboards/Excel for scheduling.

In the following diagram, we look at how long an FSL engagement typically takes compared with a more traditional Sales or Service Cloud project.

Summary

In this post we’ve looked at the use cases for FSL, the common processes, what should come early in the project lifecycle, and some general tips which can help you during the project lifecycle. In our next article, we look deeper into the scoping “gotchas” in Field Service Lightning.

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