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Salesforce Field Service Summer ‘22 Notable Features & Reactions

The Salesforce Summer ’22 Release is officially live in Production Orgs, and not surprisingly, the entire platform is packed with some amazing features. Within this post I wanted to highlight some of the notable features included specific to Salesforce Field Service (SFS) as well as the impact I see these features having within the Field Service Market.  The list below is not all-inclusive so please review the release notes in their entirety to review all the available features including potential beta features available to test. 

* Reactions documented below are my own views and are not affiliated or endorsed by Salesforce in any way. A full list of features and product videos can be found at the bottom of the review.

Let’s begin…

Resource Management 

There were noticeably fewer features in this category compared to the last release, however, the features included definitely pack a punch! 

Feature: Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization
The next iteration of Scheduling and Optimization builds on top of the already powerful features that Companies have come to love.  The enhancements include the flexibility to toggle the feature set by Territory, multiple Travel Mode support, Service Appointment Sliding, Flexible Breaks, Holiday management, and deeper Service Appointment scheduling insights.  Let’s take a bit of a deeper look into each one

Territory Toggle – While Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization is a big step forward some core features aren’t available yet and will be rolled out in upcoming releases.  So, a checkbox has been added to the Service Territory so you can effectively decide which Territories you want to utilize Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization for and which ones you don’t.   

Reaction:  This is important if you are a company that might have some scheduling scenarios where you are using some of the Field Service features not supported in Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization, but could still possibly take advantage of some of your simper scheduling scenarios in other Territories.  *NOTE – you may need to add the Field to the applicable Service Territory Page Layout. 

Travel Modes – Enjoy more accurate travel time estimations with the incorporation of additional Travel modes.  You can now indicate whether the Resource will be traveling by Car, Light Truck, Heavy Truck, Bicycle, or Walking.  Plus, you’ll also be able to indicate whether Toll Roads will be used as well as if the Technician will be transporting Hazardous Material. 

Simply create a Travel Mode Record and then fill in the applicable Lookup value on either the Service Territory or Service Territory Member Record. Following along with other features like Home Base and Operating Hours, if you set the Travel Mode on the Service Territory Member record it will override the value that is set on the Territory level for that Resource.  *NOTE – You may need to create a Tab for the Travel Mode Object and add the relevant Lookup Fields to the applicable Service Territory and Service Territory Member Page Layouts.

Appointment Sliding – Free up time for more Service Appointments when using Appointment Booking and Scheduling Operations by enabling Service Appointment Sliding.  Service Appointments on the Gantt can move to an earlier or later time, within the Resource’s availability.  This can be enabled within Field Service Settings > Scheduling and is only available when using Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization 

Reaction:  In my opinion, this is a HUGE feature and brings one of the more powerful aspects of the Optimization Engine into on-platform Appointment Booking.  Let’s think about it in terms of an example.  Calls are coming in, appointments are being booked, and the schedule for tomorrow gets completely full.  Seems like a pretty good scenario, right?  Most Companies today would think so and some even take it a step further and Optimize the schedule overnight to evaluate the schedule as a whole, potentially move things around, and come up with the best possible schedule they can to start the day Tomorrow.  So how does that relate to this particular feature you might ask, let me explain. 

One of the things that optimization does as it evaluates the schedule as a whole is to consider the ability to ‘slide’ an Appointment within say a committed Arrival Window given to a Customer, which could even mean assigning it to another Resource to align to an Objective like Minimize Travel within the Policy being used.  So, maybe an Appointment has an Arrival Window of 9 AM – 11 AM and is scheduled to start at 10:15 AM, BUT moving that Appointment to another Resource with a scheduled start of 9:15 AM (still within the Arrival Window) helps minimize travel overall to the schedule.  Powerful, right?  Well, that is why this feature is so game-changing because it is bringing that piece of Optimization to on-platform Appointment Booking.  Keep in mind that Appointment Booking is still only attempting to book a single Appointment at a time, unlike Optimization that is considering the entire schedule based on what was sent into the engine, but now Appointment Booking will consider the ability to ‘slide’ an Appointment to better align to the Objectives within the Policy, provide better overall Slot options, and decrease white space, which will have a positive impact into key business KPIs. 

Holiday Management – Refine your working hours and show holidays in the Dispatcher Console.  Update Operating Hours so that Service Appointments aren’t scheduled on holidays.  Setup and configuration are fairly easy and just involve creating Holidays within Setup and then associating those holidays to Operating Hours through a new related Object, Operating Hours holidays.  *Note – you may need to add the Operating Hours Holiday Related List to the applicable Page Layout as well as update the applicable Operating Hours Lightning Page. 

Reaction:  This has been a consistent ask over the years and I was happy to see it finally made it into the product.  Overall, the setup and configuration are easy, and the Object model allows for the flexibility of relating specific holidays to specific Territories which supports companies who have global operations.  One bummer, at least from what I experienced, is that it doesn’t appear to support recurring events at all.  Now the documentation doesn’t say it supports recurring, but it also doesn’t say that it doesn’t support it either.  I had hoped that this would allow the ability to say indicate a weeklong offsite training, which would require a daily recurring pattern over a given week and be able to assign that to a Territory.  Unfortunately, that appears to not be the case and the only day that is blocked off is the first day indicated in the recurring holiday.  The worst part is that means that even setting up a yearly holiday like the 4th of July here in the states will have to be managed each year instead of just being able to say that the holiday occurs every year and then not having to worry about it again.  *Note – if you already have holidays created, they may not show up on the Gantt even if you relate them through the Operating Hours related list and may require that you delete and create new holidays.  Also, keep in mind that you will need to have the applicable checkbox checked on the applicable Service Territory that indicates you want to use Enhanced Scheduling and Optimization. 

Multiple Breaks – Add up to three (3) breaks to your Work Rules so that Service Resources get their meals and breaks on time.  Use Work Rule Entries to add the break duration and a time window to the availability-based Work Rules.  *Note – You may need to add the Work Rules Entries Related List to the applicable Resource Availability Work Rule layout. 

Reaction:  This is a nice enhancement, and like holiday management, has been an ask for several years.  The flexibility of the new data model is nice and although you can’t narrow it down to a specific time, a Resource MUST take their break at 9:15 AM exactly, for example, you can designate that within say the first 3 hours a Resource is working, they need to take a 15-minute break.  Then maybe within their first 5 hours, they must take a 30-minute lunch, and then again within their last 2 hours of their day they need to take another 15-minute break.  Even better is the fact that since the non-Availabilities are of type Break that allows them to be moved to possibly accommodate work that needs to be scheduled but will still adhere to the constraints that are configured within the Work Rule Entries themselves.  One thing to keep in mind is that since the Work Rule Entries are related to the Availability Work Rule, the breaks you configure will be relevant to every Resource when scheduling with the related Scheduling Policy.  However, you should be able to narrow down to specific Resources using Relevance Groups on the Resource Availability Work Rule if your use case is that different Resources will require different break requirements. 

Feature: Appointment Bundling Enhancements 

Overview:  There are several updates this release to the Appointment Bundling Feature within Field Service but 2, in particular, caught my eye: 

Live Bundling – Let Field Service update your bundles when Service Appointments are modified or added to your Appointment list. 

Propagation Policies – Determine when and how the bundle updates the fields on the Bundle members. 

Reaction:  These are two solid steps forward as the Bundling Feature itself in Field Service does require a good amount of configuration during the initial setup.  Prior to the Summer release, there was still a lot of work to do in order to add to Bundles as well as keep the Bundle Member Service Appointments up to date based on changes made.  With these 2 enhancements, you can now enable a process that will look to run on a set frequency and potentially add to a Bundle automatically if the criteria to do so are met.  This takes the manual intervention piece away from the Dispatcher and gives them peace of mind that the Bundling logic is always looking for ways to create scheduling efficiencies based on the Company’s business objectives.  Use of the Propagation Policy is also key in saving time as now you can configure when and what information is carried across all the Bundle Members associated with the same Bundled Service Appointment.  Before this release, the Propagation Policies were not supported (even though they were in the org) so the only option was to create custom automation if you wanted to do mass Bundle Member updates to ensure data consistency. 

Asset Management 

Feature:  Asset Management Enhancements

Overview:  There were several minor updates to Asset Management with this release that you can review, but there are 2 in particular that warrant some specific attention: 

Gain Insight into Work Order Generation Status – Chatter Messages have been improved to make it easier to identify problems and solutions if errors are experienced when attempting to Generate Work Orders. 

Reaction:  This change may go under the radar for folks who aren’t using Maintenance Plans today, but for those who are, this is going to be a huge value add feature.  Up until now trying to diagnose why a Maintenance Plan didn’t generate Work Orders has been challenging as it involves taking the little information from the Chatter message and trying to then line that up with the considerations in the documentation.  So, having additional details will be a big time saver and help folks quickly diagnose what could be wrong as well as how to get past it. 

Pinpoint the Location of Your Assets and Service Appointments – A standard Address Field has been added to the Asset to allow for specific Location identification on the Asset level. 

Reaction:  I know I’m not the only one screaming, “It’s about dang time!”  Right?  I’ve spent years walking Customers and Partners through the Data Model of the Asset’s Lookup to Location, then the relationship between Addresses and the Location, just to hear the question “why isn’t there just an address field on the Asset?”  Well, here you go!  Now I understand that this may not be worthy of all the fanfare I’ve given it, just due to it being a single field, but I feel almost obligated to be excited at this point.  Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my system onto the considerations.  

One thing I found interesting is that although there is the standard Address Field, there are no Fields included for Street, City, State, Postal Code, Country, etc…  Not only that but there aren’t any Geolocation Fields associated either.  This seems contrary to even the recently released Address Type Field that Salesforce released in Summer.  When you add a Field of that type the Fields mentioned above are also automatically added as that is how the standard Address Field has operated for years.  So, something to consider as it appears you’ll need to add your own fields to accommodate that and could also have an impact on formulas for referencing through automation. 

Maintenance Plans Frequency Fields to Maintenance Work Rules – This is more just a big item to watch out for if you are using Maintenance Plans.  The Frequency Fields are being phased out as part of a move to utilize Maintenance Work Rules to define any/all frequencies you would want to utilize to Generate Work Orders. 

Customer Engagement Management 

Feature:  Appointment Assistant Enhancements 

Overview:  There were a number of minor updates to Appointment Assistant with this release that you can review, but there is 1 in particular that warrant some specific attention: 

Let Customers Sign Reports on their Personal Device – Customers can now use their own device instead of the Mobile worker’s device to digitally sign Service Reports and stay COVID-safe. 

Reaction:  So, the fact that the word COVID is used in the description indicates that this feature is more specific to say social distancing.  Which while important is not the most important piece that I see with this particular feature.  Companies have been asking for years to provide a way for customers to sign their Service Report through another mechanism other than the Mobile Worker’s device, and even though you have been able to send the Service Report programmatically for some time, the ability to capture the signature wasn’t there.  Now with this feature, the end Customer will be able to sign the Service Report on their own device whether they are physically there onsite or not, which is a big need for large Commercial Customers who may have Companies coming out to do things like maintenance work where no one from the Company will be there to meet the actual Mobile Worker face to face.   

Even when it comes to more Residential use cases, think of a customer running out as the Mobile Worker finishes up and asks specifically to have the Service Report sent to them for signature as they are running late to another appointment.  This could be a big value add for the overall Customer experience and ensure that the Mobile Worker can be flexible in getting the final sign-off on the work completed.  Keep in mind that an Appointment Assistant is a requirement in order to accomplish and it looks like any Mobile Worker who could initiate the sending of the link will need to be licensed.  Outside of that though there appears to be some pre-built flows and then a nice component that can simply be added to the relevant Experience Cloud Site. 

Mobile 

Overview:  There were a number of minor updates to Mobile with this release that you can review, but there is 1 in particular that warrant some specific attention: 

Feature:  Combine Work and Absence Schedules in the Mobile App 

Overview:  See the whole schedule at a glance with a unified view of Resource Absences, Service Appointments, and Work Orders 

Reaction:  YES, FINALLY!  Like a couple of items mentioned above, this is not an out-of-this-world feature but has been one that has been asked for by Companies for the last few years.  Until now the Mobile worker would need to select the Profile Tab to see their absences.  Then they would have to toggle back and forth to try any type of alignment to the work scheduled and potential time off.  Well not anymore!  Mobile Workers will now be able to see a consolidated view that will minimize time spent (single screen vs multiple) and will also allow for quick identification of any Resource Absence / Work conflicts on the Mobile Worker’s calendar. 

The full list of Field Service Features for Summer ’22 is here

SFS Product Videos are here