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4 Considerations When Selecting The Best Consulting Partner for Field Service

4 Considerations When Selecting The Best Consulting Partner for Field Service

We've identified four key considerations in selecting a system integration partner to ensure success with your Field Service Lightning implementation.

Our mission is to ensure Field Service Lightning (FSL) customers are wildly successful in maximizing their business benefit throughout their Field Service digital transformation. Each customer has unique needs, varying business processes, and different expected outcomes. Consequently, it is critical to properly apply FSL capabilities to meet the needs of the business. While each customer intimately understands their existing business processes, the greatest obstacle to achieving customer success is aligning FSL and business processes with industry best practices.

The best way to overcome this obstacle and to ensure FSL customers are successful is to utilize the Salesforce Partner ecosystem or Cloud Services. Right now, you may have several questions circling in your head, such as “Can’t I just implement FSL on my own?” or “Which systems integration (SI) partner is the best fit for my business?” Well, we are here to help. We have identified four key considerations in SI selection that every customer must address to ensure success with your FSL implementation: 

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Have fresh eyes
  • Be project ready
  • Prepare for success

1. Expect the unexpected

Change is hard. There are always short term pains in exchange for longer-term gains. Field Service Lighting is an incredibly powerful solution that is flexible enough to be applied across different industries and meet varied business objectives. Because of this flexibility, it is critical to engage an SI who understands the complexity of FSL, yet can surface a successful, optimal, and simplified solution.

Our Salesforce SIs are FSL Trailblazers. They have deep expertise with FSL, exposure across industries, and a unique perspective that can be applied to enhance a customer’s existing business processes. While it might be tempting to try to implement FSL without engaging a Salesforce SI, there are many reasons why they will help ensure your success:

  1. SIs provide demonstrated FSL experience (e.g., customer stories)
  2. SIs are equipped with technical expertise ( FSL certifications)
  3. SIs provide their own unique point of view on best practices and approach ( outside perspective and industry-specific POV).

2. Have fresh eyes

Embarking on a field service digital transformation journey requires fresh eyes. Customers are embracing FSL because they want to leverage the best in class Field Service technology for their business that directly integrates with the Salesforce Platform. If moving away from a previous technology, then merely applying the same capabilities used in your previous solution does a disservice to your business and doesn’t allow for improved processes to be applied or for efficiencies to be gained.

Engaging with our SIs helps ensure that the final solution maximizes your business benefit and improves your return on investment. SIs come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to identify a shortlist of top contenders and then evaluate each one to help ensure you are successful.

So, what key questions should you ask when evaluating a field service SI?

  1. Tell me about your field service experience.
  2. How familiar are you with my industry?
  3. How many Salesforce FSL implementations have you completed?
  4. Do you have FSL customer references that you can share with us?
  5. How many FSL certified individuals are on your team? Will they be on this implementation? Can we interview them?

3. Be project ready

Proper preparation produces positive projects. As you prepare for your FSL project and engage with your SI of choice, now is the time to perform self-reflection to realistically assess your field service maturity and business capabilities. It’s important to understand the level of change management your organization requires and can handle. Define what your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) should look like and get consensus on the MVP across your stakeholders. Because transformation takes time, we recommend a crawl, walk, run implementation approach. Consequently, your MVP should focus on the crawl level of initial capabilities, like obtaining visibility into your field service operations.

To be project ready, you need to have answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the compelling event, and how does that relate to the timeline that is driving this project?
  2. Have you established and prioritized your business objectives?
  3. What is your definition of success for the project?
  4. Have you realistically defined the MVP and aligned it across your stakeholders?
  5. How does the timeline align with the change management needed to rollout the MVP?
  6. How complex is your implementation? Are you rolling out multiple Salesforce clouds to different user groups? Do you have multiple integrations to other systems, like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system?

The last question is key to determining the level of support you may require. Premier Support should always be considered to take advantage of things like Accelerators. For more complex projects, consider Advisory Services in conjunction with your chosen SI.

4. Prepare for success

To ensure success with your field service digital transformation initiative, you must be prepared for the success. Conversely, failure to prepare is preparing to fail. After you have selected your SI and before the project gets underway, it’s important to ensure your internal teams are aligned and prepared to work toward the ultimate goal of rolling out a best-fit solution for the business. To prepare, your team must do the following:

Ensure executive buy-in

1. Top-down oversight helps to ensure that all teams are focused (and funded) on the end goal to ensure all stakeholders achieve the desired outcomes.

2. There should be clear decision makers, also known as product owners (PO). You’ll need input and want buy-in from stakeholders, but making decisions by committee can slow down and even stall a project. The PO(s) should have the authority to make the final decision if consensus cannot be met.

Provide dedicated hands-on resources

1. Working with your trusted partner is half the battle; the other half includes identifying and equipping your internal resources who will contribute throughout the lifecycle of the project and beyond.

2. This includes product owners, subject matter experts, business analysts, key stakeholders, and technology resources.

Plan properly

1. Ensure that you have properly prepared by being project ready and having all internal and partner resources equipped and aligned. Executing on the plan requires constant focus on taking small steps to achieve the bigger goal.

2. Develop a project plan with your partner and agree on your methodology, like Agile. If your internal resources are unfamiliar with your selected methodology, training early can save time in the long run. Your partner may be able to help with this.

Prepare for change management

1. As previously mentioned, change is hard, which is why it’s absolutely critical that you prepare for the change throughout the organization. After timelines, scope, and objectives have been identified, it’s important to over-communicate and set appropriate expectations.

2. Planning for User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and training approach, such as Train the Trainer (TTT), early will help ensure success as you approach go-live.

You are now ready to embark on your FSL journey to engage with the optimal FSL Salesforce SI, which will help ensure a successful journey with your implementation. Use this blog post as your handy reference when you are identifying and selecting your FSL implementation partner. 

Helpful Resources

  1. Salesforce Services: Overview
  2. Trailhead Trail: Find Success with Your Implementation Partner
  3. AppExchange on SIs: Search FSL Consulting Partners
  4. Certification Verification: Verify a Certified Salesforce Professional

Learn more about how you can deliver better onsite support with Field Service Lightning.

Matt Genoa, Salesforce Senior Manager, Customer Success Group, is a contributor to this article.


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