Talking Salesforce Field Service with Amit Rotstein
We recently sat down with Amit Rotstein, Solution Architect and AMER Field Service Practice Lead at EPAM PolSource, to learn about his storied background with Salesforce Field Service (SFS), and to gain insights into the current challenges and trends in the Field Service industry.
Q: Hi Amit! Please tell us about your role as Field Service Practice Lead at EPAM PolSource.
A: In my role I am responsible for the success of the EPAM PolSource employees and customers in everything Field Service related. From supporting our marketing and sales team generating pipeline and closing deals, to making sure our architects continue doing great work implementing Field Service, staying on top of the Field Service product´s new features and releases, and finding smart solutions to complex problems our customers face. Anywhere EPAM PolSource has any interface with Field Service, I want to be there. By definition this role also puts me in front of the Salesforce sales, product and enablement teams so it is really a multidisciplinary role which over the years we shaped into what it is today.
Q: Your expertise in Field Service goes way back, in fact, you were the first Solution Architect to implement Field Service Lightning at ClickSoftware, which was acquired by Salesforce and is now known as the Field Service product. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A: As with many stories, it involves a bit of luck and a lot of good timing I guess. It was in spring of 2015, I just finished a project with a customer that integrated their Salesforce platform to Click, so it gave me a chance to get my hands dirty with Salesforce. Since I was in between projects, my manager (hey Gilad Liptz) reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to learn about a new product Click is developing called Field Expert. I contacted the Click product owner, and what he demoed to me blew my mind. It was so clean and simple to implement and work with in comparison to other field service management tools, and the use of the Salesforce administration platform and user interface combined with Click’s scheduling engine was clearly a winning combination. Now we only had to sell this to our first customer, and luckily one of our best AEs at Click (hey Shachar Chen) quickly understood the value of this tool, and within a few months our first deal was closed and I have never looked back. From that point on I was primarily focussing on the Salesforce product of Click, later known as Field Service Lightning (FSL), or Field Service today. This opened for me a huge door of opportunities and gave me the chance to be where I am today. I can’t complete this section without giving credit to the legendary Click team that came up with this product and tenaciously pushed it forward and now is leading Field Service product at Salesforce. (At left: Amit ringing the “PO Bell” at Click after the successful deployment of the 1st ever FSL deal)
Q: Every industry and business has been affected by the global pandemic. What challenges or changes have you seen arise in the Field Service industry from this?
A: I want to split the answer into 2 parts here: The market’s first reaction up to now, and the market as I see it going forward.
When COVID-19 hit, the field service industry took a hit like the rest of the market and everything halted. Everything B2C barely functioned, customers wouldn’t allow anyone in their homes, job and income insecurities delayed buying decisions etc. We’ve all seen it. Some B2B markets, especially in healthcare, also took a huge hit (unless they sold COVID-19 or emergency related products) since hospitals just shut their doors to anyone else. Slowly but surely we are seeing businesses getting back to servicing and installing their products, but now they are more focused on generating income through their service centers. I think that service managers figured out they cannot rely on other parts of their business to finance the cost of service, and they need to become standalone profit centers and more. The discussions with customers are more and more around how they not only decrease the cost of service (the classic field service talk track), but also how it can be monetized, and how we tie this to the financial parts of Salesforce. Lucky for EPAM PolSource, we also have an amazing Revenue Cloud practice led by my colleague Alex Lorenc, so we can easily handle those discussions and find profitable solutions for our clients.
Going forward, I believe we will see more focus on remote support, customer self-service, self-reliant customers who with the correct remote support from agents/technician/engineers can solve their issues without meeting the technician at all. Salesforce already has a range of features that are built exactly for that, like the Visual Remote Assistant, IoT Cloud, Einstein Suggestions and Next Best Actions, Appointment Assistant and Experience Cloud. The key is to find a partner that can actually tie all those tools together and maximize the power of the platform, which of course is one of EPAM PolSource’s biggest strengths: our multi-cloud experience.
Q: What are some of the trends or solutions in Field Service Management that you’re excited about?
A: If it is not clear from reading until now, I am constantly excited about what Field Service has to offer. What gets me going more than anything is seeing our customers succeed and adopt new features that Salesforce has to offer, so any feature that is customer centric is always the most exciting for me. I think that the most interesting trends will be the self reliance of our customers’ clients, and seeing a call center agent, with a single click connecting their client with an engineer to do a remote video call, and with a second click rerouting another technician from this client to someone else, this is the beauty of Field Service, seeing all those pieces moving together.
Q: Are there any Field Service gems from the Salesforce Summer Release ‘21 that you think people should know about?
A: The Summer ‘21 release is very much focused on improving scheduling and optimization on one side, and some very nice field service administration features on the other. So talking about improvements to the rule violations, match rules or mobile offline briefcase won’t mean too much to anyone outside this realm. I think that the best feature which everyone will quickly adopt is the Work Plans which became Generally Available in this release. We’ve already implemented Work Plans for a few of our clients when it was still in beta, and it is just fantastic. This feature also shows how seriously the Field Service salesforce product teams take the partner echo system when they build new features. I had the pleasure to meet with Karthik Shankar from Salesforce to discuss what we’d like the work plans to look like, and the results exceeded my expectations. My team and I absolutely love this feature and highly recommend using it to guide the technicians through their work on and off site.
Q: As a Salesforce Field Service expert, what steps would you recommend to a company to ensure a successful start utilizing SFS?
A: Come with open hearts and minds. Salesforce and a good partner will never tell you how to run your business, but we do bring so much knowledge and experience collected from other accounts and projects that it will be foolish not to listen to us, but I mean really listen. Our focus is not on selling or implementing, our focus is on making the customer succeed, and we know how to provide a clear path to getting there.
Any new Field Service Management tool has a big impact on the company that uses it, more than any other tool we can implement (I even wrote a blog post about this 3 years ago, still relevant as it was today). I can’t think of many other tools that have a direct effect on the customer’s end users and clients, field engineers, agents, dispatchers, market managers, their managers, finance and billing, human resources, ERP integrations, part and product managements, returns, refurbish, subcontractors etc.
I think that the most important tips I can give is to not try and boil the ocean, focus on the MVPs and keep an agile state of mind. This will help de-risk any project and will provide quicker wins for our clients. And of course, choose your partner wisely 🙂