For Its Next Act, Salesforce Wants to Fix Field Service

March 15, 2016, 5:01 PM UTC
Courtesy of Salesforce

Salesforce (CRM) is on a first-name basis with most corporate sales teams. As of this week, it’s looking for an introduction to your field services employees.

The cloud software giant’s latest application launched Tuesday, called Field Service Lightning, automates the management repair or service calls—everything from dispatch alerts to work order creation to wrap-up reports.

As you might expect, the service ties closely to the flagship Salesforce customer relationship app. In theory, that turns service technicians into potential sales representatives. For example, if someone notices that a customer might benefit more from a product update—rather than a repair—the technician will be able to suggest that to the customer and note that in his or her report.

“Having a complete end-to-end view of the entire customer service experience–from purchase to installation to maintenance–will allow companies to grow customer loyalty and engagement,” said IDC analyst Mary Wardley, in a statement.

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Indeed, one of the biggest gripes about field services visits is the inability of technicians to resolve problems on the first visit. That’s according to data collected ServiceMax, one of the best-known cloud software companies in this space and actually a close Salesforce business partner.

ServiceMax estimates size of the market at roughly $18 billion. Aside from ServiceMax, the new Salesforce service will compete head-to-head with apps from Microsoft (MSFT), which bought its way into the category last July, and Oracle (ORCL), which staked a claim through its July 2014 buyout of TOA Technologies.

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