How to extend Salesforce workflows to the field

Blog Post created by dan.stoll Employee on Nov 9, 2017

I've had the opportunity during my career to work across a vast array of industries, environments and situations. During this time I've seen the same problems with slightly different flavors, but none the less a problem. Whether it is someone always eating the snacks in the morning tea room through to a business processes hindering innovation. Another thing I've come to see during this time, is that when organisations start to think about business processes. The defaults are something to do with HR, IT or Finance. Now don't get me wrong! There are a lot of business processes among those business departments. But often the department that gets either forgotten about or are simply too busy to sit down with the business to work through some of the issues they may be having, is the Service or Field arm of the organisation. This tide is changing however, and you'd have to be living under rock to not see the vast amount of Field / Mobile applications that service these very scenarios. 


So let me set the scene: The fictitious company I work for "Safalo Realty" provides building management services, which includes everything from landscaping, plumbing, administration, leasing services and general maintenance. To keep my customers happy I have to be able to provide fast, efficient and excellent service. So the first thing I need to do other than have the right people in place, is to ensure that the experience for my customers interfacing with us is easy, and keeps them informed. I also need to engage with my field staff who are almost always remote or are engaged on a sub-contractual basis.


Safalo Realty use multiple systems of record, and all the customer data is stored in Salesforce. This also includes equipment assets, case management and service requests. I'm also using Nintex Workflow for Salesforce which you can read more about here - What's New: Nintex Workflow for Salesforce.



Sally works at the fictitious 'Mur Blancs,' who lease 3 floors from us in Downtown Seattle. They are currently having some HVAC issues on one of the floors. So Sally reports this via the Safalo Realty Website. 

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Sally has submitted the form to request maintenance from the Safalo Realty website, this will trigger a workflow. 

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The workflow is going to do a number of things before it serves up any information to the Field worker however. First of all it needs to go and get the account information to validate whether the information is correct. At this point you could also do validation checking to see if the account is on Credit hold or have any other outstanding cases that haven't' been rectified. If this was the case you could gather this information and change the priority based on this knowledge and inform the Field worker that there are other jobs outstanding, and that someone may mention this when they are on site. Because Sally selected HVAC in the form, the field engineering manager's picture will be displayed, we can also take this information from the form and use it to create a case in Salesforce and assign it to this person. 

Once the Case has been created in Salesforce, the workflow will send a SMS or Email to the customer who lodged the job. The primary purpose of this is to keep the customer informed and to let them know that we have received their request and that we can created a case and it has been assigned. 

The workflow progresses on now to create a work order document. This work order document is a requirement of the Safalo Realty and Sub-contractor legal requirements, and it is how they (sub-contractors) bill Safalo. 

The document is created by the document generation action within the workflow and stored in Box so the Sub-contractor can access it. 

A task is then sent out to the assigned field worker. They will receive this as an email and as task in their Safalo Realty App, which was built using Nintex App Studio. 

From the task / email they can open the work order document to find out what they need to do, and with all the information about the account they need, such as point of contact, address, Case Number etc. 

Right now we are leaving it to the specialist hands of the person in the field to fix what they need to, and the first workflow ends. 


Once the issue has been solved by the field worker, they need to report this back. In the same way we are trying to lower the complexity for our customers when they submit requests, we also want to lower the complexity for our field workers. They are often remote, offline, only on mobile and have limited time to. We also want to maximize their productivity in terms of; we want them in the field fixing and solving issues for our customers. Not filling paper work. 


Using the Safalo Realty app the field worker can simply type in the case number, which they know because it was on the work order they were given, and simply fill in the resolution / fix that was applied. 

This form starts a new workflow that uses the case number to pull forward the information about the case and to write the new information tot he case, post it to chatter on the account, inform Sally that work has been completed and to update the work order form with the resolution and the date. This completed work order document is then sent to field worker and Sally via Adobe eSign to complete. The Signed document is then placed back into Box.com for sub-contractor to be able to process for billing and the Case in Saleforce is updated with the resolution and closed.


Through out this entire process we have also been gathering the data via the Nintex Hawkeye Beacons that allow Safalo to produce dashboards to effectively monitor and track any cases that are on going and to identify any trends in particular buildings or with particular customers.


This particular scenario is very specific in what it is trying to achieve, but the same principles can be applied to just about any field type operation. Whether it is equipment maintenance spot checks at the end of a shift, to in-home care visits for stay-at-home elderly patients. Moving data between the field and your central office and involving the field in the daily processes of the business has never been easier.