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Understanding Reference Data in Field Service Lightning

Tori Bealer

December 5, 2018

With the recent release of our Moover Toolkit for Field Service Lighting, we’re excited to be helping Salesforce FSL Admins realize the same hassle-free deployment that we’ve provided to admins of Salesforce CPQ. But while Salesforce CPQ’s product catalog, price rules, and discount rules are easily recognizable as objects containing reference data, Field Service Lightning (FSL) may not be quite so clear cut. What objects require updates via reference data deployment, and how do you make it happen?

What is Salesforce reference data?

In the wider world, reference data define the set of permissible values to be used by other data fields. In the context of the Salesforce CRM and applications such as Salesforce CPQ, Billing, Advanced Approvals, and yes, Field Service Lightning, reference data allows users to configure their Salesforce environment to their company’s needs without requiring any code.

In fact, the ability to extend the utility of Salesforce to meet the unique challenges of your business through clicks, not code, is an extremely valuable selling point. A Salesforce Admin may have little or no experience with developing on the Salesforce platform, but still be able to keep the company’s marketing, sales, and customer success initiatives on Salesforce up-to-date and running smoothly.

So what does that mean for Field Service Lightning?

Implementation and ongoing deployment

Completing the initial configuration of Field Service Lightning is a complicated process, for which many companies utilize an implementation partner to ensure the application is set up properly. First, data is collected from existing systems, then deployed to a Salesforce sandbox org for testing. Then, once the app is confirmed to be working, it is deployed to production. Finally, it can be used by employees to deliver a fast and intuitive service experience to customers.

Reference data needs to be reviewed and updated fairly regularly to maintain a useful data set. Operating hours may change seasonally, for example, or services may be added, changed, or removed. However, not all objects within Field Service Lighting contain reference data. Objects that contain transaction data, such as service reports and work orders, go through a different process during everyday use of Field Service Lightning.

What objects typically need updating?

Of the 54 objects used in Field Service Lightning, 27 contain reference data. The following 20 are most typically updated during a reference data deployment:

  • Operating Hours
  • Time Slot
  • Service Territory
  • Skill
  • Location
  • Address
  • Service Resource
  • Service Territory Location
  • Service Resource Capacity
  • Service Resource Skill
  • Resource Absence
  • Resource Preference
  • Work Type
  • Skill Requirement
  • Service Territory Member
  • User Territory
  • Scheduling Policy
  • Map Polygon
  • Service Crew
  • Service Crew Member

You can see a full list of Field Service Lightning objects and data types in our Moover Field Service Lightning Reference Data Deployment Guide.

How do you manage reference data deployment?

While the Salesforce method of clicks, not code allows people without developer experience to manage and update Field Service Lightning, the traditional method of using a data loader and spreadsheets is by no means easy.

With a data loader, Admins are required to manually remap the lookup relationships between the records and destination org, a tedious process that’s prone to errors. Moving between a developer org or QA to production means doing this several times, and failing to test changes can mean a breakdown in production—which, in the realm of customer service, can mean angry customers, disconnects, and lost business.

Our new Moover Toolkit for Field Service Lightning makes Moover, our productivity-enhancing reference data deployment tool, even easier to use for FSL. With data set templates to simplify the deployment process, our complete deployment guide, and expert support, we’re making Field Service Lightning as easy to use for Admins as it is for customers.