5 Key benefits of connected assets in Salesforce

How to build a strong business case for connecting IoT and OT to Salesforce

Waylay Digital Twin for Salesforce

Find out more about Waylay Digital Twin and visit our home page, book your demo or watch our 3-minute product video.

Executive summary

Waylay Digital Twin is a purpose-built solution which connects IoT deployments back into Salesforce. It empowers business users to benefit from asset data & performance metrics to realize the business outcomes described in this article.


The IoT market has been maturing, as depicted in the Gartner hype cycle picture below. Paradoxically, as stand-alone IoT technology components, including platforms, are becoming commoditized, they do not always drive the expected value based outcomes companies anticipate. 

A tight integration between the IoT deployment and Salesforce can unlock the real value from IoT data in a variety of ways. For many enterprises, Salesforce is a key application for CRM, customer support, field service and customer interaction and the cornerstone of many business processes. Bridging IoT and OT to Salesforce allows enriching asset performance data with context to drive business value.


Gartner's 2020 Hype Cycle for the IoT

Giving Salesforce business users access to data and performance metrics from connected assets provides 5 key benefits: 

  1. Optimize field service interventions, reduce the number of truck rolls and maximize intervention efficiency
  2. Avoid cost of unplanned downtime or SLA non-compliance
  3. Reduce call center costs
  4. Increase revenues via servitization
  5. Increase agility and shorten time-to-value

Each of these benefits are key to any ROI calculation for an investment in technology that allows to leverage IoT data in Salesforce. Let’s explore each benefit in more detail.

1. Optimize field service interventions through reduction of truck rolls

Discrete manufacturers typically have a large pool of field service technicians and Salesforce is often the application of choice for managing field service operations. Data from connected assets can make truck rolls more successful and more accurate. On top of this, avoiding unnecessary dispatches directly translates into an improved bottom line. 


Here are a number of ways in which data from connected assets improve field service operations in Salesforce. 

Remote operations teams become more efficient, resolve problems independently or diagnose issues without a physical field service intervention by enriching asset performance information with business context


First, connected assets provide new tools to remote operations teams. When they can leverage accurate real-time and historical asset information and combine that with business context information in Salesforce, problem resolution is expedited:

  • In some cases, issues can be resolved remotely, with or without the help of the customers, avoiding a truck roll.
  • In other cases, remote operations teams diagnose problems and avoid dispatches that would otherwise be qualified as false positives.


If a technician gets dispatched, analysis of data from connected assets prior to the visit further improves the process: 

  • Root-cause analysis prior to the intervention leads to a higher chance of resolving problems while onsite (e.g. because the right spare parts are available), avoiding a second truck roll.
  • If the root cause of a problem is known, field technicians will need less time to resolve issues while onsite. 

The technician will also benefit from direct access to alarm, performance metrics and historical data while resolving problems onsite.

Condition-based and predictive maintenance strategies further reduce the number of truck rolls.

In a recent report, IoT Analytics claims that predictive maintenance implementations yielded a positive ROI in 83% of the cases and that 45% of those reported amortization in less than a year (1).


As a bonus, predictive maintenance can also improve spare part inventory cost and reduce the associated working capital requirements.

2. Avoid cost of unplanned downtime or SLA non-compliance

Unplanned downtime can be extremely expensive. Think of a production line going down for a couple of hours or workers sitting idle because an elevator or a piece of heavy machinery broke down at a construction site. Costs easily rise to 100 K€ and more.


Similarly, maintenance contracts or performance-based outcome contracts may include penalty clauses when performance and uptime targets are not met.


Reducing unplanned downtime is a major driver for integrating IoT with after-sales support and field service

Bundling the information from connected assets, the customer contract and associated maintenance plan in Salesforce allows acting much quicker to potential issues. Coupling a predictive maintenance strategy to case management and field service allows to substantially reduce unplanned downtime . As an example, Eaton reported reductions in downtime of 15-20% for various use cases (2).


3. Reduce call center cost

First line support greatly benefits from increased asset visibility.


Asset visibility for customers and call center agents increase the success rate of self-care and assisted care

A self-service approach where   discrete manufacturers expose some of the performance data of connected assets to end-customers, e.g. via Experience Cloud, will deflect part of the calls. Customers will find the actual status information and recommended self-repair actions in a portal and no longer feel the need to contact the call center.

Similarly, condition-based or predictive maintenance will reduce the number of customer calls compared to a reactive approach with many unplanned interventions. 

Putting accurate asset status information in the hands of call center agents will increase the first call resolution rate and reduce the call handling time, which all positively impacts the overall call center costs.

Since all of these elements have a cumulative result, they can lead to substantial savings.

4. Increase service revenues

Many discrete manufacturers are reinventing their business model to be less focused on product sales and more focused on generating service outcomes for customers. A report by Field Service USA, WBR Insights and Salesforce cites that 89% of a survey respondents, distributors and discrete manufacturers, state that they are working toward an outcome-based service approach as a strategic goal (3).

In such a strategy, data from connected assets and visibility on those assets from within Salesforce is indispensable.


Increasing service revenues and outcome-based services are high on the agenda of many discrete manufacturers

Along the path towards outcome-based service models, there are also other more mundane use cases to increase service and after sales revenues:

  • Track the consumption of consumables and use Salesforce for automated order placement and replenishment.
  • Usage-based billing where the actual usage of an asset determines the monthly invoice.

Use the strategies listed above to increase customer satisfaction and upsell customers to a higher service tier, backed by actual asset performance and uptime reports. E.g. OTIS has reported 5-6% higher retention rates and higher sales per unit for connected assets (4).

5. Increase agility and shorter time-to-value

Salesforce is known as an agile platform enabling faster time to value. Its no-code approach allows business users to participate in the content creation process without needing to rely on IT resources. This is in stark contrast to the typical IoT approach that requires highly specialized IT resources to implement new use cases. 

Providing capabilities to configure data processing in Salesforce will save on IT resources, and allows to experiment faster or adapt to changing market conditions (5).

Low-code & no-code put the business user in the driver seat of the IoT journey

Conclusion

If enterprises want to realize the full business potential from the IoT data they collect, a proper integration into line of business applications is required. For those companies leveraging Salesforce as CRM, helpdesk and/or field service application, providing IoT asset visibility to Salesforce business users brings a multitude of tangible business benefits, as demonstrated above.


Waylay Digital Twin is a purpose-built solution to connect IoT deployments back to Salesforce and empowers customers to realize these benefits.

Waylay has developed a methodology and business case modeling approach that helps you quantify the potential gains for your specific industry or company.



Footnotes & References

1. IoT Analytics “Predictive Maintenance Market: The Evolution from Niche Topic to High ROI Application

2. Eaton Digital Strategy Update, March 01 2021

3. Salesforce, Field Service USA, WBR Insights “Improving Customer Outcomes Through Asset-Centricity in Field Service”

4. Otis “Digital elevator innovation”, November 18, 2020.

5. Waylay Digital Twin is a no-code solution for Salesforce that achieves scalability by processing the sensor data processing off-core from the Salesforce platform.