All posts by Alex Ferraro

Bolt Data and Baxter Planning Announce Strategic Alliance

Bolt Data, a premier Salesforce and ServiceMax systems integrator and leader in transformative service management solutions, has announced a strategic alliance with Baxter Planning, a pioneer and recognized leader in service parts planning and optimization solutions.

Bolt Data provides intelligent technology solutions to enable clients to flawlessly execute their field service processes. As technology moves swiftly and customer demands continue to rise, it’s integral for service providers to exceed customer expectations and remain focused on the future. Through tailored solutions on the Salesforce and ServiceMax platforms, Bolt Data creates the world’s best service organizations, helping them achieve agility through digital transformation and process connectivity.

“Baxter Planning helps our joint customers realize the full potential of their customer service solutions through best-in-class Service Parts Management,” said Allan Alexopulos, Bolt Data’s Managing Director. “The combination of Bolt Data’s experience and expertise in customer/field service management and Baxter Planning’s purpose-built service parts management solutions are the perfect fit for customers looking to maximize the return on their inventory assets and ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction by ensuring the right part is available at the right time.” 

This new strategic partnership unites Bolt Data’s expertise in cutting-edge field service management solutions with Baxter Planning’s unique approach to supply chain planning. By joining forces, customers are provided tailored field service management solutions that fit their needs precisely, down to state-of-the-art asset management that improves the field technician and customer experiences.

To read the press release in its entirety, click here.

Bolt Data Announces New Partnership with Five9

The Bolt Data partner network is ever-expanding, and our intention is to foster new relationships that not only complement our solution offerings, but help to make them more robust. With our added focus on Salesforce Service Cloud Voice over the past year, it only made sense to connect our organization with some of the most well-versed telephony experts in the arena, Five9.

Five9 is an industry-leading provider of cloud contact center solutions, bringing the power of cloud innovation to more than 2,000 customers worldwide and facilitating more than six billion call minutes annually. The Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center provides digital engagement, analytics, workflow automation, workforce optimization, and practical AI to create more human customer experiences, to engage and empower agents, and deliver tangible business results. Designed to be reliable, secure, compliant, and scalable, the Five9 platform helps contact centers increase productivity, be agile, boost revenue, and create customer trust and loyalty.

At Bolt Data, we partner with our clients to create fully integrated and intelligent solutions that pave the way for connected service, or what we like to call “Service In Sync.” We, along with Five9, operate from the understanding that integration and systems in sync are the key to service success. Customer demand and expectations are consistently growing stronger, and in order to meet their needs; Bolt Data and Five9 play an integral role in enabling all teams to have access to complete 360-degree customer data to provide the highest-touch experience possible.

With Salesforce’s recent Bring Your Own Telephony announcement (read more on that here), and the similarities in our core beliefs, it was a natural fit for us to team up with Five9. Our purposes are interwoven: if we view the customer experience as a business, the contact center is the front door to a foundation built on service pillars. Organizations are now facing the fact that they must reimagine the way they provide customer experiences. Together, we help businesses realize the results of that CX transformation.

Additional Resources

Old School vs. New School: Phone Feature Comparison

How to Add Cloud-Based Phone Service to Salesforce

The Guide to Choosing a Salesforce Service Cloud Voice Telephony Provider

With Salesforce’s Service Cloud Voice Bring Your Own Telephony (BYOT) announcement, it’s big news that if you want to bring your own telephony provider (in lieu of Amazon Connect’s voice capabilities), you can now do so! You might be asking,

“OK, great! So now I ‘have a choice in voice’ and can pick my own own provider, but now what?”

We’ll break down what that means for you and answer the questions you absolutely need to ask as your explore the Bring Your Own Telephony solution.

First ask yourself:

What technology is my chosen telephony provider currently using, and how does that line up with SCV?

Confirm the platform and the underlying telephony are both compatible and supported with Salesforce and Service Cloud Voice. Many times we will see a cloud platform housing a telephony provider, instead of them being one and the same, so it’s good to do some background checking on your chosen provider so you are aware of their technological capabilities

Where are your customers and what language do they speak? Which languages does your solution support? (e.g. for transcription, voice bots, etc.)

Find out which countries you need to support (i.e. if you have contact centers in India and Canada, you need to confirm that your provider offers service in both those areas)

What telephone system and contact center features do we need? What will we need in the future?

Service Cloud Voice currently focuses on the below feature list, so in addition to taking stock of your current system and needs, it’s a good idea to keep these in mind as well.

****Current Feature List****

Agent SSO (requires manual login)

All call control events

All Transfer Types: Warm, Cold, & Merged Calls

Data Dips from IVR to Salesforce Objects

IVR data (Call Attributes) in SF Voice Call Record

Real-Time Transcription

Persist Active Calls on when browser is refreshed

Post-Call CTR Data sync

Call Recording Pause/Resume

Transcription Pause/Resume

Call Recording Playback (in UI)

****New Summer ’21 Features****

Deskphones/Hard phones

Queued Callback

Timed After-Call Work

External Routing

Then ask your partner/provider:

Do you implement the solution yourselves or use specific solution integrators, and if so, which? If yourselves, how many certified Salesforce resources do they have on staff? 

Choose a partner with experience in business process and technical knowledge. Getting a new phone system is a change, and for any change management to be successful, people need to want to adopt and champion the new system. Having a partner that can translate complex technical concepts to adapt to business processes is what makes the system come to life and people WANT to use it.

What should I look for in the sales process? 

Typically a good partner will be consultative in approach and not try to “sell” you on a product, but rather they’ll walk you through best practices, needs and provide you with initial thoughts and solutions, then match those with the effort required in a  written quote. Then, you’re ready to start!

How can I prepare to meet and vet partners?

One thing that can really help is having a process flow of how your contact center or customer service teams works, or a general outline of their workflow, to most quickly identify solutions. Also be prepared to speak to your pain points, business goals and ideal support process flow.

Which countries do you actively support? Do you have a team on the ground? 

During the vetting process, but especially during implementation, you want to make sure your partner/provider can offer in-country support or at the very least time zone support.

What does the implementation process look like?

Your partner should be able to provide a sample timeline and overall effort needed to complete your switch to Service Cloud Voice. We’ve seen implementation last two weeks and some take 18 months – it’s all about your unique solution and needs. Make sure to make time for porting numbers you want to keep and for training users on the new system.

What else should I ask?

One thing to note is that when Amazon Connect launched as the original telephony provider for Service Cloud Voice, it also encompassed the AWS services like S3 for storing call recordings and Lex for speech capabilities. If you choose to use another provider, be sure to ask them how those features would work. 

One more thing: which telephony providers are offering this again?

Here’s the list we have so far, with more partners anticipated to go live in late Summer/Fall (Safe Harbor!). For more info, ask your Salesforce account team.

SCV – Telephony providers: 

  • Amazon Connect (being the original option!)
  • Five9
  • Avaya + Tenfold
  • Genesys + upland InGenius
  • Natterbox
  • Talkdesk
  • Vonage

Additional Resources

Salesforce SCV Bring Your Own Telephony Announcement

Old School vs. New School: Phone Feature Comparison

How to Add Cloud-Based Phone Service to Salesforce

Salesforce Announces “Bring Your Own Telephony”

It’s here! Your choice with voice! When Salesforce launched their new telephony product, Service Cloud Voice, it was great, fully integrated, customizable, future proof, and all the good things! The only question we heard time and again was, I’m not sure I’m ready for Amazon Connect to be my telephony provider (fyi, Amazon Connect is the telephony provider behind the scenes for SCV), and would love if I could bring my current provider (like Five9, Vonage, etc). Wellllll the moment we’ve all been waiting for — the GA release of BYOT (Bring Your Own Telephony – will be here on June 15th! Below we’re bringing you the 411 on this new update!

Why do I want this/Why do I care?

Service Cloud Voice is known to add value to your contact center by doing the following:

  • Native integration for the best possibly Omni-Channel routing and supervisor visibility (view and balance all agent work, from all communication channels)
  • Real time transcription and more modern features, for more efficient tools and productivity, improving agent training and handling increased volume
  • A complete Customer 360 view, enabling all teams to provide the best possibly customer experience, improving KPIs like First Contact Resolution and CSAT while connecting all service channels and data

Previously Service Cloud Voice came with Amazon Connect, but now that you can choose from other telephony providers, you can find the solutions that works best for your team!

Who does this apply to?

Customers who want to bring their own telephony system, so say you have Vonage and love it, but wish it were part of what Salesforce is doing with their voice product (ie, more integrated with Omni Channel routing, etc), now you can have the best of both worlds – your chosen telephony provider AND Salesforce, working together better than ever!

What does it do?

The goal of BYOT is that telephony providers will be offering a contact center solution utilizing their telephony platform that works in a way similar to how Amazon Connect currently powers Service Cloud Voice. In every aspect, the objective is for the Service Cloud Voice product to be as integrated and as native as possible, whether a customer uses BYOT or Amazon Connect.

Which partners are offering it, is mine included?

Here’s the list we have so far, with more partners anticipated to go live in late Summer/Fall (Safe Harbor!). For more info, ask your Salesforce account team.

SCV – Telephony providers: 

  • Amazon Connect (being the original option!)
  • Five9
  • Avaya + Tenfold
  • Genesys + upland InGenius
  • Natterbox
  • Talkdesk
  • Vonage
via Salesforce

When can I get it? 

Generally Available in the Summer ’21 (232) release on June 15 (unless you were lucky enough to be part of the Spring Pilot earlier this year!) (Locate your instance in your org, then go to to find your Summer release date)

What exactly is Service Cloud Voice for BYOT/partner telephony?

Service Cloud Voice with BYOT will open up the capabilities and benefits of Service Cloud Voice to a range of telephony partners. 

Sounds great, but I need the technical nitty-gritty, where can I find that?

If you’re a techie, we’ve got the deets! In short, what has happened is that other telephony providers in the telecom world have been given a set of APIs that enable them to connect their telephony services or cloud phone system to Salesforce and achieve a contact center experience similar to the capabilities available with Service Cloud Voice with Amazon Connect. 

To give a deeper dive, essentially the BYOT telephone providers have built an integration with their telephony product and Salesforce’s SCV product – powered by  a combination of server-side REST API and client-side JavaScript libraries to build their entry point to Service Cloud Voice in order to support features such as agent auth, agent call controls, VoiceCall record creation and updates, real-time call transcription, after-call work, call recording playback, VoiceCall reporting and metrics, and supervisor monitoring. Your BYOT provider will have put all of this into a managed packaged and added a connector, both will then be installed into your org, configured, tested, and you’re off to the races! (And if you’ve been around since the start of Open CTI days, what’s different now is that Service Cloud Voice natively integrates the phone call on the Salesforce platform to make voice a digital channel. This is an end to end solution for phone support, inclusive of everything from telephony setup to agent automation to call analytics. Service Cloud Voice leverages components such as Omni-channel, Workforce Engagement, and Einstein.)

New SCV BYOT Resources:

New Service Cloud Voice Documentation (from our friends at Salesforce, includes a new learning trail with demos, trailheads, customer stories, training webinars, and more!)

Official Release Notes: Use Your Telephony Provider with Service Cloud Voice for Partner Telephony (Generally Available)

Additional Resources

Old School vs. New School: Phone Feature Comparison

How to Add Cloud-Based Phone Service to Salesforce

What is asset centricity?

With the Internet of Things (IoT) in full swing, it’s estimated that more than 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints will soon exist for potentially billions of connected “things.” But what does this connectivity really mean for field service? After all, just because devices are digital and linked to the internet doesn’t mean they’re always working properly. In fact, one of the biggest questions that continues to puzzle chief operating officers is how to improve operational uptime through the use of technologies like cloud and advanced analytics. 

When a device is in need of servicing and a customer contacts a manufacturer for support, that interaction starts with the basics: customer name, address, etc. From there, however, the attention shifts to the device. What’s the make and model? When was it purchased? When did the problem start? These fundamental questions help providers get to the root of the issue, and either resolve it virtually or send out a technician. But what if there was no need to ask all these questions—or even send a technician. 

That’s where asset centricity comes in.

Defining Asset Centricity

When assets are connected throughout the entirety of their lifecycle, manufacturers and service providers have insight not only into asset specifications, but also into key predictors of downtime. For example, sensors can collect data on how heavily or how often a device is used to better anticipate breakdowns. In today’s fast-paced world, a “sell it and forget it” approach to asset management won’t cut it—asset centricity means more proactive and efficient service, and it’s what customers now expect.

In addition to collecting data on the condition and operation of assets, asset centricity enables service organizations to proactively and preemptively schedule people, parts, and resources to improve rates like First Time Fix (FTF) and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR). This kind of predictive maintenance significantly reduces asset downtime, and creates an asset that “almost never fails,” according to Deloitte. 

If field service is ultimately needed, artificial intelligence can take asset centricity to the next level, adding a layer of automation to field service processes such as technician dispatch. For example, AI-powered tools can review past work orders on a specific asset, identify any patterns in breakdowns, predict the skills that technicians will need to resolve the issue, and dispatch the repair.

And there are other advantages, too. By nature of its connectedness, asset centricity also allows service providers to access and share information easily across different interfaces such as mobile apps, and across other systems and business functions—asset data can, for example, drive not only service activities but also marketing efforts.

Getting Started

At its core, asset centricity needs connectivity and how you connect your assets will be the first decision you have to make. Are you investing in new, connected assets? Or are you looking to retrofit older devices? In any case, to start, evaluate your current network and IT infrastructure to assess coverage, signal strength, and bandwidth. You’ll need to confirm that your network can handle any increases in traffic that’ll occur once sensors start sending data. 

From there, determine where your data will reside—and what you plan to do with it. To ensure that your asset infrastructure is scalable, secure and future-proof, consider a service management platform. Solutions like ServiceMax Asset 360 for Salesforce Field Service, for example, can provide complete visibility into assets in the field, arming companies with data insight to maximize asset performance. 

Users can then leverage this data to inform processes such as warranty and contract management, entitlement automation, parts, returns and depot repair management, scheduling and optimization, case and work order management—and power other platforms, such as mobile field service apps or field service analytics tools. 

Today, customers are more connected than ever, and so are devices. As a result, the very nature of the field service is evolving. As reliability increases thanks to asset centricity, Deloitte predicts a shift in focus from selling assets and maintenance contracts, to growing the installed asset base and generating value-add services. This massive transformation will, in time, give life to a new era of field service—one that’s based on discovering new positive experiences, not breakdowns.

To learn more about the importance of asset centricity and how it fits into your connected service strategy, download our eBook here.

Field Service trends to watch in 2021

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted companies across industries into the future, accelerating their digital transformations and driving them to modernize processes at unprecedented rates. Field service has not been immune to this trend. 

If the shift to remote work has taught companies anything, it’s that digital infrastructure is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must have. At the height of the pandemic, providing in-person service was a health risk for technicians and customers. For organizations that lacked connected service, this was a massive wake up call. Yet the pandemic won’t be the last bit of disruption that companies face—and they have to be ready.  

Being nimble has always been an essential part of future-proofing a business. But today, when innovation happens quickly and change is always around the corner, adaptability and preparedness are more crucial than ever. To adapt in the face of this new landscape and create a better experience for customers, businesses must understand the importance of asset centricity, use smart technology to deliver connected service, and take advantage of other opportunities emerging in field service.

Below are the five biggest trends we’re watching this year:

Safety Drives the Need for Virtual and Blended Service

The pandemic prompted a shift to remote operations, with fewer technicians going out into the field and providing service virtually instead. But even as pandemic-related health and safety risks subside, virtual service likely won’t disappear as companies opt for blended service models. As a result, companies are increasingly adopting technologies ranging from augmented reality that enables technicians to visualize the equipment they’re servicing, to automation software designed to unify service workflows. These changes couldn’t come soon enough—not only will these tools empower technicians working virtually as a result of the pandemic, but they’ll also connect a growing cohort of gig and third-party workers to the workforce.

Customer Expectations for Connectivity Are Growing

Customers have higher expectations for service than they have in the past—in particular, there’s growing demand for self-service via mobile apps and portals. Almost a third of industrial companies have implemented virtual monitoring and resolution tools to help users solve problems remotely, and nearly every sector is processing a higher volume of customer concerns virtually. Customers are now in the driver’s seat of their experience, and as more communication and service becomes digital, businesses have to rise to the challenge. One of the biggest obstacles that arises? Ensuring seamless transitions in customer interactions, across both digital and physical service touchpoints. To provide service that’s truly connected, companies need service software that maintains a 360-degree view of the customer.

The Internet of Things Offers Untapped Potential

The Internet of Things connects billions of devices, from consumer electronics to industrial manufacturing equipment. Companies that have plunged into IoT have already boosted their revenue by up to 30%, but what makes IoT so powerful? Connected devices transport data back to service providers to boost business performance by linking customer feedback with artificial intelligence, speeding up, and improving service for customers. Even legacy technology providers no longer have an excuse to sit back and watch IoT pass them by—today, it’s easy to retrofit analog devices with sensors and connect them to the web. 

Asset Centricity Drives the Internet of Things

As the Internet of Things matures, asset centricity plays a key role in enabling companies to unlock its full potential. Asset centricity is about more than just connected devices—rather, asset centricity refers to feedback loops and automated triggers that are designed to set service
into motion. Not only do devices communicate their status and service issues automatically, alerting service providers of potential issues, but they also initiate workflows and service procedures. Say a connected drill starts experiencing a dangerous level of vibration—the device
would flag this change in status, and dispatch a technician to provide service. If organizations aren’t thinking about asset centricity as part of connected service, they’re missing a key opportunity to take it to the next level.

To learn more about the importance of asset centricity and how it fits into your connected service strategy, download our eBook here.

Proactive Maintenance Is Becoming Painless

From virtual service to asset centricity, the biggest trends in field service today funnel down to one massive imperative—the need for painless proactive maintenance. Companies have long promised to predict downtime and disruption before it happens and swoop in to prevent or fix it. But in reality, it hasn’t yet happened at scale. Even when service providers have effectively predicted problems, the onus has still largely been on customers to order a replacement part or call up a technician. But thanks to the rise of virtual, connected service, the IoT and asset
centricity, providers finally have the perfect opportunity to strip away the biggest service pain points. Automation can streamline service workflows; virtual technology can empower technicians to provide service from anywhere; and connected assets can elevate diagnostics to
new heights.

This year has the potential to usher in a new era of field service—an era of truly proactive and painless maintenance.

Bolt Data and Spoke AIOT Join Forces

As we ramp up for an energizing year ahead, we at Bolt Data are excited to announce we are joining forces with Spoke AIOT to continue building the world’s best service organizations, backed by the power of AI and real-time data.

Bolt Data spun out Spoke IoT into a new company several years ago to capitalize on the growing market for connected field service.  As the market for improving service operations has accelerated due to Covid-19 and other factors, it was decided to reorganize Spoke AIOT and Bolt Data to better position ourselves for growth.

Spoke AIOT is a developer and provider of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) field service solutions. Spoke’s solutions optimize field service workflows through performance monitoring, remote diagnostics and control, advanced data analytics, easy automation, machine learning and product servitization.

Combined with Bolt Data’s decades of experience building tailored service management solutions, customers are provided a 360-degree view of their processes from assets to field techs, to your service center and customer data. Together, we can help service organizations remain proactive, a benefit to your bottom line and your customers.

Are you eager to learn more about AIoT and its benefit to your service management processes? Check out our partner page with Spoke here or send us your questions! We’re glad to talk field service any time.