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We are implementing service cloud for managing customer service where in the case resolution process, external 3rd parties are involved.

The cases will always be created in the contact center using the service cloud console and the case ownership will also remain with the call center agents with Service cloud license.

Tasks will be generated for the 3rd party agencies to close the case.

We are planning to create a customer community for 3rd party agencies who can view the case and work on the assigned tasks, edit the tasks and add information to the case.

Would the implementation of customer community make sense in this scenario? We were thinking in terms to optimize the cost since our assumption is that service cloud licenses are costly as compared to community plus licenses.

Also any inputs on the license cost of communities? We are thinking to implement member based licenses.

Any thoughts, experience, advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

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The one issue I see that you're going to face with either solution that you're looking at is related to Tasks. With the Community+ License, Tasks is READ ONLY for Community Users. With the Service Cloud Portal User License, Tasks isn't available to them at all. So in either case, you'll need to create a custom Object that mirrors Tasks to your Portal/Community Users so they can update/edit their progress as Tasks are resolved.

Both licenses are based around the HVCP licenses which are similar. I can't speak to the cost and how that would impact your org would greatly depend on the number of 3rd party agencies and their usage patterns. There's also a High Volume Overage Customer Portal License Available as well which might be more suitable depending on those usage patterns. If I'm not mistaken, you'll likely have the option to create a community in your Service Cloud using the HVCP license, most definitely if you have it sitting on top of an EE org. That's the new model around how SF is doing everything as "traditional portals" are essentially being phased out and disappearing.

My guidance would be to look at the cost of the three licenses based on expected usage and to plan on needing to create a custom object to mirror Tasks exposed to Community Users that you can sync back and forth using triggers regardless of the license you choose to use.

If you want to avoid the custom object and triggers, your solution would be limited to choosing the Community+ Licenses for your 3rd Party Agencies then using sharing to allow them access to the Cases assigned to them through the Task (still Read Only). However, they'd have the ability to create and update or take ownership of Cases assigned to them. That of course would require a different workflow than you currently have planned that I don't believe would allow for the use of Tasks since they wouldn't be available to your Community+ Users on a create basis.

I'll add that I can tell you from experience that its not that difficult to implement a mirrored object that's synced using triggers.

  • Thanks for your inputs crmprogdev. How about "Partner Community" where tasks are not read-only. one more important point to note is that we are not opening up the community to the actual end customers, accounts. – Roshan Sahatiya Aug 15 '14 at 13:46
  • That would provide all the functionality you're looking for at a premium cost primarily because of access to Opportunities; something you don't need. See Communities User Licenses for a feature comparison. – crmprogdev Aug 15 '14 at 13:59
  • Yes agreed. However, I am under the assumption that partner community license would cost less than service cloud license. Is my assumption correct? – Roshan Sahatiya Aug 15 '14 at 14:06
  • You'd have to discuss the difference in cost between the two license types with your account rep. I suspect it might in part depend on the number of seats and usage. That question is beyond my purview to be able to answer and can often be specific to a customer's particular circumstances. – crmprogdev Aug 15 '14 at 14:26

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