June 8, 2016
Great excitement accompanied the introduction of Salesforce Lightning. Its vision of combining an intuitive user interface and beautiful design with the powerful functionality that Salesforce Classic holds is what customers want now. Salesforce delivers such timely products because they are masterful at agile development, meaning they are constantly improving each of their products as they receive feedback from their users. Because Lightning is the newest version of Salesforce, it is still going through an iterative process. If you are considering implementing this new Salesforce version in your business, here are three key things to consider as you make your decision.
1. Your Current Salesforce Usage
Many of the core features of Salesforce Classic are not yet available in the current release of Salesforce Lightning. As of the Spring ‘16 release you can’t set up contact roles, account teams, or sales teams yet. Some of these functions are being added in the Summer ‘16 release so make sure to read the release notes for details on which features are currently available. If many of the day-to-day functions your team needs are only available in Salesforce Classic, understand that immediately implementing Lightning may require users to switch back and forth between Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning.
Not all APIs have been updated for Salesforce Lightning, so some of the applications you currently use in tandem with Salesforce may be unavailable for use with Lightning. To view apps that are Lightning ready, go to the App Exchange, then select “Filter” in the upper lefthand corner, select “Lightning Ready”, then click “Apply.” Also know that existing customizations of your Salesforce may not transfer into Lightning. For example, in-line Visualforce pages, often used to provide custom analytics and access to custom-built features, will need to be converted into Lightning Components before being accessible in Lightning. Doing so dramatically improves function and will help move your Salesforce instance forward, but the time and resources required to do so should be considered.
2. The Importance of User Experience
The Lightning interface provides an appealing and more intuitive user experience than that of the familiar Salesforce Classic. While adjusting to the new user interface may take some time for users of Classic, Lightning’s advantages make the adjustment worthwhile. Customization of the interface is easier than ever with the additional capability to drag-and-drop features or information into your pages and reports. The interface also scales seamlessly, providing users with a consistent experience between desktop and mobile. Plus, each iteration of Lightning brings new and exciting enhancements. For example, when Lightning was first released, the side navigation bar had pre-set shortcuts that couldn’t be customized. Now, you can drag and drop the features you use most frequently into this space, making the experience much more intuitive. In our State of Salesforce report, 90% of companies said that improving user experience of apps used by sales was important to their strategy. User experience is key to ensuring adoption of a technology and training new Salesforce users in your organization will be much easier in Lightning than in Classic.
3. The Growth of Lightning
Salesforce’s release pattern indicates that, while they aren’t abandoning Salesforce Classic, they are placing the majority of their focus on Lightning. Many of the Salesforce Clouds, such as Marketing Cloud, have already received design overhauls if they were born in Classic. Newer clouds like Financial Services have only been released with the Lightning Experience interface and easily integrate with Classic. While Salesforce Lightning is going through some natural growing pains, these are an important part of Salesforce’s innovation, as they work to perfect the customer experience. This agile development is what makes Salesforce the powerful CRM system and platform that it is. It has the potential to quickly become a much more intuitive evolution of Salesforce than we have seen before.
Contributing writer: Laurie Feinswog