Today we will answer the question that’s been nagging at the back of your consciousness for the last few months. No, not ‘where did I leave my dog’s rain jacket?’ (but seriously, where is it??), but ‘Should I upgrade my org to Lightning Experience?’ Spoiler alert – for most of you, the answer is yes. Want to know more about what Lightning is, what some of our favorite features are, and why we think it’s a good idea? Then read on to learn more about how you can empower your team to work smarter, faster, and more collaboratively with Lightning.
What Is Salesforce Lightning?
Defined literally, Lightning is the collection of tools and technologies behind a significant upgrade to the Salesforce platform. In practice, Lightning is a brand new user interface (UI) that organizes information in a way that is intuitive and aesthetically pleasing for your end users. Lightning helps end users discover the ‘story’ of a sale or customer relationship, helping them understand what should happen next based on how you’ve interacted with the customer in the past using features like the Sales Path.
Additionally, Lightning integrates more seamlessly with the Salesforce mobile app. Admins and developers can design components/pages once and have them render cleanly on your team’s mobile devices. Even better, using Einstein Inbox your users can send emails from anywhere, desktop, laptop, or mobile, and trust that all their communication will be captured cleanly in Salesforce for future reference and team selling.
In addition to the end user experience, Salesforce Lightning also represents a major overhaul to the development tools and technical infrastructure. Lightning Connect now allows you to easily combine data from external/legacy sources (such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP) in real time, without having to maintain another copy of the actual data in Salesforce. Furthermore, admins can now create entirely new Lightning Components using developer tools that leverage an event-driven architecture.
Why On Earth Would Anyone Want To Use Classic Instead of Lightning?
Salesforce has been migrating functionality into Lightning Experience gradually, over the course of several releases. When Lightning was first released in the Winter ’16 version, there was a non-trivial gap in terms of functionality available in Classic compared to what was available in Lightning. With each subsequent release, that gap has grown smaller and smaller, to the point where today there are features and tools being introduced for Lightning that will not be retrofit for Salesforce Classic (such as contextual hover bubbles so you can see information about a different record without leaving the page you’re currently on).
If you’re new to Salesforce (i.e. planning a fresh installation), the answer is simple for you; start with Salesforce Lightning and never look back. Salesforce Classic will still be available for your admins if/when they need it, but you can design your system with a Lightning-first mentality and ensure you’re taking advantage of all the latest and greatest features.
If you’re already live with Salesforce Classic and you would be upgrading to Lightning Experience, the answer isn’t quite as straight forward. While the functionality gap between the two platforms has narrowed considerably, some very advanced users of Salesforce Classic may still be unable to support everything in Salesforce Lightning (or will at least have to rework some of their customizations a bit), and some 3rd party AppExchange add-ons haven’t been updated to work with Lightning yet. Fortunately, Salesforce has created the Lightning Experience Migration Assistant to help you understand how close you are to being Lightning-ready. At the end of the day, we feel that the enhanced UI and new features generally make upgrading worth it, but it’s important to do a little work to understand exactly what an upgrade will entail for you.
Once you’ve decided the time is right to move your org to Lightning Experience, there’s a few best practices to keep in mind. First, don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort this may require, especially for groups with advanced systems built in Salesforce Classic. Be diligent about your testing. Make sure you test not only the new features and components you’ve built, but test other things that you’re not necessarily planning to make changes to as well. Things may not always behave the way you expect them to the first time around in Lightning. Finally, consider a phased rollout. You’ll have to create training materials for the various groups that get transitioned to Lightning, and there will always be an influx of questions and issues reported when a group switches over. Converting your teams to Lightning one at a time allows you to spread out the creation of training materials and minimize the number of questions you receive at once. It also gives you an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from your previous conversions as you begin planning for the next team.
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