Customers and consulting partners of Salesforce are experiencing a substantial shift in delivery and user experience with the release of Lightning Experience. Lightning is a re-imagining of the sales process which delivers huge value over the classic Salesforce experience but also presents challenges in terms of user learning curve and current limitations. We’ve recently completed two customer implementations on Lightning Experience and wanted to share our first hand observations.

First and foremost “Lightning Experience” is the future of Salesforce. It’s a fundamental change from pages filled with data to an action-oriented view leading the sales professional to make the best decisions and take the most appropriate action they can at that time. The user experience is very attractive and by making it consistent between its browser and mobile based version, Salesforce has helped drive user adoption. It’s only a matter of time before all new customers will be implementing on (and loving) the Lightning Experience.

The decision to implement on Lightning Experience as it is available today should not be taken lightly. It’s really only appropriate for new customers with straightforward sales processes. There are pages of limitations published with the release notes and even new and simpler organizations will encounter some of these constraints (release notes here). The core sales process works really well. Leads, Opportunities, Account and Contact Management are great. For new organizations, the decision to use Lightning now will save them from the user training involved in switching to Lightning later. I believe we’ll see functional gaps closing quickly. The newest release comes with some great enhancements to service on Lightning.

The most important activity in implementing Lightning Experience is the gap fit. Salesforce publishes an enablement pack which includes a gap analysis checklist. The Lightning Enablement kit can be found here. We will not implement a customer on Lightning Experience without performing a gap analysis so our client can make an informed decision about whether or not Lightning Experience is right for them. There will always be functional limitations so the customer should clearly understand the pros and cons before making their decision.

As an implementer or administrator of Salesforce, there are few guiding principles you can should consider when rolling out Lightning Experience.

  • Don’t make assumptions based on what the Classic experience does. Some obvious functionality just isn’t in there yet, and it may not be clear in the release notes either. For example, we found a number of challenges around dashboard running user as running user can not be set in Lightning Experience.
  • Leverage the Salesforce communities (here) when the release notes don’t answer your questions. It’s likely someone has already encountered your issue.
  • The set up and administration is very different as well, so study the material first and give yourself much more time to perform administrative and configuration tasks.
  • Visualforce is supported in Lightning Experience but building the Lighting look and feel is much more involved than classic Visualforce tags. Really learn the Lightning Experience and the tools available before proposing to build a custom user experience.
  • Don’t contrast Lightning Experience with the Classic experience when working with end users. This will just make them doubt the decision and hamper adoption. Focus on the very positive improved user experience associated with Lightning Experience.

At Saxa Solutions, we’re big fans of Lightning Experience and more so what Lightning Experience represents to the future of Salesforce. We feel they are headed in the right direction and this will be a huge improvement for most Salesforce customers.