Since the Salesforce Lightning Experience was first announced at Dreamforce ‘15, it has received mixed reviews within Salesforce and analyst community. A year and a half ago, we were cautionary about the idea of a move to Lightning.
Since the Lightning announcement, there have been early adopters of Lightning who have experienced some of the pains of, well, early adoption.
There have been new Salesforce customers who started off with Lightning. They have barely noticed a thing.
Should your organization move to Lightning? When should you move to Lightning? Here are some common questions and our answers.
Is Lightning More Than a Facelift?
Lightning is a lot more than just a pretty new UX. It’s a new way for developers to create advanced functionality on the Salesforce platform. It’s a new way for users to interact with Salesforce.
Lightning is more events-driven than Classic. The Sales Path and Kanban views are examples of this.
One company attributes its increased close rates to the use of Sales Path.
Lightning includes many other on-page elements that will not be retrofitted to Classic. As people at Salesforce have stated many times, “the Lightning Experience is the future of the Salesforce User Experience.”
This Trailhead shows the many feature differences between Lightning and Classic in a series of charts.
Does Salesforce Lightning Have Major User Benefits Over Classic?
The many positive changes in Lightning don’t jump off the screen at the user. They are mainly under the surface. There are several exceptions.
Once inside salespeople get a taste of Lightning Power Dialer, they’ll be hooked.
Anyone who needs to visualize and analyze data will find the new dashboards to be a big improvement.
As time goes on, more obvious-to-the-user benefits of moving from Classic to Lightning will surface.
Does Lightning Have Gaps in Functionality?
Until a slew of improvements in the Winter ’18 release, Lightning still had major gaps compared to Classic. For the last two years, Salesforce has been relentlessly working on closing those gaps.
While there are still a lot of minor identified issues that need to be fixed, the show stoppers for a majority of organizations have been eliminated.
The Spring ‘18 and Future columns in this article’s chart shows what are still coming attractions compared to what’s in Classic. There are also a few “Nevers” — functionality that will never be supported in the Lightning Experience.
Do We Have to Move to Lightning?
No, you don’t have to move to Lightning. Salesforce Classic end of life has not been announced so far.
Should We Move to Lightning?
Eventually, it will no longer make sense to stay on Classic. Moving forward, changes to the user experience will only be made in Salesforce Lightning. The Classic UX will always remain exactly as it is today. Lightning has come along way since Salesforce.com cofounder Parker Harris helped introduce it while dressed as Lightning Man at Dreamforce ’15.
When Should We Move to Lightning?
If you are planning a large expansion of your Salesforce org because you are adding more departments, you’re experiencing general business growth or there’s a planned acquisition, it will be easier to move to Lightning sooner rather than later.
If there is money to spend as part of a current budget that is going to go away, that money could be spent on a move to Lightning.
If Einstein AI, or other functionality only available in Lightning will create process improvements, this could be another driver.
What Would Prevent Us From Moving to Lightning?
For some organizations, there remain a number of potential show stoppers.
1. Incompatible AppExchange Apps
Not all of the thousands of AppExchange Apps are Lightning ready. While Salesforce has been strongly encouraging developers to make their apps Lightning Ready, not all have. Your apps need to be assessed for Lightning readiness.
2. Services Cost
Hiring a consultant to help your organization move to Salesforce Lightning can range in cost from a few thousand dollars to six figures. The cost will depend on the complexity of your org. That level of expenditure may not be in the current budget.
3. Key Classic Functionality That’s Still “Planned”
As referenced above, there may be some Classic features or functions that are not yet available in Lightning. Some of these may be key to your processes. You could wait for one or two releases. Or, you could find workarounds.
For example, if you frequently mass change owners in lists, you could invest in an app that will do this.
While not exactly a recommended best practice, another option is for a user to temporarily switch back to Classic to execute a certain task or function that is not yet available in Lightning.
4. User Adoption Concerns
If it has taken you a long time and a lot of effort get the level of Salesforce adoption that you need, a move to Lightning could set back your adoption levels in the short term.
If you have a set of users who are generally open to change, the prospect of a new way of interacting with Salesforce would not prevent a move to Lightning.
Should We Make The Move To Lightning on Our Own?
If you have an in-house power administrator and a developer who has self-trained on refactoring layouts and possibly modifying Visualforce pages, you may be able to manage the move on your own.
Otherwise, engaging a Salesforce consultant who has moved other organizations to Lightning is well worth considering.
Keep in mind that Visualforce pages are supported in Lightning, but there are up to three levels of “attention needed”:
- Maybe Supported, Refer to Readiness Report for Managed Package Details
- Supported, but Requires Some Attention
- Not Supported, Requires A Lot of Attention
Your in-house developer is not going to want to create new Visualforce pages after a move to Lightning. Your developer should self-train on the Lightning Component framework.
Part of that framework includes Lightning Bolt solutions, which are templated communities or portals that have been built to address an industry specific use case, such as patient engagement.
Can We Move Just Some of Our Users to Lightning?
While it’s not recommended to have some users on Classic and some users on Lightning for the long term, it’s certainly okay to test the Lightning waters with a group of users.