Now is the Time for Lightning Experience

Admittedly, when Salesforce Lightning Experience first became available, I found it incomplete and didn’t consider it ready for wide release. Sure the user interface had a modern layout, and there were many flashy features (the Opportunity Kanban for example). But the gap between the basic functionality users depended on and the Lightning Experience feature set was too wide for me to feel comfortable recommending it to clients.

Even Salesforce was aware of this, telling users in the Lighting Experience Guide that “Ultimately, your decision [to implement or not implement Lightning] comes down to this: does the rad stuff you get with Lightning Experience outweigh what you can’t do without Salesforce Classic?” However, Lightning Experience has grown quickly since its launch, and with the Summer ‘16 release, the answer to this question for most organizations should be an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Lightning Experience has been gaining momentum

Winter ‘16 saw many improvements come to Lightning Experience—changes to core object layouts, the addition of new features like the Lightning Service Console—but it was the Spring ‘16 release where Lightning Experience’s momentum became obvious.

With the addition of Campaigns and Person Accounts, Lightning Experience was available to all organizations. Salesforce was quickly closing the gap between the features available in Lightning Experience and Classic Experience. New functionality began being added to Lightning Experience only—although Classic Experience was not going away, the latest and greatest would be designed and delivered for Lightning Experience.

Though it was improving, there were still features missing from Lightning Experience that many organizations relied upon, warranting a continued, cautious approach to it. The Summer ‘16 release, however, clears these hurdles. Lightning Experience is surpassing its predecessor to become the user interface of choice.

Lightning Experience is now surpassing Classic

When Lightning Experience was first introduced, a common complaint was the lack of flexibility—the inability to customize the navigation and home pages to suit different audiences. We’ve come to expect this type of simple functionality from Salesforce, and it going missing frustrated users.

Summer ‘16 appears to relieve this frustration. The release introduces customizable navigation tabs and home pages and addresses other core functions such as adding support for account and opportunity teams, lookup filters, and exporting reports to Excel.  The remaining items on the various Lightning limitations lists are becoming increasingly narrow and uncommon as Lightning Experience reaches even footing with most Classic functionality.

What really stands out are the new features that will not be coming to Salesforce Classic Experience, such as Lightning Voice. Native to Lightning Experience, this Sales Cloud feature allows users to dial contacts directly from their record and have the call logged as an activity.

Lightning CPQ offers fast product searches using keywords and a shopping cart interface to help build complex quotes faster and without the clumsy, repeat navigation sometimes needed with standard quoting functionality. Insights will also be coming to opportunity records in Lightning Experience, allowing users to view the latest news stories about a company on the opportunity record.

New calendar functionality means users will be able to create a calendar from any date field on any object in Salesforce, which is not only a great feature, but appears to eliminate the need for one of Salesforce’s most popular paid app exchange products, Calendar Anything.

The UI is also adding new abilities to enhance productivity.  A major theme throughout Lightning Experience is eliminating the need to leave the workspace to make edits, find information, or create related records. With Summer ‘16, newly added features such as in-line editing of tasks, composer windows for email messages and notes, and enhanced list views with hover preview windows reduce the number of clicks and windows users need to complete their work.

Time to Say Farewell

The list of Salesforce-Classic-Experience-only features from the Summer ‘16 release could probably fit on a single of the 400+ pages of release notes. Summer ‘16 is the first release where there is a clear line being drawn in the sand. The major features of this release are Lightning-Experience-only, and those included in Salesforce Classic are still clearly designed with Lightning Experience in mind.

Though Salesforce has said they will not force anyone to move from Salesforce Classic, the features and functionality being released for Lightning Experience are going to make it very difficult for organizations not to move.

Salesforce Classic Experience has served the community well for many years, but now is the time to say farewell. Organizations should be making a transition plan that identifies pilot projects and users to begin the move to Lightning Experience. For new implementations, Lightning Experience is clearly the Salesforce user interface of choice and organizations need to pick implementation partners ready to execute Lightning engagements.

With the Summer ‘16 release, the question has flipped, and for most organizations, the choice between Classic Experience and Lightning Experience now comes down to “Does my aversion to change outweigh all the rad stuff I get with Lightning Experience?”  

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