Just a few weeks ago, I deployed a new Salesforce org, 100% on Lightning Experience. It proved to be a great learning experience as a Consultant. If you’re looking to deploy Lightning Experience, this post should be helpful in your planning and preparations!
It’s important to note that this is a brand new Salesforce customer who has only seen Lightning Experience in all of their interactions with Salesforce. From the very beginning, we discussed the difference between Lightning Experience and Classic, and decided that if we could stay in Lightning Experience based on the requirements we would (and we did).
Here are the things I learned while deploying Salesforce, in Lightning, for this Client.
Sweat the Small Stuff
This point will be especially true for orgs migrating from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience. Salesforce Classic has had years of development and enhancements. Small usability items that we take for granted aren’t readily available in Lightning Experience and your users will notice.
For example, in Salesforce Classic, List Views default to the last viewed list and launching that list is as easy as clicking Go next to the List View. Lightning Experience always defaults to the list view of Recently Viewed and a default cannot be set.
However, there is a “workaround” if you want to call it that. The new horizontal navigation as part of the Winter ’17 release allows a user to click right into one of the three last viewed List Views. This will be a major change for users who leverage list views on a regular basis.
These small changes can be found throughout Lightning Experience and for experienced users, can be cause for frustration. Here are a few additional examples that users may find frustratingly absent:
- Recycle Bin (but you can install this functionality from the AppExchange)
- Merging Accounts
- Mass Emailing Contacts (this can now be done in the Winter ’18 release with the new List View Email functionality)
- Newly created reports must first be saved before they can be run (Winter ’18 released a beta of the LEX report builder which addresses this issue, and is expected to be GA in Spring ’18)
There’s Going to be Administrative Overhead
Configuring this clients org was different from deploying or managing a Classic deployment because there are so many moving pieces, and locations for the features and functionality. If, for example, you haven’t configured Compact Layouts for Salesforce1, you’ll want to get up to speed fast!
But from a general Administration standpoint, migrating from Classic to Lightning Experience will require new Salesforce features to be used that you may not have touched yet, and management of these features. Let me explain.
Page layouts in Classic are simple – you create a layout, rearrange fields, and hit save. Lightning Experience adds another layer to this through the Lightning App Builder. The standard page layout still determines things like field placement, whether it’s required or not, and the order of the related lists. But if you want to change the structure of the page components, you’ll manage this through Lightning App Builder.
The fields on the Highlights Panel display at the top of a record is easy to manage as well, but again, it’s not driven from the page layout or the Lightning App Builder. Those fields are driven off of the Compact Layout for the object which also drives the fields displayed in the record header on Salesforce1.
You’ll quickly learn where to manage various elements of Lightning, but I found myself doing a lot of clicking. Migrating to Lightning Experience won’t be just a transition for your users, it will be transition for you too.
I found that navigation, as an Admin, is a bit frustrating because opening links in a new tab using a mouse’s right click, or Ctrl + click wasn’t supported in Lightning Experience. To accommodate for that shortfall, I am now having to duplicate tabs in Chrome then navigate through the standard link progression.
Managing Salesforce reports and dashboards is limiting as well. I referenced this earlier, and the topic could fall into the category of Administrative Overhead, but I think it’s important to call out on its own.
What’s striking is that your Classic Dashboards do carry over, but not always in the formatting or way that you would prefer. Building a dashboard in Lightning is actually super easy, and lots of fun using it’s new cubical canvas, but if you want to edit or modify a dashboard built in Classic, you better watch out! That dashboard will become read-only in Classic!
In addition, many of us run reports just for the sake of auditing data. We don’t intend to save those reports for future use, but when building a report in Lightning Experience, you must first save the report from Report Builder before you can click “Run Report” which means that you now need to remember to delete this ad hoc report once it serves its purpose.
Those who have the ability to manage report and dashboard folders will need to go back to Classic to change folder permissions or create new folders.
Of the more frustrating limitations in Lightning, Report Builder was it.
It’s the Tortoise, Not the Hare
Users of Salesforce classic will notice this even more so than non-Classic users, but Lightning Experience is still very slow. In some cases, I’ve had load times upwards of 10 seconds on a page, making me want to throw snowballs at the Winter ’17 snowman! It’s a bit oxymoronic when you think about it…
When you are able to open links in a new tab, those tabs don’t process in the background like they do in Classic. So, if you open 5 records in new tabs from a report for example, the tab will generally begin loading (or it’s perceived by me that way) once the tab is opened. It’s at that point the 5-10 second wait for the record to load occurs.
But, we all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. If you don’t – SPOILER ALERT: the tortoise wins! I really hope that this is the case and that the product managers at Salesforce find a way to provide a rocket powered skateboard or something to the tortoise soon because current speed is an issue.
It’s The Future
Even with its current shortcomings, Salesforce is making huge investments in Lightning Experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s perfect, (and I believe the Salesforce product teams would say the same thing), but it is a step in the right direction. And, if the Winter ’17 release notes are any indication of the future, you can be sure that the majority of new and exciting features will be released in Lightning Experience, not Classic.
As my employer, Shell Black has said, Salesforce Classic is Dead – Get Over It!
Given all this, I still think Lightning Experience is a great new platform, and I’m excited to see where it goes. But if you’re looking to deploy Lightning Experience to your company, be aware of these and other changes (both positive and negative), and be sure to understand the implication to your users.
Are you on Lightning Experience? If so, what lessons or ah-ha moments have you learned? Share them below by leaving a comment!