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Are You Ready? Salesforce Lightning vs Classic


There’s no denying that Salesforce is an extremely powerful, customizable and scalable CRM platform. Its ecosystem is rich with customers, partners and developers, who all contribute to the overall success of the platform. For almost 20 years, they have been at the forefront of CRM technology, but despite that, I often hear users knock Salesforce for its clunky UI.

For arguably the top CRM solution available, this problem seems like a solvable one.

In 2015, Salesforce started building on what they called the Lightning Experience. It had a component-based HTML framework, with CSS styling built in. The interface was intuitive, and helped expedite processes that were previously slowed down by Salesforce Classic (how Salesforce refers to their original platform). The problem though, is that the early releases of the platform had limited capabilities, which made it difficult to justify a complete migration.

As the Lightning Experience was added to through the years, it slowly became the inevitable preferred platform, especially to new Salesforce users. It is the result of everything Salesforce has learned from its users of the past years and releases. It’s easier to adopt, offers new features, increases efficiencies and, most importantly, helps your customer service agents solve more of your customers’ problems, and helps your sales reps sell more..

But all those great benefits also raise a great question–when is the right time to make the switch from Classic to the Lightning Experience? Let’s look at the main features of Lightning; then we can evaluate if your organization is a good candidate to make the switch.

New Lightning Experience Features

New UI

A modern interface *was* exactly what Salesforce missed in its early years. Not anymore. Lighting Experience looks nice (across all devices), but is also a lot more flexible than Classic. Increase your productivity by decreasing the amount of time you spend toggling among screens, allowing you and your team members to work more efficiently.

salesforce lightning updated ui

Lightning App Builder

It’s easier than ever now to create custom apps. Use Lightning’s drag and drop interface to create custom applications, choosing from a list of stock components, or custom pre-built AppExchange components. These are designed with responsiveness in mind, with the ability to access them on your Salesforce1 mobile app or your desktop. This feature is put on full display with the customizable homepage.

Sales Path

Your sales process is now an action-optimized workspace, designed to help sales reps work their deals faster and smarter. With Lighting Experience, you can customize the sales path to define key stages that Leads or Opportunities need to go through. Highlight important fields that sales reps need to complete, customize coaching scripts for each step in the sales process and create records quickly with fewer clicks.

Kanban View

A Lighting Experience-only feature, the Kanban view organizes a set of records into columns to track your work at a glance. Simply drag and drop records into a different column to update its status. Now, you can allow sales reps to more effectively monitor their progress with Leads, Opportunities, Contracts and Campaigns.

Improved reporting

The ability to create customized reports has always been an important backbone of Salesforce Classic. Lightning Experience took those capabilities and went one step further. Not only do reports and dashboards look cleaner, but now you can add them to list views. In addition, users have the ability to create their own filters, and dashboards are no longer restricted to just three columns.

Salesforce Einstein

Salesforce brings a new layer of artificial intelligence with “Einstein”. Available only in Lightning Experience, Einstein delivers predictions and recommendations based on your unique business process and customer data. For example, Einstein can look at an existing customer, and use the information in their record( like industry or job title), and use that information to suggest other product offerings. Those insights power automated responses and actions, making your sales reps and customer service agents more productive.

What to Consider Before Making the Switch

It’s clear there are major advantages for Classic users to migrate to Lightning Experience. That being said, it’s not all rosy on the other side. There are some drawbacks…

  • AppExchange Apps – Not all AppExchange Apps are Lightning-ready. Many partners are in the process of migrating their offerings, or have already. Make sure to check and see if vital apps are currently supported.
  • Custom Javascript Buttons – These buttons are not supported in Lightning at all. You will need to use quick actions, triggers or workflow rules as alternatives. For those looking for more information, there is a Salesforce Trailhead Module detailing the process.
  • Visualforce Pages – Expect that these will need reviewing. Visualforce pages may not function as they did in Classic. Again, there is a Salesforce Trailhead Module that outlines the changes made to Visualforce pages in Lightning.

Conduct a gap analysis and take into account all the new features and considerations detailed above. Think about how they could be applied to your existing organization’s processes and workflows. Then, identify any areas of consideration that need to be addressed, like Visualforce pages or custom apps. At this point, you should begin to get an idea whether your organization is a candidate to make the switch.

Lightning Experience Readiness Check

To evaluate whether some of the key features and customizations you’ve implemented in Salesforce Classic are ready for Lightning Experience, kick off the Lightning Experience Readiness Check.

Run the Readiness Check from the Lightning Experience Migration Assistant. From Setup in Salesforce Classic, click Get Started in the Migration Assistant tile (1). On the Check Readiness tab in the Migration Assistant (2), click Check Readiness (3).

Switching from Classic to Lightning Experience

Even after reading this post, I would take the time to learn about all the benefits of Lightning, not just what I covered above. I would also get buy-in from your sales reps and customer service agents. Have them see what’s possible for themselves. I recommend sharing the Get Started with Lightning Experience trail as a starting point. For the more technical users and admins, review past Release Notes detailing updates.

Also, know that all users don’t need to migrate at once. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t. You can select a few users or departments and have them become early adopters. Start small and move groups over time.

Overwhelmed? Let us know how we can help.