Lightning UX

  • Winter ’20 Release brings new Salesforce Mobile App

    While not the most obvious of changes when reading the release notes, behind the scenes Winter ’20 Release brings new Salesforce Mobile App which aligns the mobile experience with Lightning Experience on desktop. Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect, and how to make the transition a smooth one for your users.

    Why the change?

    The short answer is, that Salesforce1 (or Salesforce Mobile) hasn’t changed much since it was released in late 2014.

    The slightly longer answer though adds a bit more nuance. After Salesforce1 brought in a new way of navigation and accessing your data, Salesforce then turned its focus to building out a new desktop experience, which ultimately led to Lightning Experience.

    Before this, users were able to use the Salesforce1 app via their desktop instead of using what is now referred to as Salesforce ‘Classic’ UI. The main benefit of this was to test how something would look on Mobile or to use it via browser on an iPad or similar device.

    But with Lightning Experience, Salesforce has had its hands full migrating all products and features over, and ensuring improvements were delivered. Certain elements were similar across mobile and desktop now, so there wasn’t a huge need to update/refresh.

    That was until late last year, when Salesforce and Apple announced a strategic partnership. With the partnership aiming to integrate voice commands (ie Siri) with Salesforce Mobile and rollout a Salesforce SDK for developers, which integrates with Swift (the preferred programming language on Apple devices).

    Introducing the new Salesforce Mobile App

    And so, here we are – with a new Salesforce Mobile App heading our way.

    The primary focus of the app appears to integrate the mobile vs desktop experiences further. This will allow for more admin control over what is made available to users, with mobile navigation introducing the App Launcher:

    A Lightning app's desktop navigation items are reflected in the mobile app
    App Launcher coming soon to new Salesforce Mobile App.

    Key improvements to navigation:

    • Navigation Bar at the bottom of screen will now feature Favourites, Search and Notifications . This is a change from the global / quick actions.
    • App Launcher finally appears on Salesforce Mobile. Allowing users to select standard/custom apps, and display the related tabs.
    • Personalisation of Nav Bar, will be reflected for users on Lightning Experience (aka Desktop) and Mobile App.

    What other changes are coming?

    Changes to Page Layouts are also included, and now the same page will display for Lightning Experience or Mobile App. Admins will only need to create one page now.

    What does this mean in the real world? It means you will have control to hide components which don’t make sense on either desktop or mobile experience.

    Voice Commands

    “Hey Siri, show me my dashboard.” and now Siri will actually listen… With the new Salesforce Mobile App opening up your dashboard page.

    The new Salesforce Mobile App will also (and obviously) tie into the recently announced Einstein Voice and Einstein Platform Services, which will allow users to dictate notes, get Einstein recommended updates, etc on Apple/Google/Alexa devices.

    What do you need to do?

    This new mobile experience is opt-in, so even if users get the new mobile app – from the App Store/Play Store – without the new permissions, they will not experience any changes.

    Salesforce has given control to admins to prepare for the transition, similar to Lightning Experience Transition.

    From a high level, Salesforce recommend the following steps:

    When will the new app be available?

    This should become available globally, starting from October 14th 2019. Users will

    Additionally the new User Permissions will be available as part of Winter ’20 release, which should be rolled out globally (for majority of orgs) by the 14th October.

    Resources

  • Winter ’19: Top Sales and Service Cloud Features

    The first release of 2019 is almost here… Yes, I typed that right, 2019!  I was sitting in a meeting today, and we were planning the roadmap out to 2021.  It’s crazy to think…  But as the seasons change, we hit the start of the three-releases-a-year cycle with the Winter ’19 Release from Salesforce.

    winter19 - snowboarding Astro
    Winter ’19 – Snowboarding Astro

    Now I have to admit, I was caught a little off-guard by the release.  It wasn’t until I saw the new snowboarding Astro in a developer sandbox, that I realised I had completely missed the normal pre-release build up. :-O

    Where did the last 2 months go?!

    At least there is plenty of time until Dreamforce 😀

    Is it just me…?

    I struggle to be “wowed” with this release.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are some nice usability tweaks for sure.  And some additional features which do really help make Lightning a more robust and complete user experience.

    But I am left wondering, where is the “Salesforce magic”?

    Maybe there is more to be announced shortly at Dreamforce?  But what about Dreamforce last year?  Where is “myTrailhead” (there is an answer buried in the FAQ)?

    I assume the strategy for this year must be revolving around bedding-in the various acquisitions and general improvements to Lightning Experience.

    Top Features of Winter ’19 Release

    Stepping down from my little soap-box now…  And I will admit there are some really useful and cool usability features coming our way!

    So let’s have a look at the top features focusing on improvements to Sales/Service Cloud.

    Search List Views & Bulk Change Records

    List views have received some attention this release, and now have a cool ‘Search this list’ feature.  Such a simple idea, but I am hooked to using it now in my sandbox environment.

    Winter 19 Release: Search List Views

    You can now also do a number of bulk actions from the list view too, such as selecting multiple records and changing the owner.  This now brings yet another ‘small’ but useful feature from classic into Lightning Experience.

    Enhanced Run Page in Reports (Beta)

    Another cool feature – albeit a ‘beta feature’ – is the new Enhanced Run Page within Lightning Reports.  You can easily adjust what is displayed in the report, without having to edit the report and re-run…

    Also drilling down into a group/column is now a whole lot easier, matching Classic.

    winter19 - Enhanced Run Page in Reports
    Enhanced Run Page in Reports

    Joined Reports in your Dashboards

    Finally!!! Joined Reports can now be used as components on a Dashboard….

    Winter19 - Joined Report as a Dashbaord component

    Forecasts

    From memory it has been a little while since the last touch-up to Forecasts.

    Winter 19 will bring a number of new features, including the ability to now forecast by territory.

    Email tracking for your Sales and Service users

    In Lightning you can now track email responses, seeing if the email has been opened.  And actually displaying this information back in the Activity Timeline within Lightning, presenting this back in a way that is easy to view.

    Winter 19 - Email Tracking

    Live Agent Setup in Lightning

    You will now be able to setup Live Agent in Lightning Experience.  Another small thing, but one less reason to have to switch back to Classic!

    Bonus: Flow Builder

    So although not technically part of the Winter ’19 it was announced alongside the Winter ’19 release…  Early next year (likely Spring ’19 release), we will have a new Flow Builder.  Which will get a much-needed redesign.

    Removing the dependency on Adobe Flash is a huge benefit and one of the things I am most excited about.  It feels like every second day, I have to update Flash before I can then use Flow Designer.

    Salesforce's new Flow Builder
    The new Flow Builder… Coming soon!

    Wrap Up

    So aside from me being a little jaded, there are some nice usability features being added in this release which add a bit more flesh onto Lighting Experience.  (And if you haven’t migrated to Lightning yet, what are you waiting for?!)

    There are a lot of new features overall to the platform, and I am not sure if it is just the sandbox instance we are using or if it is the release… But Lightning Experience does feel a bit more responsive overall too.

    What are your top features?  Have I missed something?  Feel free to tell me / yell at me in the comments 😀

    Resources

    Other resources to help get #releaseready with the upcoming Winter 19 release.

    Salesforce Official resources:

    And the blogosphere:

  • Summer ’18 Release: Top Sales & Service Cloud Features

    Time marches on and 2018 continues hurtling towards summer (or winter for the southern half of the planet).  But it is that time of year again where we get to investigate and plan for the Summer ’18 release from Salesforce, which is due to be released to most orgs within the next month.

    Additionally, we see Lightning continue to be the primary focus for Salesforce with a number of key new features, as predicted, being included as part of this release.

    Release Notes – New breakdown

    Firstly, you may notice a subtle but helpful new format of the Release Notes.

    New sub-headings in the Summer '18 Release Notes
    New sub-headings in the Summer ’18 Release Notes

    Most features and changes included in the release notes, now appear to be broken down into easier to digest sub-headings covering the all important: Where/Why/How/When/etc.

    It is a subtle but useful change, given the volume of information in the 478 page document!

    Summer ’18 Release: Features Breakdown

    As with any Salesforce release nowadays, there are thousands of new features, and narrowing them down to a is getting harder and harder!  But let’s dive on in, and take a look at the Top Sales & Service Cloud Features.

    1) Lightning Console – To feature parity and beyond…

    With Summer ’18 Release, we see Lightning Console pretty close to matching Classic Console, with some additional new features added in for good measure.

    Now I know I am cheating in the top 10, as I am going to group a couple of features together in this one… But it will be worth it 🙂

    For the console changes, click here.

    Console specific features in the release include:

    Guided Engagement with Flow

    But the pièce de résistance though is the new Guided Engagement Console feature.  Allowing you to combine the power of Console and Flows, to give your users guided forms/scripts to work from:

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Guided Engagement
    Lightning Guided Engagement

     

    2) Reports & Dashboards

    Summer ’18 Release from Salesforce includes a bonanza of features and updates for all things Reports & Dashboards… So again, I am grouping a few distinct features under one topic here – otherwise my top 10 would just be reports and dashboards!!

    For all Report & Dashboard features, click here.

    Lightning Report Builder

    First up, Summer ’18 Release sees Lightning Report Builder come out of beta, and become Generally Available.  With a few extra tweaks since Spring ’18 also added in!

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Report Builder

    One thing to note: the user permissions have changed due to the feature becoming ‘generally available’, and this now allows you to hide Classic Report Builder from users, if you wish to…

    Lightning Joined Reports (Beta)

    Additionally, we see Joined Reports enter public beta within Lightning!  There are a few limitations listed in the release notes, but the biggest appears to be having to use the Salesforce Classic Report Builder

    Summer 18 Release: Joined Reports now available in beta
    Joined Reports (beta)

    Get organised: Folders and sub-folders

    I have to admit, this one makes my inner Salesforce geek very happy!  And I wrote about it in the predictions post back in January… As soon as I heard it was on the roadmap for this year, I have been eagerly awaiting this feature!!!

    Sub-Folders, within Folders!  OMG! 😀 😀 It is Lightning Experience only – but this has been a pain in the backside of many Admins, since even before I started working with Salesforce!

    Summer '18 Release: Report Sub-Folders
    Report Sub-Folders

     

    Export reports & keep your formatting

    Lightning Experience now allows you to export your report and keep the formatting of the report.  Simple…

    Filter History Reports by Old and New Values

    In Classic, another bug-bear of mine (and many others) was the fact you could not filter a History Report by the old or new field values…  It would only display them in the report or the history related list if the field was tracked.

    This ended up with a lot of reports being exported and then working with the data in Excel… GRRR

    But GRRR no more! With the ability to now filter by these values!

    Salesforce Summer '18 Release: Filter by Old or New Values on History Reports

    Thank you Salesforce!

     

    3) Lightning Experience improvements

    Another area with a number of smaller feature improvements, Lightning Experience continues to get refined with each release.

    Click here for all of them…  Otherwise, read on!

    Speed up your search

    Summer ’18 Release will allow your users to search by specific objects, from the global search bar…

    Summer '18 Release: Search by specific object

    Boom!

    Dependant picklists and Path

    Path is an amazing feature, allowing you to guide users through almost any process just based on a single picklist.  But with Summer ’18 release, any dependant picklists will now also prompt users when they move steps.

    Summer '18 Release: Update dependant picklists

     

    Group by Topics

    Topics are now available in Lightning Experience!

    Many users used Topics in Classic, and it is great to seem them ported over to Lightning Experience now.

    If you haven’t used them before, it allows your end-users to group and organise records, by a topic.  Imagine it like a #tag on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc, allowing you to then search for the topic and get all related records.

    Salesforce Summer '18: Topics now in Lightning

    4) Privacy (Support for GDPR)

    With the upcoming GDPR changes, Salesforce has continued to add in features to assist businesses (and us Admins) to get ready.

    Changes to Individual object

    The Individual object was a little limited when it was first released in Spring ’18.  The object wasn’t like a standard object, meaning access was very limited.  And creation of records/etc Apex coding was required…

    But no more!  In Summer ’18 the object is now a standard object with all the bells and whistles that comes with that – including the ability to now use workflows/process builder!

    You will be able to now:

    • Create custom actions, buttons, and links for Individuals
    • Create different Individual record types
    • Undelete an Individual that you had deleted
    • Use Individuals with workflows or with Process Builder

    Make a Users’ personal data unusable

    As part of the new privacy regulations, and the ability to request your personal information is removed from a system, presents a bit of a challenge for anyone who has a user record within Salesforce.  These could be community users or internal users…. And is due to the fact you cannot delete a Salesforce user record, ever.

    So to get around this, Salesforce is now including a new system method ‘obfuscateUser()’ , which will scramble user information.

    This one definitely falls into the ‘advanced’ category, as it requires Apex knowledge (or how to invoke Apex via Process Builder/Flow).

    And would require planning and testing, as Salesforce is warning: that it cannot be reversed!

    Scramble user data before and after

     

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    There are a number of key dates you need to know for Summer ’18 Release.  So to help highlight what they are, here is a handy infographic from Salesforce.   Remember the dates shown below are in US date format though…

    Summer 18 release - key dates

    What is the release date for Summer ’18 Release?

    The release weekend for your org will depend on the instance it is on, but the release will occur on the weekend between the 18th May – 8th June 2018.

    Summer ’18 Release: Additional Resources

    Official Salesforce resources

    Other blog resources

  • How to Plan Your Move to Lightning Experience

    For many businesses, now is the time to move to Salesforce Lightning.  But moving to Lightning can feel like a daunting task.  Where should you start?  How to you make sure you don’t disrupt the business?  So in this first post, we will take a look at how to plan your move to Lightning Experience.

    In the next post, we look at how to implement your plan and go-live!  But in the meantime, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comments section below.  And let’s start planning…

    Planning your move

    migrating to Lightning is all about planning

    Before we start, let’s just clear the air.

    As an #AwesomeAdmin you probably already know there is planning required to make the switch over.  The old adage – ‘failure to plan, is planning for failure’ – is never truer than when changing how a user works within a system.

    But driving user adoption and making the transition as smooth as possible, doesn’t need to be overly complicated process though.  And by planning your transition you set yourself up for the best possible result.

    So let’s get started.

    WIIFM?!… What’s In It For Me?

    One of the first steps to planning any change should to be understand the ‘what’s in it for me’.  It is the first question most users want to know about any change…

    Salesforce Lightning adoption - answer 'What's in it for me' from your end-users point of view
    Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’will help drive adoption…

    Sure Lightning Experience looks great.  You can now customise the colours to match your company identity…

    But that doesn’t really engage end-users in using the platform.  After all we want them to use the system once we make the change, don’t we?…

    Be honest with yourself.  Would a typical sales, customer service or partner really care about that?

    Answering this question for each type of stakeholder is one of the best ways to ensure everyone buys-in to making the move.

    A great example is dealing with a stakeholder from Sales.  Lightning offers many new features which benefit most sales users.  Here are a few…. Sales Path to guide on what to do in the system to move to the next stage.  Kanban board for managing your pipeline with drag-and-drop ease.  What about Sales Console?  Use of macros practically anywhere in Salesforce?

    The point here is to you need to demonstrate you understand your end-users by understanding their problems.  If you understand the problem, you can effectively position a feature or benefit that solves it.  And this helps engage these stakeholders early on…

     Why should we invest in making this change?

    The next step is to develop a business case.  It sounds horrible, but it can really help in convincing your senior stakeholders on why they should support the change.  And to drive adoption when launched, you need their support…

    Salesforce Lightning Experience across multiple devices
    Even Astro loves Lightning Experience…

    This may not be applicable for all business, but I always try to work out a rough cost/benefit to any changes my team make.  Even if it is just an estimate.  And this loops back to understanding the WIIFM within your business.

    Every business problem – and in turn the potential solution – have a potential time/cost associated with them.

    This is the gold dust in developing your business case to answer the question most senior stakeholders within business would ask,

    As an example, a simple cost-to-benefit calculation could be based on decreasing sales admin time.  By improving the time taken to process and close a contract within the system, you can quantify the potential upside to the business.

    So if an average salesperson closed an extra 2 deals a day/month/year due to improving the sales workflow in Lightning, how much is that worth to your business?  (average contract value * extra deals per day = potential upside).

    Keep in mind, this is only an estimate.  But it can be a useful way to engage the business and to capture metrics relating to the success of the project once completed.

    Mind the gap…?

    Salesforce has spent the last couple of years attempting to make Lightning match the features of Classic.  But there are still some gaps between Classic and Lightning Experience.

    The next item on our list is to check what these gaps actually mean your org.  By doing so you ensure your users can still use all key features they need.

    If there is a feature gap or limitation, the next step should be to look at the publicly available roadmap.  This outlines the upcoming features planned for release and may cover the feature that is a priority for you.

    Also each published version of the release notes now include a section on what is and what is not included in Lightning Experience.  For the Spring ’18 section, please have a look here.

    Side note: The roadmap is scheduled to be updated after the Spring ’18 release, but a handy video to watch about the Force.com platform and upcoming features is the True to the Core video.  Or there is a breakdown of the expected features in the 2018 predictions post here.

    Resources

    Salesforce is clearly invested in supporting all orgs to move to Lightning Experience.  Releases now introduce most new features as Lightning Experience only.  But to help, there is a wealth of content available for free to sink your teeth into.

    For starters there is a great Trailhead module specifically on getting hands-on with a Lightning Experience roll-out.  There is also a quick overview of the steps on the Admin blog.  But personally I highly recommend jumping to the Power of Us site, which has been setup to cover best practice for making the jump to Lightning.

    Each and every org now also has the Lightning Readiness Check built-in.  And the check gets an update every release to give you more and more insight into your org’s compatibility into making the change.

    If you want more information about how to take a business-first approach to rolling out Lightning, I found this article over on SalesforceBen.

  • Spring ’18 Deep Dive: Reports & Dashboards

    Spring ’18 release brings with it a swag of new features.  But it also brings with it a big makeover for reports and dashboards.  In this post we are going to take a deep dive into reports and dashboards in Spring ’18, and see what is coming our way.

    Additionally (and most excitingly) this is the starting point for new reporting and dashboard features within the Lightning.  With another more features heading out way over the coming releases.  To see what this includes, check out feature predictions for 2018 here.  Otherwise let’s get started!

    Dashboards in Spring ’18

    Coming in Spring ’18 your users will now be able to subscribe to dashboards easily within Lightning.

    By setting up a subscription schedule (either Daily, Weekly or Monthly), Salesforce will then schedule a refresh of the dashboard and send out an email update to the user.

    Subscribe to Dashboard in Salesforce Lightning
    Subscribe to a dashboard. Source: Salesforce

    And keeping with the myLightning ability to theme and customise your Lightning instance, dashboards now support more customisation and personalisation by selecting a colour theme.

    Additionally you can then choose the theme by individual component to highlight sections.

    Set a colour pallette for your Dashboards
    Colour your dashboards whichever way you want! Source: Salesforce

     

    Report Builder (Lightning)

    Lightning Report Builder was first introduced in the Winter ’18 release.  But the new report builder is in beta, meaning there are a number of known limitations.  Reports and dashboards in Spring ’18 starts to bridge that gap.

    Most features in Spring ’18 release are migrated Classic features.  But these features are reworked to operate in a very Lightning way.  After all what good is it having a new user interface, and not take advantage of reworking how users can use the system?

    Most importantly it is easy to see how this is a stepping stone to the future for Reports & Dashboards in Lightning Experience.

    Summary Formulas, Buckets & Cross-Filters

    As mentioned above, these aren’t specifically new features.  But they are new for the new Report Builder and operate a little differently.

    For example being able to create a summery bucket on a column, simply select the column dropdown and create:

    Report Builder and creating a Bucket column
    Creating a summary bucket within the Lightning Report Builder. Source: Salesforce

    Or creating a cross-filter, which is also easily done now within the new Report Builder:

    Create a Cross-Filter within the Lightning Report Builder
    Create a Cross-Filter within the Lightning Report Builder. Source: Salesforce

    How to activate the new Lightning Report Builder

    To get access to all of the new features of reports and dashboards in Spring ’18, you will need to first activate the new Report Builder.

    A note before we start, there is a key dependency to activating Lightning Report Builder… That prerequisite is  enhanced folder sharing needs to be enabled.

    If your org was created after the Summer ’13 Salesforce release, you already have enhanced folder sharing. If your org isn’t already using enhanced folder sharing, see Turn On Enhanced Sharing for Reports and Dashboards in the Salesforce Help.

    Go to Setup -> Reports and Dashboards Settings -> Enable Lightning Report Builder (beta):

    Enable Lightning Report Builder (Reports and dashboards in Spring '18)
    Enable Lightning Report Builder

     

    Once enabled, remember to also update either a profile or permission set to include access to the Report Builder (Lightning Experience) too:

    Enabling Report Builder Lightning Experience
    Enabling the Report Builder (Lightning Experience) on a profile

    Remember, if you don’t see this option, you need to check your Folder Sharing rules within Salesforce.  And you will have to check via Classic Setup…  The irony isn’t lost – this dependant setting is only available via Classic Setup menu currently. 🙂

    Before enabling though, ensure you are aware of the implications of doing so.  Especially how this will impact end-users within your org.  When you are ready, jump back into Classic UI and then go to: Setup -> Folder Sharing -> “Enable access levels for sharing report and dashboard folders”.

    Wrap up

    The changes to reports and dashboards in Spring ’18 gives us an insight into where Salesforce is taking the analytics features of the platform.  Along with the added flexibility the Lightning Experience grants.

    Overall reports & dashboards within Salesforce are finally getting much deserved makeover…  And there is more to come over the next few releases!

  • Dreamforce ’17: roundup

    Were you fortunate enough to head to this year’s Dreamforce?  If not, have you caught up on all the new goodies that were announced?  If you are like me and couldn’t attend, we have to catch up on all the new announcements from this session via Youtube, Facebook,  Linkedin and other blogs.

    So to help out, below is an overview of some of the resources I have found useful to catch-up on all things Dreamforce 2017, and feel free to add your comments & own resources in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

    Fourth Industrial Revolution

    The key theme this year was around the 4th industrial revolution.

    And it contains a key message about the impacts on the impacts this next digital revolution will have on society, from AI and the workplace of the future, to how we treat each other…

     

    Dreamforce 2017: over 3200 sessions of learnings!

    If you have been fortunate enough to attend Dreamforce, the scale is massive.  It literally takes over San Francisco for a week and brings together people from so many different backgrounds to learn and network.

    But where to start though?  Catching up on everything is a mammoth task and with over 3200+ sessions, there is so much for people to catchup on.  New use cases and successes shared with the Salesforce community… It is what Dreamforce is all about!  That is why no two wrap-ups will be the same, as everyone has there own personal journey through the week.

    But key highlights for me include Salesforceben with two great posts stand out for me: Admin perspective or Nov roundup) and Jen Lee’s fantastic recap and her sessions about process automation and workflows.  Also David from SFDC99 has a great recap too.

    Salesforce has the videos published from most of their keynotes and a number of the larger sessions from the week, and you can access them on the Salesforce Youtube playlist.

    Key Youtube videos I have found useful include:

    And personally, I love the T-Mobile story at this year’s keynote, where they demonstrated a number of the new ‘mySalesforce’ features (such as my Trailhead, my Lightning and my Einstein).  You can catch that session including a live demo here:

     

    The future roadmap of Salesforce core platforms

    One session I always try to catch up on is the core platform update/roadmap sessions.  This next session has a number of the Product Owners talking about some of the features that are coming up over the next few releases.

    Want a crystal ball into Salesforce’s thinking and where they are focusing their efforts? Look no further.

    They also go into the Ideas Exchange, why some ideas can’t/haven’t been delivered so far (even though they might seem really simple from the outside looking in), and how Lightning is actually allowing Salesforce to drive the pace of delivery of new ideas that Classic simply couldn’t do…

    So without further ado, here is the True to the Core overview from Parker Harris and co…

    The future roadmap of Salesforce’s core products definitely looks promising and personally I can’t wait for the discussed improvements to reports & dashboards (Sub folders… Field to field filters?!  OMG)

    Comments always welcome

    Got any key videos / blogs / resources you have used to catch up on Dreamforce this year?  Share in the comments below.

  • Is it time to move to Salesforce Lightning?

    Salesforce Winter ’18 has now been rolled out across all Salesforce instances.  As you have noticed, Salesforce Classic didn’t get many feature updates, and almost the entire release is Lightning Experience focused.  You might have noticed the trend over the last few releases – seemingly everything Salesforce has done has been labelled ‘Lightning’ or only available for the Lightning Experience…  So is it time to move to Salesforce Lightning?

    How did we get to this point?  It feels like only a little while ago, we were all talking about key missing features.  We will take a look at the history of Salesforce and how Lightning came to exist.  What features are now available to you in Lightning Experience?

    Stepping back in time…

    Back in 1999, things were different.  Let’s take a step back in time…

    To connect to the internet, if you were lucky enough to be able to get it, your computer had a modem which made really funny noises and it could take a minute or two for it to simply connect with your ISP.

    Nokia 3310
    Not an iPhone in sight… Even the 3310 wasn’t available in 1999!

    Mobile devices looked quite different.  There were no iPhones or Android’s.  Even the Nokia 3310 hadn’t been released… It was released in 2000!

    The world used Lycos, Hotbot or Yahoo to search… Google had only started in 1998 and not many people used it (or even knew what Google was!)

    Do you Yahoo…?

    But 1999 also revealed Salesforce to the world.  And over that time there has been a number of UI improvements but the core of Salesforce has always been the navigating via tabs.

    Old Salesforce User Interfaces: Pre-Lightning UI

    Salesforce: a brief history…

    The world has changed considerably since 1999.  And so much of it, for the better!

    Internet in many offices now is super-fast broadband, some would even say “Lightning fast” (#sorrynotsorry, I couldn’t help myself).

    Internet speeds on mobile are also significantly faster and now we take for granted the ability to use internet on our mobile devices (let alone being able to stream Netflix on a mobile device).

    As a result companies switched to a ‘mobile first’ approach to development, Salesforce included.  This resulted in spending a number of features that became exclusive to mobile devices.  And as the Salesforce1 app on mobile devices continued to evolve the desktop version started to really look dated.

    Some people even resorted to using the “One App” on desktops to gain access to these new features.  This was mainly to test app features, but none-the-less there were stark differences between desktop and mobile.

    And over the last few years we can even add into the mix devices like smart watches, which allow us to be even more connected to our work.

    Introducing Salesforce Lightning

    This is why Salesforce needed to evolve again..  Enter Salesforce Lightning Experience (otherwise referred to as LEX for short).

    Lightning Experience across all devices…

    It was designed as a way to unify the interface across all devices.  While also introducing a new wave of web technologies to the CRM for admins and developers to be able to leverage.

    Lightning Experience (LEX) promised a whole new interface and way to interact with Salesforce.  When launched it was features like kanban boards for sales to manage their pipelines, news highlights & account news, sales path and being able to put graphs on list views which caught the eye of most admins and developers.

    That isn’t even mentioning the new design framework and components which let you extend the functionality on pretty much any page.  Lightning Experience suddenly expanded the world of point and click admins!

    Lightning – started with a flash…

    As with any transition though, not everything was working as expected.   Lightning Experience was quite cumbersome and sluggish to use.  And so many features of what became Salesforce ‘Classic’ weren’t even available in the new user interface, as an example Forecasts wasn’t available at all.

    Since being introduced as part of the Winter ’16 release, Salesforce was aiming for feature parity with Salesforce Classic within 2 years.  Over that time there have also been a huge number of improvements made.  Which begs the question, is now the time to move to Salesforce Lightning?

    Salesforce has not only improved how Lightning loads, but improved how Lightning looks and also introduced a range of brand spanking new features to Salesforce platform and only available in Lightning (looking at you Salesforce Einstein).

    Salesforce Lightning versus Classic

    Over the last two years the list of missing features in Lightning has been thankfully shrinking.  As you can see from the Salesforce feature comparison, we are fast approaching the milestone of feature parity in Lightning Experience.

    Clearly Salesforce isn’t just looking at feature parity, with Lightning “exclusives” such as Dialer, Assistant, new dashboards (not with just three columns) and even new report graph types are being released only on Lightning.

    Move to Salesforce Lightning for features like Kanban
    Salesforce Kanban and list view graphs (Source: Salesforce)

    You can also forget about using Salesforce Einstein sales features if you haven’t migrated…

    Looking at the list, there are still some specific exceptions.  But not being able to migrate to Lightning Experience due to a missing feature is now mostly a thing of the past for organisations.

    Final verdict: Move to Salesforce Lightning

    Lightning Experience has come a very long way since it was first released, and is now ready for most organisations to make the switch.

    Standout features in Lightning Experience do grab the eye of users and admins alike.  This is quite beneficial as it can help drive user engagement and adoption.  And ultimately this can help make the change to Salesforce Lightning an easier process.

    But now is the time to start planning the upgrade to Lightning Experience.

    Remember though, you do have to plan carefully for it (which we will cover in the next post).

    Most organisations should now be able to start using Lightning without having to keep switching back to Classic.  Even if there is a feature still missing, the Lightning Experience roadmap shows the future product releases.  Check it out to see if your missing feature is about to be released.

    What do you think?  Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

  • Are you ready for Salesforce Summer ’17 release?

    It is almost that time of year again.  Here in the northern hemisphere the days are thankfully getting warmer and longer.  Easter is now behind us.  As the sun starts to shine through, the time has come to start planning for the next Salesforce release.  Yes, it is time to prepare for the Salesforce Summer ’17 release, are you ready?

    Salesforce Summer ’17 Release Readiness

    As with any Salesforce release, preparation is key, and the Summer ’17 release will be no exception.  But you are never alone, and there are plenty of excellent resources available to ensure you are well prepared.  Where to start?

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?
    The first port of call is to check the important dates for your sandbox refreshes.  This is key if you need to ensure you maintain a sandbox with the current Spring ’17 setup or if you want to ensure your sandbox get the Summer ’17 preview.  Check this post from Salesforce for the key sandbox preview dates.

    Getting a preview sandbox gives you invaluable & hands-on access to play with all the new features of the Salesforce Summer ’17 release.

    Next stop is to also check the key dates for Admins to consider.  You can view that on this Salesforce Admin page, fresh off the presses yesterday (19th April).  It gives you a checklist of items and key dates to ensure you are prepared.  For example the preview release notes are available from next week (24th April at time of publishing) and will be available from the Salesforce Release Portal.

    And another great resource for keeping track of everything to do with the upcoming release is via the Release Readiness Success group.

    What to expect in the release?

    crystal ball
    Who doesn’t love an upward trending chart?
    The preview release notes are being finalised, and it is almost time to jump in to a preview sandbox instance.  What can you expect from the upcoming Salesforce Summer ’17 release? #safehabour 😀

    Recently I attended an awesome London Usergroup chat with Mike Rosenbaum, the Salesforce EVP of CRM Apps.  During the session Mike went through our questions covering the future of Salesforce Lightning and the platform.  You can watch the full video of the chat here at Cloud Architecture’s site.  Unsurprisingly he confirmed that Lightning will continue to be a huge focus for Salesforce and as a result the next release should start to see a number of known performance issues being addressed.

    During the talk it was also mentioned that a new report builder for the Lightning UX should be coming our way and the product teams at Salesforce are aiming for feature parity with Salesforce Classic over the next few releases.

    Mike also encourages feedback via his Twitter account (@mike945778), so get in touch!  If you watch the video, you will also find out why he uses that Twitter handle 🙂

    Obviously there are other features planned and another thing I learnt from the chat, there is a published Lightning Product Roadmap which does highlight some of the planned features for the Summer ’17 release.  So if you are chomping at the bit and can’t wait for the release notes to be released I recommend you check it out!

    Stay tuned for more once the release notes come out, until then it’s time to get your affairs in order because Salesforce’s Summer ’17 release is almost here!

    Update (24th Apr): Now the release notes are available, check out my next post for a top 10 features for Sales & Service Cloud.  And feel free to add to the list in the comments!  

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