The following article has been edited because it has caught our attention that the initial version released might have strayed from our objectives of this series on Salesforce Lightning.
Our intention was never to put down Lightning, but instead, to analyse the current state of things (our efforts to be witty might have been interpreted as harsh – no doubt we should stick to our day jobs and not venture into journalism). We recognise that Lightning has grown over the years and we are looking forward to following through on this roadmap to discovering new features and upgrades scheduled to be released. We will be continuing to evaluate new releases with a much more impartial eye.
We stand firm in our support for Salesforce / Lightning and strongly encourage readers to follow us on this journey to see where the technology has brought us thus far, and where it will lead us tomorrow.
Has the storm really arrived?
Salesforce made public their front-end visual overhaul, the Salesforce Lightning user interface (UI), in 2014. Since then, in every subsequent release, Salesforce has made improvements and expanded the functionality of the Lightning UI.
However, in the course of my work, I have met many clients who are confused about the viability of the Lightning UI and how it compares to the Classic UI.
Now, if you have no qualms with trusting the opinion of a complete stranger on the Internet (because there’s no way that can go wrong, right?), you can go have a coffee, comfortable in the knowledge that an Anonymous True Authority has decreed it is so. However, if you would like to have just a little bit more explanation, read on.
Salesforce Lightning is undeniably a fantastic upgrade on the previous user interface design, which can look dated in this modern age known informally as the Steve Jobs era. Nearly everyone I know who has seen the interface quite understandably jump at the chance of interacting with something that looks more iPhone than SAP.
Before you jump on the bandwagon, however, let’s pause for a moment and examine some of the elements of the Lightning edition.
Using the standard functionality of Salesforce should pose no problems. However, if you’re using Salesforce for more than recording your contacts and tracking your deals (and given that Salesforce has successfully transformed itself to function as a platform instead of just a CRM, you should), you may notice delay in page load times.
The Salesforce Classic UI makes great use of the available screen space to fit as much data as possible. The Lightning UI, however, does not present all the data on one screen, but instead makes space to accommodate the modern more minimalistic look and feel.
You have access to an award-winning system hosted on the biggest thing in tech right now, the Cloud. Your company’s information is centralised and aggregated into one central platform. You can access this from anywhere with an Internet connection. It’s available on the desktop, laptop, tablets, mobile phones and all kinds of devices.
Your accounts and contacts are saved and available on the move. Your opportunities are tracked and easily reported. Your activities are logged and provide a coherent history on anything you’ve ever worked on.
When all the hard work is done and the client gives his verbal approval, imagine the time savings if you could just craft a quote and send it to the client on the go in your mobile phone.
The ability to add and manage campaign members from a list view, is not available in the Lightning UI yet. For Leads, you won’t be able to find and merge duplicate leads. Pie charts aren’t available too. Only existing Dashboard refreshes work. Inline editing in lists is not available. But above all, be sure to re-test your Visualforce code and pages.
Sure, there are workarounds, but they require a few extra steps to achieve one of the core tenets of Salesforce – to accomplish things with as few clicks as possible.
The sky is not falling
Now, before all of you start raising pitchforks and proclaiming that it’s all doom and gloom, I actually consider the Lightning UI to be a good thing, and can’t wait to see what Salesforce has in store for Lightning UI.
Firstly, Salesforce has to be commended for continually changing things up. The company constantly strives to make their software better and keep in touch with recent technological breakthroughs. When you commit to Salesforce, you know they’re not going to rest on their laurels and piss in the wind.
The Lightning UI is a clear statement from Salesforce that they aren’t interested in keeping things the same way for as long as possible. That is a statement that warrants considerable support and should be applauded.
Furthermore, if we have to wait for something that is perfect, it’s never going to happen. The release of the Lightning UI indicates that real progress is being made.
Look, I abhor broken, incompetent releases as much as the next self-entitled First World pampered brat, but the Lightning UI is nothing like that. They are missing features, but it works and works reasonably well. In fact, if the limitations do not affect your system (i.e. basic sales tracking systems or minimal configurations from the off-the-shelf product), I would urge you to seriously look at adopting the Lightning UI.
While the storm has not yet arrived, the rumbles of thunder are real.
If you are using Salesforce for simple CRM functions, use the Lightning UI.
If not, hold off on it until further improvements are made, which will happen. Until then, the Classic UI remains the choice for clients with heavily customised Salesforce environments.
Mak Wen Han & ACG Team
We hope you have enjoyed our article, stay tuned for our next piece. If you are keen to further discuss how ACG can help in your organisation today, please feel free to reach out to us and we will help you in the best way we can.