O. M. G. — Salesforce Lightning!

Salesforce just made a major announcement ahead of Dreamforce and I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing Salesforce Lightning and the new Lightning Experience. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in for a big surprise because it is an entirely new Salesforce and it is stunningly beautiful.

As a Salesforce Administrator, I am both elated and nervous. We all know that change is hard, but this isn’t change for change’s sake. This is change for the better. A whole new user experience meant to make our users more productive. And that is a huge win.

Salesforce Lightning has actually been years in the works. I remember being disappointed  when the big announcement at Dreamforce ‘13 was the new Salesforce1 platform because it seemed to be focused towards developers. Little did I know that the new Salesforce1 platform is the foundation that had to be built in order to make Lightning possible!

To explain why I'm so excited about this release, here are five features that I think will have a significant, positive impact and that I’m most looking forward to for myself and my users.

The Features

1. Overhauled List Views: For large organizations, an object’s list views can grow to an unruly list, making them completely useless from a productivity standpoint. Now, users will have the ability to perform a dynamic search within the list view to find the view they want to, well, view! Oh, and once that list view opens, visualize the data in that view with a beautiful chart using the Analytics Cloud’s visualization tools! AMAZING!

2. Dashboards: One of the most popular ideas on the IdeaExchange is to allow more than three columns on a dashboard. The idea is eight years old with nearly 82,000 points and the Lightning Experience is going to finally, finally close out this request. With Lightning Experience, Administrators can create a dashboard with up to nine columns! Not only that, but the width of each dashboard component can be customized to fit the data so that the dashboard provides even more actionable data. Plus, it uses a whole new graphics engine powered by Wave so every dashboard will be stunning.

3. Setup: Setup is the place that we Administrators spend most of our time and it’s getting a total overhaul. Everything has been rearranged into a logical category. For example, you’ll no longer need to go to Customized to manage standard objects and Create to manage custom objects. Objects are objects and they will now all be located in the same place! (Can I get an Admin “Amen”!)

4. Opportunity Management: Being that this release is all about productivity, the reimagined opportunity workflow is phenomenal. Sales Path, a feature first released to Salesforce1, has made its way to the desktop! Admins will love this feature as it allows you to provide detailed context around what actions should take place within the stage to move the deal forward. And with the Opportunity Board, reps can now change an opportunity stage by dragging and dropping the record to a new stage!

5. Reimagined Page Layouts: Salesforce has done a great job of listening to customers and understanding the ways that users interact with specific records. In the Classic UI, all of the page layouts are the same; record detail section and then related lists. But in Lightning, each record’s layout is setup to accommodate the way in which a user would engage with the record. But if that default layout doesn't fit your organization's needs, it's fully customizable using the Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components.

Why the Lightning Experience Matters

The CRM market is hot right now and new competitors have crept into the marketplace with new and innovative solutions to simple and complex problems alike. The current version of Salesforce (called Classic) has had some minor refreshes over the years, but needed updating.

The Lightning Experience gives more control to the Administrator to configure the org to meet business needs and requirements. There is more flexibility to imagine and create an epic user experience which every user deserves.

Next Steps

Lightning will be available with the Winter '16 release in all orgs. If you have a sandbox that will be upgrading to Winter '16, activate Lightning and begin to play.

While you wait, start working your way through the new Lightning Experience trails on Trailhead. These trails are super informative and will help to answer some initial questions you have.

Join the Release Readiness group on the success community. The Salesforce team running this group do a fantastic job of helping you prep for each Salesforce release and there is already quite a bit of Lightning-related content posted there.

For those going to Dreamforce, Lightning will no doubt be a big part of the event. Do take advantage of your time in San Francisco to learn and get your questions answered in person. Register for Dreamforce now!

If you want to be nostalgic, then enjoy this video as we see Classic evolve through the years:

About the Author

Brent Downey is a passionate Salesforce Administrator with a desire to help other Salesforce professionals become exceptional in their careers. As the blogger of AdminHero.com, he empowers fellow Salesforce Administrators to grow in their knowledge of the platform and business acumen to become an indispensable resource. Brent is a Salesforce MVP and co-leader of the Salesforce Denver User Group and Salesforce Administrator at ReadyTalk.

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