Cloud Notions has been #struckbylightning

Salesforce announced the new Lightning Experience today, and it did not disappoint.  The announcement came via a massive 100+ city, 20,000 viewer online launch party.  During the event, the Salesforce team presented demos of this next-generation CRM experience.  They also answered streaming questions about the release schedule, compatibility, and future innovations.  Read on for a summary of the festivities.

Tens of thousands of viewers joined the event from hundreds of locations.
Tens of thousands of viewers joined the event from hundreds of locations.

 

Lightning has been in development for a couple of years, actually.  It started with the Salesforce 1 mobile platform, then extended into Salesforce Wave, and now the entire platform will become a new experience that is responsive, modern, and componentized.

 

New Experience

It’s clear that Salesforce has taken user adoption and psychology into account.  The demos are very user-friendly, yet highly powerful and customizable.  The application even goes out of its way to tie together different pieces of data.  For example, the new Opportunities screen shows a pipeline with “Guidance for Success” tips.  There is also an “Assistant” panel that shows the upcoming tasks and status.

Amazing new capabilities await on the Opportunities screen.
Amazing new capabilities await on the Opportunities screen.

 

During the announcement event, the leadership at Salesforce went out of their way to mention the customer input that was included in each phase of the rollout.  The new Lightning experience is not a case of one company throwing something against the wall to see what sticks.  They’ve involved customers (and partners!) at every step, from generating ideas to field testing the results.  As Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of Sales Cloud, stated:

“We designed and built a completely new Salesforce based on the collective feedback of more than 150,000 customers and 16 years of experience delivering the world’s leading CRM”

 

“Bracket Labs builds best-in-class Salesforce apps that make it easier for our customers to get work done,” said Blakely Graham, co-founder, product design, Bracket Labs. “With Lightning, Salesforce has listened to our feedback and delivered something great. We have been piloting Salesforce Lightning with our TaskRay project management app and cannot wait to see how our customers build their own Lightning apps. Salesforce Lightning is smart, forward-thinking, and we are excited to be one of the first Lightning ready partners.”

New Features

The announcement provided a demonstration of several amazing new features.  Here’s a brief “Top 5” list of the other features that caught our eye:

  • Drag and drop dashboard layouts (as noted in the above video)
  • New in-feed file preview
  • New Notes layout (with Auto-Save!)
  • Drag and Drop to change Opportunity Status, Homepage Layouts, and other interactions
  • Expanded hover details for Contacts, Opportunities, and other records
  • New charts and reports with interactive data points
The future of Dashboards
The future of Dashboards

For Those Who Don’t Like Change

Salesforce was quick to mention that their existing product (the “Classic view”) will continue to be supported for a long time.  They plan to encourage transitioning to the new experience voluntarily.  This will allow customers to make a deliberate decision to cut over after testing out the new experience.

The main benefits of the new experience will be Customer Adoption and Ease of Use.  (And, of course, the new features.)

 

Next Steps

The Lightning announcement was earth-shaking, but now it’s time to get to work.  Here are a few steps that anyone can take to make sure they are “Lightning Ready”.

  1. Read the official announcement
  2. Watch the launch event video.  (You can skip to the 29 minute mark to jump to the keynote)
  3. Complete the Trailhead Lightning training modules.  This is a soft prerequisite if you’d like to get early access to a Trial
  4. Sign up for a Trial at Salesforce.com/lightning
  5. Learn more about the Salesforce Lightning Design System

Keep the conversation going!  Use Twitter hashtag #struckbylightning to keep up to date with the latest news on this major innovation.