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How to migrate from Salesforce's Classic view to the new Lightning view

(Image credit: Image Credit: Salesforce)

For quite some time now, Salesforce has been one of the major companies specialising in customer relationship management (CRM) software. To be more precise, Salesforce is a cloud computing service company that empowers businesses with tools that allow them to better connect with their customers (both existing and potential) and partners. The platform owes its popularity to simplicity and customisability, while its large app marketplace offers all the best tools to fully customise your business solution.

In 2016, Salesforce launched Lightning Experience UI, designed to replace the previously used Classic view. Migrating from Classic to the Lightning view has been the topic of interest in the past few months, although it’s been three years since the launch.

Businesses are hesitant to adopt Salesforce Lightning

The business world has been reluctant to switch from the trusted old Classic view, even though the new Lightning UI is more intuitive and offers lots of exclusive features like the activity timeline, granular forecast functionality, and advanced Einstein AI analytics reporting. On top of that, a study has shown that the median session duration in Lightning is 20 per cent shorter than in Classic.

So what’s the holdup? The reasons for reluctance can be found in the requirement to learn quite a bit in order to adapt to the new system. And let’s face it - not many people are willing to make such sacrifices. However, all the advantages provided by the innovative Lightning UI certainly outweigh the effort and time required to make the switch.

Recently, the company began pushing updates for those still unmoved by all the benefits. On top of this, Salesforce has already stopped adding features to the Classic UI so it’s only a matter of time before the entire outdated model fades away.

Making the transition from Classic to Lightning

If you’re new to Salesforce, you’ll be automatically given access to the new Lightning UI. If, however, you’re a long-time customer wanting to make the switch, there are multiple ways to do so, depending on your business and/or preferences.

To some highly customised businesses, it made sense to make the change from the ground up, instead of incorporating Lightning and adapting incompatible elements along the way, as there would be too many of them. To be more precise, they’ve decided to build the entire CRM database from scratch.

According to the proponents of such an approach, this can be a great opportunity to improve underlying issues with the Classic view, in addition to switching to the Lightning UI. That said, this method isn’t the best as it demands a certain amount of skilful staff, time, and budget to get a fresh start and not many businesses can afford all this.

If rebuilding your organisation isn’t a feasible option for you, there’s another way. It takes a lot of strategizing but it’s ultimately worth it. Once you’ve established the need to migrate to Lightning, you need to choose the right tool to help you do it, such as WalkMe. The company has provided a complete guide for a fast and seamless transition from Salesforce’s Classic to Lightning UI facilitated by its platform, as well.

Building a Salesforce Lightning training program

Before getting started, it’s important to have clear business objectives, such as user adoption, increased data integrity, and decreased employee training requirements.

The next thing to do is to familiarise everyone involved in the project about the key features and functions of Lightning, its benefits and differences in comparison to Classic, as well as the best ways to use it productively.

Then, you’ll need to get everyone acquainted with your current software utilisation and locate the areas to address. This includes running tests to see if there are any custom elements that may need additional support like incompatible packages or processes, updating and patching them up, and then fully rolling out the Lightning view. A good migration tool can take a significant load off your hands.

The most difficult part of this method is employee onboarding. As part of the process, you need to stay on top of user progress as various employees have different adoption styles. This will require tracking application usage, identifying points of friction and confusion, and addressing usability issues on-the-spot through on-screen guidance, tooltips, automated steps, or highlighting recommended functionalities and features. Again, the best way to do this is with the help of a dedicated migration service.

Rolling out the Salesforce Lightning UI

Once these issues have been addressed, it’s launch time. There are two ways to do this: in phases or all at once. The phased Lightning rollouts are implemented incrementally for one team or department at a time. This approach allows trainers to run pilot tests, learn from each subsequent phase of the rollout, and incorporate that information as the project progresses. However, such an approach requires more micromanaging, since the trainers are designing as they go.

If doing a “big bang” rollout is more your thing, you can do an organisation-wide rollout, involving everyone. It’s a more straightforward process than doing it in phases as trainers only have to design and execute a single Salesforce training program. This, on the other hand, demands more preparation and support, in addition to involving more risks, delays, or possible technical debt.

A successful outcome also requires optimisation. Typically, optimisation efforts include continuous measuring, learning, and adjusting. Metrics will help you stay in sync with the progress of the migration, while feedback will indicate what’s working, what isn’t, and if a change of direction is necessary. When corrections are warranted, you can apply different tactics, add or adjust goals, add new training material, and more.

If you’re planning on attending Dreamforce 2019 and would like to know more about the topic, make sure to check out the 20-minute session Flip the Switch: Make your Lightning Migration Easy on your Employees!. Robert Half’s Kim Clark and Nick Johnson will be discussing the successful practices in transitioning to Salesforce Lightning. See you there!

Oren Rofman, senior technology writer

Oren Rofman is a senior technology writer. He's particularly interested in information technology, big data and the cloud