Last Updated: September 2021
Salesforce introduced Lightning in 2014 as a significant upgrade over Salesforce Classic. Salesforce has since then packed it with several robust tools and efficiency-enhancing features. All new Salesforce subscribers are on the Lightning platform.
Salesforce switched the incumbent Classic users to the Lightning experience on January 7, 2020. There is no official end date for Classic though, and existing users still have the option to switch back to Classic.
Why Migrate from Salesforce Classic to Lightning?
Using the analogy of a car, Salesforce Classic is an old-generation model, whereas Lightning represents the latest model. Making the switch from Classic to Lightning significantly upgrades the experience for most users.
Migration offers business users several advantages.
Lightning improves insights and visibility. Einstein, Salesforce’s artificial intelligence product, makes sales and marketing forecasts easier. The Sales Path feature identifies the key stages of a lead or opportunity and offers insights into the critical steps at every stage. An intuitive, sleek, and powerful UI improves functionality. The UI improves flexibility and enables a swift transition between desktop and mobile devices. Enhanced reports, charts and dashboards add to the user-friendliness.
Many enterprises underestimate the importance of a clean UX. With Lightning’s new Kanban View, the user sees four fields simultaneously. Users may create and distribute tasks or events without leaving their current view. They may also drag information to the next stages easily. The ability to get such simple, yet critical, things done fast keeps sales agents motivated and energetic. It saves time and allows engaging with more prospects.
Lighting makes app development easy. The Lightning App Builder allows users to create customized apps or reconfigure Lightning pages. Users do not need programming knowledge to create basic, functional pages. Lightning’s component-based framework offers tools, extensions, and pre-built reusable components. The AppBuilder hosts over fifty partner components. Such resources enable easy customization. An intuitive Design System offers style guides and user experience (UX) best practices. The efficacy of the apps depends on its ability to pull data from other sources. The Lightning Connect integration tool integrates data from external sources to Force.com apps. It uses the open-source OData specification protocol. OData enables creating interoperable REST APIs in a simple way. An easy drag-and-drop GUI, optimized for speed and convenience, further eases app development.
Going forward, enhancements in Salesforce will be on the Lightning platform. The Classic platform will not have any new developments or breakthrough feature addition. Only Lightning users will have access to new releases. Salesforce users who do not migrate to Lightning will end up incurring additional costs for these updates and new services.
How to Migrate from Classic to Lightning
The transition from the Classic UI to Lightning is straightforward. However, the complexity of the exercise is directly proportional to the complexity of the org.
Here are the critical steps for migration from Salesforce Classic to Lightning, and the best practices at each stage. It is also important to remove misconceptions that have evolved over the last year, surrounding the migration.
Step 1: Assess Needs
Assess the need for migrating upfront. Evaluate if the incumbent Salesforce Classic meets the needs of the enterprise. Seek answers to the following questions:
- Do sales and marketing employees complain of complex workflow and processes?
- Is sales and marketing at satisfactory levels, compared to industry benchmarks and metrics? Measure processes and benchmark them against established best practices.
- Is there a need to improve productivity?
- Do sales and marketing employees complain about issues or are there common pain points in their workflow?
- Do customers complain frequently, or leave negative feedback?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, migrating to Lightning is an easy decision.
Even if the answer to all the above questions is “no,” and Classic suffices for the present requirements, it may still make sense to migrate. Salesforce Classic may get basic things done, as of now. But it is not future-proof and does not cater to the ever-evolving needs of the enterprise. The latest tech advancements and industry standards may not support Salesforce Classic. Most enterprises will soon find the enhanced tools and functionality offered by Lightning as basic needs.
Salesforce Lightning simplifies workflows and processes. Workflows grow organically in most enterprises. But, such organically grown workflows soon become complex and unwieldly. Salesforce Classic is often incapable of simplifying such workflows and the forced delays translate to poor customer satisfaction.
Step 2: Perform a Gap Analysis
Having identified the need to migrate, drill down to the specifics. Identify the features of Classic still used or needed by the enterprise. Next, identify Lightning features that will improve the processes and systems.
Undertake a cost-effectiveness exercise. See if implementing the additional features available in Lightning is worth it, financially. Migration from Classic to Lightning need not mean a full-blown adoption of all the Lightning features. If the returns expected from any additional feature are less than the roll out cost, think twice before going for the upgrade. But do not focus only on immediate returns. In most cases, the extra investment will be worth it in the long run and make the enterprise future-proof.
One handy tool to aid the gap analysis is the Lightning Experience Readiness Check. The Lightning Experience Readiness Check is a Salesforce Report that evaluates the org on how it uses Salesforce Classic. This report explains the challenges to overcome and the pain points to resolve before subscribing to Lightning. The report also recommends the fix for each issue.
The report offers a complete list of:
- Potential code issues, including a deep analysis of direct and indirect code dependencies. Customized code mapping pinpoint areas of code that need adjustment.
- Visibility into high-risk components, or components most at risk during the migration.
- Features currently in use in the Classic version, but discontinued in Lightning. Users will no longer have access to such features post-migration.
- Features that need integration before executing the migration.
The readiness check report comes with straightforward labels, such as “The Good Stuff”, “Needs Some Attention”, and “Which Users Are Ready.” Such neat categorization makes taking action easy and interesting. Repeat the readiness check after fixing issues mentioned in the report, in a loop, until all issues are resolved.
The team executing the migration may focus on these areas to smooth the process. Successful migration depends on arranging alternatives for features not supported in Lightning.
Running the Lightning Experience Readiness Check is easy for any Salesforce user. Access the setup page after login. Go to the search bar. Click on Lightning Experience >>> Evaluate if Lightning Experience is Right for You >>> Check Your Lightning Experience Readiness >>> Evaluate.
Step 3: Perform the Migration
The actual migration is a straightforward task. The Lightning Migration Assistant guides the user through the process of installing Lightning components. The Lightning Experience Transition Change Management Hub provides step-by-step instructions and best practices to manage the transition of the org.
Have a data management and migration plan to complement the migration. When migrating from Salesforce Classic to Lightning, the user does not have to recreate customizations or import data. But, ensure data integrity in the new set-up.
Use the readiness report to identify groups ready to migrate, and start with these groups. Such a segmented approach speeds up the migration process. It also places lesser demand on resources. The admins support a smaller set of technical requirements and users on each shift.
Upgrade user permissions and security set ups, to sync with the new possibilities offered by Lightning. Salesforce Lightning offers significant security enhancements. For instance, LockerService prevents Lightning components from communication with each other. This reduces the chance of attacks. Likewise, Lightning manages user permissions differently from Classic. Lightning allows separate higher authority access with unique sign-in.
Here are the other best practices when performing migration from Classic to Lightning.
- Institute an adoption team to spearhead the Salesforce Lightning Experience rollout. Assign them ownership of the rollout. Make them responsible for testing the new implementation, for each user group.
- Have a Rollout strategy. The migration from Classic to Lightning can be in one go or in steps. It is easy to roll out a small, simple org to a new interface in one go. The snags of a small org will probably be few and manageable. But it is better to roll out large and complex orgs gradually. Keeping the snags to manageable limits ensures the integrity of the process. Success depends on a clear roadmap, with fixed timelines and schedules. Have a go-live date for each group. But be flexible on the calendar, depending on the difficulties encountered.
Step 4: Test
Test the installed Lightning features.
Opt for guided user acceptance testing. The Lightning Migration Assistant allows test runs, offering previews of how the org will look and operate in Lightning. Use the test run to try out apps and features, and experiment with customizations. Study the impact of each change, and make the necessary tweaks, before turning Lightning on for all users. The test run allows experimentation. Especially try out features not covered by the Lightning Experience Readiness Check.
To use the Migration Assistant, go to set up in Salesforce Classic. Locate the “Lightning Experience Transition Assistant” tile at the top of the menu. Click on “Get started.” For the test run, open the Salesforce interface. Click on the username in the top-right header. Switch to Lightning Experience from the drop-down menu. Clicking on the avatar and selecting “Switch to Salesforce Classic” returns the user to Classic.
Step 5: Perform Post Migration Integrity Checks
Evaluate the integrity of the org post-migration.
Regardless of the rollout approach, continue to assign specific users or groups on Lightning and refine the UI based on their feedback. Repeat the test for different user groups. Identify common pain points by comparing feedback from different user groups.
A handy tool at this stage is the Salesforce Optimizer report. This is a Lightning Experience app that runs in both production and sandbox environments. The Optimizer identifies areas to improve, simplify, or eradicate, post-migration. It studies the user’s usage pattern before the migration, to unearth unused custom profiles and workflow rules. It also evaluates if the AppExchange apps in use are Lightning-ready. If these apps are not Lightning ready, it is important to upgrade to alternative apps, to make the transition a success.
Running Salesforce Optimizer is easy. Go to set up in Lightning. Use the quick find box to search for “Optimizer”. Enter it. Once inside Optimizer, click on “Allow Access,” to allow Optimizer to analyze the org. Next, click “Open Optimizer,” to launch the app in the org. Admins may now access optimizer like any other app in the org, from the main App Launcher. Finally, access it from the App Launcher, and click on “Run Optimizer.”
Ensuring the integrity of Salesforce Lightning roll out is a continuous process. Business requirements change. Salesforce itself changes and adds new features regularly. Migration from Classic to Lightning is the first significant step towards aligning the CRM with the requirements of a highly changing business environment.
Manage Resistance to Change
Most enterprises face some level of user resistance and panic when they announce migration from Salesforce Classic to Lightning. The change in UI and other features will invariably meet resistance.
- Plan strategies to manage such resistance to change. Migration from Classic to Lightning does not need users to start from scratch. But rushing in unprepared can mess up the UX, reinforcing fears and increasing user resistance.
- Arrange for resources up-front. Do not start the exercise without getting top management support. Make sure all resources, including resource persons and budget, are in place, before starting the exercise.
- Sell the change to all stakeholders, including the C-suite, top management, and front line workers who work on the system. Drive home how Lightning will benefit each user. Tailor the benefits to the audience. For instance, convince the C-suite of the ROI. Sell benefits such as improved productivity and greater conversion to the top management. Impress the front line workers with the ease of doing things, and new powerful features that make their work easy.
- Identify influencers who can sell the change and have them assist in ironing out glitches. Pull together a power team of Lightning users. Publish their experience and positive results during the test period.
- Prioritize the roll out of new Lightning features that provide immediate benefits to users. Immediate results will improve user acceptance and cement buy-in. Gather data and metrics as evidence of such benefits, to entrench support.
- Train users on the new Lightning tools and interface to reduce the uncertainty and the learning curve. Offer support until the entire team becomes familiar with the new UI, and a new comfort zone emerges.
- Place the onus on the adoption team to highlight chokepoints that need extra attention. Communicate to users on how to tackle these chokepoints, making sure there are no surprises when transitioning users to the new interface.
- Develop a set of KPIs to measure success post-transition. The KPIs could be general sales efficacy metrics such as cost per lead, conversion rate, marketing spend per customer, and so on. Tracking and publishing such pre and post-migration KPI metrics provide quantifiable proof. The 2017 Lightning Adoption Survey reveal Lightning increase user productivity by 41%. Conversion rates increase by 41%. Time to close improve by 23%, and win rate increase by 21%. There is also a 40% improvement in collaboration.
- Have detailed documentation of the process. Documentation offers easy referral for any troubleshooting. It also becomes part of the knowledge corpus of the enterprise.
Migration from Salesforce Classic to Lightning does not have to be a hassle. The right approach makes this transition a smooth and seamless experience. Planning for the shift minimizes the friction and reduces the learning curve. Follow these steps and take the help of a trusted partner to ease the process.