I remember my first Lightning implementation almost 3 years ago. I can easily state that my initial reviews of the product were “less than stellar.” Sure, the UI looked better, but the navigation to setup was different and somewhat clumsy. In addition, Lightning’s features and functionality were not as robust as Salesforce Classic.

Fast forward to today and I’m head over heels in love with Lightning. Salesforce has invested heavily in Lightning over the last few years and its functionality now far surpasses Classic’s capabilities. For quite some time now, I’ve been encouraging my clients to implement Lightning to take advantage of the platform’s robust features and functionality.

My clients often ask me if Salesforce will ever decommission Classic. I respond by stating that although I’m not sure when it will happen, it will happen eventually. While a hard date has not been released, Salesforce recently distributed a critical notification announcing that they would be activating the Lightning experience on a rolling basis for Orgs in Winter ’20. The start date for the rolling activation is October 2019.

The reasons for moving to Lightning should be obvious – it is the future direction for Salesforce’s products. Salesforce has been constantly improving Lightning since its inception and it is the target platform for an ever-increasing number of new features and functionality. Companies that choose to remain on Classic won’t be able to take advantage of Lightning’s robust features, an overall better user experience, and Lightning’s enhanced security.

I’ve been using Lightning for some time now. Here are a few quick examples of the platform’s benefits:

  • Security – From allowing users to sign in with an email or phone number to Lightening Locker that better protects your Salesforce components, the platform provides a host of new security features.
  • Analytics – Lightning also provides stronger reporting and dashboard capabilities than Classic. Users are able to use Lightning dashboards’ drill capabilities to view underlying data for specific segments. In addition, they can edit widgets from the dashboard and access advanced features like export and report formula builder.
  • User Interface – Lightning improves the user experience by providing a more modern and intuitive interface. The UI offers customizable user home pages, configurable activity feeds, dynamic dashboards, infographics capabilities, stronger help features, and a generally sleeker look and feel. Lightning’s robust suite of UI features and options provides administrators with a greater level of flexibility and improves end-user productivity.
  • Simplifies development – Lightning’s component-based framework and drag and drop functionality allow administrators to easily build applications and customize the user experience with less code.

I’d like to provide you with my recommendations on the key areas that you should evaluate when moving from Classic to Lightning:

  • Installed Packages – Test your Installed third-party packages to verify that they will continue to work in the Lightning platform. Check the AppExchange site to determine if the installed packages are certified as “Lightning Ready”.
  • VisualForce Pages – Test your VisualForce pages to determine if they will work as expected in Lightning. As a quick example, hard-coded URLs are not permitted in Lightning. You should also evaluate the amount of work it will take to re-style your VisualForce pages to make sure they provide a consistent, cohesive look in Lightning.
  • JavaScript Buttons – Because of the potential security issues, JavaScript buttons are not supported in Lightning and must be replaced with Quick Actions, Custom Buttons or Apex code.
  • Custom Code – While there should not be any major issues when changing from Classic to Lightning, you must evaluate all custom code to ensure it interacts correctly with Lightning components.
  • Documentation – Update all user guides and other training materials.

Here are a couple of hints and tips to help you create your Classic to Lightning migration plan:

  • Evaluate the key areas above to calculate the overall level of effort to perform the migration.
  • Run the Lightning Readiness Check on your Org!  Follow the utility’s recommendations closely.
  • Perform a gap analysis. This used to be a significant effort but now that Lightning is closing the feature/functionality gap with Classic, you should find that your list of action items will be smaller than you anticipated.
  • Create a thorough and detailed test plan that contains a description of the test, the activity the team will execute to perform the evaluation, desired results, pass/fail indicator, and a field to document the test results.
  • Like all good test plans, the overall goal is to identify and address issues as early as possible in the testing lifecycle.
  • Turn on Lightning in a sandbox and perform thorough regression testing.
  • Create a pilot group of knowledgeable super users to evaluate Lightning before you roll it out to your entire customer base.
  • Train your users on Lightning before you perform the rollout.

I hope you enjoyed my article on Lightning!

We have performed several Classic to Lightning migrations for our clients. If you would like my team to provide you with expert assistance or assume total ownership of your Lightning migration, please contact me. We would be glad to help!

Christen Sisler
Senior Director, Salesforce Practice Lead