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Migrating to Salesforce Lightning: the thoughtful approach

Thinking of migrating to Lightning? It doesn’t have to be a headache. Why a thoughtful approach to Lightning Experience migration is the way to go. 

Sept. 18, 2018 | By Chris Bellamy

A man and a woman reviewing something on the computer

Here’s the promise: improved productivity, adoption and collaboration. A 21 percent increase in win rate, 40 percent increase in collaboration and 31 percent decrease in pipeline management time.1 Does it sound too good to be true?

Salesforce launched its game-changing Lightning Experience in 2015. Although there’s no immediate mandate that enterprises leave Classic for Lightning, users, IT groups and corporate users are itching to make the leap for a multitude of reasons, including:

  • Lightning fast page loads. Today’s dynamic websites feel more interactive. Lightning loads web pages on a modular level; in essence, users have a faster and friendlier experience. In contrast, loading an opportunity in Classic Salesforce for maybe 30 to 45 seconds can feel like waiting for dial-up internet.
  • New features. Salesforce is investing in greater application functionality via Lightning Experience, making it a more user-, mobile- and app-friendly development platform. These new features aren’t being added to Classic.
  • Users are demanding it. With a prettier and smarter interface, the enhancements your users are asking for in your current setup are often available off the shelf in Lightning with little to no customization. Enhancements to Chatter and navigation make it easier to share and find information. Integrated email and record pages make it easier to find data and take action faster.

Even with users chomping at the bit, enterprises are hesitant to make the leap. Consider the possible ramifications:

  • Furthering your technical debt? A probability.
  • Shutting everything down and stopping all other enhancements? Not an option.
  • Potentially ruining the adoption and momentum your users have built with Classic (and ticking everyone off)? Way too risky.

Warning: a mechanical migration may cause heartburn

Salesforce provides Lightning readiness reports, which detail potential issues for switching to the Lightning Experience. The reality is, you could just turn on the switch, but you run the risk of things looking strange—or breaking. Especially for highly customized functionality, some things will look and feel new, some won’t—greatly affecting the overall user experience. Cue the heartburn.

In fact, a study found that companies that took a mechanical approach to the migration actually experienced a 20 percent decrease in usage postmigration.2

Bottom line: Salesforce is only successful if people use it. User friendliness is foundational. If things look and work wonkily, people will stop using it—killing adoption in its tracks.

How to migrate to Lightning, thoughtfully

Delaying the migration? Are you:

A. Looking to mitigate the adoption risks?
B. Avoiding disruption to your current cadence?
C. Worried about your irritated users aiming pitchforks?
D. All the above

If you relate to any of the above, there is another, more thoughtful approach to a Lightning migration. Treat it like the important, business-critical endeavor it is with a fully thought-out approach. Consider our framework for Lightning migration success:

  1. Envisioning – Learn all you can about Lightning, align stakeholder needs and prepare
  2. Discovery – Review business processes, optimize existing Salesforce and identify personas
  3. Inception – Finalize team, prepare tech environment and kick off project
  4. Construction – Work through sprints and backlog, maintain close alignment with technology and business stakeholders and develop change management strategy
  5. Transition – Finalize UAT, execute change management strategy and transition system to internal IT stakeholders
  6. Operation – Promote user adoption, expand pilot to other groups, reinforce training with coaching and identify user stories for backlog
  7. Optimize – Measure against goals and refine rollout strategy
  8. Rollout – Prepare production and training organizations

The mechanical approach doesn’t even touch the first three steps. These are critical. Self-education as a business owner—truly understanding what you’re changing to and how it aligns to your business—is vital to preparing your vision and your project team. Knowing how you’ll address users’ needs and questions before they come will help reduce user irritation (and those pesky pitchforks).

Learning a new thing is hard—it takes time. But try to get ahead of it. By addressing these known questions and challenges upfront, you’ll save operational and internal PR headaches on the back end.

Ultimately, it pays to be thoughtful

Beyond positive user satisfaction and sustained or increased adoption, the switch will impact your bottom line. A 2018 Forrester Study shows that enterprises can expect a 341 percent ROI over three years from making the switch to Lightning.2 Further, a thoughtful approach will help you reduce technical and process debt, enable your users to take advantage of new features and better align to your business goals. Improved productivity, adoption and collaboration—delivered.

Heading to Dreamforce 2018? Meet our team to talk more about Lightning and other Salesforce migration/integration initiatives.

Chris Bellamy serves as a solution architect within TEKsystems’ Salesforce practice. He's worked in a variety of roles within the IT consulting industry over the last 20+ years (developer, technical architect, and solution architect) and has worked with the Salesforce suite of products since 2009. Chris holds bachelor's degrees in chemistry and computer science, and lives in Richmond, VA.

1 2017 Salesforce Lightning Adoption Survey.
2 Forrester Consulting. The Total Economic Impact™ Of Salesforce Lightning: Cost Savings and Business Benefits Enabled by Lightning Experience and the Lightning Platform, June 2018. A Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study Commissioned by Salesforce.

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