Ask the Experts: A Look at the Salesforce Summer ’16 Release

June 6, 2016 Jiordan Castle

summer '16 release

Another season, another Salesforce release! I checked in with 3 of our Salesforce experts to find out some of the more thrilling changes in the Salesforce Summer 16’ Release, see where users stand with Lightning Experience (LEX), and what we still have to look forward to next season.

AGAndres Gluecksmann is a Sr. Director in Appirio’s Salesforce practice and a Salesforce MVP. As such, he spends most of his day thinking about Salesforce challenges and solutions. Andres started with Salesforce as an admin (65 users, Enterprise Edition) in 2004 and has spent the last 10 years in consulting.

NDNathalie Le Guay is a Senior Consultant at Appirio. She has been working on customizing companies’ Salesforce org for the past 6 years, half of which have been spent with Appirio. Nathalie loves getting to see customers realize how much their processes have been improved by the implementation done by Appirio’s teams.

MMMike Martin is a Client Partner at Appirio and a Salesforce MVP. Mike has been with Appirio for over 5 years, and has been working in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2008. He spends much of his time with customers, helping them realize their investment in Salesforce.

What are you most excited about in the Summer ‘16 release?

AG: Sandbox refresh to another Sandbox? That’s amazing! We can, for example, do fixes in a QA (or directly) and then clone “back” to a dev org to continue dev (with the push of a button). Or, take your QA org and clone it out to a UAT org to run UAT. Lots of new options that make release management easier.

Contacts to many accounts! Getting closer to being able to reflect reality without the awkward usage of the old contact role related list. LEX getting way closer now to parity with classic: account teams, opportunity teams, modify page layouts (including home page)… List views in LEX are now even better than Classic. Feels like a turning point for LEX for me, and has me more interested in flipping my UI internally to LEX, whereas before I was still in wait-and-see mode. Other useful stuff like autofill account names; email now handled like an object, and type-ahead for email sending too… App feeling more robust around usability like that.

MM: Contacts with multiple accounts; had to build this for a number of customers. Now, out-of-the-box! Also, the ability to execute Process Builder actions on multiple criteria.

NLG: The ability to add Lightning Components in record page details using the App Builder as well as in the sidebar. And the much-needed home page is huge! This will not only allow for a much more customized experience with more functionality, but also an improved navigation experience. With the home page being customizable with Components, we are now bypassing the capabilities of the classic home page — a trend I think we will see throughout the LEX UI in the next few releases.

Emails also made a jump forward with a much-improved email experience — from the intuitive UI mimicking actual emails in Gmail with type-ahead capabilities to the ability to relate an email to multiple records (think contacts and cases).

Lightning Experience was released last summer. After almost a year, what do you think of it now?

AG: My impression currently is that LEX is getting more and more amazing with every release. Though LEX is probably still not viable for most customers, I think there will be a tipping point around summer ‘16. Stuff like account teams and sales teams are now available, along with the ability to easily modify layouts. This is huge and gets LEX closer to parity (the magical word here) with classic. My hunch is that by summer ‘17, LEX will supersede classic and most orgs will be on LEX as the main UI.

MM: I am very excited for the potential of LEX. The product team has doubled down, and are releasing loads of new functionality with each release. In Summer ‘16 specifically, I’m excited about custom home pages, enhanced opportunity product selection, and account logos (beta). As Andres mentioned, this moves us toward the end goal of LEX’s ability to overtake classic from a functionality perspective, but doesn’t go all the way. I agree that we’re looking at summer ‘17 before most enterprises will be able to start the full migration. I do love that many orgs can just turn LEX on for a subset of users, and users can then opt in. I’ve done this, and am starting to get more familiar with it.

NLG: Even though LEX was production-ready last year, there were a number of limitations that were just too great for a relatively mature Salesforce org to enable LEX. I would have recommended LEX for new customers unaware of features they are missing out on, or to barely customized Salesforce orgs with users who are not taking full advantage of all the features Salesforce provides.

With the newer releases, many objects have been supported, many of the features we enjoy in classic are available, navigation is much improved both in the UI and in the API, and users also get access to new features that are exclusive to LEX.

What’s missing from this release that you’d like to see in the next one?

AG: Change Sets UX is a total drag. If the UI were better we might actually use Change Sets (and clients might appreciate it). Finding components in an org of even moderate complexity is a pain; there is no type-ahead search, for instance, like we see coming into the fold more and more with LEX. You can pick multiple components on a page, but if you need to add more by going to the next page, you lose your selection. It’s just hard. Opportunity Product Line Item Schedule UI is ancient and also needs updating.

MM: For me, this really comes down to enhancements to LEX. I’m very excited about where Salesforce is taking the new UI, and how it will continue to improve efficiency and Worker Experience for customers. They are approaching it in the right way, rebuilding the experience from the ground up — componentized and API first — but it will be really exciting when the feature sets match existing functionality.

NLG: Support for the rest of the out-of-the-box objects (Order, for example). Better ways to multitask, as many end users might, but especially for admins’ needs — in order to remain productive. I heard about a LEX button supporting JavaScript, and cannot wait to get more details on when this will be delivered. Creating URL buttons with deep linking should also be back soon, which will be most welcomed!
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