Supercharge Your Salesforce Lightning Migration

March 29, 2019 Mark Adcock

What is Salesforce Lightning Experience? 

Salesforce has two main user experiences for the desktop and mobile. The one most people are familiar with is Classic. This is the standard interface that many Salesforce orgs started with and is the usual configuration of tabs across the top and record detail information of the main screen.  Lightning Experience is the newer interface, but it goes beyond just a fresh look and feel, it brings a host of platform and functionality improvements not available in Classic.

What can Salesforce Lightning do? 

On the surface, Lightning experience might just look like Classic with a new theme, but beneath the hood, there’s a lot more power that can be unleashed. There are some very unique features available only to Lightning users and that list keeps getting longer.

A lightning bolt in neon white lighting against an illuminated cityscape capturing the power of Salesforce Lightning

Upgraded features include:

  • A Kanban view for managing business processes visually
  • Enhanced calendar view for seeing event and other records displayed as dates on an integrated calendar Salesforce
  • An activity component that brings day-to-day actions to the forefront and makes them easier to manage
  • Improved reports and dashboards that let you visualize and drill into data in new ways

There are many more that are there ready for users to take advantage of, however, there’s a lot of potential just waiting to be tapped under the hood that will really help you maximize your Lightning adoption. Underneath the surface, Lightning Experience isn’t just a new skin, it’s an entire platform of features and capabilities that give both developers and admins an incredible toolset for building rich applications.

Lay the foundation for an awesome experience

Lightning Experience keeps getting better, bigger, and more powerful. And yes, it’s got more features compared to the Classic.  

These enhanced capabilities have changed the Higher Ed conversation from “should I move to Lightning?” to “when can I move to Lightning?” While most organizations are aware of the benefits of upgrading, making the move to Lightning Experience from Classic isn’t easy. 

"Salesforce provides a Lightning migration tool that enables you to run a Lightning readiness report, which includes information about the system level adjustments you’ll need to make to get Lightning up and running in your org. But if you really want to supercharge your lightning experience for user productivity and adoption, you have work to do before you get to that point.

Before you start turning on features and enabling functions, now is a great time to step back and look at your move to Lightning as if it were a move to a whole new system. You don’t have the data migration pieces as you might with a new system, your data model is still the same, many of your items are there, and you have the same users and the same business processes, so what’s the point? The point is: 

One of the biggest stumbling blocks of any technology implementation isn’t technical - it’s people.

So, before migration, ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time your org documented your processes?
  • Do you have a clear picture of the people in your org and what they do?
  • How will users learn about and adopt Lightning?

We spend the rest of this post exploring these issues and why they matter when you want to migrate to Lightning.

Business processes as the foundation

First, let’s take a look at business processes, which are the sequence of tasks your users (within your Salesforce environment as well as outside of the system) carry out to perform necessary business functions. These processes are often documented poorly and change frequently, but they can have a big impact on your migration.

For example, you might have a business process that introduced a lot of inefficiencies, but it’s the way this task has always been done. Spending some time to get stakeholders to document that process can help you discover if new features of lightning (like kanban views, calendars, new components, the list goes on and on) could help improve that process. More efficient processes lead to more productive users and happier working environments with better adoption.

Taking some time to map out business processes and maintain them can be a huge boost for understanding what’s going on in your org, but also what goes into getting stuff into and out of your org. Knowing the data people are entering as well as the questions they’re trying to answer can help you make better designed Salesforce apps and produce better reports and dashboards with the overhauled Lightning Report Builder and Dashboards functionality.  

If you aren’t using a tool for business process diagrams already, you might give LucidChart or a try. Both have free versions to get you started and options for growth beyond that.

Stakeholder personas

Next up on our supercharging spree, stakeholders. Now’s the perfect time to make a list of your stakeholders, the users in the system, what they do, what their interests are, what kinds of questions they’re trying to answer. In short, what you want is some user personas.

For our projects, we love personas. They help us to figure out all of the actors in the implementation and how we can satisfy their needs. A persona isn’t the same as a profile or a specific user, but an abstract description of a group of users. For example, you might have Finance Users, Advancement/Development Users, Volunteers. The list could keep going. Keep in mind that multiple personas might apply to any given user, for example, who might be in the Research profile but also in the Scholarship reviewers group.  

The things that are important to recognize about each group is that you identify the following pieces of information: 

  • Who they are.
  • What they need to do in the system.
  • What motivates them.
  • What questions they’re trying to answer.  

Building out the personas will really help you with the migration for activities like building apps, defining/updating reports, and even configuring page layouts for more effective usage.

Putting key information for a user at the top is a quick win and a surefire way to help adoption.  Learn more about personas and their usage with this Salesforce Trailhead module: UX Personas for Salesforce

Change enablement and training

All too often, us technical people think about system changes at the last minute, when it’s time to put things in the user’s hands. If you want to be successful in your lightning migration, however, you’ll start thinking about this much earlier in the project with a focus on both change enablement and training.  

Getting people excited, involved, and asking questions is all part of change management. It is a great way to showcase what you’re doing for organizational performance. It also helps to smooth the transition by building a baseline understanding of what will happen. Doing these two things can help you with your change management:

  • If you have a larger org, find some change champions: people who will be your early testers, give you feedback in the beginning, and who might be the first people you switch over while you’re still figuring everything out. Change champions can also help get others excited about the switch and even help with training.
  • Devise a plan for how to get people excited about Lightning Experience. While you’re building things, maybe pick a feature each week and email a Lightning Experience Highlight message showcasing that feature.

Get a jumpstart on your change enablement plan by visiting the Salesforce Change Management Hub and take advantage of some pre-built templates.

You also need to  think about your organization’s training needs:

  • If you have a Learning Management System (LMS) you can use, think about storing materials there, so they’re easily accessible.
  • Enlist stakeholders, change champions, and trainers (if your organization has them) to help make documentation.
  • Follow the path through your business process diagrams in the system you’ve built, taking screenshots or video to record those steps. Combine the recordings with the documentation to train people on how to perform those activities in the new system.

Any training material you create can be stored in your LMS, a site wiki, or a shared network drive. Products that provide in-context knowledge, like WalkMe or Spekit, can help you maximize adoption and retention.

Bringing it all together

Carrying out these three areas of pre-work can help you set yourself up for success, long before you click that “Switch to Lightning” button. Lining up your business processes, your stakeholder personas, and your plans for adoption and training are the first steps to a supercharged Lightning experience.  

In the next part of this series, we’ll explore how to take this foundation and use it to build Lightning functionality your users will love.

Want more information? Reach to a Lightning Migration expert

About the Author

Mark Adcock

Mark, a senior consultant at Appirio, has a background in Information Technology with over a decade of experience in Higher Education and Nonprofit technology. He is passionate about helping nonprofits and education organizations maximize their impact by accelerating their digital transformation, improving their business processes, and integrating their systems with Salesforce. Joining the Salesforce Lightning Champions program in 2019, Mark, a Salesforce MVP and Lightning Champion, takes pride in sharing his experience and knowledge of Salesforce Lightning with the broader community.

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