Ask the Salesforce Experts: 5 Questions About the Employee Community Lightning Bolt

February 15, 2018 Nicole Klemp

The average worker spends nearly 20 percent of their time searching for internal information or finding colleagues to help them with specific tasks, according to research by the McKinsey Institute. When workers are forced to rely on information that is spread across multiple outdated legacy systems — and lack the ability to collaborate with their teams in real time — they will have a clunkier digital experience and be less productive … and more frustrated.

Appirio’s Employee Community Lightning Bolt (built on the Salesforce platform and available on the AppExchange) is now here to shine a consumer-grade light on those poor Worker Experiences. But what is it, and why does every Salesforce-powered organization need it? To find out, I sat down with our Lightning Bolt experts to get the scoop.

Meet our experts:

Yoni Barkan is Appirio’s Director of Global Solutions and Innovation, and explores new ways to leverage cloud solutions to drive both the worker and customer experience. In his prior role as a Solution Architect, he focused on the nonprofit industry and worked with some of Appirio’s largest clients. Yoni’s work has been focused within the CRM space since 2003, including work on projects ranging from education, to manufacturing, to government. Yoni now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (the land of strollers and dogs), with his two children, lovely wife, and cuddly little 85-pound pitbull. He was born, raised, and educated in California. (Go Bears!)



Roarke Lynch is Technical Lead for Appirio’s Solutions and Innovation Center. He is 5x Salesforce certified, and has been developing and integrating on the Salesforce platform for eight years. Roarke is from the Washington D.C. area, and now lives with his wife in Austin, TX. In his spare time, you’ll find him bouldering, fostering kittens, or geeking out over some random math, science, or economics article.





Braden Larmon is the Director of Global Alliances at Appirio. Over his 10 years at Appirio, he’s worked with retailers like Staples, Four Seasons, Best Buy, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as they’ve matured, recovered, and evolved. He’s a sometimes-Ironman and a Mass-hole by transplant. A staunch New Englander, he loves everything from a good DnD regular, seafood of all varieties, and all Boston sports.



1. First of all, what is a Lightning Bolt?


YB: The simple answer is that Lightning Bolts are a mechanism to package and deploy custom Salesforce Community themes, configuration, and code. That being said, the real value of Lightning Bolts — and the Bolt store on the Appexchange — is that they show customers the art of the possible, demonstrating the power of the platform and what we can build for them. We can leverage great digital designs and the latest Salesforce technology to build beautiful community experiences that introduce new ways of working and engaging with customers, partners, and employees.

RL: Lightning Bolts package up cross-cloud, vertically-focused solutions and deliver them quickly into your Salesforce org. Appirio uses Lightning Bolts to accelerate your company’s journey. On day one of your project, you will have a fully-working solution that brings your customers, partners, and employees closer together, so we can start crafting it to your unique business needs. We don’t need to burn cycles developing the standard practices of our industry; the objects, workflows, and experiences you expect are already included in the Lightning Bolt.

2. What makes the Employee Community Lightning Bolt special?

YB: To create a great company culture, organizations need to engage with their workforce in new and impactful ways. And the first thing they need to do is create communities within their company to share and collaborate. The vast majority of organizations have no means to do this, and the rest have a limited approach due to poor technology choices. Our Employee Community was designed to provide a framework that enables that kind of rich collaboration and sharing of ideas.

RL: There are three key things we need to be happy at work — tools, knowledge, and people. This Lightning Bolt shows how we can provide all of that in Community Cloud within an experience that feels first-class and consumer-grade. The best part is, it’s built on the Salesforce platform, which makes integrations into existing systems — like your CMS or federated search — simple. In fact, we’ve included both in this Lightning Bolt.

BL: This community delivers on the promise that so many HCM solutions (built by HR people) and IT solutions (built by technology people) have tried to do, via Sharepoint and other makeshift solutions, but failed. Appirio’s solution provides the layer of engagement the workforce seeks and drives the key principles of “you’ve got to give something to get something”. The Employee bolt is about having the tools and access you need to do your job (rather than getting HR data or a link farm with an IT folder system).

3. Can a solution like this boost productivity?

YB: Yes. Definitely. To be productive, you have to be able to hit the ground running; you have to have what you need to do your job the moment you start, and know who to talk to on day one.   You have to be able to collaborate with your peers, teams, and the larger organization. And you  need access — anytime and anywhere. Our employee community provides the framework and gives you the capability to provide this.

RL: When you bring your teams together and give them easy access to the tools, knowledge, and people all in one location, you’ve eliminated some of the biggest barriers to productivity. Don’t know how to do something? You’ve got an integrated library of content to make self-directed learning simple (and help deflect cases for your support teams). Need more hands-on help? You won’t find an easier way to discover the experts and tools in your organization that can give you what you need.

BL: We live in the gig economy, and the definition of an employee is much broader than it once was. Organizations need to provide real-time access to people where they are, to do what they need to, in order to contribute to your top-line growth. Think of this as the engagement layer that enhances your interpersonal connection.

4. How does it create a more “consumer-grade” experience?

YB: Consumer-grade experiences are about giving your workers the types of technology that you would expect from any application you buy on an app store; what you would expect from Apple, Google, etc. Salesforce provides the platform to do that, but you need more than just that — you need the capabilities built out, you need the UX, the UI — the overall digital experience. And you get that with this Lightning Bolt.

RL: For this Lightning Bolt, we engaged our amazing Digital Studio here at Appirio, and brought to life their vision for a first-class user experience. The entire community is powered by the Lightning Framework from Salesforce, which means it’s built on some of the most powerful technologies that drive the web today. It also means that we’re able to spend more time refining our experience, and less time fighting with old technologies.

BL: You now have an ‘Appstore’ experience, without having to download an app and get the critical information you need to be a productive and agile worker.

5. If my business is interested in something like this, what do I need to do?

YB: There is a lot of great information on our listing on the AppExchange, including a couple of great videos that can introduce you to the idea of Lightning Bolts and the Employee Community. After that, we can walk you through an informative demo of the community. Our demo includes some great additions from our partners at Stantive, Coveo, and Cornerstone for Salesforce, that really highlight the power of the ecosystem.

RL: Just reach out to us!

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