Upgrading to Lightning: Is it a Cost or an Investment? Part 2

Welcome back for part 2 of ongoing our blog series about Salesforce Lighting. In part one, we looked at some general positive mental models on how to approach the migration from SFDC Classic to the new Lightning framework were discussed. In part 2, we will look more closely at details and some more specifics that will hopefully help justify the migration effort. Lets dive in!


The Reality:

The stick – if you are an SFDC customer and are committed to remaining on the platform for the long term, you really don’t have a choice – you will eventually have to migrate your Org to Lightning. The carrot – SFDC is delivering a broad spectrum of platform enhancements and benefits to make this effort worthwhile and improve your SFDC org, so why not do it sooner than later?! No matter what Cloud you are using, there is something valuable for you in Lightning.


The Basics:

In Part 1 of the blog I identified that the concept of “Scalable Responsive UI” as a core principle in why migrating to Lighting is a worthwhile if not vital endeavor. Immediately upon switching a classic SFDC org to a Lightning; the User is presented with a fresher, cleaner, and more modern look and feel. The color pallets, page structures, icons and general navigation just feel “modern”. Do not underestimate the impact that the overall visual experience has on a User upon login – it is a cognitive as well as an emotional moment. Think of your own experiences on the internet and how you respond to well-designed websites versus poor ones. Remember that Amazon is setting the bar and the word “classic” is great for a cool old car: not so much for technological interfaces. It cannot be over emphasized the extent to which the User experiences that your technical platforms deliver to your employees, partners, and customers directly and explicitly impact their perception of your organization.


Device Pluralism:

SFDC classic was designed (and very well at that) from the bottom up to address the emergence of the internet browser as the new primary interface of technical consumption. It met this goal very successfully for the first decade or so of the 2000s. However, the evolution of network speeds, application frameworks, and hardware devices has substantially shifted the needs of the technical modes of consumption. People engage with technology very differently. Where once traditional monitors were the fronts for browser wars that vied for desktop/laptop dominance (for my younger readers, go Google “Netscape Navigator” for a lesson on how precarious technical dominance really can be); smart phones and tablets now rule the hardware space and the weapon of choice is the App. Nimble, incremental, device appropriate, and fit for purpose development of technical frameworks is the new standard. At its essence, App development is about delivering device specific responsive UI frameworks. Log into your favorite airlines website and then login to their mobile app for what is typically a vivid example of how the same use case must behave in very different modes to deliver the same results. Just as the SFDC classic framework was built from the ground up for the internet browser experience; the Lightning framework was architected on the premise of an extensible framework that can be configured, developed and delivered effectively to Users on all devices.


The Lighting Platform and Mobile App Framework:

One of the liabilities of the older legacy technical platforms was that the majority of the TCO regarding that framework was devoted to infrastructure management and non-distributable system customizations. Once the operations overhead was thrown into the mix, there was little left over for use case specific App development which was very unfortunate. User specific App concepts are often time the most valuable aspect of a given implementation and provide not only the “Pop” of experience for the User but also construct the functional differentiators of the enterprise for that Customer Journey. The Lightning App centric framework is designed to invert that TCO relationship and reduce the infrastructure overhead, allow the operations teams to focus up stream on User experiences, and deliver responsive App based User specific functionality. This concept aligns well with the current industry architectural guidance around leveraging managed applications for the platform pillars (CRM, ERP, etc.) and focusing configuration and custom development efforts on capabilities that differentiate the enterprise. The Lighting framework platform provides the ability to leverage a spectrum of advanced concepts in concert across a single platform. The following list is a sample of the capabilities available in Lightning – some of these are enhanced versions of the SFDC Classic framework and others are net new.

  • No-Code Builders: Apps, Experiences, Process Orchestration (Quick Actions, Macros), Schema Builders, Paths and Guidance, Customizable Page Templates, Communities Extensions, Declarative Automation, Enhanced Reporting and Dashboards, Advanced Analytics and Einstein Prediction Builder…
  • Pro-Code Tools: Heroku, Salesforce DX, APIs, SDKs, Lighting Components, Custom CSS and Skin Design…
  • Enterprise Services: Shield, Einstein AI, System Integrations, Data Masters, IoT, Flow, MuleSoft…
  • Expanded Ecosystem: an ever growing AppExchange ecosystem providing point, vertical, mobile, plugin, connectors and other packaged solutions to extend the platform based upon these new possibilities…


The general theme is that a lot of what used to require code can now be done with clicks and what can be done with code is easier than before…and completely net new functions to boot!



About Cameron 

Cameron Gilbertson has spent the past eight plus years formally implementing Salesforce.com solutions as an SI Consultant at Statera. Prior to that career shift, he had the opportunity to learn the craft of high end custom websites and ecommerce solution development leveraging content management systems and ecommerce platforms with his good friends at BlueBolt, LLC based out of Chicago who are still producing world class custom marketing and ecommerce websites today.