I Just Deployed Lightning Experience. Here’s What I Learned.

I Just Deployed Lightning Experience. Here's What I Learned.Just a few weeks ago, I deployed a new Salesforce org, 100% on Lightning Experience. It proved to be a great learning experience as a Consultant. If you’re looking to deploy Lightning Experience, this post should be helpful in your planning and preparations!

It’s important to note that this is a brand new Salesforce customer who has only seen Lightning Experience in all of their interactions with Salesforce. From the very beginning, we discussed the difference between Lightning Experience and Classic, and decided that if we could stay in Lightning Experience based on the requirements we would (and we did).

Here are the things I learned while deploying Salesforce, in Lightning, for this Client.

Sweat the Small Stuff

This point will be especially true for orgs migrating from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience. Salesforce Classic has had years of development and enhancements. Small usability items that we take for granted aren’t readily available in Lightning Experience and your users will notice.

For example, in Salesforce Classic, List Views default to the last viewed list and launching that list is as easy as clicking Go next to the List View. Lightning Experience always defaults to the list view of Recently Viewed and a default cannot be set.

However, there is a “workaround” if you want to call it that. The new horizontal navigation as part of the Winter ’17 release allows a user to click right into one of the three last viewed List Views. This will be a major change for users who leverage list views on a regular basis.

Lightning Experience List Views

These small changes can be found throughout Lightning Experience and for experienced users, can be cause for frustration. Here are a few additional examples that users may find frustratingly absent:

  • Recycle Bin
  • Merging Accounts
  • Mass Emailing Contacts
  • Newly created reports must first be saved before they can be run

There’s Going to be Administrative Overhead

Configuring this clients org was different from deploying or managing a Classic deployment because there are so many moving pieces, and locations for the features and functionality. If, for example, you haven’t configured Compact Layouts for Salesforce1, you’ll want to get up to speed fast!

But from a general Administration standpoint, migrating from Classic to Lightning Experience will require new Salesforce features to be used that you may not have touched yet, and management of these features. Let me explain.

Page layouts in Classic are simple – you create a layout, rearrange fields, and hit save. Lightning Experience adds another layer to this through the Lightning App Builder. The standard page layout still determines things like field placement, whether it’s required or not, and the order of the related lists. But if you want to change the structure of the page components, you’ll manage this through Lightning App Builder.

The fields on the Highlights Panel display at the top of a record is easy to manage as well, but again, it’s not driven from the page layout or the Lightning App Builder. Those fields are driven off of the Compact Layout for the object which also drives the fields displayed in the record header on Salesforce1.

You’ll quickly learn where to manage various elements of Lightning, but I found myself doing a lot of clicking. Migrating to Lightning Experience won’t be just a transition for your users, it will be transition for you too.

I found that navigation, as an Admin, is a bit frustrating because opening links in a new tab using a mouse’s right click, or Ctrl + click wasn’t supported in Lightning Experience. To accommodate for that shortfall, I am now having to duplicate tabs in Chrome then navigate through the standard link progression.

Reporting is…Different

Managing Salesforce reports and dashboards is limiting as well. I referenced this earlier, and the topic could fall into the category of Administrative Overhead, but I think its important to call out on it’s own.

What’s striking is that your Classic Dashboards do carry over, but not always in the formatting or way that you would prefer. Building a dashboard in Lightning is actually super easy, and lots of fun using it’s new cubical canvas, but if you want to edit or modify a dashboard built in Classic, you better watch out! That dashboard will become read-only in Classic!

In addition, many of us run reports just for the sake of auditing data. We don’t intend to save those reports for future use, but when building a report in Lightning Experience, you must first save the report from Report Builder before you can click “Run Report” which means that you now need to remember to delete this ad hoc report once it serves its purpose.

Those who have the ability to manage report and dashboard folders will need to go back to Classic to change folder permissions or create new folders.

Of the more frustrating limitations in Lightning, Report Builder was it.

It’s the Tortoise, Not the Hare

Users of Salesforce classic will notice this even more so than non-Classic users, but Lightning Experience is still very slow. In some cases, I’ve had load times upwards of 10 seconds on a page, making me want to throw snowballs at the Winter ’17 snowman! It’s a bit oxymoronic when you think about it…

Winter '17 Logo gif

When you are able to open links in a new tab, those tabs don’t process in the background like they do in Classic. So, if you open 5 records in new tabs from a report for example, the tab will generally begin loading (or it’s perceived by me that way) once the tab is opened. It’s at that point the 5-10 second wait for the record to load occurs.

But, we all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. If you don’t – SPOILER ALERT: the tortoise wins! I really hope that this is the case and that the product managers at Salesforce find a way to provide a rocket powered skateboard or something to the tortoise soon because current speed is an issue.

It’s The Future

Even with it’s current shortcomings, Salesforce is making huge investments in Lightning Experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s perfect, (and I believe the Salesforce product teams would say the same thing), but it is a step in the right direction. And, if the Winter ’17 release notes are any indication of the future, you can be sure that the majority of new and exciting features will be released in Lightning Experience, not Classic.

As my employer, Shell Black has said, Salesforce Classic is Dead – Get Over It!

Given all this, I still think Lightning Experience is a great new platform, and I’m excited to see where it goes. But if you’re looking to deploy Lightning Experience to your company, be aware of these and other changes (both positive and negative), and be sure to understand the implication to your users.

Are you on Lightning Experience? If so, what lessons or ah-ha moments have you learned? Share them below by leaving a comment!

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15 Comments


  1. Al Hotchkiss

    November 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Great overview Brent. We are currently in the very beginning stages of a migration to Lightning from Classic so the experiences you shared will help me as an administrator prepare for what’s to come.

    Real quick, I believe there is a typo in the 4th paragraph of the Administrative Overhead section: “Those fields are driven off of the Company Layout for the object”. I believe you meant to say “Compact” Layout instead of “Company”.

    Thanks again for a great article.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      November 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Thanks for the feedback Al! I’ve made the update!

      Reply

  2. Mia Whitfield

    November 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks, Brent, really helpful overview!

    Reply

  3. Becky Sweetman

    November 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks Brent.

    So glad you are switching to Lightning – we have been on it since we deployed in May. Looking forward to more Lightning-specific hints and tips so I can help pass them on to my team. Thanks again.

    Reply

  4. Jeff

    November 22, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Hey Brent – nice article! Here’s a sneak peek regarding list views: in the Spring ’17 release we’ll now be defaulting to the last viewed list – time saver! How do I know? I’m the Product Owner for Lists. Keep the feedback coming and share your ideas! Oh, and #safeharbor of course.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      November 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

      That is great news Jeff! Thanks for the update!

      Reply

  5. Al Hotchkiss

    November 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I just discovered one potentially huge road-block for us that I hadn’t heard about before: You can not manually share records in Lighting Experience. The Sharing button is not available. I can see this being a big issue for some of my users.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      November 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Yeah – that’s a big one too. We do manual sharing in my own org and I have to switch to Classic when I want to share a record. Kind of a pain!

      Reply

  6. Andrea Mesiak

    November 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Hi Brent,

    Thanks for the great overview/information! I’m curious if your deployment was for a small, medium, or large company. I can imagine that the larger the group, the more work arounds there will be and support that will be needed, specifically if migrating from Classic to Lightning. Great article 🙂 Very insightful!

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      November 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      This is a medium sized company – probably around 60 or so licenses. The requirements were pretty basic in terms of configuration so we decided early on to stay in LEX unless there was a specific use case to go to Classic. I think that the story would be different if this was a Classic to LEX migration though. This was a brand new Salesforce client starting out in LEX which made things a bit easier.

      Reply

  7. Hari

    November 22, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Nice Post. Useful for me , Just now I am going to start Lightning Experience.

    Reply

  8. Carrie Anderson (Philipp

    January 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I laughed, I cried (at having to save a report before running it) and I’m glad new orgs can toggle between Classic and Lightning. Here’s a helpful roadmap of features that are earmarked to become available in Lightning https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/e-books/salesforce-lightning-roadmap.pdf . I took this PDF, printed it, highlighted the deal breakers, and will continue to monitor as those are released/fixed/added. Thank you for the article!

    Reply

  9. Michelle A

    June 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Does there seem to be a lag between the changes that are made in setup and then for it to be displayed in Lightning? For example, making changes to a page layout.

    Reply

    • Brent Downey

      June 27, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Yeah, the page can take a few seconds to a few moments to reflect the most recent changes to the page layout. It’s annoying! 😉

      Reply

  10. Cyberguy

    June 19, 2017 at 2:02 am

    “Does there seem to be a lag between the changes that are made in setup and then for it to be displayed in Lightning? For example, making changes to a page layout.”

    I have noticed this, changes can take a couple of minutes to show up (like new screen fields) at times.

    Reply

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