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Salesforce Lightning Experience review: Salesforce has succeeded with its revamped CRM user interface

Charles Stevenson | Aug. 31, 2015
Salesforce has revealed its revamped Lightning Experience user interface - but how has it fared?

Salesforce expects everyone to use the Lightning Experience eventually, but it recognises that this won't be right for everybody immediately. Not least, because the Winter '16 release only covers the Sales Cloud, so users of the Service Cloud or Sales Console will have to wait for future releases before they will be able to take advantage of the new interface.

And there are actually quite a few features of the Sales Cloud that are not directly supported in the new interface and those features may be deal-breakers for some organisations. For example Quotes, Forecasting and Campaigns stand out as potentially critical features for lots of companies, so you may choose to wait for a future release before switching it on.

Salesforce emphasised that the new interface supports all of your existing 'point-and-click' customisations in terms of data and processes, but you will need to evaluate any Visualforce pages and any user interface 'tricks' that you may have developed over the years. For example many customers will have used Javascript to improve the user interface. These 'hacks' are unlikely to work in Lightning Experience, so developers will need to look at workarounds. There are a few other glitches that you may come across - particularly when moving between supported and un-supported features.

Salesforce Lightning Experience review: Devices and Browsers

The new interface is based on standard modern web technologies and should make it easier for developers to develop for multiple devices and screen sizes. In theory, new Lightning development written for the desktop should work on mobile, tablet and smart watches without needing to be re-written.

On the desktop, Chrome and Mozilla browsers are supported but only the latest Internet Explorer (version 11) and Safari (version 8). This may be an issue for IT departments with strict desktop software policies.

Salesforce Lightning Experience review: Backwards Compatibility

Certainly, you will need to do some work to take advantage of the new interface, and product launch demos always gloss over the teething problems that you should expect from such a big technology update. So organisations should treat this as having significant impact, and should test and evaluate before rolling out to everyone. It is going to be possible to trial the new interface with pilot groups of users, and Salesforce are keen to emphasise that it is easy to switch back and forth between the two interfaces as required.

Salesforce partners who build and sell add-on apps for the platform have had early access to the new interface and should already be working on testing and redeveloping those apps to make sure they work in the new interface, but you would be wise to talk to them directly if they are key to your business processes


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