Lightning is Coming… What It Is and How Can You Prepare

Dec 18, 2018
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Winter is here now but something even bigger is coming. Like a digital Jon Snow, the latest Salesforce release notes are here and, if you’re a dedicated Salesforce Classic user, they tell of an impending doom: the forced migration to the Lightning interface. The notes warn us that, just like the inexorable march of the the White Walker army, Salesforce’s Lightning interface is coming and it will ultimately wipe out every last Classic user in all the Seven Kingdoms. You can’t run from it, you can’t fight it, you can only accept it. Well starting with the Spring ’19 release that is. So hopefully you’re more of a Daenerys than a Cersei, and you’re going to heed this warning to start gathering your forces in preparation for the change.

Side Note: If you’re not familiar with the Salesforce release process, you should know that Salesforce provides three new releases every year in the Spring, Summer, and Winter. The release notes give Salesforce professionals, users, and fans a chance to read about the new features and to get ahead of the curve for features that will no longer be supported or need modification to continue to be supported. For more details on the overall process, you can read about it here or earn a shiny new badge by completing this Trailhead Module.

The Next Release

The Spring ’19 release notes are extremely detailed and thorough with direct and clear information around all the new features heading our way. They also provide info on how to access these features early in your sandbox instance, when the new features will be available, and what these means for you. Release notes typically have a ton of information so, unless you’ve got a serious amount of time, it’s difficult to get through the whole document word for word. Need to find specific info quickly? Start with the section titled “How to Use The Release Notes.” Otherwise, you’ll need to divide and conquer with your colleagues / friends, go to a local user group to discuss the content, or check out community or user content (blogs, videos, tweets, etc) like this post.

Where to Start

After getting up to speed, you’ll need to be sure that you test your instance PRIOR to the update going live so it’s important to know when your specific release date is. The location of your instance of Salesforce will determine your specific Spring ’19 release date, but the primary dates are Febuary 2nd, 8th, 9th. If you know your production org’s instance location, check out Salesforce Trust, select your instance name and click “Maintenances”, to see your Salesforce Spring ’19 release date.

Don’t know your instance location? The easiest way is to figure it out is in “Setup” under “Company Information.” If you’re not using MyDomains or Lightning, another option is to review the Salesforce URL in your browser.

So What is Lightning Experience?

Lightning Experience is the new experience and User Interface that Salesforce began offering in 2015. The initial focus for Lightning was to improve the user experience and focus for sales and sales representatives by providing them with tools and productivity features to drive business faster.

Obviously when you introduce new workflows, features, or interfaces there is a heavy amount of training and recalibrating involved, and frankly, not every organization has the time and resources for something like this. This is not even considering the amount of technical work that your Admins, Developers, and other Salesforce professionals need to do to move over to Lightning Experience.

So when Salesforce initially rolled out Lightning Experience, they committed to keeping the classic edition alive for a time and even continued to add more features to it because they recognized that some customers who might not want to switch right away, or even at all, and the transition would be longer and more challenging for them.

Within the new release notes there is a section about turning on Lightning Experience, and listing it as a Critical Update. You’ll see it appear under your “Critical Updates” section starting in February 2019 and Salesforce will start auto-activating in the Winter ’20 release. This means if you are in one of the organizations who have been resisting the lightning conversion, you will be forced into Lightning in the near future.

Get Ready Now

So you need to prepare yourself and your team for the impending change. Salesforce has provided additional resources to help you do just that and a feature that I strongly recommend utilizing in your own Salesforce org is the “Lightning Readiness Check”. This will send you a detailed report of how ready you are for the transition to Lightning and give you a high-level overview of what needs to be done between now and your transition date.

Once your migration to Lightning is complete, you’ll want to ensure everyone on the team is using Lightning. Salesforce makes this easy by providing Adoption Dashboards that show admins user login history, key feature adoption and more.

Don’t have the time or internal resources to make the switch?

Registered Salesforce Consulting Partners, like VALiNTRY360, are a very affordable alternative. We come alongside and augment your internal team for the planning, transition, and on-boarding for all kinds of projects and migrations like Classic to Lightning Conversions but we also offer other services such as:

  • Rent a Certified Salesforce Admin
  • Salesforce Implementation
  • Salesforce Talent Shortage Solutions (Direct Hire, Contract, or Contract-to-hire)

Need help finding the best partner for you? Check out this article with questions to ask as you search.

Ready to get started?  Contact us today!