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I've been an intern in Salesforce's Customer Success Group for the past three summers, and I've seen quite a deal of change within the company during that time period in regards to its products. I've been here pre- and post-Trailhead. I've seen Einstein Analytics adopted. And at the start of this summer, I was able to encounter another positive change to the Salesforce ecosystem. I was introduced to the Salesforce Lightning Experience. During my first two summers in Boston, I completed my work in what is now commonly referred to as Salesforce Classic. I could write an entirely different blog post that highlights how phenomenal it is---how it does an excellent job incorporating a social productivity tool (Chatter) into its design, how it makes accessing records easy, and how it enables Salesforce users to be successful.

Nevertheless, Lightning Experience has upgraded it's predecessor. Lightning has increased productivity for users by 41%, according to the 2017 Lightning Adoption Survey, and it's important to see the features that have driven this increase.To start off, it features numerous capabilities that don't exist in Salesforce Classic. Lightning's real-time dashboards, for example, are phenomenal. I use dashboards quite a bit during my internship. My manager will approach me with a specific metric or object he wants better visibility on, and I would create a report that performs to provide that visibility. I'd then create a dashboard that features components that help show the data. When seeing the way these dashboards look in Lightning Experience, its a crisper and more visually-appealing display than the way they are showcased in Salesforce Classic:

Above: Sample dashboard in Lightning.
Below: Sample dashboard in Salesforce Classic.

 

Lightning Experience provides value when it comes to things like dashboards and other visual tools, where the goal in mind is to create a visual depiction of some value that is numeric or metrical in nature. As noted above, Salesforce Classic can do this, too. Yet the dashboards and reports in Lightning Experience enable me to become smarter about the data I'm viewing. Lightning dashboards give me the ability to create as many as 9 columns in a layout, as opposed to only three in Salesforce Classic. Capabilities like this give me more flexibility in terms of how I organize my data and present it to my audience.

Another important feature that Lightning incorporates is that it allows a user to utilize the Einstein-powered Search function. Global search features connect to the enterprise index to enable a user to find what they want whenever they want to find it. Having the ability to search a feed or database to find a piece of information a user needs to reference is an important tool to have. It eliminates time that the employee would need to go through in order to find the information they need to locate. Let's say I wanted to know what the room layout and cost of a property I created on Huron Avenue was. By typing in the key words '223 Huron Ave' into the search bar, I can see the creation of details surrounding the property of that address:

Above: Search feature in Lightning Experience

Lightning Experience's strength lies in giving the user quicker accessibility to the things they need to be productive. In the Global Quick Actions section located near the upper right-hand of the page, users can create quick actions like recording a note, logging a call, or adding a new travel approval. Lightning makes the process to completing productivity tasks like the aforementioned ones easier because of how it orients its pages to make it easier to find the actions you want to perform.

Lightning also gives users the ability to switch between apps quicker and easier than they would be able to in Salesforce Classic. The App Launcher located at the upper left-hand corner of the screen can be clicked on by users to go between the Analytics App, to Chatter, to their service app and beyond. It even enables users to type in a search word to find a specific item they are looking for. This tool, like with the search function on Chatter, cuts down on time that a user spends searching for a particular thing they want to utilize within Salesforce. Users can easily access the AppExchange from the App Builder, where there are more than 400 ready-to-download, Lightning-ready applications for users to utilize.

Lightning Experience can be looked at as an upgrade from Salesforce Classic in two regards: it upgraded the look of Classic and, perhaps more importantly, it upgraded the productivity for the individual user. Lightning gives the user tools to make their lives easier. It eliminates the time it takes to search for items and objects, and puts those objects in easily-accessible places for the user to utilize when they need them. Lightning Experience will increase user productivity, and enable those users to enjoy the features of Salesforce even more.

This piece is the third in a series that will be released this summer titled “Re-Think: A Millennial's View On Current Technology”. It will highlight the viewpoints of a millennial who has spent the past three years interning at Salesforce, one of the fastest growing and most innovative technology companies in the world. The writer is a current rising senior at New York University's Manhattan campus.