We often tease that Salesforce excels in functionality, not beauty. The Salesforce interface has had a 1990s look since…the 1990s, but it’s finally been gifted with a massive facelift! Salesforce Lightning is a modern, future-forward look that is streamlined, mobile friendly, and intuitive. More user friendly than ever before, the Lightning Winter ‘16 release reminds me of the current mobile experience, Salesforce1. While there are some functionality upgrades, Lightning at its core is a cosmetic upgrade. Not that we’re complaining at 501Partners.  

Can you start using Lightning now? Absolutely. Lightning is yours with one click of a button. Unfortunately Lightning does not yet support all of the features you may need for your organization, including Campaigns, custom button, and other customizations. The Salesforce Foundation is pushing to have the Lightning interface fully integrated into the Nonprofit Starter Pack by February 2016.

Should you upgrade to Lightning? Since it is so new, we don’t know if it’s right for everyone. The lack of full functionality is at the core of our hesitation, but as it evolves, it may very well become your preferred user experience. Create a Sandbox for your organization’s instance to see if the functionality suits your organization’s data needs. I like that you can play around with Lightning by turning “Classic Salesforce” on and off to suit your needs.

Here’s a peek at the new design:

The contacts page is laid out like a console, where you may view all of your important data on one page. I prefer this user view.

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The Opportunities page offers a console experience, similar to the Contacts page. You can drag and drop from different stages. For example, if a gift was pledged, and then won, you could drag and drop it from pledged to posted.

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Visually, this is a significant enhancement. It is more sophisticated, and frankly, much prettier, with new chart types and at-a-glance imagery. It offers up to nine columns, instead of the usual three. Finally.

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For more details about Lightning, and whether or not it is ideal for your organization, check out the Dreamforce 2015’s session, Migrating to Lightening Experience for Admins, which details the perks of Lightning. More resources are also available at Trailhead on Lightning.

Stefanie Archer

About Stefanie Archer

Stefanie Archer is the Director of Training and Support at 501Partners, and has been working with local nonprofits over the last 18 years to help improve operational efficiency. Stefanie aims to help nonprofits leverage the power Salesforce by making it accessible to new users through training and support.