Updated on March 12, 2021
All Salesforce Classic users will be automatically moved to Lightning experience on January 7, 2020. You will still be able to switch back to Classic, but it is a signal for all companies to hurry up with Salesforce Lightning migration. In this post, I want to explain why now is the right time to plan your migration to Lightning, how long might it take to transition to Lightning, and share a basic migration plan and useful resources.
Before I start, please feel free to get in touch with us if you need some help with your Salesforce Org. We’ve been in the CRM business for years. We know firsthand how the wrong customization might influence your productivity and might even require complete re-implementation of Salesforce in the future.
#1 Sooner or later Salesforce will stop supporting Salesforce Classic
Let’s face the truth:
You can’t keep using an old interface forever.
As a reminder, Salesforce introduced Salesforce Lightning four years ago back in 2015 with the motto: a whole new Salesforce, a whole new way to sell.
During these years, they’ve been actively promoted Lightning experience trying to switch all Classic users to Lightning, and they will keep pushing you as they’ve done with their Obligatory Update that will take place on January 7, 2020.
Again, this update is not a forced transition, and you can still use Salesforce Classic, but it is an excellent time to check if your Org is ready for Lightning and start training your users.
There are no official dates available when Salesforce will stop supporting its Classiс interface. Still, you don’t want to come to the office one day to learn that your Salesforce Org stopped working correctly, and your team has no idea how to follow their standard processes.
Watch this video to learn more about this Critical update and what to expect:
#2 You Don’t Innovate on Classic
Being a Classic user, you don’t get any new updates and features. Salesforce publicly announced that they wouldn’t add any enhancements to Salesforce Classic.
It means you pay quite a lot of money for outdated products and you miss a lot of great productivity features and improvements.
All innovation happens only in the Salesforce Lightning Experience.
To better illustrate this, here is the number of features you are missing when staying on Salesforce Classic (over 2,000!):
Number of Features Exclusive to Lightning Experience (image by Salesforce)
The same is right for the majority of Salesforce AppExchange Partners who develop apps for your Salesforce. It is quite costly to support both versions, so many AppExchange apps get updates and new features only for Lightning users.
#3 Increase Team Productivity (3x – 25 x)
In June 2018, the Forrester Consulting research published The Total Economic Impact of Salesforce Lightning Study to help Salesforce users evaluate the potenial financial impact of Lightning on their organizations.
They interviewed some Salesforce customers that had deployed Salesforce Lightning.
Potential Economical Impact of Salesforce Lightning (an image by Salesforce)
Here are the main benefits identified:
- Save 1 hour a week thanks to better user experience and improved productivity
- Business sponsors and project managers can save around 2 hours a week thanks to improved dashboard capabilities and analytics.
- Innovation and access to new features and capabilities
- Ability to tailor the user experience based on job role and personas
- Lower development and support costs
- Improved process efficiency
- Increase collaboration
- Improved application quality
- Better business results
According to the survey led by TechValidate, 54% of companies that decided to move to Lightning did it because changes in business processes.
29% reported that they wanted to stay ahead of technology, 14% stated that they had changes in go-to-market structure and needed to provide their Sales team with new tools.
Interestingly, 6% of respondents believe that staying in Salesforce Classic might be a threat for them, and they treat moving to Lightning as a competitive advantage.
Survey Results of 683 users of Salesforce Lightning by TechValidate (May 23, 2017)
Also, make sure to check this fantastic YouTube playlist with Customer Success stories by Salesforce. I believe each video is a masterpiece, and you can hear from top brands how they innovate with Salesforce and why they love Lightning.
David Holyoke, Head of Worldwide Sales & Airbnb for Work, Airbnb: “A company of our size and our scale need the power of a company like Salesforce. First, our team says they love Lightning. It actually helps people get up to speed a lot quicker, be a lot more efficient in their job. We can prioritize and manage our day in an efficient manner.”
#4 Reduce Costs on Custom Development and App Support
If your company requires custom objects, custom apps than Salesforce Lightning is a good idea.
First, Salesforce improved customization options that can be done without a Salesforce developer.
E.g., Lightning App Builder lets you easily customize the look and feel of your pages (even a Home page) with drag and drop.
Also, you can create and add Lightning components there.
According to Forrester Consulting research, organizations can deploy customizations without writing code and deploy applications faster, which may translate in $1,242,587 in savings.
Also, you can expect a 50% reduction in time-to-launch for Salesforce application development projects and even need less team to support your apps.
E.g., one IT director shared that their organization was able to reduce its 20-person team supporting Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud by 50% after the Lightning deployment. “We had less customization and less development work because defaults with Lightning got us to 90% of what we needed.”
#5 Switching to Lightning requires at least six weeks
Switching to Lightning involves time.
According to the Sample Project Schedule by Salesforce (you can download templates here), it will take not less than six weeks for the Salesforce Lightning transition.
Also, make sure to plan at least a few weeks of post-launch activities to analyze performance, gather feedback, and make adjustments.
Locating Salesforce Lightning Rollout Templates for Download
Nana Gregg, Sr. Salesforce Administrator and Marshall King, SVP IT Solutions at JLL, the world leader in real estate services, shared that it took them 60 days to transition from Salesforce Classic to Lightning.
JLL Lightning Timeline (the picture is from the Move to Lightning Experience Webinar)
Salesforce Migration Best Practices
Here are some of the Lightning migration best practices by JLL team:
- First, enable Lightning for Admins only and try to identify the gotchas before your users will learn the benefits and limitations of Lightning.
- Make sure to evaluate all AppExchange apps that you are using if they are Lightning-ready
- Define your Personas and identify beta users who will test the app
- Create a Chatter Group where beta users can ask, get questions, and brainstorm about new changes
- Create a Beta App to test all new configurations and ask your users for feedback before rolling out these changes to your active Org.
- Don’t disable Classic to let users try Lightning at their own pace (for a while)
You can learn the full story of JLL’s Salesforce Lightning transition and their Lightning migration best practices in this webinar:
Salesforce Migration Project Plan
To give you a better understanding of why migration to Lightning might take a few months or more, here is a sample of a Salesforce migration project plan.
We took the base from the Sample Project Schedule by Salesforce add added some additional comments and essential things to consider.
Phase 1. Discover & Evaluate – 8 days
First, you’ll need to learn what’s new in Salesforce Lightning and evaluate your org’s readiness. If you want to involve a Salesforce Consultant, start talking to vendors to choose a partner who will guide you through the process.
Take into account:
- Reports & Dashboard changes (especially if you are using joined reports, scheduled dashboards, scheduled reports if your users follow reports or Dashboard components and use dashboard filters). Learn what’s changing here.
- Consider migrating from Customizable Forecasting to Collaborative Forecasts.
- Learn what’s different or not available among Customer Service Features (mainly if you use Milestones, Ideas).
- There are quite a lot of changes in List Views and Data access.
- Visualforce pages should be migrated to a Salesforce Lightning Component
- Scripts that should be adapted to Lightning
- New interface customization options. Practice configuring record pages to understand all the capabilities.
- Highlights Panel
- Understand Activation Options
- All custom objects should be validated
- New features mean the potential improvement of your current processes. You’ll need some time to evaluate them and adapt for your team
Also, make sure to examine your AppExchange apps to see if they are Lightning-Ready.
Phase 2. Plan – 11 days
Next, identify executive sponsor who will drive the process and key stakeholders to gather requirements. Also, choose a rollout strategy, identify measures for success, and develop a change management plan.
Activities with Different Stakeholders (created by Salesforce Team, the Change Management Strategy Template)
Phase 3. Align – 2 days
Now it is time to present Lightning Experience to your Executive team and decide on the launch of the transition project
Phase 4. Prepare and Implement – 32 days
During the Salesforce Lightning Rollout, you will need to identify a pilot group of your users who will test new Salesforce and provide feedback. Here you should ideally find super users (at least 1-2 users per functional group) who will become Lightning advocates. Now it is a good time to train your team (use Trailhead and in-person sessions).
Phase 5. Adjust – 14 days
- Prepare Visualforce pages
- Test everything, then repeat
Phase 6. Launch – 3 days
Give access to your pilot users. When you are ready, turn on Lightning Experience.
Phase 7. Measure and optimize – Ongoing
Now you can create reports and dashboards, get feedback from your team on their experience (you can run surveys using Google Forms, discuss new features in Chatter Group, or set up regular meetings).
Also, make sure to use the Lightning Usage App.
It is a free tool that is available to all Salesforce Admins. Here you’ll see your adoption rate, Active users, the most visited pages and much more.
Here is how to find the Lightning Usage app:
- Navigate to the App Launcher
- Type Usage in the search box and select Lightning Usage
Analyzing Salesforce Lightning Adoption with The Lightning Usage App (the image is by Salesforce)
#6 Don’t wait till all Salesforce Consultants are busy
When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law was announced, businesses had a few years to get ready before its launch in May 2018. If you don’t know, the companies who fail to comply might be eligible for fines of a few million dollars.
That law forced many businesses to restrict usage of their services for citizens from the European Union or even cancel subscriptions and contracts.
Companies had two years to get ready, but if you check Google trends, they started searching for GDPR and GDPR consultants a few months before the deadline.
I know that it was a challenge to find a consultant who wasn’t busy for months in the future. As a result, lots of companies had to find their way to become compliant.
Google Trends: GDPR Consultant search term, 2014 – 2019
Salesforce never mentioned when they plan to get rid of Salesforce Classic, but once it happens, companies like yours will start looking for Salesforce consulting partners.
🔎Searching for expert tips on how to implement Salesforce CRM ? Read our step-by-step resource Salesforce implementation guide for a flawless start
So you might have a hard time to find those who might be available right away.
Due to the short deadlines, you might expect an increase in consulting fees as well.
That’s why I highly recommend you to start thinking about your Salesforce lightning migration strategy right now. 👉 Feel free to get in touch with our team for a free consultation.
Salesforce Migration Challenges
As I mentioned above, there are quite a lot of features that are no longer supported or were revamped entirely in Salesforce Lightning.
If you’ve invested heavily in Salesforce customizations, custom objects, then it will take more time to move to Lightning.
You will need to assess if you need all done customizations and, it may be, you might need to come up with the whole new way how to solve your needs with the new tools.
Otherwise, there is a risk of feature redundancy, unnecessary fields. Also, it might cause performance issues.
Also, like with data imports, it is better to clean your Org before moving to Lightning. Identify unused components, unnecessary processes, and fields.
What is even more important, make sure your Salesforce Org is easy to scale in the future and can quickly adapt to the latest features by Salesforce.
Salesforce Lightning Migration: Where to Start?
Not all Salesforce users need the help of Salesforce consultants.
If you don’t have lots of customizations and custom modules or if you have your own Salesforce team, then you should be able to transition from Salesforce Classic to Lightning on your own.
Luckily, Salesforce prepared multiple resources:
1. Start with the Lightning Readiness Check and use the Salesforce Lightning migration assistant. It can reveal bugs and org incompatibilities.
Salesforce Lightning Learning Map
3. Complete the Make the Move to Lightning Experience Trailhead (around 7 hrs 40 mins) to learn:
- Salesforce Lightning experience essentials
- Key features, new sales and service tools, about reports and dashboards
- How to customize the user interface
- How to create Lightning Apps and how to upgrade a Classic app to a Lightning App
- How to build custom pages for Lightning Experience and the Salesforce mobile app
- How to develop a Lightning migration strategy
Make The Move to Salesforce Lightning Experience Trail
4. Join the Trailblazer Community. There is a group Lightning Now where you can ask questions and learn from peers their Lightning migration stories.
The best way to drive Lightning adoption is to deliver value. If your team seems to be hesitant to move to Lightning, then start with identifying value proposition for the team and be ready to explain why Lightning is better.
No secret that people don’t like changes, and it takes time to train your team and make them switch to the new interface.
They will always be busy, and the best time to start the transition is now, or it will never happen.
It is safe to say that after a few years of its existence, Salesforce Lightning has got lots of new productivity tools and enhancements, the launch speed was improved and you can expect new features with every new Salesforce update.
Remember, your users can still switch to Classic, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be ready.
Need help with your Lightning Migration? Contact our team for a free consultation.